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Attached a camera to my DF!

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Attached a camera to my DF!

Old 06-02-2007, 01:39 PM
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geoffff
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Default Attached a camera to my DF!

After some practice with a 4 oz weight attached to my DF, I decide I was ready to risk attaching a camera and sending it aloft!

My camera is a Canon PowerShot SD40 "Elph", which weighs just over 4 oz. It has a custom self timer mode that can wait up to 30 seconds before taking a series of 10 photos.

I played with some over-engineered camera-mount ideas, but finally decided on this simple styrofoam mount for now. It allows for easy camera angle changes.

[link=http://boojum.dreamhosters.com/draganfly/m/P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter--Camera-Mount-2.jpg][/link] [link=http://boojum.dreamhosters.com/draganfly/m/P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter-First-Camera-Flight--Backyard-01.jpg][/link] [link=http://boojum.dreamhosters.com/draganfly/m/P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter-First-Camera-Flight--Backyard-17.jpg][/link]


Here are a couple of flight videos:[ul][*][link=http://www.oz.net/~geoffsi/common/showimage.htm?url=http%3A//boojum.dreamhosters.com/draganfly/m/P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter-First-Camera-Flight--Backyard-32.flv&caption=Draganfly_Helicopter_First_Camera_Flight_-_Backyard_32&back=file%3A///C%3A/Geoff/web/oz.net/draganfly.htm&backname=draganfly]P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter-First-Camera-Flight--Backyard-32.flv[/link][*][link=http://www.oz.net/~geoffsi/common/showimage.htm?url=http%3A//boojum.dreamhosters.com/draganfly/m/P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter-First-Camera-Flight--Backyard-33.flv&caption=Draganfly_Helicopter_First_Camera_Flight_-_Backyard_33&back=file%3A///C%3A/Geoff/web/oz.net/draganfly.htm&backname=draganfly]P20070601-Draganfly-Helicopter-First-Camera-Flight--Backyard-33.flv[/link]
[/ul]
As you can see, since I live in the city I don't have too much room in my backyard, so practicing involves a tight area between dodging trees and buildings... and lots of accidents!

I'm learning that I need to either try to hack a wide-angle lens, or fly much higher if I'm going to get some good aerial photos. (But flying higher is scary when the DF can easily drift out of my line of sight.)



-- Geoff
Old 06-02-2007, 01:46 PM
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geoffff
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

You can also see that just about every one of the plastic pieces on my DF is patched with glue!
Old 06-02-2007, 02:46 PM
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

The first thing that came to my head when I saw that first picture was DF Monster Truck! If you were to tilt the camera downward a little more, you wouldn't have to get so high to get more of the ground and less horizon in your shots like in the second picture.
Old 06-02-2007, 05:26 PM
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

geofff,
That is very cool. Nice clear images. How much memory can the camera take; how much video/how many pics at what resolution could it handle? (BTW - That motor assembly looks like an alien spacecraft is about to land in the neighborhood!)

30 seconds is just about perfect. You could set the timer on your watch for 30 seconds, and start the camera and the watch at the same time. You'd have plenty of time to take off, position the DF in a high hover, and wait. When the timer beeped, you could start a slow pan. Then land and see if you got what you wanted. If not, do it again from an adjusted hover position. If the pictures were high enough resolution, you could crop and center the shots later. That could work!

Cheers,
Bruce
Old 06-02-2007, 05:29 PM
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Sky High
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

Yeah, he needs to send that picture of the motor [link=http://www.coasttocoastam.com]here[/link]. They'll talk about it forever.
Old 06-02-2007, 08:33 PM
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geoffff
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

The styrofoam pieces are circular so I can rotate the camera to any angle. They're just held in place by those blue rubber bands.

I'm interested in wide angle landscape images, not close-ups.

I'm thinking if I can get good at holding the DF steady and then rotating in place (though for now I still have to always fly with the tail facing me), I could take a series of overlapping photos and use software (Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10 works well) to stitch them into a larger image -- without needing a wide-angle lens.

The photos I posted were scaled down to 640 x 480, but the originals from the camera are 7.1 megapixels. I've had pretty good luck keeping the images sharp by cranking the ISO up to 200 so my exposures can be very short (to avoid camera shake issues). With more than ISO 200, the dark areas in the photos start looking noisy.

I have a 2GB xD card in the camera right now, so I can take 500 photos at full resolution, or 13 minutes of video at 640 x 480.

-- Geoff
Old 06-02-2007, 11:02 PM
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Old Man Mike
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

Hi Geofff,

Interesting approach to camera mounting with that rubber band secured rotation. You may have seen what I posted on mounting a similar camera, the Pansonic DMC-FX07. Your styrofoam is probably lighter than the dense foam I am using so I might give it a try.

For still picture taking, I use a rubberband to hold down the shoot button for continous shooting. The one thing I don't like about these little cameras is that you can't control the shutter or aperture settings directly. Pictures are much better if the shots can be made at 1/320 seconds or shorter. I've tried various scene settings with only limited success. Too bad they have to dumb down everything for the average consumer. Does the Canon have a continuous shooting mode and can you control the shutter speed directly?

Mike
Old 06-03-2007, 12:50 PM
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geoffff
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

This camera does have a continuous shooting mode, and I'll probably give that a try at some point so I can take more photos than the 10 that the self-timer gives me.

No, it doesn't have good manual modes like aperture-priority, but it does have various dumbed-down preset modes like "beach" or "indoors", and I should play with those to see if any of them will tend to result in shorter exposures.

-- Geoff
Old 06-03-2007, 08:52 PM
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

The new issue of RC Heli just came out (Barnes & Noble), and they've got an article on aerial photography. Listed were some sources for camera triggers using a spare receiver channel:

http://www.blip.com.au/

http://www.rc-flysoft.com/

http://www.gentles.ltd.uk/

http://www.hexpertsystems.com/

I guess we forget that other people have had the same problem!

Ciao,
Bruce
Old 06-21-2007, 08:13 AM
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Dirk Schooner
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Default RE: Attached a camera to my DF!

Great work and flying in a confined space!

Practice with a 4oz weight, now why didn't I think of that?

Camera looks a little exposed but does the job.

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