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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › Longest stills lens you've used on a heli?
08-05-2009 06:01 PM  8 years agoPost 1
fionn

rrApprentice

Ireland

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Hi there,
I have a requirement to take shots at a high zoom setting from a heli. The camera will be controlled by a 2nd operator.
The heli will be stabilised with Carvec.
I'm just wondering what's the longest lens that can be used in a practical sense?
I'm thinking initially of trying a 50-300 & putting a remote zoom on it.
Any thoughts appreciated.
Fionn.

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08-05-2009 08:15 PM  8 years agoPost 2
tabbytabb

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seattle

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200mm and shot it like a machine gun hoping to hit something!

Tabb

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08-05-2009 08:58 PM  8 years agoPost 3
fionn

rrApprentice

Ireland

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Lol, that's how I take all my shots! Seriously though, were you using a downlink & if so how did it look? Would you expect to be able to hold it on a target @ 200? Thanks for the reply!

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08-05-2009 09:26 PM  8 years agoPost 4
tabbytabb

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seattle

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yes using a downlink and the camera operator had a tough time but just did his best to point in the right direction and hold down the shutter.

We held it on Target OK but I would say maybe 30% of the shots were acceptable.

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08-05-2009 09:54 PM  8 years agoPost 5
fionn

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Ireland

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That's encouraging anyway, thanks for the info!
In the high winds that I normally operate I guess I can hope to keep things stable at 150mm or so, will probably pick up a 55-250 or something of a similar range for my 450D.
Thanks again.

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08-05-2009 10:04 PM  8 years agoPost 6
ßeta

rrNovice

ToonTown

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why shoot such long focal lengths with an rc heli? if you need more than 50mm it's time to consider a full size mission. it's a crap shoot trying to get anything at 200mm with an rc heli.

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08-05-2009 11:51 PM  8 years agoPost 7
ehx

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Northern Minnesota

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200mm and the machine gun method sounds about right.

Most of my photos are fixed length at < 50mm, but I have done a few with a Canon point-n-shoot and URBI interface controlling the zoom (35-140mm equivalent). The gustiness of the wind is the biggest factor. If it's calm holding on target at 140mm isn't too hard. With a 10-15 mph wind and gusts at about half the sustained wind speed (typical for where I usually fly) it starts getting pretty hard past 100mm. Now I mean hard for a single shot to be well-framed. Taking a half dozen or so will almost always get you a good one.

Why use a zoom on an RC heli? Obviously for detail. It could be inspection work or whatever. The last time I used a zoom was to take a shot of some young kids. The heli was kept at an extra safe distance and the zoom allowed good facial recognition.

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08-05-2009 11:52 PM  8 years agoPost 8
fionn

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Ireland

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It's for a particular technical application, nothing artistic. Full scale is not an option.
I've flown my maxi FPV under Carvec & found the video very stable but that was with a very wide FOV, just wanted to hear other's experience before I try it.

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08-06-2009 01:05 AM  8 years agoPost 9
hobbyguy4

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Lafayette Indiana

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We shoot quite often with the Canon 5D and the 100-400mm lens under MJ2's with full Carvec. When set at 400mm we get a final usable image around 3.5° wide after overlaying the azimuth on landscape shots and have imaged desired targets up to 16 miles away. Most of the time we are in the 200mm range while trying to capture images between 5-10 miles out. Downside with setting at 400mm is that the camera needs shifted aft a few inches and the added lens weight limits us to a safe flight time of around 6 minutes. Also, that lens is a little slow so adjusting the shutter and aperature to get a good image without having to crank the ISO can be challenging especially when lighting conditions aren't that great.

Another issue we have when shooting targets so far away is that the atmospheric conditions really can hamper the shot. Heat, haze, fog, smog, glare and humidity all play a big role in adjusting the camera when shooting from an AGL of 80-400 feet.

To reiterate Tabbs method for hunting, even with a designated camera operator and live downlink, when shooting with a long lens choose the machine gun and set the trigger for burst mode. Somewhere in there is the money shot.

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10-27-2009 09:54 AM  8 years agoPost 10
nuguy

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New Zealand

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What sort of shutter speed/iso are you guys using with these long lenses.
I have a job that requires me to use at least a 100mm,preferably up to 200mm, lense from a height of 400 ft, no stabilisation on the heli.
I am trying to work out roughly the shutter speed I will need to start with.I am hoping no more than 1000, using iso 100.
I usually shoot 22mm with a shutter speed of 320 or 400 and have also shot 50mm at these speeds.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Kevin

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10-27-2009 03:16 PM  8 years agoPost 11
GyroFreak

rrProfessor

Orlando Florida ...28N 81W

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While I will probably never use this info it is really interresting. The statement about distance for safety around kids but getting a closeup shot is great. Also inspection of say a High Voltage insulators on a tower would seem an appropriate application.
Thanks

I think about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something, then wonder what I'm here after ?

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10-27-2009 06:36 PM  8 years agoPost 12
CKY

rrVeteran

Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

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If shooting beyond a 100mm try mounting a small ccd camera on the 'mount' (not the DSLR camera) with a 35-50mm equiv lens. Use IT for the downlink.

That way you can keep the camera pretty close to the direction needed then shoot like a Tommy gun.

Trying to have the camera operator aim via the DSLR is a real chore when zoomed out a bit. As long as the subject is near the center of the frame you have a pretty good chance of capturing it.

A big plus is using PTGui with a bunch of the frames and getting a very high res large print. Turns all lenses into very high resolution wide angle lenses.

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10-27-2009 07:12 PM  8 years agoPost 13
nuguy

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New Zealand

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Cky, thanks for the tips.The target is relatively broad as we are just trying to pull the background in on a landscape shot.
I will try ptgui though,that sounds like a great idea.

Ill let you know how I go.

cheers
Kevin

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