I have been working on a new camera rig for the new 15' blimp (Floatograph) we recently purchased with Geography. Geography also bought a series of new cameras: 2- Canon Powershot (A590 - 8 megapixel and image stablization) and 2 Fujifilm FinePix IS-1. The latter is particularly interesting as it records near-infrared in addition to visible light (wavelengths 400-900 nm). We also got a battery powered video transmitter that can be used to send NTSC video output from a camera to a ground receiver and displayed on a monitor.
Using the Airtronics VG400 for the controller, servos and transmitters, I created new mounts for the cameras. The mounts are simpler than earlier versions as I realized that some of the design considerations that John Dudgeon had used were specifically for flying cameras with (the much more volatile kites). I also was able to place some of the "common" components on the picovet suspension.
Below is a photo of the rig as I was nearing completion. I added means for tiling the Canon Powershot cameras out to the sides - so that we could get overlapping images and wide coverage. The near-IR camera is in the center. Since it had a cable release socket, I used a cable to trigger the IR shutter combined with the radio controlled servo. I need to beef up the hanging parts of the picovet and replace swivels and whatnot.
I am excited about trying this out.
Beautiful to a geek's eye. I recall drooling over the possibilities of the IS1 - have you tried it yet as a single camera to see what it can do? I recently got an A590 and it seems to perform relatively well. Have you tried CHDK to trigger the A590s? I've been using it and it is fantastic. There is a feature of it, which I have yet to explore, that allows for the USB port to function as a cable release.
Love to hear how it performs. --Matt Bell
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