Let's talk Canon cameras

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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        • I've produced several very accurate models (DGPS controls GCP RMS error <17 mm) with images from several S100 at 1/1000th second Tv; The minimum usable shutter speed will depend on flying speed/altitude, but I don't think it always has to be faster than 1/1600th.

      • I did finally get a response and a replacement sLED v2 shutter release from Flytron. The new one worked fine as long as I kept the shutter duration under 1/2 second.

        • The second sLED developed the same problem as the first once it was in the air (continuous shutter triggering). It turns out that the Flytron sLED requires that the supply voltage and the PWM voltage to be about the same. The Pixhawk flight controller PWM voltage is 3.3 volts so the sLED didn't like the 5 volt servo supply voltage. I wired three diodes head to tail on the red servo lead to the Flytron  sLED reducing the supply voltage to about 3.5 volts and the shutters work fine now.

          • Here's a photo of the adapter cord for the Flytron sLED shutter before I put shrink wrap around the diodes. The stripes on the diodes are on the left towards the connector where the Flytron sLED 2plugs in. I used 1N4585 diodes from my junk box but any small power diode should work such as the 1N400x series available at Radio Shack.

            Flytron Adapter.jpg

      • Hey Phil,

        I'm trying to trigger a NEX 5T via the Flytron SLED V2 trigger and the Pixhawk flight controller. I'm doing aerial mapping so I don't care if it doesn't stop taking pictures. The LED trigger has a simple 3 pin servo that I'm plugging in to the Pixhawk controller RC11, on which I programmed to control the camera trigger via Mission Planner (mapped RC11 to camera trigger). I also set the trigger distance to 1 m for testing purposes.

        I tried toggling the servo RC11 input manually using Mission Planner, and it also should trigger occasionally due to GPS changing. I saw no change, and it didn't trigger the camera (set to remote mode).

        I also tried triggering directly by setting channel 8 on the controller, and then mapping that to trigger the camera light. I can see the switch is working on the telemetry (goes from 980 to 2000).

        Here are some possible issues -

        Does the system need to be armed to trigger servos?

        Will I visibly see the light turn on?

        Do I need to edit the CAM SERVO OFF/ON PWM values? Currently at 1100 and 1300.

        Do I need to power the trigger via an alternate power source? (Remember, I only have the one servo cable and three pins on the trigger board.)

        Is this shutter not compatible with the NEX 5T, but it is with other NEX cameras?

        I've also had issues with trying to set the focus. Try using a larger depth of focus (f/8 or similar). I'm still working on getting mine to work well.

        Thanks for any help you can provide!

        • Here's what I would do:
          First, the Pixhawk doesn't provide 5 volts out for servos and such. You will need to provide the 5 volts required to run the shutter. I bought a 5 volt BEC and connected the output of it to an unused RC out connector. I also connected a 5 volt Zener diode across the plus and minus pins of the Pixhawk in case the BEC has a problem.
          If you have already done that, check the voltage of the BEC to verify it is 5 volts.
          Next, buy a cheap servo and connect it to RC11. Make sure you can move it left, right and center using the controls on your transmitter. Once you can reliably move the servo, replace it with the Flytron and try triggering the camera.
          When I got to this stage and still had a problem I used a remote control extender to troubleshoot the problem. It had a little pilot light on it that blinked whenever it received an IR signal from a remote. It allowed me to see when the Flytron sent an IR pulse.

          The system doesn't need to be armed to manually trigger the camera but it does to trigger with Mission commands (don't forget to remove the props!) Even then Mission commands may not work depending on whether or not it reaches a waypoint. I don't have any experience triggering by distance traveled.
          You won't see the LED, it's IR
          The CAM SERVO values should be 1100 and 1500
          I don't know if there is a compatibility problem. Sony makes two remotes that are both compatible with all their cameras so I would think the Flytron would work on multiple cameras too.

          I finally received a response from Flytron, they're sending me a new one.
          • I'm not sure I understand exactly what you would do.

            So you have the output (servo side) of the BEC connected to the Pixhawk RC out? And if you just have your servo connected to RC 11 how is the BEC connected to it?

            I'm imagining a diagram with the Pixhawk, BEC and servo - how is everything connected? I'm assuming I'm sending all RC commands through the Pixhawk.

            • Check this out about half way down the page: http://plane.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-pixhawk-wiring-and-quick-start/

              The diagram shows "Secondary backup power source", that's what you need to connect to power the Flytron.

              The servo positive power rail of the Pixhawk is not powered by the Pixhawk, you must supply the power with a BEC. All of the plus pins of the outputs are connected together so that powering one of them with the BEC will put power on all of them. All of the minus pins are connected together, too. The wiring diagram on the "Quick Start" page shows all possible options, you won't need all of them. I used a separate BEC because I don't trust the BEC on my ESC due to a previous bad experience with it. But if yours is good, you could use it instead of buying an new one.

              • Here's what the output side of my Pixhawk looks like. It looks like the power and ground of the rail are taken care of in port 8. Is the whole backside the "servo rail?" What's the difference between the white ports (1-6) and the black ports (1-8)? Do I also have to power the 1-6 separately? All of the signal ports on the 1-8 side are used up.

                If I use a separate BEC to power the 1-6 outputs, where do I power the BEC from?

                Sorry about all the confusion, I feel like I'm just missing something simple that will make the lightbulb in my brain go on. If you're in the US I wouldn't mind chatting on the phone, would probably be much easier to explain everything.



                • I sent you a friend request, once you respond I can PM you my phone #. I'm in California.

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