Hi All, Sony has actually given us something to think about.
The Sony FDR X3000 Action Cam has 4K resolution, but for our use, the BOSS active optical stabilization is the important part.
The Electronic stabilization available on the new GoPro and previous Sony Action Cams has definitely not been up to the needs for being used gimballess on our multicopters.
Especially roll causes problems because of the difficulty in correctly compensating for it in on camera firmware.
Sony is the first company to offer a Action Cam with true optical stabilization and their BOSS stabilization provides possibly the best results of any of the consumer and prosumer video cameras and that is what they say that they have incorporated in this camera.
It sells for $350.00 and if their claims are true (and videos circulating on the internet suggest they are) then this should be very usable in multicopters without a gimbal (or maybe with a simple servo driven pitch only one to provide in flight adjustable up and down angle.)
As to controlling it in flight or extracting an FPV usable image, those are unknowns, but my thought is that it would certainly be worth seeing what this camera can do un-gimbaled on a quadcopter.
I have tried Sony's earlier version with electronic stabilization on my Hoverthings FPV Pro and it definitely does NOT provide sufficient stabilization, but the BOSS optical stabilization in the new one is a whole new ball game.
I know it's a weird form factor and it's interface capabilities are not so straight forward, but the picture is very high quality and it has very good color saturation and contrast and no fish eye and if the stabilizatuion works well enough this could be a great camera for us.
Just thought it was worth bringing this to the attention of my fellow DIYers and to ask if anybody gives one of these a try, please share your results.
Yeah Sony makes some really great ideas but they also do have some weird exclusivity concepts that they have beaten into the ground over the years.
Beta Max and memory Sticks for instance.
But I worked for NEC for several years in their Microprocessor division and watched virtually all of the Japanese companies make completely 180 degree out of phase with reality decisions on a regular basis.
NEC was a great company to work with, but they didn't really appreciate my periodically telling them that they or one of the Companies they were selling something to was out of their mind because it was the wrong product for what they were trying to do.
Very famous was when I was sent to a Nintendo "Virtual Boy" development introduction seminar to introduce our V853 processor to them.
When I saw what they were doing and the rediculous compromises they had made I pretty much did let them know what I thought of it and it was not appreciated - of course then going spectaculary out of business without gaining any ground at all.
(The chief American engineer did indicate to me that he knew I was right.)
I'm afraid that just like the Challenger, the engineers may have the last word, but nobody appreciates them for it, least of all management who had the stupid idea in the first place.
Engineers make terrible toadies and I least of all.
Looks like they 'got it' this time.
Sony cameras have always been great, but for some reason they tended to come with weird feature restrictions on consumer models compared to other brands in the same price range. For example they where among the last to offer 1080p60 recording in their consumer camcorders. Maybe some misunderstood thing where they tried to protect their pro range of products..?
But lately they seem to have gotten the message. 4K, 1080@120p and up to 100Mbit recording and a SD slot. And with probably the best optical stabilization in town the X3000 looks like a great camera.
Yes definitely the Nikon action cams look good, their GoPro form factor one looks better than a GoPro in every way and their 360 degree one looks like a very viable candidate for 360 videography, but they don't use active optical stabilization which really is the significant feature of the Sony camera.
Sony also has the reputation for the best optical stabilization for their consumer and prosumer video cameras.
Another big improvement over previous Sony video cameras is that the excessive fish eye has been pretty much eliminated.
Eventually, it is probably likely that consumer video copters will come with optically stabilized cameras and only have motion to permit purposeful pitch changes.
In my opinion, the only reason it hasn't happened yet is that they are all using cell phone cameras which don't incorporate optical stabilization only electronic - which is deeply insufficient in roll correction.
I have found it harder to find info on camera suitability for aerial video now that DJI seem to be serving most peoples' needs. I would like to get something potentially better than a GoPro to put in a larger plane. I see that Nikon have some very nice options as well. https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/action-cameras/index.page
Google cannot yet show me any examples of anyone using these in an aerial application. It seems the usual suspects are being used: Runcam and GoPro-form cameras.
No question that DJI have just killed the urge to experiment with expensive new cameras.
Thx for the feedback Gary
I'm also hopeful for a long range wifi based solution that solves all the RC/wifi/telemetry/video issues for DIY use.
Maybe Jordi can bring something out based on the Solo dev work he did a while back?
If it could support 802.11s, we'd get mesh thrown in for swarming. ;-)
This is what GoPro should be creating instead of jumping out of their core business to try building drones; which had to be recalled...oops!
Unfortunately, there seem to be no video output except HDMI.
My older one (AS100V) works fine over WiFi and Sony supplies a App that will work with many phones and IPads.
As is to be expected there is some lag, but not really much worse than the Solo or even the new Mavic.
And Wifi video "preview" picture quality is quite good albeit not up to Solo or Mavic standards.
And considerable real time camera control is available through the app as well.
Possibly the problem is that it uses standard 2.4ghz Wifi which can be problematic with normal 2.4 ghz RC transmitters and receivers, not necessarily, but stock 2.4ghz GoPros have definitely demonstrated sometimes severe problems.
And of course regular WiFi range is going tobe limited in any case, both the Solo and the Mavic use a souped up Wifi that is not in conflict with normal RC transmissions.
I actually think the idea of embedding it more in the body of the "drone" is an excellent one, it could be at a fixed or simple preflight user adjustable pitch angle and be very useful for a lot of tasks.
Even with the BOSS stabilization it might be worthwhile to provide some simple elastic suspension (as is done on many of the gimbal mounts already).
I am really looking forward to seeing some multicopter based videos with this camera, it will be interesting to see how well it works.
I've been eyeing this one for a while already, but in AUS they are $650.
If it performs on a quad as well as in the hand then I believe this will be quite good.
The thing I like most about it is that the stabilisation/gimbal mechanics is compact and built in, meaning it's harder to damage and should operate better for longer. The form factor is different, but seeing it's not gimbal mounted this could be semi recessed into the quad body, or mounted on the front, resulting in a sleeker profile than a dangling gimbal camera mount.
I wonder how well it streams over wifi, and if the controls are accessible via a SDK.
I am always surprised at how light those camera are, this one 114 g with battery