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Want camera advice?

fear4fun

Junior Member
#1
I'm a photographer, videographer and getting into the RC related hobby. I work in a camera store doing retail all day. I love answering camera/photography related questions. I'm seeing lots of guys who are shooting their flights and mounting cameras for aerial shots. If you need some advice about cameras, tripods, mounts, SD cards, lenses, etc. feel free to ask them here!!
 
#2
Cool thread. I am a lousy photographer but want to be able to shoot maidens and my flights, cant seem to keep the plane in view. Can you suggest a good camera. One I can use either for hat cam or glasses camera. I tried building a tri pod type mount that looked kinda like a rifle but it was to bulky and uncomfortable, also I tried a pair if sunglasses spy glasses from HI-PC which was good at keeping the plane centered but was very choppy and disapointing. If you have any sugestions at a good product I would love to hear them
 

fear4fun

Junior Member
#3
So you are trying to get shots while you fly? I suggest not a new camera...but a friend to come with to camera operate.

The difficulty with hat or glass cameras is that they will lack the telephoto required to see the plane when it gets some distance away. Video features in many of the point and shoots (Nikon, Canon, Pansonic) are very very good and even the smaller point and shoots have huge zooming capabilities (12x-20x zoom).

If you are really stuck to being the pilot and camera operator at the same time, you could try any camera that has a wide enough filed of view to see your entire flight area. Mounting the camera on something stable (tripod, table, ground) would be advanageous to a hat or glass mount because it will be much more stable.

If you must head mount it, you can try the GoPro or Countour helmet cams. I'm just not convinced it will provide the shot you want. For example, check the FT video of the glider tow plane. With the camera mounted on the glider, the tow plane looks like a spec in the shot, yet it is only 40 or 50 feet away.

Seriously, someone who can shoot for you may be the best solution.
 

Brian fred carr

Site Moderator
Mentor
#4
Great thread fear4fun
I have used a head cam, but like you say as soon as u get 40 50 feet away it is invisible......one thing i would say about the spy glasses that are cheap on ebay is that they are so cheap because they are 5 or 6 years old and a li poly battery is no good after being in storage for that long i had a pair and i charged them solid for 36 hours and got about 5 mins out of em
 

RCD

Senior Member
#5
I have been using the 808 Keychain camera for a long time. I just ordered a new camera, a GoPro Hero 2!! I don't get it until Wednesday but it is a big upgrade!
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#6
Hi fear4fun! :)

I'm usually good at getting macro shots for builds and stuff - like this:



I also use a piece of white or black construction paper together with a white lamp to get a nice background.



However, my camera got a dust speck on (probably) the sensor, which is causing me to get a blurry spot on zoomed pictures:



Notice the spots that show in the picture.

Is there a way I can fix this myself? I have a Canon PowerShot SD880 IS. It's over two years old, but it still works wonders. Also, how do I get better focus on planes far up in the air? I tried setting the focus point to Infinity (mountain icon) but it didn't work...
 
#7
I use a Canon T3i usually with an 18-55mm lens. It's great....I use a Keychain Camera for AV but the angle is very narrow so I bought a $1 jelly fisheye lens from ebay and it about doubles the viewing angle!

I also use a piece of white or black construction paper together with a white lamp to get a nice background.

You got a DX6i? Nice!
 
Last edited:

Carbon

Elemental Madness
#9
here's one for you. I have a cheap digital camera that takes decent landscape shots when it is sunny out. How should I mount to to my super cub and is there a way I can activate it with a servo attached to the "gear" function?
Thanks,
Ben
 

jetpackninja

More combat please...
Mentor
#10
here's one for you. I have a cheap digital camera that takes decent landscape shots when it is sunny out. How should I mount to to my super cub and is there a way I can activate it with a servo attached to the "gear" function?
Thanks,
Ben
Something like this?
Not my plane, PM realtimerecon over on RC groups.
a4887010-249-021.jpg
 
#13
"Is there a way I can fix (dust spots) myself? I have a Canon PowerShot SD880 IS. It's over two years old, but it still works wonders."

The reason you are seeing the specs on the sky shots is because the aperture of the camera is set higher due to the overall brightness of the sky. On that particular model there will not be away of cleaning the sensor. Typically on SLR cameras, dust gets on the sensor during the times the sensor is exposed during lens changes. On the SD880, there is no lens change and there should be no access for dust to get on the sensor. The fact is is there in the picture could be indicating a bigger problem (dust entering from somewhere else) or hopefully the dirt could be on the lens somewhere. Try cleaning the lens element with some eyeglass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. I'm assuming you've tried this, which bumps us back to the first problem :S

"Also, how do I get better focus on planes far up in the air? I tried setting the focus point to Infinity (mountain icon) but it didn't work..."

Point and shoot cameras are inherently slow at autofocusing. Not only that, the plane is so small in the overall shot that it has a hard time sensing that there is even something it needs to focus on. Infinity focus was a good place to start, but the movement and constant input via shutter release to try and focus will keep the lens seeking something to focus on and a big grey or blue sky is confusing for it as the system uses contrast to find its focus point (little plane + no contrast = no focus). To be honest, not much to solve the problem. You've reached a performance limitation of that great little camera.
 
#14
here's one for you. I have a cheap digital camera that takes decent landscape shots when it is sunny out. How should I mount to to my super cub and is there a way I can activate it with a servo attached to the "gear" function?
Thanks,
Ben
May need to explain a little more. You are wanting the "gear" function to actually trigger the camera to take a picture? If so...tricky.

In terms of mounting the camera, a little inginuity will go a long way. Depending on the payload of the plane, you could buy a mini tripod of some kind and gerry rig it to the plane. Or, take advantage of the tripod mount receiver on the bottom of the camera (should be a 3/8 or 5/8) and make your own custom mount.

Releasing the shutter will be much more difficult. You would need to be really creative to find a way to get a servo to push down on the shutter release. Autofocus will be a pain. Hopefully the camera has a manual mode and you can set the shutter and aperture to something you want and disable to the autofocus.
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#16
"Is there a way I can fix (dust spots) myself? I have a Canon PowerShot SD880 IS. It's over two years old, but it still works wonders."

The reason you are seeing the specs on the sky shots is because the aperture of the camera is set higher due to the overall brightness of the sky. On that particular model there will not be away of cleaning the sensor. Typically on SLR cameras, dust gets on the sensor during the times the sensor is exposed during lens changes. On the SD880, there is no lens change and there should be no access for dust to get on the sensor. The fact is is there in the picture could be indicating a bigger problem (dust entering from somewhere else) or hopefully the dirt could be on the lens somewhere. Try cleaning the lens element with some eyeglass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. I'm assuming you've tried this, which bumps us back to the first problem :S
Thanks for the help, looks like that problem is there to stay - yet the speck only shows when the zoom is at max (4x), and blurs out when I zoom back in. Which in my thinking should mean that the issue is not on the sensor itself, but on some piece of glass in front of it. Focal length has an impact on it too, on Digital Macro mode it doesn't show.

Thanks again.
 
#17
Thanks for the help, looks like that problem is there to stay - yet the speck only shows when the zoom is at max (4x), and blurs out when I zoom back in. Which in my thinking should mean that the issue is not on the sensor itself, but on some piece of glass in front of it. Focal length has an impact on it too, on Digital Macro mode it doesn't show.
You are correct in the idea that zoom is contributing to the problem, but in its essence it is the aperture that actually reveals the dust. As you zoom from 1x to 4x the amount of light that can travel into the lens lessens. To counteract this the camera increases the aperture which in turn increases the DoF (depth of focus - how much in the picture that will be in focus). This doesn't just happen in front of the lens, but also between the lens and the sensor. Assuming that the dirt is on the low pass filter near the sensor, as the aperture goes higher, so does the definition of the dust and the shadow of the dust on the sensor.

Semantics really.