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Cheap Point and Shoot Still Photo Options

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by PoolGuy, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. PoolGuy

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    I intend to use a phantom to help measure swimming pools for replacement liners. The thinking is--if you are far enough away and zoomed in, you should be able to eliminate lens curvature and allow for a mostly flat perspective. This perspective should allow me to extract the dimensions in AutoCad by tracing the photo. tolerance would be +/- 1/4" over 20' or so.

    What I think I want to do is attach a cheap point and shoot camera with a good enough optical zoom. So here are my questions:

    1) Is the camera on the fc40 good enough to do what I need to do?
    2) If we ended up with a point and shoot how could we get the camera to shoot when it is 100+ feet in the air. (time lapse? long timer?)
    3) is there a specific camera any has used successfully?

    I feel that the wide angle on the gopro and the fc40 will distort the image too much to make it useful. Also, the expense of the point and shoot would be much less than a gopro.

    I'm trying to keep the camera cost below $150.
     
  2. Fair Game

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    I am not sure what you want exists. Even expesive NIkon and Canon DSLR lenses have to be corrected for distortion in Photoshop. I doubt that what adobe have mapped meets this tollereance - 1/4" in 20ft which, if my math is correct, is a 1:960 error margin.
     
  3. Ozzyguy

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    Location:
    Townsville,Australia.
    I have tried to fly a cheap point and shoot and nearly crashed as it seemed to heavy. It makes it hard to get the results you are after. However I have seen a vid of a phantom lifting a digital SLR with a nifty fifty attached. Make sure your camera is as light as possible. I used a modified go pro to tripod screw attachment to fly that particular camera.
     
  4. hughsnews

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    Hi-
    I am an archaeologist who is after taking aerial photos of sites. I also needed to send up a point and shoot camera to do this as fisheye just won't work for us. Although I haven't used it on sites, I have successfully sent up my Phantom 2 with a p&s camera.

    The camera I use is the Canon S110(you can alternatively use the s100 or s120 which are the older/newer versions)- I have used this camera for kite photography before so it just made sense to keep using it. It is a 12.1mp camera which takes photos that I really like. The camera weighs around 200 grams with batteries etc. In order to have it take photos, I have used CDHK intervalometer. Basically, there is a community of programmers/photographers, who have come up with a way to boot Canon(and only Canon) cameras with custom scripts. The intervalometer can be set to take photos ever x seconds until you stop it/the battery runs out or the memory card fills up. If the S110 is too pricey, look for older second hand cameras- just make sure there is a CDHK mod for it. You don't have to be smart to do the CDHK, their website describes everything and has a list of all the Canon cameras that will work.

    All you do is send the camera up, hover it over the area you want to take a photo of and then let it take a few photos and ultimately one should be clean and crisp. I am just in the process of pairing it up with FPV so I can frame the photos, but for some reason I can't get my s110 to get its video out working with my gopro3 cord(which is a micro usb as well).

    Anyways for mounting it, what I did is using perspex I created a custom mount to hold the camera. I was planning on uploading a post about it with photos in the next few days. I am not a good toolsy person, so it took me a few hours, but ultimately you can make a relatively light, custom camera housing for it for well under 50$. I used a few of the shock absorbers from the H3-2D Gimble to help stablise it. I also saw somewhere that DJI now has a stable mount for gopros to attach to phantom 2s now. You could easily mod that to fit any kind of camera.

    But if you'd like, tomorrow I can upload my post on my custom mount and show you the photos I took to give you a few ideas. If you'd like that, let me know. You can always PM me too if you need any advice.
     
  5. syotr

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    You can go to imaging-resource.com and see sample images of test charts from many different cameras. The cheap point and shoot models don't have the best lenses and often display barrel distortion at one extreme and pin cushion distortion at the opposite extreme of their zoom range. Shooting somewhere in the middle of the range may get the best results.
    As mentioned above, the CHDK hack for Canon cameras will give you the intervalometer functions for many models. Many of the newer models, especially the cheap ones, have not been hacked. You may have to pick up a used one.
    Another trick to shoot multiple photos without remote control or an intervalometer, is to set the camera in continuous shooting mode and hold the shutter button down with tape or a rubber band. As the buffer fills up, the speed of shooting will slow down but that should not matter for your purposes. You will get lots of unintended photos and hopefully some you can use.
    You may have to skew the images in Photoshop to correct for any camera tilt or rotation.
     
  6. Fair Game

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    I still believe it to be ambitious to expect a low cost camera/lens to take a picture where 2D/3D dimensions are later measured to an acuracey of 1/4" inch in a 20 foot length.

    Or am I misunderstanding the task?
     
  7. ARThompson

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    hughsnews, I was interested to see your posting. I am an amateur archaeologist based in Inverness, Scotland, and I've independently come to much the same conclusions. I rejected the GoPro (too wide angle), and have bought a small Canon camera A2400IS (126gm incl battery), and also used CHDK to set up the intervalometer.

    I got my Phantom 2 last week, and have just been making a suitable custom mounting for it. Not flown yet, it's likely to be windy and wet for a few days, but I'll test it soon.

    ALAN
     
  8. hughsnews

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    Hey guys, I have added my custom mount to the board and shown what it can do.
    viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7484

    Alan, I would love to know what the quality of the A2400IS is like and would love to see your mount. Either go to my post or send me a pm
     
  9. PoolGuy

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    Thanks for all the help guys. Phantom just arrived 2 minutes ago. I'll look forward to seeing your post Hughsnews. I'll keep you posted.
     
  10. hughsnews

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    If you look at the post above- it has a link to the post. But already one or two folks have uploaded better rigs than mine!