I am confused with a few things. I am wanting to purchase a copter capable of carrying a GH4 camera but using a Pixhawk. Here are the things my googling has failed to answer for me:
1. Is there a Pixhawk-based platform equivellant to the DJI S900? I have pretty much determined that is the predominate solution for what I want to do but I do not want to run A2.
2. What Gimbal works with the Pixhawk that is built for the GH4?
3. The Zenmuse Z15-GH4 seems to be the dominate gimbal but only works with the DJI flight controller(s). What exactly does the flight controller do for the gimbal? Isn't the gimbal independently controlled or can you tie it into your flight planning somehow?
Any guidance would be appreciated, thanks!
The DJI S900 is available as a frame only kit for around $1,400 and can be used with other autopilots like the Pixhawk. Having said that there are other frames with similar capabilities like the Tarot T810 which is less expensive. I'm coming at this from a DIY mentality because getting everything working will take some fiddling if you go with anything not RTF, and even then some RTF require some fiddling.
I think I understand the frame options and I would use a Pixhawk, the only thing I am still confused about is what Gimbal to use for non-DJI frames. The Zenmuse seems to be the predominant gimbal but only works with DJI. So that is why I am continually asking about what Gimbal to use with Pixhawk and what the gimbal/auto pilot interaction will give me vs. what can be done with the A2/Zenmuse combination.
Check out hobby wing and some of their gimbles. They also carry all the parts to adapt it to just about any airframe. Arris gimbles work great and much cheaper than the zenmuse.
I don't think it's possible to use the DJI gimbal with the Pixhawk. There are other decent gimbal options though like the DYS BLG3SN. See the APM Copter wiki for gimbal controller options.
Head down to VulcanUAV.com is my advice!
I have built quite a few of these for a GH4 and comparable sized cameras. With these motors and the HV40A ESC turning 16" props you will have no problem carrying that GH4. Much better setup than the S900, and much cheaper. That is if you are wanting something akin to the S900 without breaking the bank. And of course, use a Pixhawk. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
I'm looking at the same problem as Matt and found your post. Thing is, the configuration you mention above comes out at ~1200 USD w/o battery or propeller, which is about the same as the S900 ARF from DJI. Have prices changed that much, or did I overlook something? Would you still consider it worthwhile to go DIY if the DJI S900 is pretty much available for the same price?
How much cheaper can you make it, I wonder? Which Gimbals did you use? Can you post some videos to see how good video there is?
S900+A2+Zenmuse GH4 is sold for around 2500EUR, I seriously doubt you can get anything much cheaper with same results. Unfortunately. But I am ready to admit I am wrong, it's just I never saw proper evidence - I would commit to buy, if there really _is_ any better and cheaper alternative
For the record - I have been flying arducopter since early versions of it, before wookong. Mikrokopter also, KK a little bit, even Gaui 300x (if anyone even remembers, what it is) :) I have built and flown many very different copters and at this particular moment if you are looking for _flying_and_filming_ solution then DJI's Sxxx series are best for that money - IMO, of course
@Jaan, for the gimbal a roll of carbon abs costs me $55, Storm32 $30, 3 good bgm $130. I too have been flying since the oil pan days. Maybe 100 builds on my own. DJI is not the only solution. I do have a youtube channel. Unlike many others here, I don't post to sell what I do, but to learn and help others.
Todd, you are exactly the person I am looking for. What Gimbal did you use and how did you connect it to the Pixhawk? or did you leave it completely independent and controlled from a second transmitter? It would be nice to use mission planner to do ROI and keep the gimbal focused in one area if possible while circling and doing fly-bys. I am kind of confused on how the flight plan can interact with the gimbal on these bigger rigs if you chose not to use a second TX/RX on it