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Lifting a DSLR


Senior Member
Some of you may remember my last thread "Lifting a GoPro". It is now time to move to the DSLR after I have successfully built and flown my own DJI Flame wheel 450 with Naza. I would like to give a shout out to Thurmond for introducing me to this beautiful machine! But as you may have learned from the title, I am now interested in lifting a DSLR. I would like to keep the price relatively low (under $1000) and have it preferably not be a DJI 550 Hex just because I would like to get my hands dirty in something new. A Droidwork frame seems well out of reach for my budget so just comment if you have any suggestions. Also, I would like the platform to be Hexacopter or more. Nothing less than or equal to a Quad.



Senior Member
Ahem! "LIFTING A DSLR" ;) Don't think a FPVManuals quad can do that. Plus I would like ideas for hex or octo copters :)


Site Moderator
I'm thinking a scratch build could be the way to go. Having said that the T3i isn't going to be as bad as say a 5D as far as weight goes, so I assume this should be doable. Have you considered going scratch build?
What I would do is spend considerable time on You Tube watching vids from the different large quads. Have watched one who was using pro level equipment flying in Washington state, I think, that is incredible, very smooth, very beautiful. Was one that really grab my attention for what could be. Very expensive stuff, belt drive gimbals, which is a must for very smooth work. With your budget, I would look for a unit that will do a still as well as a video camera lift.

So my list of must have would look something like this:
Carbon fiber.
More motors the better, octagon.
Best quality motors I can find-Tiger pancake.
Belt drive, carbon fiber Gimbal-3 axes.
Able to carry the camera plus FPV gear.
FPV gear for knowing what the camera is actual seeing.

Doubt your budget is enough for all the above. You have the Naza. Seems some debate between the Naza and the Wookong for camera work. So start with what you have and spend the budget on the frame, motors and gimbal.

Good Tiger motors, which get very high ratings, are just under $80 X 8 + $640 as an example of how fast it will add up. Would use the Tiger ESC to go with there motors, under $20 X 8 + $160. Adds up very quick. Might be a bargin to purchase one of the pro level already built.

Have fun shopping and doing your research. Would love to do such a build. Will be satisfied with my QAV500, which does very good camera work with the Go Pro 2. Bye the way, the book keeper says, with all the mistakes I made, have very close to your bottom line budget invested. Adds up very quick. Double your budget. ;)

Oh yes! In the mean time fly, fly, fly, fly. Did I say fly what you have until you are very very very good.
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Senior Member
Probably not going to scratchbuild- just because that would be so much more labor intensive. Plus, I don't have all the necessary tools. I am looking at some MikroKopter RTF packages from Quadrocopter. They are just so darn expensive! That's life though. :)

Here is a demo reel of my 450+GoPro. PLEASE Tell me what you think! Constructive criticism is wanted!



Site Moderator
Here is a demo reel of my 450+GoPro. PLEASE Tell me what you think! Constructive criticism is wanted
It looks good no two ways about it, but still needs to be that touch smoother. I only say this because you want to start filming with a DSLR and I assume quality, smooth footage is what you're after. Its going to be a matter of picking the right combination that's tuned well. I've noticed even Team Black Sheeps new bird isn't silky smooth at all.

For what its worth you're doing a top job so far . . way WAY better than me. . I'm yet to go down the path of a Quad . . still waiting on my friend to come up with the magical design and then I'll jump on board :)


Senior Member
Quad's are great! If you have any extra money lying around, I would strongly recommend the Naza. It is the most user-friendly easiest to fly control board I've ever seen.

Any ideas on how to make the video silkier? I need a good vibration dampener, but is there anything I can do in terms of like D/R and expos to make it smoother?


Site Moderator
The Naza seems to be getting a lot of positive feedback, no two ways about it. My biggest issue is finding time to get all this FPV stuff under control before moving on. So time is my biggest issue at the moment :) But I will get to Quad's or even possibly Hex sooner or later.

As far as getting smooth footage with a Quad I'm not the expert at all, but I know my mate JB uses all sorts of Dampeners like Bungee Tubing etc to reduce rolling shutter etc. Once that's solved then its a matter of tweeking your Quad for smooth movement. This doesn't mean good flying performance, but rather smoothness of flight etc I hope that kinda makes sense.


Rotor Riot!
My tricopter was initially very smooth - I got perfect video with the KeyChain camera directly on the aluminum frame! But then I crashed (yaw mech broke in-air) and hit upside down. My motor axles are a bit bent, so I get really bad vibrations in my footage.Smoothness is a matter of *using longer arms*! And of course 30-40% expo and VERY SLOW FLYING!


Senior Member
Will, Check out the DJI S800 (Hex) . VERY Big (15" carbon fiber blades), VERY expensive (around $3K+), VERY portable and quick to setup and take down.


S800 is my dream platform. It is also extremely expensive. I wonder if I could get a grant or something for being only 14 and trying to start an aerial video business... Maybe, but for now it just seems out of reach.