AeroTime’s ultimate top 10 gifts for the planespotter in your life

Tatevosian Yana /

It’s that time of the year once more. The time where we can all be kids at heart and look forward to Christmas shopping and giving, and receiving, presents. 

This season, we’re embracing the holiday cheer and putting the spotlight on planespotting. So, we decided to compile the ultimate list of gift ideas for the planespotters in your life.

As it’s Christmas, and festive presents should always be fun, most of the items in this list are things that will make planespotters’ lives easier and happier. But we also threw in a couple of essential gifts like telephoto lenses and cameras. 

So, whether you know a planespotter who is just beginning their journey, or someone who has been spotting aircraft for decades, we’ve got you covered with our gift guide this festive season. 

The Best Gifts to Give to a Planespotter


Best for

The budding planespotter




Image stabilizer

Where to get it


If you know someone who is just starting out on their plane spotting journey, or perhaps they’ve just started to show an interest in aviation photography, then this is the perfect present for them. 

Point and shoot cameras may not be as professional-looking as digital SLR (DSLR) cameras, but this Canon model should not be underestimated. Granted that this model is not the latest, it does include several features that ensure it’s a staple in lists of the best point and shoot cameras for five consecutive years. 

So, why is the PowerShot Elph 180 perfect for novice planespotters?  First, basic point and shoot cameras have a zoom range of 3-5x, but this model zooms up to 8x, longer than most cameras with the same price point. This means that it can capture planes from a distance without the image being grainy.

In addition, the Digital Image Stabilizer feature, which helps reduce the effect of camera shake and subject movement, and this makes it easy to capture planes in flight with respectable output for an entry-level point and shoot. 

  2. The Plane Spotting Photographic Registration Notebook: Black & White Edition


Best for

The planespotter who loves to scribble 




Contains airport and aircraft photographs taken from around the world

Where to get it


Almost every planespotter carries a notebook with them to log the aircraft they have spotted and snapped. This notebook will take that archiving experience to a far more exciting level as it contains photographs of airports across the globe taken by author and planespotter, AJ Goring. 

The notebook includes charts and spaces to enter details such as the date, airport code, aircraft type, registration, notes, and a tick column to tally when photographs have been taken of a particular aircraft to avoid doubling up.

If your planespotter doesn’t mind the amateurish-looking cover, then this is the perfect, affordable and extremely useful present for any occasion.

  3. Canon 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital Slr Camera (body only)


Best for

The professional planespotter 

Momentous occasions


4K video capture

Burst mode still capture



Where to get it


If you are currently saving up for that one big occasion for that very special planespotter in your life, then this could be the perfect gift. 

The Canon 5D Mark IV is popular among professional photographers, but here are reasons why we think this is a must-have for planespotters.

Firstly, it has a sturdy and robust body. While it is not waterproof, its ergonomic design  is excellent. The body feels firm and allows for a good overall grip, even when presented with light moisture from rain or sweat.

The 3.2-inch touchscreen, though already a standard feature in premium cameras these days, still proves useful when tinkering with the camera on a tripod and zooming in on your shots. 

Two main features guaranteed to appeal to any planespotters are the burst mode still capture feature, which is excellent for capturing aircraft zooming past, and the 4K video capture capability. This means planespotters can capture aircraft on 4K video quality.

Overall, the Canon 5D Mark IV has been the gold standard in DSLRs, especially for outdoor shoots. We are envious of any planespotters who find this brilliant present in their Christmas stocking this year! 


Image: Sephora, Sabphoto / , KOTOIMAGES /

Best for

The planespotter who needs some pampering


Full-sized undereye patches for all skin type needs



Where to get it


While almost all cameras now have an LCD monitor that allows photographers to capture images without using the eyepiece, many people, especially professionals, still take photographs the ‘traditional way’. That is, squinting and peering through the eyepiece.
This technique may produce stunning images but, unfortunately, it also produces crow’s feet and wrinkles in photographers, especially if images are taken in direct sunlight as most planespotters do.

On the surface, it sounds like a minor problem but ‘Photographer’s Wrinkle’ is a real concern among photographers. However, they are also divided over the issue. There are some who advocate sticking to the viewfinder LCD and keeping both eyes open, while others also advise fellow photographers to wear their crow’s feet with pride.

There’s no right or wrong approach, but what we do know is that planespotters, just like other photographers, would appreciate some TLC for their peepers to minimize wear and tear from squinting under the sun.

The Peter Thomas Roth Full-Size Hydra Gel Heroes is a three-piece kit of full-sized under eye patches, aka ‘soothing masks’, for the under eye area. Whether it’s dark circles, dryness, crow’s feet or overall anti-ageing issues, the three masks can address all under eye problems experienced by outdoor photographers and planespotters.

  5. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens


Best for

Serious planespotters who like to take night photos


Dust and moisture resistant



Where to get it


Planespotting is quite a niche area of photography. While it’s possible to plane spot without the ‘big gun’ lenses, most planespotters who are serious about the hobby will save up and purchase a decent lens.

While there is a huge variety of camera lenses available, planespotters predominantly need telephoto lenses, because they shoot from a distance. A telephoto lens has a long reach, allowing planespotters to photograph aircraft that are hundreds of meters away. It can also magnify the aircraft or the photo’s subject, in their frame. 

The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS has an extremely low f-stop number (aperture) of 2.8. This means that it allows lots of light to enter the camera, so clear photos can be captured in dark settings.

When combined with an Optical Steady Shot Image stabilization feature, then you get the most excellent lens for night time plane spotting photography. 

It is also dust and moisture resistant, so it’s a robust and hardy companion for planespotters. 

  6. The Aircraft Book: The Definitive Visual History (New Edition)


Best for

The planespotter who is also a bookworm / history buff


Detailed visuals and photographs of aircraft through the decades



Where to get it

Book Depository

Who doesn’t love a good browse of a hardcover book by DK (Dorling Kindersley Limited)? 

Name any hobby or subject, and DK has most likely published a book about it. In aviation and travel alone, there must be over 100 books on the subject. 

‘The Aircraft Book: The Definitive Visual History’ (March 2021) is one of the latest titles to be published by DK about planes and aviation. The book is filled with highly-detailed photographs and visuals of aircraft as well as aircraft parts that span decades of aviation history.

This 320-page visual book will certainly be enjoyed by plane spotting beginners and veterans alike.

7. The North Face Men or Women’s Carto Triclimate Waterproof Jacket

Best for

Planespotting in the cold or rain


Waterproof, breathable, windproof


Starts at $250.00

Where to get it

The North Face site

Christmas is most certainly the season to be planespotting as it’s the busiest time of the year for air travel. However, if your planespotter is located in Europe, North America, or parts of Asia where it’s winter, then they are likely to experience blisteringly cold temperatures as they stand near an airfield or open space waiting for planes.

You can help keep your planespotter warm with the North Face Carto Triclimate Waterproof Jacket. The Triclimate fabric technology is perfect for unpredictable winter weather, and will keep the wearer toasty, and bundled up in the face of rain and strong winds.

The outer shell layer of the Tricilimate jacket was made using HyVent technology, which means it is both waterproof and windproof. However, it is also breathable and any moisture that forms, such as sweat, will not cling to the material, which is crucial in the colder weather.

The Triclimate jacket is also available in several colors, so there’s bound to be one suitable for your planespotter.

8. A portable and lightweight stepladder


Best for

Airport planespotters


Portable and lightweight


Starts at $30.00 

Where to get it

Your local shop / hardware 

You will be surprised how a small step ladder can make a world of difference to a planespotter.
One plight often faced by planespotters is that airport security fences often get in the way of a good shot.

Don’t worry, giving your planespotter friend a step ladder won’t make you an aider and abettor to criminal activity, plane spotters have no plans to climb security fences. They simply need a portable and lightweight ladder so that they can take crisp and clean shots of aircraft without a pesky fence getting in the way. 

But make sure to choose a step ladder that is light and portable. It’s important to pick one that can be easily stored in a car, and that is also convenient to carry alongside other planespotting gadgets and tools.

This may be one of the more inexpensive gift ideas in this list, but certainly one of the most useful ones. Show your planespotter just how much you care about their hobby this Christmas by literally giving them a leg up.

9. Planespotting shirts


Best for

An all-ocassion present for a planespotter


Starts at $20.00

Where to get it

Red Bubble

Style and fashion are ways to express who you are without having to utter a single word. This is certainly the case when it comes to these statement shirts. This is a fun way for planespotters to show the world what they love to do.

The shirts are also great conversation starters and may even be a way to get to know other planespotters.

All designs are available in sizes/ styles for men and women. 

  10. A portable potty


Best for

A good-humored present for a planespotter (that can also be useful)





Where to get it


Most plane spotting locations are either near airports or in urban areas where there’s convenient access to toilets. However, there are some planespotting hotspots, like the RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, where planespotters have been told not to be party poopers

A portable, foldable potty could avoid times where your planespotter is caught short. It is also a useful gift for planespotters who prefer remote spotting locations. 

That’s it for our ultimate list of gift ideas for the planespotters in your life. But if you have any suggestions for great presents, then let us know in the comments below.

And because Christmas is the season of caring, don’t forget to remind your planespotters of the do’s and don’ts of planespotting. After all, you don’t want them running in trouble!

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