EOS M Cradle

edited February 2014 in KAP Cameras
My most recent kite aerial photography (KAP) rig has been built around the Canon EOS M with an EF-M 11-22mm lens. So far the camera has been very impressive on the ground. I cannot wait to get it in the air.

EOS M KAP cradle

For the last few years I have been flying a Canon Rebel dSLR as my principal (and darnn near exclusive) kite aerial photography (KAP) rig. At last count I had a little over 250 KAP sessions with this rig (sound of Benton knocking on wood). I really like working with the smaller Canon dSLR cameras. They are tough. The larger APS-C sensor is relatively smooth and the higher ISO settings are more useable. On the other hand, my dSLR KAP rig is relatively heavy at 3 lb. 8-1/2 oz. (1.6 Kg) and it is a fairly expensive setup for my frequent work over water (salt ponds and wetlands) should replacement become necessary.

For a sense of the photographs produced by this technique see:

A couple of years ago I developed a KAP cradle for the diminutive Sony NEX-5. The camera offered an APS-C sensor in a relatively small package thus promising image quality similar to my dSLR rig at substantially less weight. For reasons I cannot fully explain I just never warmed up to the NEX-5. The images were fine but the interface seemed clumsy and I always managed to find an excuse not to fly it. After it sit around for months I ended up giving it to one of my sons.

I am now trying an EOS M. When issued the camera seemed overly expensive for what it delivered but this last summer the prices dropped dramatically to about 300 USD. I ended up buying one with its 22-mm prime kit lens and then splurged by ordering an EF-M 11-22mm wide angle zoom from Canada (they are not sold in the US).

I like the EOS-M and the images it produces. Over the last few days I set about adapting a HoVer KAP cradle originally built for the Canon Elph series and then modified to carry the NEX-5. The conversion is finished and I waiting for the weather to clear for the first flight.

EOS M KAP cradle

I just put my gear on a scale:

Cradle empty ………………………………….…. 12-1/2 oz. (345 g)

Picavet and kite line attachments…………..….… 3-1/2 oz. (99 g)

Camera body with 11-22mm lens………….. 1 lb. 2-3/4 oz. (531 g)

So, my all up weight with the 11-22 mm lens is 2 lb. 2-3/4 oz. (0.985 Kg). This is about 60% of the weight (and expense) of my current Canon dSLR rig.

More views of the rig are available in this set:

This rig uses a radio transmitter to rotate and tilt the camera. The radio can also switch the camera between portrait and landscape format (HoVer) as well as fire the shutter. For a description of the transmitter see:

I am activating the EOS M shutter using one of James Gentles' nifty GentLED-Shutter devices. This converts an RC signal into an IR remote command recognized by the camera:

Addendum: I have now made my first flight. All went well.

EOS M cradle below a Sutton 30

Photographs from the session are posted here:


  • Impressive summary.

    Love to see one or two high res shots with 100% crops to see the detail.

  • edited February 2014
    Hi Jim,

    I have uploaded full resolution versions of two EOS M images from the Solar Calendar photo set. You can click through to the high resolution version. These were taken with the 11-22 mm zoom at full wide (18-mm equivalent), f 5.0 and ISO 400. I used Photoshop CS6 to convert from Canon RAW to JPG then ran a small amount of Smart Sharpen (40% at 0.9 radius).

    Solar Calendar, Berkeley Waterfront

    Sunday's incoming fog somewhat obscures detail in the distance.

    Solar Calendar, Berkeley Waterfront

    The downward view shows the corners going a bit soft but no more so than my EF-S 10-22 mm.

  • SueSue
    edited March 2014
    It's good to see you're not just "Admin" but a real KAPer. We know you are but you seem to keep quiet unless there's a problem with this site.
    It's fun making something new and getting to play with it isn't it?

    Fly High

  • Beautiful! I've been wondering EOS M too, because how the price and features match nicely in my mind. :)

    I believe that red material is plywood?

    I'm currently prototyping a rotating pendulum rig with Meccanos, and while the parts separately don't weigh that much, surprisingly fast they build up some grams... I'm currently at 700g with the rig (not yet fully finished), motor, 2 x AAs and a Canon A810. Have to try using wood also...
  • edited February 2014
    I too have joined the Eos M club and find the results are very good. It's a camera that likes to take a bit of time on AF but it is terrific value. APSC size format got affordable with this one!

    I think the resolution is fine too:
  • That's why I love this forum. I see what people with ingenuity, skill and patience can create. It inspires me to improve my crude first attempts.
  • edited February 2014
    Talk about patience Larry! It's raining again here so my patience is being tested ...again. :(

    However I have the time to do this. Here is a 100% crop as requested by WW:

    I think this was at the 60m AGL mark. I used the 22mm 'pancake' lens as a weight saver. I have a converter which widens it to (22x0.75)16.5mm if required. Here is the Exif:

    Camera: Canon EOS M
    Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
    Aperture: f/7.1
    Focal Length: 22 mm
    ISO Speed: 800
    Exposure Bias: 0 EV
    Flash: Off, Did not fire
    X-Resolution: 240 dpi
    Y-Resolution: 240 dpi
    Software Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.6 (Windows)
    Date and Time (Modified): 2014:02:14 12:19:44
    Artist: Bill Blake
    Copyright: BBHD 2013
    Exposure Program: Program AE
    Sensitivity Type: Recommended Exposure Index
    Recommended Exposure Index: 800
    Date and Time (Original): 2014:02:13 12:58:50
    Date and Time (Digitized): 2014:02:13 12:58:50
    Max Aperture Value: 2.0
    Subject Distance: 4294967295 m

    I always smile when I see the 'subject distance' on these, I wonder how much line I'd need to be 4 million Kilometres from my subject?
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