Who says you need a six thousand dollar camera to get awesome photos?
Recently I purchased a Nikon D5300 kit. I wanted it to work a bit on video. But the stills are stunning. This camera body can be had for around $500 US. If you hunt you can pick one up for a bit less. KEH https://www.keh.com/ is my choice for used gear.
There happened to be an upcoming airshow so I thought I would take the baby out and use my Nikon D3 as a backup.....just in case. The camera is seriously light, being made of mostly plastic it is light as a feather, just dont drop it..it could be fatal for the D5300. I rented a Nikon 200-500 5.6 zoom from Borrow Lenses https://www.borrowlenses.com/ $54. The only other lens I carried on the trip was the (upgrade from the kit 18-55) Nikon 18-70 3.5-4.5 I purchased from KEH $84. But the kit lens (18-55 3.5-5.6) could have easily made these images.
Ready for some photos?
Here we are Apple Valley Airshow at dawn. All of these photos were shot with the Nikon D5300 mounted on a tripod LOW. Three bracketed exposures, -1 stop, normal and +1 stop merged together in Lightroom HDR. You want know the really cool thing about this shot? Triggered through my iphone! Nikon wireless mobile utility app. Not only can you fire the camera through your phone or ipad but you can focus the camera through the app. It is a much better live view especially if you use the ipad. The camera is about six inches off the ground but I'm standing next to the camera focusing and firing. After shooting you can review the photos shot through the app. This to me is just mind blowing.
How did the 5300 hold up with the action? I know sitting on the ground still is one thing but moving at 200 mph? Check it out. Skydiver shot with the 5300, 1/1600 sec ISO 100 with the Nikon 200-400 5.6 @5.6. My good friend the Tumbling Bear shot with the 5300 Nikon 200-400 5.6 1/400 sec 6.3 ISO 100. More? P51D Mustang Wee Willy II Ripping past the crowd and the Nikon D5300 has no problem keeping up with the action. Shot with Nikon 200-500 5.6 @ ISO 100 1/400 sec f 9.0.
This camera only fires 5 frames per second, plenty fast for most. No it does not make that cool 11 frames per second noise but remember you will have to sort through the extra 6 frames per second and at an airshow that can add hundreds if not thousands of frames to sort through.
One last thought this camera does not have a focus motor so you will need lenses that have focus motors. Almost every modern lens has its own motor.
I give this camera a solid 9 and highly recommend it for shooting airshows.
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KeywordsAirshow aviation photography
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