Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 20:08:32
As a result og my KAP experiences in China, I spent a while thinking about a new ultra-light camera rig. The current rig, copying Scott Haefner’s design, weighs in at over 500g with picavet cross. For conditions such as I experienced in Wuhan, its very difficult to get the rig/camera to fly, even with something like the Dopero125. I’m not prepared to reduce the quality of the camera (and the Coolpix 8400 is very good) so the next alternative was the rig.
First off, nearly all of our images are verticals; the only adjustment we need is rotation and that actually is only required through 90 degrees (to align the frame). So the new rig (right; very many thanks to Martin Abbott for the effort here) has a single-piece carbon plate picavet with a light-weight servo for rotation and the arm of the rig attached directly to the servo. Scott’s rig was very clever in that he had designed a simple gearbox to remove any stress on the servo (i.e. the rig hung off the gearbox, not the servo), but it added to the weight. The rig arm is curved to allow the camera to balance. In addition the camera can be hung at the top or bottom of the arm and, if you want, the camera can be moved to a fixed pan or tilt position. We also added a much lighter 6-channel receiver (not shown), with the whole lot coming in at a staggering 91g. We haven’t tested it yet so the concern is how the strong the servo is, however just to be on the safe side there is a safety strap so the camera doesn’t plummet to earth mid-flight! Watch this space for some more results.