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Old May 24, 2006, 6:59 AM   #1
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Greetings all.

I have mounted my Optio S camera on the front of a radio controlled helicopter and have taken a number of pictures using a remote shutter trigger. Yes, this is pretty bizarre!

Unfortunately all the pictures have come out blurred and out of focus. I have tried a number of different settings e.g. "P" and "Landscape" as well as some focus options (auto etc) but the pictures still are out of focus.

My question to the experts is: what would the best setting for the camera to be switched to so thatthe image is in focus. I think that possibly a faster shutter speed would improve things, but it not possible to manually change the shutter speed on this camera. There are however a number of pre-set options such as night shot and portrait but I am not sure if they control the shutter speed and focus. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


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Old May 24, 2006, 9:04 AM   #2
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Does the camera have a "sports" mode? That might increase the shutter speed to its highest setting. Can you specify the aperture and let it specify the shutter speed? If so, pick the largest aperture you can get - that should let it pick the fastest shutter speed it can use for that exposure.

The reality is, though, that I bet the helicopter shakes a lot and will require a very high shutter speed to get anything useful.

Eric
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Old May 24, 2006, 10:47 AM   #3
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As an old retired Navy helo pilot and an amateur photographer, what you see here is a classic example of camera shake ;-)

The only way to beat the problem is to increase shutter speed, which means opening the apature and/or increasing the ISO value. Any settings on your camera that will accomplish that should help.
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Old May 24, 2006, 12:16 PM   #4
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You have to make a vibration absorbing mount. I made one a few years ago for a RV chopper and laced heavy rubber bands to a secondary mount that held the camera. Your trigger solenoid can't touch the main part of the mount connected to the chopper.

They also sell mounts that absorb some of the vibration.

You might ask your question here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=128

Unless you have a sports mode as suggested the camera is point and shoot. About the only other way to increase the shutter speed is to increase the ISO.


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Old May 24, 2006, 8:17 PM   #5
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Yup, shake is your problem. Serious shake. In addition to all of the good advice above, use the shortest focal length possible.
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Old May 24, 2006, 8:44 PM   #6
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A better mount for your camera will help... mount it on foam. Also, don't shoot from a hover or at slow speed. The helo will smooth out with a few knots of forward airspeed. Hovering vibration is always pretty bad... "transitional lift" airspeed (up to about 20kts in a real helicopter) is worse. The shake is reduced after that. Try some foam rubber around the camera.

Also make sure the blades are tracking correctly. The blades should all be in the same plane. We used to check this by chaulking the tip of each blade with a different colored chaulk. Once the rotors are turning, slowly move a piece of white cloth (a "flag" we called it ) to make sure the blades all strike the flag at the same vertical location. Any "out of track" blade will cause increased vibration. Adjust out any variation and re-track the blades.

Out of track blades will cause a low frequency vibration ( a "one per rev" ) vibration. An out of track tail rotor (or shafting) will cause a higher frequency vibration. Your pictures show a lower frequency vibration situation.

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Old Jun 4, 2006, 3:04 AM   #7
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Just a short note of thanks to those who pointed me in the right direction - particularly Wildman. I built a new foam mount for the camera and set the ISO to 100 and things are now almost perfect. Just got to work on my flying skills now...:-)
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