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Suggestions for camera system please?

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Allan Bennett10/10/2018 20:46:32
1386 forum posts
37 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
3147 forum posts
17 photos

Have a look at the Bang-good website.

Piers Bowlan11/10/2018 03:41:20
1435 forum posts
41 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
1386 forum posts
37 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
9378 forum posts
1088 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
2431 forum posts
630 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
204 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
683 forum posts
394 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
1386 forum posts
37 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.

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