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Phantom 2 + Dronexpert RX100 kit + DJI iOSD-mini

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by Peter Evans, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Peter Evans

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    I know that there are a few people waiting to see how this works out for me before they take a decision on the same kit, so here's an update.

    The current situation is that I sent my Sony RX100 to Studiosport.fr last Thursday so that they could assemble and test the whole kit. They have now done that successfully. As a result, I paid for it this morning and it will be despatched this afternoon with 48 hour delivery. So, I expect to receive it on Thursday.

    The weather forecast here for the weekend and next week is not good (very windy and showery) but Friday is forecast dry with sunny periods and a 14 km/h wind, so I hope to get it up in the air on Friday and, if I do, I'll publish a photo and some video clips over the weekend.

    It's only taken 10 weeks and a lot of aggro (and a further 830 euro) to get to this point since I first ordered my defective P2V (January 14th). It seems twice as long! :roll:
     
  2. wat17

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    Hi Peter,

    Have been reading your posts and doing some research and very interested to see how you go. A couple of questions:

    1) Was it you Vision that is getting set up with the RX100?
    2) What model RX100 are you using? I think I read somewhere that you are using the original as it is lighter.
    3) Does the original RX100 have wifi so you can use app? I was thinking I modding my Vision for this camera, so the controller will be on 5.8g and use the sony wifi app on 2.4g with range extender to take the photos.

    Cheers
     
  3. Peter Evans

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    Hi Tom,

    1. No, I had a Vision but returned it after three days testing at the back-end of January. I'll be using a regular Phantom 2
    2. Yes I bought the original RX100 as the Mark 2 is 40 g heavier, 35% dearer, and offers me no practical advantage
    3. No, the original RX100 doesn't have Wi-Fi but, of course,I have no need of it as the FPV is built into the Dronexpert platform.

    Disappointingly, contrary to Studiosport's promise, my kit wasn't despatched until yesterday :evil: so I'm now expecting delivery tomorrow. But at least it is finally on its way and I have a tracking reference to prove it. Yay!

    As to testing, I'm afraid that will now have to wait until Monday as the forecast for tomorrow afternoon and the weekend here is showing winds up to 80 km/h :( Monday is forecast 21C, mostly sunny with a 7 km/h wind and a few scattered showers :D
     
  4. Shrimpfarmer

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    Take your time Peter there is no need to rush this. I would also take some photos of how its all set up as reference shots before its flown. Your the first pilot with this setup so its unlikely anyone else here will have experience with the kit to be able to advise if there are any problems. It could be useful to refer back to the photos.

    Good luck with the delivery and maiden flight. I do hope someone films it. :D
     
  5. Mactab

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    Good luck with the trial flights Peter. Come back to England the weather here is lovely!!!
    Look forward to seeing the results and your observations.
    Cheers
    Paul
     
  6. Peter Evans

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    OK, it's arrived. And there's good news and bad news. (EDITED APRIL 1st and 3rd - Edits in bold)

    The Bad News:
    My initial reaction when I unpacked the dronexpert platform was one of surprise and slight disappointment. The platform sent to me is not made from carbon-fibre as per dronexpert's website photo and YouTube instructional video, it's made from some sort of white plastic. How strong this is going to be I don't know. EDIT: Now I know, it broke on the first flight (see later post in this thread) :evil:

    Fitting the camera is fiddly and so I'm going to need to do it before I leave the house, rather than in the field. There are two long Velcro straps which may have been put in the box by Studiosport or they may be from Dronexpert. In any event they are useless for keeping the camera in place because the RX100 just doesn't have sufficient body on the left side, the strap just slips off. I used the 'tripod screw' I found in the dronexpert box instead and which is used in the YouTube video. Dronexpert really need to source a better tripod screw for this rather than use something that looks like it came from the local ironmonger (it's a bit short, which makes it fiddly to connect). It also needs a circlip or thin fibre washer to hold the screw in place on the mount when the camera is not attached; that way, it's not going to get lost. A spare screw is provided but that's not a good enough solution. EDIT: It's not feasible to do everything at the house because once the HDMI cable is plugged in, you can't see the menus on the camera's LCD screen. I removed the camera in the field and lost the tripod screw in long grass. :evil:
    FURTHER EDIT 3rd April - I had the camera set incorrectly; you can see the menu on the Dronexpert monitor's creen.


    The ribbon cable connecting the dronexpert platform to the camera is exceptionally fine and was creased and very slightly cut when it was delivered to me. I guess that was done during the fitting of the iOSD-mini and testing of the setup at the dealer's. I don't know how long this cable will last as it has to be plugged and unplugged every time the camera is mounted and unmounted. It really needs something more robust. EDIT: I've discovered that the cable is in fact being damaged by the HDMI plug on the cable (the cable bends back on itself and so, after the plug is inserted into the camera and the camera is locked down on it's platform, the back of the HDMI plug presses hard into the ribbon cable. FURTHER EDIT 3rd April - I've alleviated this problem to a certain extent by putting two layers of electrical insulating tape over the cable where it makes contact with the back of the HDMI plug. So this wasn't a fitting problem at the dealer; it's a design fault - see below

    The plug on the end of this ribbon cable, and which plugs into the RX100's HDMI socket, is too long (by 3 or 4 millimetres) and, as a consequence, it stops the camera bracket sitting flat. This makes it difficult to hook the tilt lever in place. It also means that, with the tilt mechanism set fully back, the camera still leans forward just a tad (i.e. it's not quite perpendicular to the platform). EDIT: The perpendicular issue is of no importance in practice but the length of the HDMI plug is! See the previous paragraph.

    Contrary to the dronexpert YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSwxQrkDITU the platform is not a 'spring fit', it's a permanent fixture, held in place by plastic ties. At least that's how Studiosport have fixed it and I can't really see how else it could be done. So, you can't take the platform off and put it back on as per the video. To be honest, I guess with the iOSD mini as well, there would be too many wires to unplug and re-plug and clip out of the way if you were to do that. EDIT: This is not a good method of fixing with the quality of plastic used. The platform broke around one of the fixing holes on my first flight.

    The platform sits 2mm below the level of the Phantom's rubber feet which is really bad because it's going to be the first thing that hits the ground when the Phantom lands. I now need to cure this by making some sort of leg extenders :roll: EDIT: See paragraph above. First landing broke the fixing hole in the platform!

    Studiosport, my dealer here in France. fitted the platform and wired in the DJI-iOSD mini. The problem is that they have fitted the iOSD in front of the camera, instead of behind it, and that doesn't now allow the camera to sit with the lens pointing absolutely straight down because the platform hits the iOSD if you tip it completely forward. This means I'm going to have to move the iOSD, which is a problem because one of the two cables to it which were wired in by Studiosport is very short. EDIT: I've discovered that this is irrelevant as, when the camera's lens is extended, you can't angle it beyond about 70° because the lens barrel hits the edge of the platform. I have an idea that I can get around this problem, using the Velcro ties I mentioned earlier.

    The cabling to the Phantom's power supply was flopping about and I've had to fasten it out of the way using electrician's tape. In all honesty, Studiosport slipped up there; they should have tidied that up.

    The resolution of the provided FPV monitor is 800 x 480 which is sufficient for framing up shots and reading the telemetry but it's pretty basic screen technology given the price of the kit. EDIT 3rd April: I've now found that this monitor is available from 'shop.righthere.nu http://shop.righthere.nu/fpv-lcd-di...reless-mini-dvr-beyond-5-8ghz-/prod_1484.html at a cost of 135 euro

    The rubber buttons on the remote control fob that tilts the camera and fires the shutter are rather soft and 'spongy' (but at least that means you can't operate them by accident).

    Finally, I was disappointed not to get a neck strap for the controller (as per dronexpert's video). I just assumed that there would be one and I think that's a fair expectation given the price I paid for this. As it happens I have a bunch of Fujifilm freebies that work perfectly and I didn't even spend any money with them. So that's Fujifilm 10, Dronexpert 0

    And now.... The Good News:
    It works as I'd hoped; 'live view' output to the screen with flight telemetry overlay. However I've only tried it indoors at the moment. EDIT: It works great outdoors, takes great pictures and stable video

    Camera tilt and shutter firing functions work as advertised. However, that too comes with the caveat above. EDIT: You do have to use a very firm push on the remote's shutter button

    The monitor screen has a nice matte finish to it and seems to have sufficient brightness and contrast. I've found the problem in bright sunlight with almost all LCD screens on cameras and smartphones is because of reflection off the screen, rather than light falling on it. However, this Dronexpert monitor has both issues covered, a well shaded screen and absolutely non-reflective. EDIT: In practice, the screen is usable in bright sunlight (when shaded) but the contrast range available is really insufficient.

    Finally, the monitor is in fact also a DVR! That was a huge surprise. It doesn't mention this anywhere on the Dronexpert site or the Studiosport site but the monitor takes a micro-SD card up to 32GB and can record video and stills to the card wirelessly from the platform AND it records it together with the iOSD overlay. Which was a nice surprise :D Oh, and it also has a speaker in it.

    I can't fly it until Monday because of high winds so, in the meantime, here are some photos of it all with the camera connected.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    NOTE: The black loop to the left in the above photo is the camera's wrist strap; I intend clipping this to the Phantom's leg with a small carabiner.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Peter Evans

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    Here are a couple of images showing the monitor fixed to the transmitter, and also the camera control.

    The monitor sits nicely on a simple plastic holder which slots nicely into the transmitter's chrome rails at the rear. It's supposed to have a very deep sunshade, which fastens in place with Velcro but Studiosport forgot to pack it :evil: After a WTF phone call from me yesterday, it was posted straight away and I'll get in on Monday.

    [​IMG]

    I thought the 5" screen may be a bit small but it's perfect in practice. I wouldn't like any more weight at the back of the transmitter to be honest.

    I've used heavy duty Velcro to fasten the camera control to the underside of the transmitter. That way I can keep control of the Phantom and, by feel, I can use the fingers of my right hand, wrapped around the side of the transmitter, to fire the camera's shutter or tilt the camera up and down. I've tried it indoors and it feels good.

    [​IMG]

    As forecast, it's still way too windy to fly at the moment (gusting to 85 km/h) but at least I've had the opportunity to install all the software, upgrade my P2 firmware, configure the transmitter and iOSD-mini, sort out stickers, and balance props (using Pull-Up's brilliant glass method :) )

    This afternoon's task is to cut the foam for my case.

    Roll on Monday and the opportunity for some real flight trials! :D
     
  8. wat17

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    Like you I am a bit disappointed in the drone expert set up. Will be interesting to see how it all works out. I am currently waiting on some products to try installing the RX100 to my machine. Will have to compare notes when I get something solid. Thanks for keeping us informed.
     
  9. Shrimpfarmer

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    Mmmm very surprised that its not the same as it looks in the sales material. Fingers crossed you get some good weather soon. Perfect conditions over in the UK at the moment.

    Thanks for the updates, keep them coming.
     
  10. Peter Evans

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    The monitor connected to the RX100 with iOSD overlay.

    This is showing a 3:2 still photo aspect ratio. When shooting video, the display is 16:9 (or whatever aspect ratio has been selected in the camera)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. chensiyuan

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    Very much looking forward to this setup as well. The GP3 is a terrible camera for stills.
     
  12. pault

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    Hopefully as I write this you will be out shooting and I, along with the others am really keen to to see the results.

    * Now you have seen the setup, do you think in hindsight you could have assembled the kit yourself ?
    * I am not clear - can you take 'straight down' shots ?

    All I want personally is the ability to produce A4 sized prints but am also intrigued to see how good the video is.
     
  13. Peter Evans

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    Well, I've had to revise my schedule for various reasons so couldn't get out this morning. I'm just about to partake of du pain, du vin, et du Boursin (well actually I don't like Boursin, but it'll be cheese, baguette and a glass of rosé anyay :D )

    Then I have the whole afternoon to experiment. Three batteries are charged and ready to go. The weather is fabulous here today and the post lady has just delivered the missing sunshade for my Dronexpert monitor, so that's good.

    In hindsight, no I couldn't have assembled the kit myself; I'm no good with electronics and mechanics (although I do now have DIY spider legs for my Phantom and instantly demountable prop-guards - but more about those later ;)

    As to straight down shots, yes in theory, you just unclip the tilt mechanism and tip the camera forward. I shall try that this afternoon :lol:

    Watch this space!
     
  14. pault

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    You can always blame any photos that are not tack sharp on the vino ;)

    Actually, seriously, how do you focus the RX100 - can the remote fob partially depress the shutter to set focus ?
     
  15. AllanVB

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    Anxiously awaiting your results. I too am thinking about the Dronexpert upgrade. Thanks for sharing.
    Allan
     
  16. pault

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    I think we might be in for some wait. Peter is a professional photographer so i cannot see him just putting any old images up ! (pride/artistic integrity type stuff).

    Allan, assuming you go for the Dronexpert kit are you going to assemble it yourself ?
     
  17. AllanVB

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    Yes :)
     
  18. pault

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    Good, that is also my plan but I will feel more comfortable if there is someone else doing it !
     
  19. AllanVB

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    Waiting for photos... and videos!!!! What's taking so long? :)
     
  20. Peter Evans

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    OK, well unfortunately, although today was supposed to give us some respite from the recent strong winds we've had here, this afternoon turned out to be almost as windy as it was yesterday :( Nevertheless I went out and, heart in mouth, I 'had a go'. I can't tell you how stressful it was. When I was flying the P2V I was diligent, but fairly nonchalant. This afternoon I was super diligent and stressed as hell! Because the Phantom was being buffeted by strong gusts and struggling to hold position, tilting into the wind all the time, I didn't bother to do any video, sorry. And looking at the current weather forecast, the coming weekend looks like the first opportunity I'll have to experiment with that.

    Anyway, as it was stills that were of more interest to me and a few others I thought that, despite the wind, I'd try to duplicate the view I used for the Phantom 2 Vision image that sparked the DNG comparison debate back at the end of January.

    This was that view from the P2V :

    [​IMG]

    and this was the 100% DNG centre crop from that.

    [​IMG]

    This was the image from the RX100 taken this afternoon from the same viewpoint, as near as I could remember

    [​IMG]

    and this was the RAW to JPEG 100% crop (similarly resized). OK it's not from the centre but I don't think that matters.

    [​IMG]

    This was shot at 28mm and, as before, it is completely unprocessed - just imported RAW converted to a HQ JPEG

    Whilst I'm always an out and out RAW shooter, just for the hell of it, I've uploaded a 'straight out of the camera' JPEG here for you to see. http://www.painting-photography-france.com/phantom/DSC00201-camera-jpeg.jpg
    This hasn't been processed (i.e. enhanced in any way whatsoever) merely straightened and cropped because of that. All the in-camera processing options were off or set to 'nul'

    My first impressions as a photographer are... Wow! Yes, it was worth the extra expense! Properly processed from RAW, I could print these images to A3 quite easily. Really! I won't deny the fact that, from out of the case to getting back on the ground with the pics, it takes way more time than it did with the P2V. It requires a lot of fiddling and it requires you to think through exactly why you're going up there and what it is you want to capture and the technical steps you need to take to best get that capture. But after all, guys, isn't that always what photography is about?

    So, am I glad I went down this road?....

    Well yes I am. But I do have one gripe, and that is the quality of the Dronexpert platform. That white plastic stuff is not very strong. My 'DIY spider legs' are not quite finished, therefore I flew it today 'as delivered'. As I said earlier, the platform projects 2mm below the level of the Phatom's rubber 'feet' and, after landing on a stony driveway by that church this afternoon, part of the platform has cracked where it's fastened with a plastic tie to the Phantom's leg. I fixed it with Superglue but I'm not happy about the fact that it is not carbon-fibre (as advertised); I'm sure that if it had been CF, it would have survived. I'll be talking to Dronexpert about it tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    More to follow....