The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

A New KAP Camera(s)

Posted by Tom Benedict on 20/02/2014

I got a new KAP camera. Or cameras. I’m not sure which yet. Yeah, there’s a story here…

Late last year there was a flurry of activity on the KAP Forum regarding near-infrared kite aerial photography, normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) imagery, archaeology, and all sorts of other good stuff. During this discussion, the Canon Powershot A2200 came up as a good donor camera to convert to full-spectrum or near-IR use.

New KAP Camera - Canon Powershot A2200

These things occasionally go for as little as $25 US on Ebay, so I decided to pick one up. As it turns out I chose a not so reputable dealer (the negative feedback on Ebay should’ve been a clue… DOH!) so my first one never came in. Neither did my refund. If it ever shows up, I have plans for it, but I’m not holding my breath (more on that in a sec).

But while I was waiting and wishing I’d ordered from a better dealer, I picked up a second one for $29. It’s seen rougher usage than most of my KAP cameras, and came with a fairly heavily scratched screen and a really filthy lens. The lens cleaned up fine, though, and the scratched display doesn’t really bother me since it’s destined for use on a kite.

It took me a little bit to sort out CHDK on the A2200 (yes, it runs CHDK), and to get my KAP continuous remote shutter script to run the way I wanted. But at this point it’s completely up and running and good to go. It even takes the same video out cable as the A650, so I can use it with my video downlink gear, too. It’s basically drop-in ready on my main KAP rig. Yay!

At the wide end the A2200’s lens is roughly equivalent to a 28mm on a 35mm camera – a little wider than the 35mm equivalent of my A650, but almost identical to the field of view of my T2i with its 18-55mm kit lens. And at 133.22g, it’s a fair bit lighter than either the A650 or the T2i. Ok, ok, to be fair the A2200 and the T2i are completely different beasts. The T2i is a full-featured DSLR with outstanding low-light response. The A2200 has a smaller sensor than my A650, and in low-light it really starts to fall apart. But in broad daylight with a clean lens, it’s a nice camera. Perfect for a travel KAP kit.

I’m planning to gut my panoramic rig (again) and rebuild it strictly as a pano travel rig for the A2200 and Gopro Hero 3. That rig will run forever on a set of four AAA batteries, so I probably won’t even bring a battery charger for the rig. The A2200 and the Gopro can both charge off of a USB cable plugged into a computer, so I won’t even need chargers for the cameras.

I’ve got a trip planned to Victoria, BC, in the next two weeks. There won’t be much, if any, time for KAP, but I’m planning to bring the camera, rig, a halo winder, and at least one kite. If opportunity knocks, I’ll be ready.

So about the other camera… Yeah… At this point I’m having so much fun with the A2200, I’m not sure I really want to convert this one to IR. Maybe, just maybe, if the other camera shows up some day, it’ll be the donor camera. Then I’ll have two A2200’s: one normal one and one for IR. Put both of those on the same rig and… Hey! That’s a fun idea!

– Tom

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4 Responses to “A New KAP Camera(s)”

  1. Cool! Have fun in Victoria… if you have a long layover in Toronto, let me know!

    James

    • Tom Benedict said

      Unfortunately we’re flying through Vancouver. But hey, if I wind up in Toronto in the future I’ll give you a holler!

      • Haha in retrospect, I guess it would make absolutely no sense for you to fly through Toronto. But definitely let me know if you ever do!

  2. […] when I got my new KAP camera, I wrote a post about it, and included a photograph of the camera. If you look around the edges of the lens in that photo, […]

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