Digital cameraes used for aerial photography - RC Groups
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Aug 02, 2001, 11:52 AM
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Digital cameraes used for aerial photography


What digital camera do you use for aerial photography ?

I like the idea of instant gratification, allthough I do not like the idea of flying additionel 4-500$ HW.

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Aug 03, 2001, 12:23 AM
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Philipp's Avatar
I don't have one, but Sams sells the Intel pocket PC digital camera for $89 with a $30 rebate - what a deal. It is 640 x 480 only, but comes with a USB cable.
Aug 03, 2001, 07:01 AM
Registered User
I've been wondering if this camera would be suitable: for a better photo of the camera

They also seem to be sold on e-bay quite frequently. I've not been able to find a weight, but the size is quite small.
Aug 06, 2001, 10:28 AM
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maciek's Avatar
So has anyone used one of these cameras?
Sep 15, 2001, 05:41 PM
Registered User
I read the review of the "Sunny Boy" plane on Ezone. The Intel Pocket PC camera used for the aerial shots in this article are pretty impressive for 640x480.

As soon as I figure out which plane would make the best platform, I am going to get one to try.
Sep 16, 2001, 02:26 AM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar
Originally posted by maciek
So has anyone used one of these cameras?

I'll let you know, I just ordered one.
Last edited by William A; Sep 16, 2001 at 02:30 AM.
Sep 16, 2001, 09:09 AM
Crash Master
Gene Bond's Avatar
We expect a full report! I tought about it, too, but you beat me to it!

I'm not sure I have an airframe big enough to cary it, so then I'd have to get that, then some bigger batteries, then a bigger truck to carry that, then a better looking wife for the passenger seat.....

Never ending spiral!

Let us know the weight....
Sep 16, 2001, 09:17 AM
Just an average RC'er
Jim McPherson's Avatar
I've got one of these cameras. They are very light weight and take good outside 640x480 pictures. They run on 2 AAA batteries so probably would work off of the BEC in your airplane. The only problem with them is that they will only stay on for about 30 seconds at a time before they shut down "to conserve battery life" . They only way to get around this problem seems to be to plug the USB connector in the side, this keeps the camera on. Hope this helps.
Sep 17, 2001, 10:46 AM
Registered User

excalent camera trick

use a cheapie analog autowind. have the roll processed as hi=res hard disk digital . the disc can then be loaded thru your hard drive. there lots of free print svcs after that. also, there is usually a print and store program on the disc.
analog fotos (regular film) are of better quality than the best $1000 digital camera fotos. a 36 roll costs me $15 to process (#12 for lo-res process).
Sep 17, 2001, 12:05 PM
Registered User
Any brand name , model # & price for the analog autowind? Found lots of manual wind disposables but no inexpensive autowinds.
Sep 17, 2001, 12:49 PM
aka: A.Roger Wilfong
gnofliwr's Avatar
WRT film based cameras. Most point and shoot 35mm are autowind and can be adapted to take aerial pics (one at a time or a series). I've used a Vivitar and a Ricoh in a model rocket.

The Vivitar required a mechanical setup to trip the shutter - I rigged a cheep motor/gear box to run at ~1 RPM which seemed about right for the film to get advanced and shot an entire roll during a flight (the "success" rate in getting an "interesting" picture from a model rocket is pretty low. Several years ago the was a fun event at NARAM to take an aerial picture of a target on the ground. The idea was that the winner would be the one with the target closest to the center of the frame. The winner was the only one to get a picture of the field period.). You could replace the motor/gear box with a servo and accomplish the same thing. The mechanism required a 4" diameter payload section.

The Ricoh had a jack on the side for remote shutter release - short the wires every time you want to take a pix. It also had a sequence mode - one frame per second as long as the shutter release was actuated. It would fit in a 3" diameter payload section.

The Vivitar was cheep and dirty - about $35 at K-Mart, Walmart, etc. I'm not sure of the actual model, but it was long enough ago that that model has been superceeded. If you check the camera department at any of the *.marts you'll find something similar. You'll have to work out the specifics of actuating the shutter button.

The Ricoh was about $100 and was discontinued long ago and I haven't seen any that have the same wired remote shutter or sequence mode features since - but I haven't been looking hard. You might find a used on in a camera or pawn shop, but it'd be sheer luck - there isn't a big market for used point and shoots, so they don't bring much and few are traded in.

One problem with both cameras was that they would shut themselves off after afew minutes (to save on battery) if you hadn't taken a pix. So you need to "arm" them just before flight.
Sep 18, 2001, 04:12 AM
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joemi's Avatar
I am thinking of getting a Wingo and trying to use a Intel Pocket PC cam, anyone have any experience doing this?
Sep 18, 2001, 04:43 PM
Registered User
Someone on an earlier thread told me about an auto-wind 35mm camera from Wal-Mart. It was the Kodak ES27 EV for ~$15.00.
I had seen them earlier. They are relatively small and light. I was in the same store this week and couldn't find them. Maybe you can. It figures, doesn't it?
Sep 20, 2001, 01:15 PM
Registered User
This is an area of intrest for me as well. I have been doing some research on using Digital cameras and Wireless video on RC Aircraft and have found some interesting projects being undertaken by people. This first link is about using your RC TX and a spare channel to auto release the shutter button! Very cool idea. I have seen many people use a mech servo to push down on the button, but I like the electronic idea better.

Here is a site that sells a controller board along with project details:

Sep 20, 2001, 05:12 PM
Registered User
I bought one of these cameras and agree with Kingjamez that the auto-power off feature is a problem. Thanks for the hint to plug in a usb connector. Anyone know a source to buy a usb plug?

Another odd feature is that there is a time lag (maybe one second?) between pressing the "shutter" button and when the camera records the image.

For what it's worth, I took the case apart and the actual electronic and optics board only weighs about an ounce (on my inacurate scale).

The shutter button looks to be a simple switch, though I haven't tested it yet. If it is, I intend to solder a couple of wires to the camera shutter button switch, and make a home-made switch that operates at the extreme throw of the rudder servo. The time lag may actually work to my advantage in this case.