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My solution to the RX100 photography problem

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by Peter Evans, May 18, 2014.

  1. Peter Evans

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    Warning:
    The actual process of capturing a shot may seem long-winded to a non-photographer, but to a dedicated photographer it's actually no more long-winded than capturing any other shot when you're doing the job properly. So this is not a solution for snapshotters or for people wanting photos just for web use because the GoPro will give you those.

    OK then, here's what I did (and at the end of this construction explanation are the ten steps I use to make it work)

    1. Mount for the RX100. I used a thin piece of plastic which was actually an unwanted divider from a tool box. I bored a hole in this to take a small, light tripod screw (sourced on eBay). I used two rubber tap washers to give the thickness required by the tripod screw. I then bored two small holes in two corners through which I threaded some sea fishing line (but anything will do that serves the purpose of making two small, strong loops). So here are images of the mount.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    2. Leg extensions for the Phantom. I made two sets of these from 4mm carbon-fibre tubing. One set is 16 cm long and one is 24 mm long. The 24mm ones are for the RX100 solution, I'll tell you about the 16mm ones at the end of this post. OK, the underside of the phantom has four recesses, at the bottom of which are four of the fixing screws that hold the two halves of the shell together. These recesses are 5-6mm in diameter and, if I turn the Phantom upside down the carbon-fibre tubing drops straight into them.

    [​IMG]
    As described in the image, the feet are plastic 'screw hiders' fixed to the legs with bathroom type silicone.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The leg extensions are held tight in place with short lengths of electrician's tape wrapped around the landing gear. The legs take about a minute in total to put in place (and the same to remove) and are easily carried in my Phantom case. Here are the legs in place (they are solid as a rock and very strong as proved by one crash I had):
    [​IMG]

    3. At the top of each landing gear leg, I drilled a small hole and made loops in each using small cable-ties. Between the two sets of the latter I fixed a large cable tie and in the centre of that I wrapped two pieces of electrician's tape so as to leave myself a hole in the centre of the tie as per this image:
    [​IMG]

    4. From 1.5 mm electric wire, I made two elongated 'S' hooks and two short ones. The short ones are fixed permanently to the back of the camera mount but are left open on the other end. One end of the two long hooks goes onto the large cable ties mentioned above and the other hooks into two loops of strong fishing line which pass through the camera's wrist-strap lugs. I forgot to point to these in the image below but you can just see a white piece of fishing line looped through the left lug. The knot in the fishing line is sealed with Super-Glue.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see I'm also using the Sony's wrist strap and a very lightweight carabiner. This is my 'security' fixing in case the camera becomes detached.

    5. To fire the camera I used two hair-ties and a Q-tip with a button fastened in its centre
    [​IMG]
    Here it is fastened to the camera, with the button pressing down on the shutter release.
    [​IMG]

    6. And here is the whole assembly
    [​IMG]

    As pointed out, the angle of the camera is determined by the position of the S-hooks wrapped around the back legs. Once the desired angle of tilt is achieved, I fix the hooks in place by wrapping a piece of electrical tape around them.

    FINALLY, here is the back of my controller and you can see that, on the Zenmuse tilt control, I've marked the GoPro's UP and DOWN points and five points in between.:
    [​IMG]

    So how does it work? Well for me, like any other photo shoot, it's, "Decide on my subject," Decide on my shooting position," Decide on my exposure"....so...

    1. Decide on your subject
    2. Set the GoPro to 'Narrow' FOV. This will equate to the 28mm angle of view on the RX100
    3. Send the Phantom up without the RX100 attached and use the GoPro and FPV to decide the position from where you want to take the shot
    4. Look under the controller and note the position of the tilt lever!
    5. Land the Phantom
    6. Use an exposure meter (if you have one) or use the histogram on the RX100 to decide on the exposure. Set the RX100 to Manual mode and set a shutter speed of a minimum of 1/1000th and whatever aperture is required. *
    6. Make sure the RX100 is set to capture RAW + JPEG, that image stabilisation is set to ON, and that manual focus is set at 40 metres**
    7. Fix the Q-Tip shutter release in place and attach the RX100 to the Phantom
    8. Set the tilt lever to the position you noted and, by eye, set the tilt angle of the RX100 to match the tilt angle of the GoPro and then tape the former in place.
    9. Switch on the RX100. The camera will now start taking a photo once every three seconds (apx) and will continue to run until the card is full. On an 8 GB card, this takes about 18 minutes.
    10. Fly, go the point where you wanted to take the photo.

    Et voila :)

    * If you use Shutter Priority the camera will determine the exposure for EVERY shot from the FIRST shot it takes and keep it at that. You may not want that to happen!

    ** The RX100 lens is very good, even at full aperture, therefore there is no need to stop right down. On a normal spring day with sunlight, I can use 1/2000 at f2 without any sharpness problem. Depth of Field is normally not an issue when shooting from a height. I recommend setting manual focus to 40 metres; at 28mm on the RX100, f2 gives a near focus limit of 19 metres and a far focus limit of infinity. If the light is too bright at those settings, then stop down to the point where it is correct and you can still keep your 1/2000 shutter speed.

    A great app for Android to enable you to calculate depth of field is 'DOF Calculator' from Cunning Dog Software, available on the Google Play Store. You can set up DOF calculations for three cameras by setting the 'circle of confusion' for each. For the RX100, the circle of confusion is 0.011

    If you want a DOF calculator on your PC, I recommend http://www.dofmaster.com
    ________________________________________

    It works. Although the whole rig weighs 1,550 g it flies. I've only had chance to fly it once and it seemed a little 'nose heavy' (but it was very windy at the time). But in any case, it's easy to adjust the centre of gravity and the tilt angles by using longer S-hooks through the camera lugs and/or moving their anchor point on the cable tie forward or back, as desired.

    EDIT/UPDATE: see below re the centre of gravity adjustment. After I made these adjustments it flew absolutely perfectly.

    So, I am very happy. It may be a bit of a Heath-Robinson solution, but it really does work and, for an expenditure of less then 20 euros, I now have a Phantom that gives me brilliant stills AND brilliant video.

    Oh, and video is where the shorter leg extensions come in! I made the 16 cm long ones just to give me some decent ground clearance for the GoPro

    [​IMG]

    Again, they take a very short time to mount and demount and they take up no room in the case.

    EDIT: Re finding the centre of gravity.
    I hung the complete rig from a hook on the bottom of a tripod (hanging from a piece of string tied centrally, under the Phantom's waist). Using this I got the copper hooks to exactly the right length and position to put the RX100 in the right place as regards centre of gravity for the whole rig. I've found that the front hooks need to be longer and further forward than I've shown above, almost up to the landing gear shoulder. This of course requires the back hooks to be longer too.
     
  2. Pull_Up

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    Well done! Those leg extensions are a very good, light, relatively easily removable option for existing flight cases. Any stills to show us from the RX100 mounted this way?
     
  3. jamayr

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    Thanks Peter! What transmitter/receiver combo are you using?
     
  4. tubino

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  5. Peter Evans

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    Not yet, only test shots of a garden table whilst hovering, so nothing that I'd want to show anyway :)

    We've had gusting winds here for almost four weeks now (forecast at 65 km/h today) and I'm getting sick of it. It's like the Mistral has moved several hundred kms west of where it should be :(
     
  6. Peter Evans

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    Immersion RC 600 with a Black Pearl monitor
     
  7. Peter Evans

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    It's the original. The Mark 2 is too heavy to use the way I've described here and the Mark 3 is even heavier.
     
  8. pault

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    Thanks for posting such an easy to understand description of how you mount the rx :)

    The weather seems to be doing crazy things everywhere - i have just returned from a week in Scotland and during the whole week we had only a couple of hours when flying would be even possible and at that time there were other priorities. Rain was the main culprit & when it was not raining it was too windy ! So the upshot was that my P2V stayed in its case the whole time - real downer :(

    I see no problem with your setup in terms of time taken getting ready for the shot. There was a famous photographer (maybe Cartier bresson ?) who limited himself to just one exposure per day. I can imagine the sense of satisfaction when you get a great image which then makes the whole rigmarole of setting up your system worth it :)
     
  9. Peter Evans

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    Actually, I currently have the setup hanging from a hook on the bottom of a tripod (it's hanging from a piece of string tied centrally, under the Phantom's waist). Using this I can get the copper hooks exactly the right length and position to put the RX100 in the right place as regards centre of gravity for the whole rig. I've found that the front hooks need to be longer and further forward, almost up to the landing gear shoulder, which of course requires the back hooks to be longer too.

    I think you'll find that once you've made all the bits, which are very easy to carry, putting it together on site is not much of a rigmarole at all. Flip the Phantom on its back, attach the long legs, stand it back on its legs and attach the RX100 (shutter button press attached and ready). It takes just a few minutes. as soon as you press the RX100 On/Off button, the camera starts to fire.

    As to the weather, it's a bit better today and so I may be able to fly it this afternoon. The bad news is we have four photography and two painting guests arriving an Saturday and the forecast for next week is crap. I don't understand what's going on :-(
     
  10. peterlindsay

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    Well done Peter! I jerry rigged my nikon D60 to the landing gears to see how the weight would be for balance and flight and it was not to bad at all. I did not take any images I was just more testing the weight capacity and centering methods for a larger unit. I was hoping to rig for my nikon d700 but I think I might be pushing that.
     
  11. Peter Evans

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    :eek: This with the GoPro/Zenmuse as well??????????
     
  12. peterlindsay

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    No I was using my p2v
     
  13. Peter Evans

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    OK, well we just had a nice sunny evening. Almost no wind for a change. Dinner eaten. Household jobs done. So I thought, let's give it a try. Full battery in the Phantom, full battery in the RX100 and off we go.

    The Good News:
    I went out to our adjacent field with the newly balanced rig (changed centre of gravity as already posted), aligned the two cameras, and flew. It took off without any problem and hovered, hands off sticks. It showed no drifting and wasn't struggling at all with that 1550 g - in fact it was perfectly stable. Took it up a bit, down a bit, forward, back, left and right, yawed 360 left and right. No problems at all. So the Phantom and I were both very happy. Everything was great. I took it higher to photograph our house and then brought it back down, switched off and came back inside.

    The Bad News:
    Turned out I had no card in the RX100. Aarghh!! :evil: I thought it was firing rapidly! So, no photos. Sorry. :roll:

    Oh, well there's always tomorrow. At least I know there are definitely no flight issues.
     
  14. crashmaniac

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    good stuff Peter,

    Any luck getting the odd shot yet,

    looking forward to seeing some of your images, my setup is coming along, only been out for a odd hover as well,

    soon mate soon,

    cheers,

    from melbourne australia :cool:
     
  15. crashmaniac

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    Hey Peter,

    you finished with your guests yet, we're wishing to see more of your phantom experiences with the RX100

    Cheers,
     
  16. Peter Evans

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    No, I've been teaching; I take our guests back to their respective airports today.

    We're away tomorrow, back on Monday and then some time to myself until next Saturday :)
     
  17. crashmaniac

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    Just rethought & revamped my mount for the Sony RX100

    attached are some quik fotos of what I have now developed & used successfully.

    I have tried several ways of mounting, but failed as everything was vibrating too much.

    so had another rethink about CG & support dampeners. Originally they were too soft, so I added some firmer ones to the setup,

    a total of seven used on the mount now :). I have used a common mount available ex eBay

    and a couple of slightly modified GoPro couplings

    All is good, had a few flights to check it all out & it is fine. Will use two 2800ah batteries in parallel.

    Now to route the FPV feed though the camera.

    Fitting new P2 vision props solved some of the problem as well, waiting for some carbon fibre ones to arrive as well.

    I am told bigger props will probably work the best for the payload, a few more tests for flight times will be the go next.

    This will probably suffice till I see what Walkera's Tali H500 is like when it is released next week, eh ?

    will try to get some vision when I can,

    cheers :cool:
     

    Attached Files:

  18. crashmaniac

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    Re: My solution to the RX100 mounting .

    Peter,

    I read earlier you use the camera on manual,

    settings by a hand meter etc, what about focus ? you did mention something about setting it at , was it 44 feet ?

    how did you do that ? I find when trying to focus manually the camera zooms in to see up close whatever you want to focus on,

    however the image I found moves about so much as it zoomed in and hard to hold still and turn the dial ring ?

    pity you can't use AF & lock it up , or can you ?

    I am still getting my head around this Sony RX 100 camera lol

    please advise if you can,

    cheers

    a couple more fotos attached
     

    Attached Files:

  19. crashmaniac

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    Peter. how long did it take to get a reply from that Dronexpert guy ?

    sent a couple asking for some info, not a word !

    you must be resting after your guests you haven't been on here since they when home ? lol

    cheers,
     
  20. crashmaniac

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    yeah, we have seen that, Peter on here tested it, but had some mixed feelings :)

    cameras great but mount not so I think he said, can read his blogg lUW