Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Newbie needs bigger drone for stills w/ SLR

Discussion in 'Other DJI Multi-Rotors' started by db4570, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. db4570

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been a professional commercial photographer for 15+ years, including aerial photography from planes and choppers, and want to get into photography with a drone. I am very obsessive about image quality, so want to use a lightweight SLR like my Nikon D7000, or perhaps try one of the Fuji X series.

    So I am figuring I will need a larger DJI like the 450 Firewheel to handle that weight. I assume I would also need (forgive me if I use the wrong terminology):

    Gimbal to allow me to remotely rotate and tilt the camera;

    Video transmitter so I can see a live view from back on Earth. This can be very low-res. I just need it for general aiming;

    Video screen to view on;

    A method to control the flight of the copter, the aiming of the gimbal, and the operation of the camera shutter;

    A bucket to catch my tears when I smash the thing into smithereens.

    What have I forgotten?

    So obviously I'm pretty lost, and would really appreciate any general notes and thoughts and ideas on how I should proceed.

    The Fuji camera and lens is 525g, the Nikon 1200g.

    If I can get by with a smaller/cheaper platform, that would be great. I picked the Flame Wheel almost at random. I don't need a lot of flight time (assuming I can change batteries) or range (300-500 feet).

    Any help would be really appreciated!

    Thanks!

    David
     
  2. rilot

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Messages:
    842
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Twyford, UK
    If you want to lift an SLR or a m4/3 with a gimbal you will need a craft bigger than an F450.
    I shoot stills with a Sony NEX5 and I use an S800 EVO to lift it and get decent flight time (10 minutes ish)

    Theoretically you could lift a 500g camera with an F550 hex but once you add a gimbal you'll be overweight. A 1200g SLR is right out. Even the S800 would be overweight once a gimbal is added.

    Building a craft around a specific camera isn't the right way to do this. Work out what you want and then select a camera for which a good pre-configured gimbal exists such as the Zenmuse. A NEX5, NEX7, Panasonic GH3/GH4 are your best bets. However, we're now talking big money. £2k for the gimbal and then another £4k for the craft to lift it + batteries + transmitter + flight controller etc.
     
  3. tubino

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you want to fly a big SLR --and don't forget the lens weight! -- with gimbal, check this out. It's an RTF with Canon 5D Mk III.

    http://aerialmediapros.com/store/dji-s1 ... o-fly.html

    yes, it's expensive, but yes, you could probably save a bunch by cobbling it together yourself.

    I may go that route myself, but in the meantime I want to try somethign much lighter, like a Sony RX100.
     
  4. tubino

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
  5. db4570

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't realize the gimbal was so heavy and expensive. Is a gimbal essentially the same as a pan/tilt head? How do you guys aim the camera in general? Do you rotate the whole copter, or do it all with the gimbal? Or do you just make fine adjustments with the gimbal? I'm thinking if you do it all with the gimbal, you must have landing gear in the way. Do you need a 3 axis gimbal, or just 2 (pan & elevation)? Do the copters tend to fly pretty level, or do you have to worry about it banking off level, too? (Again, sorry if I'm butchering the nomenclature.)

    It definitely sounds like even a light SLR will get into a very expensive rig. But I still want a big image quality jump from the Gopro. So if I can do something at a reasonable cost that can handle a 500g camera, that would be great.

    Thanks for the information, and keep it coming!

    David
     
  6. gfinney49@gmail.com

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Abingdon, Virginia
    I am and was (sold out and retired) a pro photographer with over 35+ years in the commercial and portrait studio business. Yes, I too wanted a larger craft that could haul a Nex-7 with a 360 degree gimbal for my higher end clients that expect the best or better quality than a GoPro for stills and video. I did not go with the DJI higher end platforms because at the time I saw several posts by pros that complained of shaky video created by 2 piece props and flexible motor arms. So I ordered the Cinewing 6HL from Turbo Ace Mfg./Wow Hobbies and waited 6 weeks for them to build and ship. Flew the piece of crap about 20 times with max. flight times of 6 min.....it is a hoss and they advertised a 12 min. flight time with a Canon 5D but it had a lot of jello and gimbal vibration that was out of control (tried many dampening systems). I was advised by other forum members about their poor service record, but went head strong and ordered anyway for many thousands of dollars for this supposedly smooth and stable platform for my pro quality needs. Stay away from Turbo Ace or Wowless Hobbies...any make model or whatever they sell. There are too many other up and coming UAV companies that will bend over backwards to make a sell and back up their customer service after the fact. Turbo Ace and Wowless will be a rock in the pond in a few months after the word gets around about their care less service...there are great quality platforms out there to suit your needs and I wish you the best in finding a platform that can deliver the quality you so much desire for yourself and your clients. Check out my post: Re: Bit the Bullet: Cinewing 6HL on Order
     
  7. rilot

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Messages:
    842
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Twyford, UK
    The gimbal is - as you say - a motorized head.
    I use a 2 axis gimbal (tilt and roll) and aim the camera by rotating the craft. This is fine for stills. For Video you want 3 axis and ideally a camera operator so one person flies while the other films.
    If you ONLY want to do stills, then a cheaper servo (rather than brushless) gimbal will be good for you. These are poor for video due to the jerky movement but are great for stills as you don't need to mess about with balance every time you change a lens. Have a look at the Photohigher AV200 or above. They are about £600 but are good.

    You will need a big hex to lift it and the 1200g camera. If you want plug-and-play then a DJI S800 EVO or preferably an S1000 would be my choice. If you want to get more flexibility, then a Vulcan Mantis or a CarbonCore Cortex would be where my money would go.

    At this size of craft you will want to use a Wookong or A2 flight controller from DJI or an Xaircraft SuperX.

    As for radio gear, a Futaba 14FG or a FrSky Taranis would be my choice.
     
  8. gfinney49@gmail.com

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Abingdon, Virginia
    I totally agree with Rilot on the Futaba 14SG radio for your larger craft, and if you are after the very best video you will need a second person, camera person, to operate the camera gimbal and angles while you are flying. I would also suggest the DJI A2 flight controller. It and the Futaba 14SG were flawless in the operation of my craft. I used an FPV link and put the 10" monitor on a light stand for viewing and cropping my shots or video. With the camera size you are talking about you will need to go to a Hex or an 8 prop platform for more lift and power....at least a 10,000 mah battery or even two if the craft is large enough to handle the brick sized battery x 2. It will not double the flight time but will add about 25 to 30% more time than one battery. I would suggest that your get an extra battery before going on assignment. A 360 degree gimbal is almost a must if you are doing pro video and it will add more weight than a 2 axis gimbal. Another suggestion, my litigation with Turbo Ace is in the hands of AMEX disputing the charges for my UAV with Turbo Ace, so use your credit card to purchase and especially an AMEX card if they will accept it just in case things do not work as advertised or preform in a way they demonstrate on their marketing videos. Again, good luck. Also, if you have never flown an RC Quad, you will need several hours of stick time to get used to the controls and how the craft responds to those commands. The larger platforms are a hoss to fly and you need stick time....so maybe a simulator or a cheap little hex to practice with before flying your larger craft. Good luck.
     
  9. mjeagent

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a Phantom 2 Vision, Vision+ and s1000 with Panasonic GH3 using Z15-GH3 gimbal. For the total setup included the A2, Futaba 14SG and FPV monitor setup I believe I paid around $8,500. I use the Visions to scout and test shoot a job before bringing in the s1000. I have a 30,000mah battery that will give me about 18-21 minutes of flight time. The s1000 has a learning curve and honestly I haven't mastered everything but the results are phenomenal. The ability to retract the gear and take a full, smooth 360 pan shot while the drone is stationary is very satisfying. I highly recommend the s1000. I also stayed away from the s800 given the mounds of negative feedback (death roll and such) so I waited for the s1000 and couldn't be happier. Good luck.
     
  10. ufga025

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    shameless plug

    viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13173


    all you need is a new gimbal mount (like one from photohigher) and youre good to go. You can also add aerial media pros heavy lift kit for the F550. This puts you more than a few grand cheaper than the other big boys out there right now.
     
  11. rilot

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Messages:
    842
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Twyford, UK
    No way will an F550 lift an AV200 + a 1200g SLR camera. With a heavy lift kit; maybe, but then he'd need to swap the motors out with a lower kv model, and switch to 12 or 13 inch props.

    Even on 4S with 10" props, my F550 with an AUW of 2500g is close to the maximum it can reliably lift. When I added a 2nd battery and took it up to 3000g, it could barely get off the ground.
     
  12. db4570

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Remember, I am considering two cameras: one 330g, the other 1200g, with lenses. At this point, I'll probably stick with the smaller 330g one.

    Also, I am only shooting stills, so the gimbal motion doesn't need to be smooth at all.

    And I anticipate my flight times to be real short- like a minute or two. Get in position, send the thing up, shoot a few pictures, and land. Typically I think it would go pretty much straight up a hundred feet or so, and not fly much distance from me at all. I don't mind swapping batteries often if I need to.

    The gimbal seems to be the deal-breaker. The AV200 mentioned weighs almost twice what the smaller camera weighs. There must be a simpler. lighter, and cheaper way.

    I am hoping I can get by with a single axis gimbal, if I can find such a thing, and control the pan with the aircraft position. Does roll typically need to be adjusted, or does the craft stay level enough that I can disregard this?

    What dealers do you guys like? Someone that can really walk me through this?

    Any additional info appreciated. Thanks!

    David
     
  13. ladykate

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Bellevue, NE
    Yes, but it probably should be efficient so you can get a square picture in both roll and yaw. If the airframe is moving around, framing the picture is a lot easier if the gimbal is compensating. Winds can do crazy things to the position of the airframe and usually they are not good for video or stills. The Vision folks seem to accept that the stills are good in their one-axis gimbal, though.

    I agree that long flight times are usually not required - but they are nice. You should look for something around seven or eight minutes at least. That will allow you to get the right altitude, angle, and take a few backup shots. I doubt that will be a problem with a larger hex.

    Disregard? No. However, it can usually be worked around. It is very nice to have and would make the job easier. For higher end cameras and rigs, I don't know if you can find a one axis gimbal. Even two axis gimbals are fewer. I think the market that is paying for the higher end stuff is willing to buy the higher end gimbals... thus, you see a lot of premium gear for the bigger machines and not much lower end gear.
     
  14. SanCap

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    South West Florida
  15. db4570

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    That gimbal looks just about perfect, from what I understand. The weight of the Fuji camera is 525g with the lens (which I forgot to add in before) so it might be technically a little overweight for that gimbal, but for the price and light weight it might be worth a try.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have poked around Atlanta Hobby's site a bit, but had missed that one.

    David
     
  16. db4570

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I talked to a guy at Atlanta Hobby, and asked him about that gimbal, and he didn't like it at all, implying it was a piece of junk that they were unhappy with.
     
  17. db4570

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    How's this for an initial plan?

    The guy at Atlanta Hobby recommended this "Ultimate 550" setup:

    http://www.atlantahobby.com/Store/pc/vi ... duct=17836

    Trouble is, it doesn't have the gimbal I need, and has a lot of stuff I don't need.

    So I am thinking about this one:

    http://www.atlantahobby.com/Store/pc/vi ... duct=18305

    which includes:
    - Flame wheel six head frame
    - 6 DJI Performance motors
    - 6 High Performance ESC's
    - Naza PMU for power management
    - The NAZA V2 Autopilot flight controller
    - Naza V2 GPS for position hold and return to home
    - 6 8-inch and 10-inch props
    - Landing gear

    ...adding a battery, receiver, transmitter, video downlink...

    and this gimbal, a DYS BLG2SN:

    http://www.fpvmodel.com/dys-blg2sn-glas ... _g452.html

    ...which I might be a little nervous about except this guy seems pretty happy with the same combination:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAw_IzNez3g

    Would I also need a separate gimbal controller? Do they all tend to speak the same language as any gimbal, or at least the one above?

    What else would I need? How steep is the learning curve? I am good with workshop and light machine work, and wiring and soldering, but know nothing about the software and tweaking end of these things. How much of this stuff is plug-and-play?

    Wow. Long post. Hope it's not too much.

    I really appreciate the help.

    Thanks!

    David