It’s nice to fly around with your copter or plane, watching the surrounding area with a live view. Anyone who tried FPV knows that feeling. There is much to see with the regular equipment, but if you want to see some detail from a higher altitude, there is a problem. Normally it’s good to have a wide angle camera, to see the surrounding space. But what if you want to watch a particular spot, like your house, or something interesting happening few miles away in detail, without making a lot of flying with your drone? 

We found very little neat solutions for that, that’s why me and my buddy Jacob are working on a low cost project of a FPV gimbal for zoom camera.  
This is an early 3D printed prototype of a simple to use FPV zoom gimbal. It is designed to get along perfectly with almost any coper or plane.

If you want to zoom on something while flying it’d better be stabilised, thats why 3 axis gimbal is put to work. The body is designed to work with most of FPV zoom cameras, analog or HD. As a controller we are using AlexMos, slim version to cut the mass. All of the cables are hidden inside of the body which makes it really nice and handy.

The whole gimbal with camera weighs 305g, we think thats really nice result.
For now we are making some iterations to reach optimal body design, but later we’re going to test things like object tracking with Raspberry pi and OpenCV, and a HD Light Bridge transmission. 
What are your opinions on this? Do you think it would be useful for your FPV needs? 
If you’re interested in this project write a comment or send me a private message on DIYD, we’d love to hear some feedback!

Soon we should have some footage from an actual flight! 

Views: 17674

Comment by Andrew P. on January 8, 2015 at 9:52am

I made similar setup with Sony FCB 980S camera, but I use Serial communications to control camera and gimbal, I think it's more reliable vs RC channels. 

Comment by Justin Stiltner on January 8, 2015 at 11:31am

@Greg Dronsky

Are you sure you linked to the correct camera?  The 66 dollar one does not have the controller board on it so you can feed it RC channels. 

Comment by Greg Dronsky on January 8, 2015 at 12:44pm

@Justin, we have made our own controller, and we don't use Sony protocol.

Comment by Jim G on January 8, 2015 at 1:24pm

Hi Greg, ive looking at that particular model for some time and wasn't sure if it was able to do the job but seeing that i seen you posted that here then i guess im on the right path....thanks mate. 

Comment by Andrew P. on January 8, 2015 at 1:26pm

With Sony FCB cameras you actually don't need a controller for serial communication, if you don't want to. It's good to have one like iShot EM12338 interface board, but you can always try to connect directly to the camera.

Comment by Justin Stiltner on January 8, 2015 at 1:57pm

To clarify for others, you cannot hook your RC gear directly to this camera to make the zoom work.  you need an interface board that will convert your rc signals over to the proper serial commands that will then make the camera zoom.  This was not very clear in the initial description and I did not want folks to buy this camera thinking they can just hook it up.

This camera has been talked about on RC Groups and apparently is now working for folks, and lets you directly connect your RC gear.

Comment by Justin Stiltner on January 8, 2015 at 1:59pm

Andrew or Greg, Do you have a good reference for the communications protocol for these cameras so that a person could implement their own controller board?

Comment by Jim G on January 8, 2015 at 2:06pm

@ Justin Stiltner that's exactly what i wanted to post. I'm very very interested and will gladly collaborate in any way to achieve this cam as a working model but i feel im just not that techie to get this project done or should i say that there hasn't been anyone around to actually help me along the build process.

Comment by Justin Stiltner on January 8, 2015 at 2:17pm


If the camera that I linked and the controller board it comes with will fit in the gimbal listed here you should be good to go. 

Comment by Jim G on January 8, 2015 at 2:24pm

@ Justin Stiltner really appreciate your reply in helping me out. By the camera you posted you mean this particular model here ?


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