Here are the pictures from the "dropped" Canon SD750. It was set to take an automatic picture every 2 seconds. The last picture taken from the plane is frame 1 and then frame 2 is the first free fall picture taken 2 seconds later of the sky. The camera was obviously in free fall and shaking as the picture is quite blurry as is frame 3 except the camera had reached terminal velocity and had rolled over allowing the snap of the dry lake bed rushing up! This little three frame sequence is at least 5 seconds long - meaning the camera fell for that length of time as the last two pictures show being taken two seconds apart.

Was out flying at the dry lake bed where we fly. Maidening a warbird (the new PZ P-47 - flew great!!). I wanted to try out a "new" Canon SD750 that I picked up off e-bay and as my Magpie is in for repairs I decided to take out the Solution for the testing. I have made a mount that just utilizes the normal DSLR mount and extends out to hold a small point and shoot camera. With the battery as far forward as is possible and the servo leads it all works for proper CG and balance. The plane is similar in it's handling to the MM Magpie AP in that it tends to climb at a fair rate when under power but it is MUCH better when the power is shut off and glide is initiated.

The boring part.

I got a Canon SD 750 on e-bay very cheaply for me. I wanted it because it is higher in resolution than my SD600's that I normally use. I have it set up to "trigger" the SD600's via a servo epoxied directly to the camera case over the shutter. I set the camers up for no flash, display off, manual mode, continuous shooting. Then when I get the plane in position I just trigger the camera and it begins to take rapid shots of about 1 FPS slowing to 1 every 1.7 seconds after about 8 shots but it will continue shooting as long as the shutter remains pressed.

I have been experimenting with a HACK little program for Canon cameras that is actually supported by CANON. This little program is called CHDK. It is loaded into the camera via the SD memory card and is executed on start up. One of the features is that you can set the thing to run a "SCRIPT" to set, enable features and execute commands in a sequence. It allows for a huge array of features and functions to be had where they would not normally be in a cheap camera. The function I was most interested in was called an - intervelometer - a method to cause the camera to take a picture at a given interval under "set" circumstances. These little scripts were originally designed for TIME LAPSE photography as the delay between pictures can be set in minutes/seconds/tenths of seconds! You can control how many pictures will be taken, how often they are taken as well as lens zoom, focus, shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed and on and on.

My script (because I am not good - yet! LOL!!) was made to delay the first picture by 3 minutes then take 100 pictures 2 seconds apart. I had the shutter speed set to 1/250 and ISO at 80 (daylight/sunshine) but variable.

The beginning of my script was fubar. The script would execute at start up of the camera - but there was no delay - it would almost immediately start shooting the 100 pictures - 2 seconds apart!!

Why? Well for one thing if I can get this to work CORRECTLY - then I will no longer need a servo to actuate the shutter! The camera will operate totally on it's own. All I have to do is fly! I have a talking timer that I can set to match the initial delay (should be just long enough to get to altitude and approach the "target").

I discovered a drawback to this today!

I readied the Solution for flight and had every thing set to go BEFORE I turned on the new camera as I had already tried it an knew it would immediately start snapping shots. When all was ready I started the camera (turned it on). It started. I took off.

I flew a circular racetrack pattern from where we were parked. There was another guy flying and he was attempting to under fly my plane in order to get some air-2-air shots. I also like to get some air-2-ground shots of us flying. Flew for about 4 minutes. The camera script "should" have ended so no real point in continuing. Set up an approach and landed.

Several of the guys all said,"Your camera's gone!".

I replied that it couldn't be as the CG never changed and the plane flew the same the entire flight with no discernible change in flight characteristics!
But it WAS GONE.

The mount had separated and the camera and front portion of my southern engineered mounting system WAS gone.

No one saw anything leave the plane in flight but it obviously did.

We began searching by foot, then car.

The camera was eventually found 2/10ths of a mile from the initial launch site.
It was in several pieces, battery and SD memory card were ejected on impact - through the battery door taking said door with them right off the camera case!! The lens was OPEN - out.

I found it quite surprising and amazing that the Solution is THAT nice and THAT stable an airplane. I (nor anyone else watching the flight) ever got one hint of instability from the plane. PERIOD. Rock solid throughout the entire flight and very well behaved for such a change in CG that it went unnoticed!!

Oh yeah - that Canon SD750. Pictures were recorded to the SD card right up to impact. Last clear picture shows altitude of about 500 to 600 feet altitude. Then there is a blur blurry picture followed by a sand brown extremely blurry picture and then nothing. 71 pictures total.

After dumping the pictures off the card I put it back into the camera, the battery door was then reattached and it seemed to work so I inserted the battery. The camera powered up! The lens acted normal with no grinding or noise! Also it began to snap pictures as per the routine!!

I was flabbergasted!!

Camera off, Remove SD card and insert it into computer expecting to see badly blurred out of focus pictures. The pictures look great! In focus and high res,!!


I guess from now on when I fly a camera that isn't even tethered to the plane with a servo lead - I had better utilize a safety strap!! LOL!! Because the plane will just fly around as if nothing has happened!!


Pre drop air-2-air.

Pre drop air-2-air.

Pre drop air-2-air.

Post drop quality test shot.

Post drop quality test shot.

Post drop air shot.

Post drop air shot.

QC shot.

Last of the post drop shots for this day!