One of my favorite parts of aviation is documenting the cool stuff I see. For the longest time I just used my cellphone, which is good enough with as good as they are these days. However, if you are looking to get some nicer pictures and get some real quality in documenting your adventures I would highly suggest purchasing a high quality camera, or video recorder.
Cameras are no different from most anything else I have talked about in that each person generally has a preference and they think there is really no other option. I think it is mostly a matter of what you are used to and how comfortable you are with it. Whether you get a Canon, Nikon, or some other brand, just get your hands on the camera and figure out which one fits you best. As for me, I’m a Canon guy.
My weapon of choice is the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. It is a relatively simple to use SLR camera. I don’t claim to be very good with it yet, but it has made my pictures look infinitely better just by using it. It came with two lenses and a handful of other extras. That is really the beauty of a camera as a gift for an avgeek, there are always plenty of other accessories that you can buy for it.
A good camera will also give you the ability to take short videos, but if you want a better product, then a video recorder of some sort is likely your better choice.
In the event that you don’t have the excess capital for a camera because you spend all of your money on flying, there are a few companies out there, like Nflightcam, that make various mounts, filters and cables for iPhones to improve the quality of your video. They also make accessories for the ultimate in active video recording, GoPro.
There are a handful of different versions of GoPro out now, but we will just take a look at the newest model, the Hero3+ Black edition, because it is obviously the best. This newest edition is lighter, lasts longer, and creates clearer videos than any of its predecessors. These electronics are developing faster than you can even keep up.
This newest model records at up to 1440p to create incredibly clean videos. One of the biggest knocks on these cameras is that the battery doesn’t last very long, but they have increased battery life by 30%. That being said I would still strongly recommend a backup battery or two just to be safe. The Hero3+ also has wi-fi capability to allow you to transfer videos quickly to your laptop for sharing or editing.
One of the coolest new features is that you can actually control the camera from your phone or iPad so there is no need to bump the camera for starting and stopping. You can also view playback and easily share videos and still shots to your favorite social media site.
Much like a normal camera GoPros also have an incredible number of accessories you can buy. There are numerous different mounts for all different kinds of applications. It is also a good idea to buy extra memory cards and batteries so that you are prepared for even the longest day of recording.
Most of us avgeeks love watching videos of any kind from an airplane. If you can get a camera like this then you can be the one sharing and leave all of us in awe of the amazing stuff you are doing. Whether you go normal camera or video, just make sure you share, because sharing this stuff is what makes aviation awesome.
12 Days of Avgeek Christmas:
Day 1: Aircraft Models and RC Toys
Day 2: Aviation Books and Guides
Day 3: Aviation Apps and Flight Simulators
Day 4: Flight Lessons
Day 5: Headsets
Day 6: Bags and Kneeboards
Day 7: Sunglasses and Watches
Day 8: Handheld GPS
Day 9: Handheld Radio
Day 10: Cameras and Video Recorders
Day 11: Random Aviation Accessories
Day 12: Airplane