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Old Jul 31, 2003, 02:27 AM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
Comparison of light digital cams for aerial photog

There are more and more digital 1.3+ megapixel cameras suitable for aerial photography that weigh less than 5 ounces. Here’s an attempt at compiling general info on each of these cameras, gleaned mostly from this forum but also from reviewer/mfg web sites.

If you own one of these cams, please chime in and I’ll keep editing this post as necessary to make it as useful and correct as possible.


============CMOS Imagers ============

popularAiptek SD 1.3
Price: $69 retail but some Walmarts sell for $29
Weight: 52g without battery
Lens: Fixed
Imager: CMOS 1.3 mp
Battery: 2xAAA
Memory: 8mb internal. Takes SD cards
Video: 6-8 fps at 640x480 or 8-10 fps at 320x240
Adaptable to electronic switch: YES
dimensions: 3.9" x 1.7" x 1.4"
image capacity1280x1024 - up to 10 pictures with built-in 8 MB memory. 640x480 - up to 40 pictures with built-in 8 MB memory
200-300 with a 128 MB SD disk.

Comments: One of the most commonly used cameras for AP. Quality is pretty good. Outstanding, occasionally.
Recycle time (time between shots):
approximately 0.5 seconds.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
popularMustek GSmart Mini 3
Price: $40-$70 depending on source
Weight: 40g incl. battery
Lens: Fixed, F2.8. Shutter speed 1/15 -- 1/4000s.
Imager: CMOS 2 mp
Battery: internal LiPoly
Memory: 16mb internal. Does not take external memory cards
Video: 320x240 at 15fps
Adaptable to electronic switch: YES
Comments: One of the most commonly used cameras for AP.
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NEW Concord Eye-Q 3042 AF
Price : $99
Weight: 4.07oz without battery/card
Lens: Fixed. f/2.8-f5.6 (48mm equiv)
Imager: CMOS 3.1 mp
Battery: 2xAA
Memory: 7mb internal. Takes SD cards
Video: 320x240 15fps
Adaptable to electronic switch: unknown
Comments: new camera on the block, Kinnic^2 may be testing this one out. At that price could be a good camera, but a tad on the heavy side if you have to add batteries and servo. Maybe someone can rig an elec switch for it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NEW Aiptek Pocketcam X
Price : $130 retail. Available at Circuit City.
Weight: 3.2oz without battery/card
Lens: fixed
Imager: CMOS 2 mp (1600x1200)
Battery: 2xAAA
Memory: 16mb interna. Takes SD cards.
Video: 320x240 up to 20fps with sound
Special features: white balance adjustment
Adaptable to electronic switch: unknown
Comments: new camera on the block. A little pricey compared to the 1.3mp Aiptek SD, but maybe it has a better lens and focusing setup. Awaiting someone getting this in their hands for a review.

==========CCD Imagers ==============

NEW Canon SD10
Weight: 3.5oz without battery
Lens: AF, fixed, F2.8
Imager: CCD 4.1 mp
Price: $349 retail (street?)
Battery: Lithium Ion NB-3L
Memory: 32mb SD card included
Video: 15fps up to 3 min
Adaptable to electronic switch: unknown (for now)
links: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0309/03091201canonsd10.asp
http://www.powershot.com/powershot2/sd10/index.html
Comments: This camera does not allow you to set focus to infinity manually, nor can you manually control the shutter speed.
One user has noted the cam seems to prefer high F stop shots, and the resulting slow shutter speed blurs pics. Bummer.

----------------------------------------------------------
NEW Pentax Optio-S4
Weight: with 128mb SD card and internal battery: ~ 4.1 oz (115g)
Lens: optical zoom, 35mm - 105mm (35mm equivalents)
Imager: 4.2mp CCD
Price: $399 (will ship in late Oct. 2003)
Battery: internal Li ion
Memory: 11mb built in, comes with 16mg SD card
Video: 15 fps
Adaptable to electronic switch YES
member MX makes the PRISM IR switch:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215412
http://www.hexpertsystems.com/prism
Comments: This is the upgrade to the Optio S3. Another 4mp cam barely over 4 ounces. Wow.
Some users and internet reviews have mentioned some mild softness near the edges, as you would expect with a zoom lens.
Links:
S4 HACK thread to see about trigger via the Rx:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...03#post1461803
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0309/03090303pentaxs4.asp

--------------------------------------------------------
Pentax Optio-S3
Weight: with 128mb SD card and internal battery: ~ 4.1 oz
Lens: optical zoom, wide angle position is 35mm (in 35mm cam equivalent)
Imager: 3.2mp CCD
Price: ~ $400
Battery: internal Li
Memory: 11mb built in, accepts SD/MMC cards
Video: 30s of video with sound (12 fps)
Adaptable to electronic switch: YES
Member MX makes the PRISM IR switch:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215412
http://www.hexpertsystems.com/prism
Comments: “So small it fits into a tin of Altoids”. Gotta love it. One reviewer gave the Casio EX Z3 an edge in photo quality over the Pentax, but the sample shots look great to me. Internal memory only allows for 3 pictures at the highest quality setting, so you’ll need to buy a memory card.
Member BAR-STOOL won the "Sky" photo contest using this camera.
Member experience/Links:
Yb2Normal's experience with the camera: http://www.yb2normal.com/soarstarap.html
Other links:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hreadid=140783
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hreadid=137182
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0301/03...ntaxoptios.asp
http://www.epinions.com/Pentax_Optio_S_Digital_Cameras
http://www.yb2normal.com/soarstarap.html
photo: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/imag...tax_optios.gif

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sony DSC-U30 (replaces the DSC U20)
Weight: 4.3 oz with battery and memory card
Lens: fixed focus, 33mm (in 35mm equivalent)
Imager: 2mp CCD
Price: ~ $199
Battery: #2 AAA NiMH
Memory: 8mb Sony Memory Stick included
Video: 15s clips
Adaptable to electronic shutter switch: YES. Check this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hreadid=128576
Shutter: Lag between shots is ~ 2s.
Comments: Mr. RC-CAM uses this one, so it must be pretty good!
Links:
Full review: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_.../sony_u30.html
RC Cam’s review: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...6&highlight=U0
RC Cam’s photo shoot: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hreadid=137248
Btrod's link to pictures: http://rcgallery.net/showgallery.php?ppuser=15686

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Casio Exilim EX S3

update: See this thread about a possible design flaw in the camera causing a "halo" vignetting effect quite noticeable in some shots:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...0&pagenumber=2

Weight: ~3.1oz
Lens: fixed, 35mm (in 35mm equivalents)
Imager: 3.2mp CCD
Price: ~ $280
Battery: internal Li
Memory: 10mb flash built in, accepts SD/MMC cards
Video: 30s with audio
Adaptable to electronic shutter switch: YES. Extremeone uses the Michele Schiepatti switch. Here’s the link to the mod: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ghlight=Exilim
Shutter: Lag between shots is very short (0.01s !!) ¼ to 1/8000 shutter speed
Comments: Steve’s Digicams does mention it doesn’t have the sharpest lens in the world, but for it’s tiny size it does a great job.
Links: check out Extemeone’s www.silentwings.org site for pics taken from the EX S3


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minolta Dimage XT
Weight: ~4.2oz without battery or memory
Lens: 3x optical zoom. Does not extend when zoomed, internal mechanism. 37mm in wide angle position (in 35mm equivalent)
Imager: 3.2mp CCD
Price: ~ $350
Battery: internal Li
Memory: SD/MMD
Video: 15 fps, length limited only by available memory
Adaptable to electronic shutter switch: unknown
Shutter: 1/1000s to 4s
Comments: Some claim photos with this cam are sharper compared to the others listed here. Some have mentioned you get some vignetting with this cam, but the same may be true of the others as well, utilizing these tiny lenses. Smaller than the Dimage Xi by 5% (size) and 8% (weight).
Anyone using this one for AP? (Ezoner Danny Troy is working on it)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NEW Vivitar 3715
Price: $180
Weight: 4.3oz without batteries and SD card
Lens: Fixed focus lens with macro and infinity settings
Imager: 3.3 Megapixel
Battery:
Memory: 8 MB internal memory. Uses SD cards
Video: Movie-clip recording capability (without audio). Video output to TV (NTSC or PAL). • JPEG, AVI (Motion JPEG) file formats
Adaptable to electronic shutter switch
Shutter
misc Integral four-mode flash with red-eye reduction. 1.5 inch color LCD display
Comments The price is sure right. On the heavy side. No reviews from AP'ers yet.
Links http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/prod629.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Last edited by Steve Nolan (eBird); Jun 14, 2004 at 12:59 AM.
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Old Aug 23, 2003, 11:04 AM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
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I'm gonna sticky this for a little while since interest in these cams is increasing.

This would be a good place to upload pics of your CCD cam mount, triggering mechanism, sample shots, etc. As well as a critique of the cam if you own one.

I will incorporate new comments/specs on any cam by editing my first post whenever necessary.

Let's please try to keep the thread relatively "clean" by keeping posts directly on topic.
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Old Aug 31, 2003, 10:33 PM
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rtideas's Avatar
wyoming, mi usa
Joined Dec 2000
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Here's a size comparison of some cameras out there. Prices are roughly the lowest using PriceGrabber. YRMV (your results may vary.)

rt
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Old Sep 07, 2003, 02:11 AM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
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I've updated the comparison to include the vignetting "halo" effect that was discovered about the Casio S3.
If a fix is found I'll update with that, too.
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Old Sep 12, 2003, 02:44 PM
29 rods from you in western WI
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Canon SD10: "Continuous High: 1.6 fps, up to 8 frames" - that's a good burst mode, unless it comes at the cost of a long delay after the burst.
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Old Sep 14, 2003, 09:06 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
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Joined Jul 2002
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I've added the Pentax Optio S4 and the Canon SD10 to the comparison...
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Old Sep 27, 2003, 03:27 PM
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I was at Walmart today and I saw two 3MP+ cameras for less than $160. The HP Photosmart 435 ($148) and the Vivitar 3715 ($158). I believe they are both CCD. Thh HP is 4.7oz without batteries. The V3715 is 4.3oz.

Are these decent?

EDIT


HP PhotoSmart 435

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en...34-213535.html

--------------
resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels
bit depth: 30 bit
lens system: f4.0 and f8.0, plastic, fixed
focal range: 0.85 m to infinity (33.5 inch to infinity)
picture mode: Standard, action, black and white
viewfinder: Optical range viewfinder
imaging technology: White Balance, ISO, Flash, EV Compensation, Picture modes
memory card compatibility: accepts SD/MMC memory cards)
exposure rating ISO: Auto (default), 100, 200, 400
exposure control: Auto Exposure (AE); White Balanced: Auto (default), Sun, Shade, Tungsten, Flourescent; EV Compensation: Auto (default), EV -2.0 to +2.0 in steps of 1/2 EV; ISO: Auto (default), 100, 200, 400
shutter speed: 10 sec to 1/1000 sec
zoom capability: 5x digital zoom, continuous
flash: Auto, forced On/Off, red-eye reduction, night
focus: Fixed focus
shooting mode: Single shot, self timer, video clips
LCD display: 1.5-inch LCD image display for preview and review
interface: USB (compatible with USB 2.0 specifications), USB Mini A/B
dimensions: (w x d x h) 4.59 x 2.25 x 1.54 in
weight: 0.29 lb (without 2 AA batteries), 0.4 lb (with 2 AA batteries)
-----------

Comments:

Sucks AA batteries. I don't think you could get away with powering with the flight pack.

Big and bulky.

Haven't figured out how to take fast shots yet.

Works with digital switch.
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Old Oct 05, 2003, 12:41 PM
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jbc455's Avatar
San Jose, California
Joined Jan 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by fdisk
I was at Walmart today and I saw two 3MP+ cameras for less than $160. The HP Photosmart 435 ($148) and the Vivitar 3715 ($158). I believe they are both CCD. Thh HP is 4.7oz without batteries. The V3715 is 4.3oz.

Are these decent?
They sound like decent cameras to me. The 3715 is on "price roll back" to $132.42. Can't be all bad.

John
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 11:10 AM
Random Flier
Oxford (UK) and Mtn View CA (USA)
Joined Nov 2002
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Back to On Topic...

Nikon 3700
- (W x H x D) 95.5 x 50.0 x 31.0mm (3.76 x 1.97 x 1.22 in)
- weighs 130g (4.6oz) without battery and SD memory card (so a bit marginal for AP).
- TV resolution (640 x 480 pixels) at 30fps
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Old Oct 30, 2003, 10:22 PM
Random Flier
Oxford (UK) and Mtn View CA (USA)
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This is a curious one. They claim .13 lb = ~ 2oz? Only 2Mp but it is CCD , and looks like the lens can swivel so the camera is flat along the fuselage in orientation... Panasonic SV-AS10S "D-snap"
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Old Nov 22, 2003, 09:10 AM
29 rods from you in western WI
Karl B²'s Avatar
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Walmart is advertising a one-time offer on the Concord Eye-Q 3042 AF for $99. This isn't a CCD, though it is a high megapixel, full featured digicam. Just over 4 oz, plus 2 AA batteries and SD card. Can't find any english reviews, so this is probably a new release in the US.

Anyone tried this camera yet? I'm going to look at it this weekend.

Karl



Sensor - 3.1 Megapixels (2048 x 1536), 1/2" CMOS sensor, 30 bit color depth output (aspect ratio is 4:3)
Image Resolution - 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768, 512 x 384
Lens - 9.0mm f/2.8 - f5.6 glass lens, 5 elements in 5 groups (equivalent to 48mm 35mm format)
Zoom - 4x Digital Zoom
Focusing Range - Auto focus from 1.25 m to infinity Macro from 20 cm approximately
Sensitivity - Equivalent to ISO 100 Silver Halide Film
Exposure - Auto exposure and auto white balance Preset White Balance: sunny, fluorescent, tungsten
Internal Memory - 7 MB Internal Non-Volatile Memory
Removable Storage - SD/MMC
LCD - 1.6" TFT LCD with white LED back lighting
Output File Format - JPEG compression with EXIF 2.2
Self-Timer - 10 second delay with blinking red LED
Flash Unit - Auto flash with 4 modes: Auto, Forced-On, Off, Red-Eye-Reduction
Power Source - 2x AA batteries, can use alkaline and rechargeable NiMH type
Battery Life - Up to 120 pictures (to be confirmed)
Power Management - Auto Power Off - LCD - 1 minute after inactivity (cannot be changed), Camera - 2 minutes or 3 minutes after inactivity (User selectable)
Connectivity - USB-miniB connector , TV out (NTSC/PAL)
System Compatibility Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP and Mac OS 9.0 and higher
System Requirements - PC: 133MHz Pentium® MMX™ Processor or faster, Mac: Macintosh Power PC-based, min 32MB RAM
Web Camera N/A
Video Clips - AVI format at QVGA (320 x 240) resolution with 15 fps (clip length limited by available memory)
Dimensions - 103.5 x 63.5 x 31.5 mm (4.07 x 2.5 x 1.24"), without protrusions
Weight - 115 g, 4.07 oz (without batteries and card)
PC Software - Arcsoft PhotoImpression 2000 for Windows only
Multi-Language Support - User selectable: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Simplified Chinese and Japanese
Drivers - Mass Storage
Certifications - CE, FCC, VCCI
Accessories - Multilingual User's Manual and Multilingual Quick Start Guide, CD-ROM including Multilingual User Manual in PDF format, USB-A/USB-miniB Cable, TV Cable, Wrist Strap, Pouch, 2x Alkaline AA Batteries
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Old Nov 22, 2003, 11:21 PM
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Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
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Cleaned up and renamed

Folks,

I've cleaned up this thread (a lot) by deleting straying posts and links to cameras over 5 ounces.

I've also renamed it to include CCD and CMOS cams.

With the Pocketcam X and the Concord Eye-Q cam out now (both CMOS) it seems this thread would better serve by including all light digitals.

We have to draw the line somewhere though, or this list will simply be too large and it's value will diminish.

Therefore, lets keep the cameras here under 5 ounces.
This is about the absolute max a S400 type plane can carry, and will keep the list reasonably small.

As more and more quality 3 ounce cameras come out, we'll weed out the 4 ouncers from the thread.

I need to add the Mustek, the Aiptek line, and a few others to the first post.
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Last edited by Steve Nolan (eBird); Nov 22, 2003 at 11:35 PM.
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Old Nov 23, 2003, 11:04 AM
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yb2normal's Avatar
Broomfield, CO, USA
Joined Jan 2001
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Re: Cleaned up and renamed

Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Nolan (eBird)
As more and more quality 3 ounce cameras come out, we'll weed out the 4 ouncers from the thread.
I have to disagree. Weeding out the 4 ouncers removes the Pentax Optio S which many people are successfully flying on small electric airplanes.

I agree that you have to draw the line, but leave it where you drew it

Best Regards,
Bill
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Old Nov 23, 2003, 11:31 AM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
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Re: Re: Cleaned up and renamed

Quote:
Originally posted by yb2normal
I have to disagree. Weeding out the 4 ouncers removes the Pentax Optio S which many people are successfully flying on small electric airplanes.

I agree that you have to draw the line, but leave it where you drew it

Best Regards,
Bill
I'm talking distant future here. For now, there are very few high quality cams in the 3 ounce range. When there are more of them, including probably a future version of the Optio, we can weed out the heavier ones.

At the present time, the Optio and the SD10 are two of the best high quality cams for AP and are central to this thread.
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 05:14 PM
Bit-Twiddler and Flyer
USA, VA, Chantilly
Joined Apr 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by isvana
This is a curious one. They claim .13 lb = ~ 2oz? Only 2Mp but it is CCD , and looks like the lens can swivel so the camera is flat along the fuselage in orientation... Panasonic SD-10 "D-snap"
I'm always concerned when the technical specs say "Camera Effective Pixels" as that usually means that the full 2Mpel resolution is only achieved through software interpolation. I couldn't find the actual sensor size but would guess that it would be more like 1.3Mpel. Still not bad since that would be the same resolution as the Aiptek Mini PenCam 1.3M and CCD to boot.

Could be a nice upgrade.

-- ggunners
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