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Suggestions for camera system please?

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Allan Bennett10/10/2018 20:46:32
1518 forum posts
38 photos

I've recently needed to do some aerial photography (searching for a lost fixed-wing model) so I attached my Canon Ixus pocket camera to my scratch-built 450-size quadcopter and set it to record video. Even though I tied it down with elastic, on a 12mm bed of soft foam, the result was not impressive due to vibration, but was just good enough to show that the lost model was not in the bramble patch that we had been unable to penetrate on foot.

But that exercise has given me the urge to get a 'proper' camera for my quad. I believe that some 'sport' cameras have built-in vibration compensation, but is it good enough to cope with high-frequency vibration rather than just the jogging of someone wearing it on their helmet, for instance? And what kind of anti-vibration mount can I get, assuming that for the moment I just want to have it facing vertically down from the quad?

Tom Sharp 211/10/2018 01:37:15
3382 forum posts
17 photos

Have a look at the Bang-good website.

Piers Bowlan11/10/2018 03:41:20
1768 forum posts
42 photos

Perhaps a silly question Allan but did you balance the props of your home made quad? Also, possibly the foam was exacerbating the vibration rather than damping it? Did you fly the camera without the foam for comparison? I would take a look at quad and FPV websites to see what other people are using regarding camera mounts, if you haven't done so already.

Maybe your ixus camera is just not suited to aerial photography (shutter speed?). The only aerial photography I have done was when I velcroed my Mobius Action Cam onto the wing of my Radian Pro XL, with surprisingly good results (no 'gelo' with the motor running). I mounted the camera out on the wing so I wouldn't get the 'venetian blind' effect from the prop. Of course it was an e-glider not a quad so I guess vibration is more of an issue maybe with a multi-rotor.

I am glad your camera was able to show where the lost model wasn't, hopefully your next attempt will show where it is!

Allan Bennett11/10/2018 08:45:33
1518 forum posts
38 photos

Thanks for your replies.

The props were balanced, and the vibration is not enough to be felt, or to cause any problems with the flight controller or GPS system. My first attempt was with a very thin (about 2mm) foam bed, with the camera secured by a zip-tie. Almost un-viewable. My second attempt was with thicker foam (about 10mm) and the camera secured by a rubber band. Viewable but fuzzy.

My camera is not designed for aerial photography, and has no stabilisation. I had it recording video, but apart from it having auto-focus I don't know what it's other parameters are.

On the BangGood site the Mobius action camera looks like the kind of thing that would get me started, but I can't see anything about whether it has any kind of stabilisation, either on the BangGood site or on the Mobius site. I suppose since it's so popular, and a good price, I should give it a go, and then fiddle with my mountings etc. if the quality is not good enough.

Peter Miller11/10/2018 08:50:39
9906 forum posts
1160 photos
10 articles

I have seen some really impressive results from a Mobious camera which does video or still. they are not expensive, very tiny and better than the GOPro that I tried.

You Ixus should have provided really good results. too

Below is a Mobious still from a video

dogfight with a buzzard (1).jpg

Andy Meade11/10/2018 09:16:42
2558 forum posts
669 photos

I used to use a GoPro on a bed of yellow push-in ear defenders - the type that you can squash then they form inside the shape of your ear. These worked really well. I'm not sure looking for a camera with stabilisation is the answer - that may remove aberrations of sudden jerks, but not "jello-vision" produced by a vibrating airframe.

If you can make a sub plate to mount the camera, strap it tight to that, then have the sub plate mounted to your quad's frame with either the yellow ear defenders or this type of isolation mount, I think you'll be pretty close.

Good luck yes

A quick edit to add - they are wayyyy overpriced in that link I posted, they are usually a few quid for half a dozen - sorry it was the first link I found, but hope you get the idea.


Edited By Andy Meade on 11/10/2018 09:20:54

Gordon Tarling11/10/2018 10:16:14
229 forum posts
4 photos

Built in camera stabilisation is designed to deal with lower frequency vibrations, such as hand shaking. For the higher frequency vibrations in most models, you're usually better with it turned off and using mechanical means to cushion the camera from the vibration. Soft mounting can be successful, but sometimes a fair bit of 'tuning' can be required in order to get good results. I have two Mobius cameras and a Gitup F1 which are used exclusively for aerial photography. I am currently getting excellent results from my Mobius Mini that is rigidly mounted on my tricopter. There's often a lot of trial and error involved in order to get decent shots.

Steve Colman11/10/2018 11:04:13
715 forum posts
417 photos

I'll offer another vote for the Mobius. I have 3 now (the original, a V2 and a Mini ) and they all give good results in a variety of situations. I do agree with Graham above for the need to fine tune the mounting when used on a multiritor. Things seem to be much less critical on fixed wing models.

Allan Bennett11/10/2018 11:06:48
1518 forum posts
38 photos

Andy, yes £42 for four blobs of blue silicone (or whatever) is pricey! But I understand the principle, and will probably devise a Mobius setup utilising something cheaper but similar. (In fact, I'm sure I've got four of those things from a previous 250 quad frame, so I'll have to search for them.) That's if rigid mounting, as related by Gordon, doesn't work.

So, it's camera first, and then trial-and-error with the tuning of quad and mount. Despite my props being balanced, I've noticed that the adapter hubs supplied with the props (for different size motor shafts) were not a tight fit in the props, so I've sorted that with a bit of tape wrapped around them.

Bonzo Moon28/11/2018 11:02:27
15 forum posts

I don't know how big your quad is but I have tried various cameras on my drone. Currently favourite is a Firefly 7S camera on my much modified Bayangtoys X21. (There's no way I'm going to shell out hundreds of pounds for a Mavic Pro!( I also added a motorised gimbal.

Firefly Q6 also has great quality 1080 video. It's smaller and lighter than a 7s. Similar size to a Mobius. Cheaper still.  Matecam X1  and GitUp Git2 are also excellent. There's aerial video from them on my channel too.

I tested all of these cameras are on my YouTube channel, plus there's a lot more aerial video too.

Costs? x21 probably £130 nowadays. 2 gps. Good position hold. RTH . failsafe etc. Firefly 7s will also do FPV. £60 And gimbal was £30 (though I ended up paying duty on it face 8

Here's one of my aerial vids.

Edited By Bonzo Moon on 28/11/2018 11:03:13

Edited By Bonzo Moon on 28/11/2018 11:19:02

Bonzo Moon28/11/2018 11:23:56
15 forum posts

I know in the past my other personal flying videos have gone down well on here, here's one from late summer. (I have a motor now!) This time the SJCam SJ7 Star action camera. I was hand holding the camera, so a bit shakey at times! 3,000 feet asl. Great views. smiley

Peter Miller28/11/2018 11:41:41
9906 forum posts
1160 photos
10 articles

I have been using cameras mounted on models since the 70s. The first was a clockwork drive Robot Star, Pin sharp results.

Mount the camera on a bed of foam rubber held so it can flop about. Use a shuuter speed of over 1/500 sec. Most modern digital cameras will have much faster shutter speeds. Use ISO 400 setting, I used to use Ilford HP3.

My Canon compact takes great shots.

The digital camera needs contrast for the autofocus to work. Very even colour fields is not helpful

Always shut down to tick over before triggering the camera. With film cameras there was no autofocus.

I got great results with the first Canon Sureshot autofocus film camera. I used that to get good shots of Flag Fen when I few for Blue Peter back in about 1982

Martyn K28/11/2018 11:42:52
4836 forum posts
3517 photos

If this video was taken in September 2018 then at 3000ft above take off height then that flight  was illegal.. IMHO that is reckless and you are jeopardising all the hard work that the BMFA has carried out to gain us the height restriction exemptions..


Edited By Martyn K on 28/11/2018 11:43:54

Bonzo Moon28/11/2018 11:58:12
15 forum posts
Posted by Martyn K on 28/11/2018 11:42:52:

If this video was taken in September 2018 then at 3000ft above take off height then that flight was illegal.. IMHO that is reckless and you are jeopardising all the hard work that the BMFA has carried out to gain us the height restriction exemptions..


Edited By Martyn K on 28/11/2018 11:43:54


As I was flying a paramotor and not a drone or rc model, it was not illegal! wink


My post does say 'I was hand holding the camera' too. I thought pretty clear that it wasn't a model flight. I do know the drone code and CAA regs and I'm pilot rated as a paraglider pilot so amongst other things have studied air law wink I was flying VFR and there is no restricted airspace at that location.


Had it have been a drone flight it would have indeed been very stupid and reckless!


Edited By Bonzo Moon on 28/11/2018 12:01:22

Edited By Bonzo Moon on 28/11/2018 12:02:05

Edited By Bonzo Moon on 28/11/2018 12:05:23

Edited By Bonzo Moon on 28/11/2018 12:21:51

Martyn K28/11/2018 13:05:10
4836 forum posts
3517 photos

Apologies BM. That wasn't clear to me..

Bonzo Moon28/11/2018 21:06:33
15 forum posts
Posted by Martyn K on 28/11/2018 13:05:10:

Apologies BM. That wasn't clear to me..

No worries Martyn, it really annoys me too angrywhen I see people obviously disregarding CAA regs and drone code regs on Facebook groups. It just takes a few idiots to ruin things for everyone.

Tom Sharp 228/11/2018 21:48:42
3382 forum posts
17 photos

I noticed he said hand held camera, I thought he is up there or he's got very long arms.

Martyn K29/11/2018 16:57:03
4836 forum posts
3517 photos

I thought is was a hand held camera mounted on a model - laugh.

Rather than a dashcam or whatever people use nowadays

So easy to get things wrong.. blush


Allan Bennett29/12/2018 19:52:27
1518 forum posts
38 photos

If you're referring to my setup, yes it was a hand held camera (Canon Ixus) lashed onto my drone.

Anyway, I've made progress now, I hope: Santa brought me a Runcam Split 2s, and I found a camera-mounting board off an old quad, with soft rubber isolators, so I've installed that on my present quad and stuck the lens of the Runcam onto that with 3m foamy tape. I'm now waiting for good flying weather to test it out.

Thanks for all the contributions.

Allan Bennett07/01/2019 20:25:02
1518 forum posts
38 photos


My attempt at a proper flight a week ago was thwarted by a disconnected GPS lead which caused my flight controller to refuse to arm. Re-soldered it today, and did a very short flight in the back garden, and am very happy with the result; nice sharp images, with no vibration evident.

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