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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › What camera to use?
04-24-2013 10:14 PM  5 years agoPost 1
wakebum187

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west linn, Oregon

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I am starting to do some research on cameras for my aerial rig. Right now I have been building up a 1000mm class size helicopter. The camera size isn't a huge issue but I don't want some mondo camera either. The point of this helicopter is for long flight duration so I can capture great video/photos.

I am asking the community for camera preferences. I am looking anywhere from a small GoPro all the way up to a larger size DSLR. What are your thoughts?

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04-25-2013 02:17 AM  5 years agoPost 2
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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You need to define your intended use to get good recommendations.
for instance, do you plan to do mostly video or stills? How much money are you willing to spend. Are you trying to do AP work as a commercial venture or just a hobby?

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04-29-2013 05:32 AM  5 years agoPost 3
3kidzheli

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columbia, ms usa

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This too is a question of mine! I really need some input as this guy does also! I want to take still photo and I know the gopro doesn't have a zoom but is that necessary? Most of what I've seen by gopro is that "dome" look to the video or photo and I'm not sure that is what somebody would want if they hired me to take a picture. ny insight would be appreciated. Sorry to dock on your post but we have similar questions.

There is no such thing as up, it's all out...

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04-29-2013 08:03 PM  5 years agoPost 4
MartyH

rrProfessor

USA

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You can change the lens on a GoPro to a smaller field of view and therefore a more traditional look.

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04-30-2013 05:06 PM  5 years agoPost 5
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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Interchangeable lenses is not a feature supported by GoPro. It can be done as a costly aftermarket hack job at best. The GoPro is OK for small multicopters that can't handle much payload weight.

For high quality stills of a commercial quality you are better off going to a mirrorless DSLR. They produce the same high quality as a true DSLR but with much less weight. The Sony NEX5R is my recommendation for stills. It has WiFi remote view and control capabilities. The range is limited, but much better than my Go Pro. Only caution is the lenses contain the image stabilization (IS) system (GoPro has no IS BTW). The small, lightweight pancake lenses like the SEL16F28 don't have stabilization or have limited capability. The larger lenses like the SEL1855 and above have great IS.

Don't worry about whether or not you have a zoom lens. You won't be able to change it in flight anyway. Therefore, a primary lens works just as well. If using a zoom, set the zoom to whatever magnification you want prior to takeoff.

While the Sony NEX mirrorless can be used for high quality video, if this is what you plan to do most, you can save money and weight by going to a dedicated video camera. They will have superior IS. You can even get an inexpensive 3D video camera like the Sony HDR-TD30V for under a grand.

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05-02-2013 02:37 AM  5 years agoPost 6
3kidzheli

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columbia, ms usa

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You rec the Sony camera, is that a recommendation that will vary on the type of heli it's going on? Since it has imstab is this rec for an electric heli or would you still say use it on a gasser. They have a lot higher vibration issue than electric. I have a gasser I am in need of a cam for.

There is no such thing as up, it's all out...

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05-02-2013 12:22 PM  5 years agoPost 7
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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I recommend small and lightweight with high quality images. The Sonys fit that bill but so do other brands. A mirrorless camera is my recommendation for a combination of stills and video. I personally use Sony since I was a Minolta buff before they were acquired by Sony. The Minolta and Sony A mount lenses are interchangeable. The E series lenses are unique to Sony. However, an adapter allows use of A lenses on E cameras.

I only use electric multis and helis for AP. A gasser will need a very good isolation system between the airframe and gimbal or camera mount. No camera stabilization system will totally eliminate high frequency vibs. Post processing with a program like Deshaker can be used to remove some vibs, but a vibration absorbing isolation system is still needed. This will require tuning the isolators and your particular setup to do it properly.

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05-07-2013 04:41 AM  5 years agoPost 8
Toadster25

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Iowa

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I think you mentioned something about using a zoom... I don't think I would ever try to zoom in on anything. Just fly closer to the shot. I have noticed the more you zoom a camer in the more any movement is amplified and makes holding the camera perfectly still necessary or you will end up with blurry pictures.

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05-07-2013 09:12 AM  5 years agoPost 9
JoeB1

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Ireland, Wicklow

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Actually you can use a zoom and you may need to use it sometimes. In these pics I could not get closer due to over head cables and I wanted to get the whole town in the shot. Forgive the pictures as it was the first aerial shot with my rig. I added zoom control to the camera ( very simple with servo and ball link on zoom button ) and I got some close up shots. Ok out of about 15 shots 5 was perfectly in focus but they cost nothing anyway!

I am interested on this subject as I am interested in buying a new camera myself. I'm looking at the Nikon d5200 at the moment with 24 mp. It is interesting what was said about mirrorless camera.
rexxigpilot...what mirrorless camera do you recommend so I can check them out. I won't be buying for a couple of months anyway so lots of time to research.

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05-07-2013 02:25 PM  5 years agoPost 10
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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JoeB1, I use both the Sony NEX7 and NEX5R. The 5R is smaller, lighter and works very well. The 7 has many more features and slightly higher resolution (24.3 vs. 16.1 MP), so I tend to use it more for ground photography. The 5R has a faster and more accurate autofocus system, touchscreen and WiFi. I can use a tablet or smartphone to see what the camera sees up to about 250-300 feet away. If you have time to wait, Sony may release an updated NEX7 with the better autofocus and WiFi shortly. I would also recommend you look at the Sony NEX6 (16.1 MP and combines features of the NEX 7 and 5R - has EV, built-in flash and better autofocus but no touchscreen) or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 (does 3D photos but a bit on the heavy and large size). If I was going to have one camera to do everything, the NEX6 or DMC-GH3 would be my choice.

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05-07-2013 09:59 PM  5 years agoPost 11
JoeB1

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Ireland, Wicklow

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Thanks. I had a quick look and the Panasonic looks the job. I have a few pana's and I like them plus it's mirrorless.

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05-07-2013 10:27 PM  5 years agoPost 12
GyroFreak

rrProfessor

Orlando Florida ...28N 81W

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Since I shoot alone my camera has to have a intervalometer. I used a Canon for awhile with a servo driven shutter and a little homebuilt timer to drive the servo every few seconds. But I found the dust and any crash (it will happen) tended to mess up the mechanical focal lens assymbly. So I now use a Pentax 10 megapixal camera that is waterproof, thus making it dust proof and very rugged. This little camera fills my needs and has a built in intervalometer that can be set from 10 secs to many minutes.
I just set it to shoot every 10 secs, then throw out most of the shots.
This is my simple solution and fills my needs.
Pentax Optio W60
Not the cheapest camera (about $300), but cheap enough to reduce strain on the wallet after a severe crash, and reasonable for the quality and ruggedness, IMHO.
See my gallery for a few samples.


.
By the way, if you spend megabucks for a 20 or more megapixal camera, you better have one hell of a smooth vibration free system. Otherwise it's a waste due to vibration.

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

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06-03-2013 03:00 PM  5 years agoPost 13
rilopez825

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Pembroke Pines, FL

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I have a 950m Hexa and I tried the Sony HDR-PJ650V Camcorder.
great stabilization, But horrible video quality. The Video seemed compressed and Patchy. It had pixalation all around the edges of moving objects. I ended up returning it after a friend confirmed this wasn't a true HD Camera. It also has a 20 mega pixels for stills. They where Granny at best.

Still on the hunt for better Camcorder myself.

Tests where done on and off the Heli.

Richard

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06-04-2013 12:01 PM  5 years agoPost 14
JoeB1

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Ireland, Wicklow

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Your camera had 20 MP's and shot video 60p HD quality and it was not a true HD camera? Why? I would say most of the money for that camera was used on the built-in projector.

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06-04-2013 12:17 PM  5 years agoPost 15
rilopez825

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Pembroke Pines, FL

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Not sure how to calculate it but if you look at the specs of the camera are:
Effective Picture Resolution :
Movie: Approx.5020K pixels(16:9)
Still: Approx.5020K pixels(16:9)

I tried another camera that had 6600k and it amazing compared to this camera.

The projector is a nice touch but I wish it was optional as I would never want that on a camera. Its really dark. 20lumens

Richard

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06-04-2013 03:15 PM  5 years agoPost 16
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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The projector is a feature that allows a group of vacationers to view their video while still on vacation and not have to jostle for position behind the tiny 3" LCD screen. I think it is a waste of money myself. The price between similar Sony models with and without PJ was about $100 last I checked.

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06-04-2013 03:43 PM  5 years agoPost 17
rilopez825

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Pembroke Pines, FL

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The lack of pixels on the screen was a waste of money. they should not call this camera 1080. It didn't even look near 720. I took some videos with it this last weekend before I returned it. I'll post it so you see how bad it was. just give me till sat to post it.

Richard

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