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Feb 28, 2010, 10:30 PM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
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High(est) quality still cam?


Forgive me if this has been beaten to death...
I read the beginners guide to AP (which is a little dated) and I did a few searches for best camera and stuff like that but didnt get a concrete answer.

I currently fly a Zephyr flying wing set up for FPV. 2.4g video link, KPC-640CHQ camera, OSD, pan/tilt, diversity, etc. Ive got lots of experience flying all sorts of video cameras up in all sorts of airplanes but Ive never taken up a still camera (with exception of the gopro hero).

I run a small photography business specializing in job site/construction site, and architectural photography and I'd like to start offering AP shots to clients. So before I jump in head first and make a mistake, Id like to know what the highest quality camera is thats currently being used for AP. My only real prerequesites are that it must shoot in RAW. I dont need a video option at all. Thats it and thanks in advance...
Matt
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Feb 28, 2010, 10:46 PM
Frogman
The Canon A640 is a 10mp Point and Shoot and a favorite by many here. It has about the biggest sensor you can get in a point and shoot and has full manual control. It doesn't shoot RAW natively but there is a firmware hack that lots use called chdk. http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK. Lots use it as it allows you to run scripts on the camera and other cool stuff including shooting in RAW. It is harmless and won't damage the camera as it runs right off the SD card and never touches the built in firmware. The cams are no longer in production but a few can be had on ebay and other used places.

Another cam lots like for high quality stills is the Lumix LX3 (I think that's the model). Not sure if it shoots in raw or not but it is also a cam with a larger sensor like the A640.

Both of these cams are on the heavier side of the point and shoot cams so depending on how big your flying wing is you may not be able to get it in the air.

Otherwise the best route for RAW is an entry level DSLR with a WA lightweight lens. The weight gets up there around 25oz though so that rules it out for most people.

Some others may jump in with other recommendations. The biggest thing you want to look for to get the best images is the sensor size. Most point and shoot cams have a sensor of something like 1/2.4. The smaller those last 2 numbers the bigger the sensor and more detail you will get in your images. I think the A640 is 1/1.8.
Feb 28, 2010, 11:00 PM
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Great starting info. thanks Frogman


I dont think Im going to use my wing as the platform. Its a dedicated FPV plane. Im thinking about a highwing plane with gear for operation out of parking lots if I need to.
Considering the 63" Seniorita from Nitroplanes. Shipped to my door is 104 bucks...tempting
http://www.nitroplanes.com/90a268.html
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Feb 28, 2010, 11:49 PM
They call me Maj. Sink!
stoked6.0's Avatar
The Panasonic LX3 does shoot in raw. It's a great cam and produces beautiful pics. Havn't run video with it yet, but that's what the gopro I have coming is for. The sensor is 1/1.63, Haven't had it long, but so far I like it a lot and it's putting out very nice pics. and has landed me a few jobs!
Mar 01, 2010, 12:37 AM
Inciting Riots
village_idiot's Avatar
What's wrong with a $30,000 4X megapixel back on a medium format camera? I did see a what's the BEST in there. They may even be up above 50mp by now.
Mar 01, 2010, 01:22 AM
Its all fun
Tonystott's Avatar
I could see that coming! How about you qualify your definition of "Highest quality"? Weight?
Cost?
Focal length?

Obviously any of the digital cameras used by the newspapers will come reasonably close to that description, but they will cost well over $10k.

Being practical, I can recommend a Canon A640 . Don't bother with the A650 as it has IS which is of no benefit for AP. Canon's G10 is another great AP camera.

A couple more good options are Olympus Pen E-P1 and Panasonic Lumix GF1. Thes are micro four thirds cameras with interchangeable lenses and bigger sensors that point & shoots, and are priced between P&S and DSLR cameras
Mar 01, 2010, 05:17 AM
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The seniorita is a great flying airplane. So is the telemaster.
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/telemaster6_6879_prd1.htm
Mar 01, 2010, 07:45 AM
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DENHAMDULAKE's Avatar
Try looking at a Panasonic Lumix GF1. DSLR sensor size, changeable lenses adn very compact lightweight body and shoots raw as well as HD video.
Mar 01, 2010, 07:46 AM
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DENHAMDULAKE's Avatar
Ah sorry Tony Stott, just seen that you have already mentioned
Mar 01, 2010, 07:47 AM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Thanks Gentlemen!
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Mar 01, 2010, 09:35 AM
Inciting Riots
village_idiot's Avatar
I would look for something that has a remote socket to interface with a servo "switch", there are a few companies building switches like this for popular point and shoot cameras that would probably work well. And pretty much any p/s above $125 takes really good pictures now, especially if you get one that saves TIFF or RAW. If you have the weight a Rebel or comparable Nikon or Sony would be a good choice, but you are talking a lot more weight compared to a p/s.
Mar 01, 2010, 06:27 PM
Its all fun
Tonystott's Avatar
I love my Olympus SP-350s. These are 8MP, and do RAW. As these are no longer produced, you can pick 'em up on eBay for under $130
Mar 01, 2010, 08:00 PM
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I think Im going to invest in an ORB. I have a spare Canon Rebel XTi with the kit lens lying around. If I dont go with one of the PAS cameras you guys mentioned, I may do the Rebel. On the flip side...thats alot of cash to haul up I better check everything twice before launch LOL
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Mar 01, 2010, 08:25 PM
Frogman
You will probably have to check the CG pretty close on the ORB with a Rebel. Don't think it was designed for that heavy of a cam. I have Power's actual Heptad from his Heptad thread and if I get in the mood to fly my Rebel on there I have to do a small mod to move the wing forward and inch or two to get the CG right. It's pretty simple and there is definitely enough lift there to do it. Just haven't wanted to put that much money in air yet. Of course I couldn't get as much for my old 8.3 RebelXT as I paid for the A640 or the GoProHD recently so maybe it's worth a shot. :-)
Mar 01, 2010, 10:44 PM
They call me Maj. Sink!
stoked6.0's Avatar
If you're gonna go the slr route, go with the super solution. That's what it was designed for, but you can haul lighter loads too with no problem. That's what I got because I didn't know what equipment I would be using and so far so good.


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