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warbishop

RC aerial question about potential

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Hi everyone, I'm a bit new to the forum and to this hobby so forgive my ignorance please. I have been doing aerial photography for years but I have always taken pictures with a nikon camera out of a cessna 172 plane. The only thing is that can tend to add up and get expensive at 100.oo an hour. So, I wanted to look at some alternative ways for taking my shots. So I guess I need to see if this is even a possibility:

1. I am currently taking pictures and then scanning my negatives with a nikon coolscan 400oed and getting nice resolution, can I get as good resolution for printing up to a 20x30 with digital cameras? Or can I mount a regular slr camera to a RC chopper??

2. Where do I need to look for my remote control unit if this is feasible? For the best price vs. quality.

3. Where can I go to get the best complete explanation as to how this all works? Is there a type of camera or any ideas that might appeal to me? I need some good advice from you guys. Please help steer me in the right direction.

Also, how long can u fly a unit at any given time before its time to refuel or recharge or whatever?

How much money will i have to spend to make this work right like i might need for it to?

thanks.....

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I'm sure you will get several different answers. My experience with R/C aerial photography is limited to some amateur shots, but I've been researching it for quite some time.

Can I get as good resolution for printing up to a 20x30 with digital cameras?  Or can I mount a regular slr camera to a RC chopper??

Yes to both. I would recommend getting a good quality digital camera. What resolution do you scan your slides at? Make sure the camera can shoot at a similar resolution. SLR can go up as well, but they are quite heavy making flying a bit more difficult.

2.  Where do I need to look for my remote control unit if this is feasible?  For the best price vs. quality.

Remote for the camera? Remote for the vehicle? Remote for a gimbled camera mount? For the camera I haven't seen any commercial units that would be satisfactory. But making one for a decent camera is not that difficult. It will all depend on the camera you purchase.

3. Where can I go to get the best complete explanation as to how this all works?  Is there a type of camera or any ideas that might appeal to me?  I need some good advice from you guys.  Please help steer me in the right direction.

Here is a great start. There are also many examples on the web of people that are doing this as a business and generally they like to show off their equipment.

Also, how long can u fly a unit at any given time before its time to refuel or recharge or whatever?

There are a lot of different factors to determine that. But lets say about 30 mins just as a quick answer.

How much money will i have to spend to make this work right like i might need for it to?

Again that can vary quite a bit depending on how fancy you want to get.

I would put a range of between 3,000$ and 20,000$.

At 20,000$ that would be a helicopter with autopilot etc. More than you need to start that's for sure.

You can take a look at some of the people doing it profesionally for some proven ideas.

Here's one link.

http://www.airfoilhelicam.com/

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Very basic hobby level R/C digital photography info is found here: http://rc-float-flying.rchomepage.com/Basi...oto/airfoto.htm

For professional grade 20" x 30" enlargements a photographer would probably use at least an 8 megapixel camera. But, if you are happy with what you get from your scanner, then just pick a CCD digital camera that offers a resolution that mimics the setting that you use on your scanner.

As far as costs go, a good camera is where most of your dough will go if you use a small model airplane. If you can find a camera that weighs under 4 ounces, then a stock GWS SlowStick (a simple high wing electric powered trainer) would be a fine camera ship. They are very low cost models and nearly anyone can fly them with a couple hours of hands-on training.

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Hello warbishop

More great info relating to helicopter photo and video flying here.

http://runryder.com/helicopter/f25p1/

and

http://www.elkhart.net/~miked/Alinks.htm

Don't underestimate the experience needed to safely maintain and fly a helicopter in what usually amounts to very challenging situations. This may be the most difficult part of the r/c heli aerial photo idea.

I have had the pleasure flying both fixed and rotary wing aircraft (full-scale and r/c) for many years and now do the r/c flying for http://www.digital-aerials.ca/

The owner is a commercial pilot and had been doing aerial photo work from a Cessna, he had also received his rotary wing rating and always wanted to fly helicopters. This lead to the digital-aerials r/c heli business but he found the flying more difficult than he expected. I will be teaching him as we go along but for now we have photo jobs to do.

I would suggest you learn to fly first, perfect your skills and then think about the photo work.

Hope this helps

Mark

Edited by mwp

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