In this final article on my very first experience with aviation/fighter jet photography, I’ll run through some of the pilot close-ups I took upon arrival from their exercises over the North Sea. While some of them liked to show off a little to the audience during takeoffs, they were obviously a bit more focused during their landings, although a couple would still take a second or two and wave at the over 100 aviation enthusiasts close to the runway.
I guess I picked up a few new lessons (…and skills):
- Aviation photography is fun…!
Fighter jets are just amazing machines and the pilots seem to really enjoy what they’re doing; the whole vibe and interaction between the ‘spotters’ and the pilots is great to experience.
- Aviation photography is difficult…
Well, at least the type where the jets are flying right passed you at very high speed… You need both reach (long lenses) and agility (no tripod) to have a chance on getting any decent composition.
- Aviation photography requires the right kind of camera…
In my experience, I really needed those megapixels from the Nikon D850, in combination with a decent frame rate. Higher rate is definitely better. But what turned out to be the most important factor for me on this one, was buffer size, and memory card writing speed. The D850 unfortunately doesn’t reach D500/D5 writing speeds but the XQD card is also too slow; faster obviously than SD but still not fast enough. The new & upcoming CFexpress cards promise 3-4x faster writing speeds compared to XQD and rumour has it Nikon will arrange for backwards compatibility with the D850. Looking forward to that one!
I just had to give the last image to my new “uber” cool German pilots.
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