The View Up Here

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

Tiny Camera – Tiny KAP Rig

Posted by Tom Benedict on 27/02/2014

I’m traveling to Victoria, BC, in the next couple of days. Any time I travel the question comes up: what camera gear should I bring? Should I bring a tripod? Should I bring kite aerial photography gear? What kinds of photography can I do? And how much time will I really have to do any of this stuff, anyway?

In this case the answer to that last question is probably “a couple of hours at best”. For personal stuff, anyway. One of the purposes of the trip is to do technical documentation photography, so I’ll have my full camera bag and tripod with me. But our days will start right around sunrise and will end just before sundown. I’m packing my graduated ND filters and some other gear to make sunset and early evening skyline photography possible, but the opportunities for doing kite aerial photography will be seriously limited.

But if I can find room in my bag, I’m planning to bring a Flow Form 16, a halo winder, and my new (to me) Canon A2200. Since my main KAP rig is massive overkill for such a small camera, I knocked together a minimalist KAP rig designed around the A2200. No servos. No batteries. Point on the ground, send it up with the intervalometer chugging away, and live for the serendipity of it all. The entire rig, including the Brooxes Folding Picavet, came in right around 57g. Add in the camera’s 133g and the all-up flying weight is still under 200g. Even if the wind isn’t blowing enough for the Flow Form to really come into its own, it should still be able to lift the thing.

Dinky Rig

There’s actually some room to shave weight off the rig. The main framework comes in just over 12g. Most of the real weight in the rig is the Picavet and the post. The post and all of its hardware is steel, so that’s where the bulk of it lies. If I have time before the trip I may change that out for a thin aluminum tube (knitting needle?) with threaded rods epoxied and pinned in each end. Some creative aluminum jam nuts and I could probably knock 10-20g off the thing.

The whole thing can be disassembled in the field and reassembled without the upper half of the frame. This lets the camera hang vertically. I don’t know how much of that I’ll do with this rig, but it’s nice to have the capability. In either the vertical or the horizontal orientation, the camera can be tilted anywhere from straight up to straight down. (It’s amazing how easy it is to get extreme motion in your axes when there aren’t any motors involved!)

I’m hoping to have a chance to take this out for a test flight before I get on the plane. But if the weather keeps doing what it’s been doing for the past several weeks, I really won’t have the chance.

Bummer.

– Tom

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