Id love to get an idea what people are using for their aerial mapping Canon cameras. I have the Canon S95, which usis optical image stabilization (OIS). This means the lenses are floating and move around in a very finite level to adjust for your hand movement. This poses a big problem for aerial work when the vibrations are noticeable. The lenses literally vibrate and no amount of shutter speed can fix it. I get very poor results; most aren't keepers but sometimes they are depending on motor rpm. Ive tested this camera for years on many different platforms, tried every vibration reduction method and still get bad results.


So, I'd love to hear what you are using and how the results work.


UPDATE: Ive ditched the Canon s95 in favor of a Sony NEX-5R with an intervalometer app. Ill be using a Sigma 30mm lens.

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...continues talking to self. :)

Hey Matt,

I use the SX260 HS with pretty good results. I turn the shutter speed up to something like 1/1000th of a second and get very few blurry pictures. SX260 is being phased out soon and will be replaced by SX280 (for which CHDK isn't ready yet, I believe)

Yeah, I started looking into these after finding out how much the built-in GPS helps for mapping applications.  The SX260 is available at a lower "clearance" price, but the video performance is not great.  The SX280 should have much better video performance, but no CHDK yet.  I wonder how long it takes for those guys to get it working?

I ended up buying a GPS-enabled SX 230 HS for $100 on ebay the other day. Im figuring that if it isn't any better than my S95 in terms of lens shake, then I'll just resell it. But I have hopes.

It looks like the SX 230, 260, and 280 all use the same optics, sensor, and processor.

I just tried my Sony WX10 camera for the first time last night.  My vibrations are fairly well damped, but not perfect.  I used the video mode, and it's pretty much just a blur.  Not jello, but blurred.  I'm pretty sure this is a problem with the image stabilization, which I cannot turn off on this camera.

Has anybody had a problem like this with these Canon cameras.  I know some cameras just can't be made to work at all due to vibration.

Hi Matt,

I use the canon S100, which has pretty much the same specs as the S95, but with an internal GPS. In S100 you can simply turn off the image stabilization. Ensure that the "Safety Shift" is turned OFF if you are shooting in TV mode, otherwise shutter speed will still be neglected. Also the S100 is in phase-out to be replaced with an wifi-controllable model, but for sure you still can find one on ebay.

Hey, what about mounting the camera different to reduce vibration etc? any ideas?

use earplugs to cancel out the vibration or buy special rubber pieces that do it.

Thats a great idea, So just glue 4 plugs on each corner of a downward facing camera?

Spent some time looking at cameras last night and came away with a few ideas, but no cameras:

One reason I've been holding out, is because I was waiting for the new Wifi enabled cameras to come out.  I played with a few last night.  I'm no longer waiting.  

I played with a Sony HX30V.  This has built-in GPS, and as typical, Sony is at the fore-front of video quality in a compact point-and-shoot.  This one will do 1080p 60fps, in fact, Sony has had this for about 2 years now.  Compare that to Canon's offerings which are still stuck at 24fps!  Their image stabilization also works very well.  But that's where the goodness ends. The wifi system is completely useless.  It does not allow remote viewfinder, or remote control of the camera.  The only thing you can do is after taking a picture, you can send it to your phone/tablet/TV.  Whoop-dee-doo.  Also, this camera, like my WX10, has no continuous shooting ability.  Hold the button down, and you get 10 pictures, then it stops.  There is no ability that I know of for remote input.  Therefore, the only option is to set up a servo.  Yuck.  I was also kind of looking at the Nex-5R, even though I can get a 5N for much cheaper, due to wifi. But I assume the wifi is similarly useless.

I was waiting for the Canon SX280 to be available for a hands-on testing, because of the wifi.  But last night I looked at Canon's instructional video for their wifi, and it seems to be similarly useless.  The only thing it appears to do is allow wireless viewing of previously taken photos.  What a waste.  So there doesn't seem to be any good reason to wait for the SX280 over the 260, other than maybe a minor improvement in video quality.  The 280 can do 1080p 60 fps, whereas the 260 is stuck at 24.  Another consideration for the time being, there is no CHDK available for the 280 yet.

Then, I also saw an S100 on sale for a really nice price ($200), so I looked at it.  I hadn't realized that it had a GPS!  Nice. It is now being replaced by the S110.  The S110 has lost the GPS, and gained (useless) wifi.  Plus the S100 has CHDK available (in Beta) but the S110 is just starting the process I guess.  So this also seems like a no-brainer.

So, we come to this:

SX260 vs. S100.  I think the S100 will take better pictures, and it's a very nice price.  Anybody know?  The S100 is also smaller and lighter than the SX which is nice.  The SX280 has a crazy zoom lens (500mm) which we don't need, which I think is what leads to it's bulk.  The S100 only has a 120mm lens, but the image sensor is actually larger, and it's lens is brighter.

The S100 seems like a no-brainer.  Am I missing anything?

These cameras are not the best thing for artistic photos, or video.  You'll want a larger camera like a DSLR or Sony Nex for that.  But these cameras are perfect for compact, lightweight, photogrammetry usage.  Mapping, etc.  And they'll take fine photos for more "industrial" uses like inspections, or maybe real-estate.

I am very satisfied with the canon S100. GPS on board really makes your live easy when using for aerial mapping. If you have some more money to spend I would go for a sony nex or samsung nx2000 with wide-angle lens.

An example of images and mission done with the S100:

Thanks for the report on the S100. I'll probably pick it up and give it a shot instead of the SX260.

One question I have left is if you can use that hacked USB cable to trigger it like you can with the SX260?

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