Looking for suggestions on Camera

edited September 2019 in KAP Cameras
I've been away too long. Even my significant other , Carla, has drifted away from this activity, and I'm hoping to rekindle the interest. Although, I know she's a great kite flyer and companion. KAPing is fun. So we have a trip planned, and I don't want to be sitting around a beach or maybe a pineapple plantation without having something we could put up in the air. I want to either reconfigure an old rig or build new an Auto KAP rig. Mainly because I don't want to carry a transmitter and all sorts of chargers. An Auto Kap rig, packs small, and we could easily come up with a rig and flying kit that would be easy to pack.

So my question comes down to digital camera. I've always tried to keep costs down in case of a water dunking or bashing into girders of a building. I want light weight but decent performance. Are the Canon ELP's something to consider? I'm open to suggestion and I think my $ ceiling is around $150 or less. I know I should do my own research, but if you'd like to respond, I'd love to hear your suggestions. Tom Nied, Carol Stream, Illinois.


  • Hi Tom!

    We use a simple KAP rig without in-flight panning or tilting, so we need a camera that does interval shooting and snaps a picture every 30 seconds or so. We use Canon A810, Nikon P330, and Nikon 1 J1 (more expensive).

    I checked Canon ELPH sd850 and it has interval shooting mode

    many cheap Canon cameras that don't do interval shooting have the option to install the so-called CHDK software that enables interval shooting among other things.

    KAP rules. Welcome back to it! ;-)
  • For $150 you should be able to pick up a secondhand Canon PowerShot S100 or S110 which you can enable with SDM or CHDK and program as you like. I generally used a simple intervalometer program to take a picture every 4 or 5 seconds, and sometimes one that did zoom bracketing (sequences of 'x' photos at varying levels of zoom).

    Dave Mitchell has made installing either SDM or CHDK a breeze via his website.

    Another option to consider for your budget which I still use is a Sony A5000. This doesn't have an in-built intervalometer but you can download and install a program from Sony's Playmemories website. It's a bit chunkier than the Canon PowerShots but delivers excellent pictures.

    Such is the development rate of digital cameras, you can now get a lot of bang for your buck with just $150! You could even find a small DSLR like a Canon 450D (Rebel XSi in the US?) or Nikon D60 with a kit lens, if you didn't mind the weight penalty. Although you would need a means to trigger each of these.

    If I were to be pushed to pick one of these options then I'd go for the Sony as the Canon integrated zoom lens could be considered a little delicate. I've found the Sony 16-50mm kit lens to be very robust after 5 years.
  • These are really great suggestions and give me something to research. Has anybody tried using the Kodak PIXPRO's ? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019XLL4F6/ref=psdc_330405011_rv_t2_B0075SUIOS At $75 and only 3.68 ounces with a Brooxes "click Pan Servo" I could make that work with a former old auto kap rig. I do like the Canon suggestions. Thanks for responding.
  • I thoroughly recommend the s100 - as well as the advantage of CHDK/SDM it also has built-in GPS to geotag your photos. And if you choose the Canon CHDK route you also can use WaterWingz KAP UAV script. This script functions as an intervalometer that adjusts the shutter speed, aperture and ISO to minimise motion blur. It can also be used in conjunction with USB shutter triggering if you ever add R/C control of the rig and camera.
  • Tom, I think your budget use depends on how important picture quality is to you. You can buy very cheap Chinese GoPro clones with in-built interval timers for peanuts! Maybe $30-40 will get you a 16MP device of unknown image quality and probably a waterproof housing too.

    Another Canon option which I imagine is cheap to source is the A2300. I found one on Ebay for about £35/$50 a few years back but managed to kill it on just its 2nd flight. It was using SDM and was taking nice pictures before I hit the lens barrel on something hard.

    I personally wouldn’t choose the Kodak.
  • edited September 2019
    OK, the Kodak is out, and I should steer clear of just dismal performance cams. I am reminded of what a photography teacher once told me , "the best camera is the one you have and use". I started out KAP with disposable film cameras triggered by a spring timer. Laborious put the kite up, attach the rig, set the timer, set the angle, send the cam up, wait for the click, pull down and repeat. We got lucky the first time out with a remarkably fair sample or aerial photos.

    The cams you've suggested are good, but I'd rather not buy second hand. Is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 a possibility?
  • Tom, I've just done some searching for CHDK and SDM compatibility for the ELPH 190 and it looks like you would have to ask the programming geniuses to make it possible. CHDK supports up to the ELPH 180, and SDM to ELPH 160.

    Maybe Dave M can drop a comment on whether the lists on CHDK Fandom site and his own site (for SDM) are up-to-date?
  • edited September 2019
    I was going to look that up, thanks. Maybe look for a 180. But I could still do it with the pan servo thingy I got from Brooke’s. That’s all I really want to do. Pan a few degrees, stop, take a photo, repeat.
  • I'm sure the CHDK lists are up-to-date and SDM just supports a subset of them. The work involved in adding a new camera is definitely non-trivial and only really happens when one of the few people who can do it (a) has the camera themselves and (b) has the time, enthusiasm and energy to do it. Nobody has even started work on the ELPH 190 so I'd advise against that if you plan to use CHDK or SDM. It's in the nature of the process that cameras have to be around for some time before they CHDK gets ported - by which time they are likely to have been superseded by a newer model (Canon brings out many new cameras every year). In turn that often means you have to buy a second-hand or refurbished one.
    I should point out that all my Canon cameras were bought second-hand on Ebay (and I currently have 6). I've never got a dud that way and the low price means I worry less about losing one (I've lost 3).
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