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Choosing a compact P&S camera

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by GearLoose, May 31, 2013.

  1. GearLoose

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    First of all, I'm not a member of the GoPro fan club. It is undoubtedly a great camera but I'd like to find an alternative that doesn't require a lot of post-processing to remove the wide-angle distortion. I don't need wifi but I do want good quality still photos and hopefully, time lapse.

    The Sony RX100 looks really good -- but at around $600 it is well beyond my budget.

    There are other good cameras besides the Sony in the "compact" class. Where I really need help is identifying one that won't break the bank yet fits at least most of the requirements for a suitable Phantom cam. I'm unclear, for example, on which features are most important when used with a Phantom -- video fps, stabilization, etc. etc.

    DPpreview has a good "roundup" of compact cameras here: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/236773 ... ct-cameras

    Can you help me identify the best candidates?
     
  2. auck

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    considering the phantom is classified as a "toy" and not exactly meant for any "professional" usage, the primary concern then would be finding a camera that is light enough so that it can be lifted by the phantom. sure you can fit a DSLR camera to it and fly (as shown by some one on youtube) but that would kill your flight time. the following would be my list:

    1 - weight
    2 - durability
    3 - picture quality (based on what you will be primarily using the camera for - picture or video)
    4 - price

    btw, the gopro3 black edition does excellent still photos without post processing (no fish eye at all). time lapse is great (uses still photo process to capture images, so no fish eye effect), and if you use their free software, you can actually import the photos and make a movie with very little effort (import, convert, & watch).
     
  3. jumanoc

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  4. tvpopta

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    I agree on the gopro part, to the extend that with the gopro 3 they've tried to remove some of the distortion themselves, resulting in a complex distortion that's near impossible to eliminate in PP. DXO optics pro is one heck of a program to deal with any distortion, and also very capable of getting your perspective lines straight (architecture photography). But the photographic quality of the gopro isn't quite on par with a 'real' compact camera. A lot of smearing is going on, probably overly aggressive noise reduction, resulting in somewhat 'water-paint' like images. That said, for some internet fun it's perfectly capable (see example below). The video is awesome though, and fish-eye distortion can be dealt with using the optical correction filter in adobe after effects quite well. But its all a personal taste of course ;)

    The phantom can lift the panasonic lumix lx cameras. I like those a lot myself. It's important to have it at CG though, phantom will oscillate if it isn't. But the time-lapse on the latest lx goes no faster than 1 frame per minute; keeping the shutter pressed will not have have it take pictures continuously; it will only take one and stop. That practically eliminates it as a decent option. Couldn't tell if this camera works with fpv. If you can setup your shot just right, and flip to atti mode just before the shot is taken (to eliminate the gps correction movements), you might be able to get away with it.

    The RX100 will undoubtedly produce better video quality because of its much larger sensor.
    But you won't be able to mount a compact on a gimbal that can handle that camera that size; it will all get way to heavy.

    Personally, I'd look for a camera with good time-lapse options, being able to shoot at least 1 frame every 10 seconds; have it with a nice 25mm wide angle or so and preferably a pretty fast lens, like f2.8 or faster.
     

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  5. GearLoose

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    As you suggest, if a gimbal is a "must have" for really smooth video that is going to eliminate a lot of compact cameras.

    What about Canon compacts? Such as the S series (95/100/110). I believe they can be hacked to use an intervalometer.
     
  6. tvpopta

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    Well, it is possible to get smooth shots using a camera without gimbal; you're just not as flexible as you would be with a gimbal.

    I own the micnova mq-tc3 cable release timer; it's 90 grams according to 'the internet', and the mq series are available for pretty much every camera that provides a cable release port (darned panasonic LX cameras don't :| ). It's slightly bulky but does a great job. Couldn't tell what cameras provide a cable release port but I'm sure it shouldn't be too difficult too find out (http://www.dpreview.com is a great site for photography).
     
  7. Gizmo3000

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    Some guys have taken up higher quality P&S camera's to get good stills. . but I found being able to shoot with a GoPro on a gimbal connected via FPV is really awesome.
    I'm able to fly up, hide behind a bush, and line up the shot perfectly. - and shoot video at the same time.
     
  8. GearLoose

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    Gizmo... that is definitely food for thought, as I know I'll want FPV once I master flying this thing. Also, I'm growing more concerned about total weight with a camera, FPV, gimbal and whatever other add-on you guys tempt me to use!

    I'm currently using a Drift HD 170 action camera (stabilized, so to speak, with rubber bands). The weight, plus the GoPro mount, is 186 grams. I'm consistently getting flights of about 7.5 minutes, so I imagine that the addition of a gimbal (the Arris is said to be 150g) and FPV is going to knock those times down by quite a bit.

    The argument for a GoPro becomes more persuasive. Or should I be arguing for a larger UAV? ;)

    By the way... how clear is your FPView via the GoPro? Can you easily see and avoid tree branches?
     
  9. howardmaryon

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    Hi again gearloose, lots of good sense in this thread, to add my two penn'orth, (two old pennies worth) I managed to lift a Sony HV20 compact under the Phantom this morning, but the jello was bad. The extra weight in gps mode was too much and I got oscillation. This can be fixed by adjusting gains and perhaps upgrading the motors (Foxtech fpv in China have upgrade motors for the Phantom) and by the time I add a gimbal I may as well have sold the Phantom and bought a bigger 'copter, but hey-ho, its a hobby not a business. I also dislike the gopro fisheye effect, it is not necessary and just makes it look as if you are higher than you really are. Any light compact with a wide angle equivalent of 28 or 24 mm on 35mm is fine, you get nice definition from edge to edge and buildings dont look like inflated balloons. and you could buy two of them for less than the cost of the gopro. I used to love Panasonics above all other compacts, but I think Sony and others have caught up with them now. The quality of the video I got from the Sony this morning was so good (apart from the jello) that I am now seriously thinking of ditching the gopro. Good luck!
     
  10. GearLoose

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    This is turning into a classic "shoes or boots?" situation!

    I'm now pondering the idea of a GoPro 2 (lower initial cost), perhaps with an after-market lens to reduce fisheye. I'm also coming to the conclusion that the Phantom just doesn't have the power that is needed to lift the type of camera I really want. In other words, I need a more powerful quad.

    But, before I make any rash moves I will continue with the Phantom, looking for a more "middle path" solution. Which is how I came back to the idea of a GoPro 2. Not too expensive, quite light, lots of mount options, etc.

    I think the Phantom's greatest limitation with camera/gimbal/FPV is it greatly limited flight time. Every morning I brew a cup of very strong tea for exactly 4 minutes. That time goes by very quickly. If my Phantom's flight time is reduced to less than 6 minutes... or even as low as 4 minutes... that just isn't enough time in the air.
     
  11. CameraGuy

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    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/9 ... black.html


    This camera will have 5 axis stabilized video recording, so in theory, it should be good for Aerial work. I don't know what the weight will be, and of course, you will need a mount of some sort, but a friend of mine who flies larger birds has one on order.

    One of the other issues.... It was suppose to be shipped in March, and keeps slipping. Now it's over a month away.

    Hope this helps, but I am impressed with what the GoPro 3 Black can do. I just received a new polarizing filter to use, which will improve the image, and there is some impressive software from ProDad that also adds some to the image quality.

    At the end of the day, serious work will require something larger, and if you are American, the opportunity to earn $$ in this field are tightening. Keeping it light, small, portable and flexible is better. Those of us in the rest of the world, well, I suspect there will be lots of larger birds with bigger payloads available on line when the US department of Home Land security gets it's rules passed.

    D
     
  12. GearLoose

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    Other than the weight, which is 269 grams, the Olympus looks good -- but probably not for my use on the Phantom.

    I am leaning more and more toward a GoPro, mainly because of the weight issue. Gimbal + camera + fpv equals a rather short flight, even with the GoPro. Today I removed my Drift HD 170 camera for some practice flights -- instead of flights of 6.5-7.5 minutes with the 186 gram Drift, I am getting over 10 minutes with the naked Phantom.
     
  13. Racklefratz

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    I think that sums it up. I'm not nearly as informed as some of the photo-savvy posters in this thread, but one thing stands out, and that is, the Phantom does what it's designed to do pretty well, but it's simply not designed to do the heavy lifting (pun intended) of serious aerial photography. Probably best to just enjoy it for what it is, and use something more capable for bigger projects.