Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Digital Cameras & Shooting Techniques => Topic started by: dreed on September 16, 2012, 01:38:27 AM

Title: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: dreed on September 16, 2012, 01:38:27 AM
Is anyone using or has anyone thought about how to use a drone (or quadcopter) with a DSLR for landscape photography?

How do you, for example, do a (say) 0.5 second shot using a drone whilst keeping a 36MP image sharp?

Is some kind of stabilisation a must?
Or are the movement harmonics of drones incompatible with the design of existing stabilisation techniques because what exists has been designed around the camera being held by a human?

How big does the drone/quadcopter need to be in order to lift a D800 sized body plus a lens such as the 24-120/f4 and for how long can it stay up?

Is there sufficient remote-control via wifi to make it work?
e.g. will live view work over wifi?
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: francois on September 16, 2012, 08:22:30 AM
Is anyone using or has anyone thought about how to use a drone (or quadcopter) with a DSLR for landscape photography?

How do you, for example, do a (say) 0.5 second shot using a drone whilst keeping a 36MP image sharp?

Is some kind of stabilisation a must?
Or are the movement harmonics of drones incompatible with the design of existing stabilisation techniques because what exists has been designed around the camera being held by a human?

How big does the drone/quadcopter need to be in order to lift a D800 sized body plus a lens such as the 24-120/f4 and for how long can it stay up?

Is there sufficient remote-control via wifi to make it work?
e.g. will live view work over wifi?

I know next to nothing about drones except for a few hours I spent with an AR Parrot. But this morning, I saw on TV that some guys are using drones to capture video using DLSRs. You might want to contact them and see if they answer your questions or give you some pointers for more info...

Here's the TV doc I saw (it's in french but you can see what equipment they use): http://www.nouvo.ch/2012/09/le-sport-vu-den-haut
Here's the Dedicam website: http://dedicam.tv
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: electricboat aka Peter Bahry on September 16, 2012, 08:46:33 AM
Hi,

This guy has been into remote controlled helicopter, aerial photography for a while.

http://www.rosaurophotography.com

Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 16, 2012, 09:58:45 AM
The nikon d4 sports promotion video was shot using an octo-copter, can't find the link now.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11675-12417

A friend just bought a 4 motor one for his RX100, I may have the chance ti play with it soon.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: francois on September 16, 2012, 10:11:21 AM
The nikon d4 sports promotion video was shot using an octo-copter, can't find the link now.

The Dedicam guys are using an 8-engine drone. They seem to use a Canon 5D2 and a Red video cam.

Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: stamper on September 17, 2012, 04:08:37 AM
Does this type of shooting comply with invasion of privacy laws? If it hovers over someone's garden does it break the law and what happens if someone decides to shoot it down?
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: MrSmith on September 17, 2012, 05:51:56 AM
'drones'? For a minute there I thought you were talking about groups of retired men stomping around known landscape photography spots on camera club outings. ::)
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: stamper on September 17, 2012, 06:06:11 AM
'drones'? For a minute there I thought you were talking about groups of retired men stomping around known landscape photography spots on camera club outings. ::)

Speaking from experience? ;) :)
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: MrSmith on September 17, 2012, 06:16:24 AM
No. Hair not quite grey enough and have been a photographer since leaving art college. I have seen these groups on my travels though. ;D
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: dreed on September 17, 2012, 03:59:38 PM
I really don't care about what is in someone's garden or backyard...

But what I do care about (or am interested in), is being able to shoot landscape from 200' - 500' up in a canyon, thereby changing where the vertical perspective(?) is without needing to use a tilt-shift lens or climb up the canyon wall with gear.

Or maybe I just want to get a photograph of a feature from a perspective that is otherwise blocked by trees/foliage.

An easy example might be to use an octocopter to shoot Yosemite Falls (all three sections) from somewhere directly above the meadows in the valley rather than needing to climb up the 4 Mile trail.
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: lfeagan on September 17, 2012, 04:34:35 PM
Even though these copters have gryo stabilization, flying them is still non-trivial with the heavy load of a DSLR dangling below with winds. I have seen videos from videographers that hired pilots that weren't experienced enough and attached their expensive cameras and lenses only to see them have a great fall from the sky within a few minutes. You can get experience flying with a heavy load by attaching a box filled with sand in place of the camera. The general challenge with a below-copter mounts for cameras is that the center of mass/rotation of the vehicle is far from where it would normally be leading to less stability. Specifically, in most of the crashes it seems like the update-rate of the gyros trying to correct caused nasty harmonics. There are some high-end gyros that are apparently better at dealing with the odd mass loading when flying with a camera underneath. I haven't the time at present to get into this hobby, but it does sound like quite a bit of fun. Someday...
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: kers on September 17, 2012, 05:22:07 PM
Does this type of shooting comply with invasion of privacy laws? If it hovers over someone's garden does it break the law and what happens if someone decides to shoot it down?

a paparazzi drone :)   - makes wide angle shots possible of a nude Kate Middleton ...
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: francois on September 18, 2012, 07:41:29 AM
Even though these copters have gryo stabilization, flying them is still non-trivial with the heavy load of a DSLR dangling below with winds. I have seen videos from videographers that hired pilots that weren't experienced enough and attached their expensive cameras and lenses only to see them have a great fall from the sky within a few minutes. You can get experience flying with a heavy load by attaching a box filled with sand in place of the camera. The general challenge with a below-copter mounts for cameras is that the center of mass/rotation of the vehicle is far from where it would normally be leading to less stability. Specifically, in most of the crashes it seems like the update-rate of the gyros trying to correct caused nasty harmonics. There are some high-end gyros that are apparently better at dealing with the odd mass loading when flying with a camera underneath. I haven't the time at present to get into this hobby, but it does sound like quite a bit of fun. Someday...

A couple of years ago, I saw a photographer with a small blimp (about 2 meter long) taking shots with a DLSR. It was powered with 4 (IIRC) small electrical engines. It looked quite stable and almost easy to control. Looked like an interesting concept.
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: stamper on September 18, 2012, 07:51:56 AM
Ok I will bite. How do you expose and focus using these devices and more importantly how do you frame an image?
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: kaelaria on September 18, 2012, 08:44:11 AM
Manually, manually and with a remote gimbal.
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: lfeagan on September 18, 2012, 10:38:52 AM
A couple of years ago, I saw a photographer with a small blimp (about 2 meter long) taking shots with a DLSR. It was powered with 4 (IIRC) small electrical engines. It looked quite stable and almost easy to control. Looked like an interesting concept.

A blimp sounds like a great idea for less experienced pilots.
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: OldRoy on September 20, 2012, 06:23:21 AM
http://www.airpano.com/
Might be of interest.
Roy
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: francois on September 21, 2012, 08:54:18 AM
For those interested, I just received a mail about some new drone demoed or presented at the Photokina show:

http://highdrone.com
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: RobSaecker on September 23, 2012, 12:28:20 PM
For those interested, I just received a mail about some new drone demoed or presented at the Photokina show:

http://highdrone.com

The dearth of information there is staggering. A one page website, and a three page brochure that's 66% images. Good luck with that.
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: francois on September 23, 2012, 12:34:39 PM
The dearth of information there is staggering. A one page website, and a three page brochure that's 66% images. Good luck with that.

Yep, I agree 100%. For now, I wouldn't put a cent on that. I thought that the website would be updated during the Photokina but so far, nothing! Googling provides little information except that the price for that drone ranges from $5000 to $25000 depending on options.
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 25, 2012, 11:13:04 PM
It is still a very dynamic market at the moment with lots of entrants with little track record.

My personal inclination in such cases is to wait and see, rent/borrow if needed but not commit on a supplier too early.

Drones will end up being an important photographic tool to address some situations and expand the envelope of the possible. A little bit like panoramic heads, HDR and DoF stacking softwares, laser controlled triggers,...

There is of course a push to be one of the early adopters in order to produce work differentiated by the novelty, but I'd rather focus on carefully mastering the technology as it matures and apply it to the right images to try to come up with good photography, not just novel photography.  :)

I know... boring.  ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Drones with DSLRs mounted for landscape photography?
Post by: dreed on September 26, 2012, 07:10:41 AM
Now that I think about it, I'm curious if national parks, etc, will develop (or become) "no-fly-zone" policies for drones because of safety issues with the public.

To pick one particular location and target, Yosemite Valley in late February with the "firefall" - it'd be quite something to get a drone 1000' up in the air where you could shoot the waterfall straight on rather than up from an angle on the ground. All you would need is 3 or 4 people jostling to get in the right position at the same time and something unpleasant could result. Or high above the meadows on a "moonbow night."

To pick another, use a drone to put a camera out over the top of the Grand Canyon or even in the middle of it somewhere at sunset.

etc.