mach loop photography Archives -

Best DSLRs for aviation photography

The mach loop draws-in professional and amateur photographers due to the fine opportunities to test their aviation photography skill to the limits. The best DLSR cameras for military aircraft such as fast jets and helicopters depends on whether you are taking photographs for enjoyment or to earn money, or even a social media following.

The Loop offers an almost unrivalled location in which to photograph military aircraft doing their thing. Some of the photographs taken by visitors to the loop over the years are simply incredible. It is very rare to find such a mix of backdrops, mixed with aircraft travelling at around 450 Knots and mostly under 500 feet – you can even see the pilots and navigators in some cases!

Which digital SLR?

Whether you are a Nikon or Canon diehard, or simply enjoy taking videos and photographs with your phone, the loop makes it an enjoyable experience!

In time, we will begin to build up this page with more information on the most common camera settings, along with recommended camera and lens combos for a variety of budgets. Bear with us whilst we work on that!

Camera bodies

The best camera for aviation photography is one that adapts to a variety of situations. So, the ability to manually set Shutter Priority mode and Aperture priority mode are vital.

The best cameras for aviation photography needs to have all of the modes needed for different situations, such as Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.

Canon entry-level DSLR: Canon EOS 450D, Canon EOS 750D, Canon EOS 800D

Canon mid-range DSLR: Canon EOS 70D, Canon EOS 7D

Canon advanced/pro level DLSR: Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS-1D

Nikon entry-level DSLR: Nikon D3300, Nikon D3400, Nikon D5600

Nikon mid-range DSLR:
Nikon D7200, Nikon D500,

Nikon advanced/pro DSLR: Nikon D810, Nikon D750

Camera lenses

Introduction to the Mach Loop

The Mach Loop is a set of valleys, situated between Dolgellau in the north, and Machynlleth in the south (and from which the Mach Loop gets its name), which are regularly used for low level flight training, with flying as low as 250 feet (76 metres) from the nearest terrain.
Map of Mach Loop

To the south of the Mach Loop there is an area called Tactical Training Area 7T, in which, at specified times, the aircraft may fly as low as 100 feet (30.5 Metres). The Royal Air Force publish a timetable of when the Tactical Training Areas may be in use, however experience shows this to be of little use in determining whether low level flying will take place on a particular day or time.

Low flying is an vital skill for military aircrew, and the Royal Air Force uses various areas of the United Kingdom for low level flight training. The United Kingdom is split into 18 low flying areas, (or “LFAs”), the LFA’s being numbered 1-19 (strangley there is no LFA15). The Ministry of Defence website has a map showing the location of the low fly areas. The Mach Loop is located within LFA7, which covers the whole of Wales, except for a small section in the north-east of Powys, which is within LFA9.

Fly the Virtual Mach Loop in Microsoft Flight Simulator
Flying the Mach Loop virtually is as-close as many of us will ever get to experiencing it. Check out our MSFS Mach loop guide!

Mach Loop Cockpit View from a RAF Typhoon

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