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Camera Selection Question from Home Inspector Wanting to do Roof Inspections

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Offline nafraf

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The issue of the zoom not auto focusing as a known bug is on this site for the A2300 implementation of CHDK.
If you are talking about AutoFocus after optical zoom during video recording, cited on this post.  It was solved for A810/A1300 and A3400. So, probably a similar solution can be used for A2300.

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Offline reyalp

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My idea would be to use a quad copter with FPV (First Person View) to transmit the camera image (camera on all the time) to a ground station, 7" RC monitor on a tripod, and control the camera shutter and zoom from the ground station transmitter via a USB connection to the camera.  As it turns out the A2300 has an 11-pin USB connector which allows me to breakout the video separately and transmit video from the quad to the ground station.
For FPV with CHDK you have two options, neither especially good
1) Cameras can do TV out while in record mode. Many current cameras do not support this. Those with HDMI out consistently do not. Cameras with a separate composite TV out plug probably will do it. Cameras that put video out on the USB plug may or may not be able to do it, but if they do, you will need to make a splitter to have both video out and USB control. (see http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=5691.msg62525#msg62525)

edit: clarification regarding HDMI. It appears that some cameras like the s100 and s110 which support both HDMI and the USB output still allow you to use the USB output for shooting, while only allowing HDMI for playback.

2) Use PTP live view (through the USB port). This requires that you have a USB host computer on board the drone that is capable of running the CHDK specific PTP client.  The computer must then have some way of doing video out. To use the existing live view client, you need a full desktop GUI, although with some coding you could do something more stripped down. A small SBC like a raspberry pi can be used, but it is unlikely the drones flight computer will be able to do it, at least not without significant programming on your end. PTP live view will also not give you great frame rates, resolution, or latency.

An alternative would be to do your FPV with a separate micro camera, although that would obviously give you less feedback about the actual zoom.

Quote
4. Would need to have an 11-pin USB port, I think, in order to breakout the video from the camera.
As noted above, this may not guarantee the camera will actually produce video out in record mode.

FWIW, I recently got an elph130 for <$100. I did the port and it is pretty complete. According to Canon specs it weigh 133 grams (CIPA standard, which presumably includes battery). Battery life isn't great, but probably a lot longer than a drone flight time. I can't tell for sure if video out in record mode works, but if I have the video out cable connected, pressing the shutter extends the lens and the screen stays black.

edit:
According to canon specs, the a2300 and a2500 are 125 grams (with battery). With 16 mp images, you probably don't need the additional zoom of the elph.
« Last Edit: 10 / March / 2014, 13:06:54 by reyalp »
Don't forget what the H stands for.

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Offline srsa_4c

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1) Cameras can do TV out while in record mode. Many current cameras do not support this.
The a2300 is one of those 'new' models that no longer support video out in record mode (just confirmed on my same generation a3400).
Video out support in record mode is missing from:
- all current A series models (starting with a810-a1300-a2300-a3400)
- lower end of newest Ixus / Elph series (mostly not supported, just mentioning)
- sx170 (not supported, just mentioning)
...

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Offline reyalp

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- lower end of newest Ixus / Elph series (mostly not supported, just mentioning)
According to the manual, this should work on elph130
pp115 "when the camera and TV are connected, you can also shoot while previewing shots on the larger screen of the TV."

As on older cameras the AF point zoom and stitch assist are not available.

edit:
Looking at the manuals, it appears the ones that support shooting with tv out explicitly say so, while those that only support playback just don't mention it. You can download the canon manuals from their site, so this can be checked in advance .

The elph130 manual also applies to the elph120, which appears to be the same camera without wifi (edit: but not supported by CHDK yet.)
« Last Edit: 09 / March / 2014, 19:15:57 by reyalp »
Don't forget what the H stands for.


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Offline srsa_4c

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- lower end of newest Ixus / Elph series (mostly not supported, just mentioning)
According to the manual, this should work on elph130
pp115 "when the camera and TV are connected, you can also shoot while previewing shots on the larger screen of the TV."
By 'newest', I meant the 2014 models Ixus 145, 150, 155 (I was curious and downloaded their manual), don't know about the generation before that.

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Offline reyalp

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By 'newest', I meant the 2014 models Ixus 145, 150, 155 (I was curious and downloaded their manual), don't know about the generation before that.
Thanks for the clarification, I actually thought the cutoff was much earlier, so I was quite surprised to see the elph130 supported.

Also, a note for anyone trawling the manuals, on older cameras (2009 D10 for example) the TV out section doesn't mention shooting, there is an additional "shooting using a TV" section.
Don't forget what the H stands for.

The issue of the zoom not auto focusing as a known bug is on this site for the A2300 implementation of CHDK.
If you are talking about AutoFocus after optical zoom during video recording, cited on this post.  It was solved for A810/A1300 and A3400. So, probably a similar solution can be used for A2300.

In my case, I am talking about auto-focus, while streaming, just with the camera "ON," not recording,

My idea would be to use a quad copter with FPV (First Person View) to transmit the camera image (camera on all the time) to a ground station, 7" RC monitor on a tripod, and control the camera shutter and zoom from the ground station transmitter via a USB connection to the camera.  As it turns out the A2300 has an 11-pin USB connector which allows me to breakout the video separately and transmit video from the quad to the ground station.
For FPV with CHDK you have two options, neither especially good
1) Cameras can do TV out while in record mode. Many current cameras do not support this. Those with HDMI out consistently do not. Cameras with a separate composite TV out plug probably will do it. Cameras that put video out on the USB plug may or may not be able to do it, but if they do, you will need to make a splitter to have both video out and USB control. (see http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=5691.msg62525#msg62525)
2) Use PTP live view (through the USB port). This requires that you have a USB host computer on board the drone that is capable of running the CHDK specific PTP client.  The computer must then have some way of doing video out. To use the existing live view client, you need a full desktop GUI, although with some coding you could do something more stripped down. A small SBC like a raspberry pi can be used, but it is unlikely the drones flight computer will be able to do it, at least not without significant programming on your end. PTP live view will also not give you great frame rates, resolution, or latency.

An alternative would be to do your FPV with a separate micro camera, although that would obviously give you less feedback about the actual zoom.

Quote
4. Would need to have an 11-pin USB port, I think, in order to breakout the video from the camera.
As noted above, this may not guarantee the camera will actually produce video out in record mode.

FWIW, I recently got an elph130 for <$100. I did the port and it is pretty complete. According to Canon specs it weigh 133 grams (CIPA standard, which presumably includes battery). Battery life isn't great, but probably a lot longer than a drone flight time. I can't tell for sure if video out in record mode works, but if I have the video out cable connected, pressing the shutter extends the lens and the screen stays black.

edit:
According to canon specs, the a2300 and a2500 are 125 grams (with battery). With 16 mp images, you probably don't need the additional zoom of the elph.

OK my thought was to use the 11-pin USB to acquire the video feed, here is a link to an adapter that pulls the video feed out with a plug that would go to the FPV transmitter on the bird (http://vp-systems.eu/order_cr.html#CABLE-CANON-AV11Cč. The issue would be if the video is continuously displayed while the camera is "ON" through this 11-pin connector?

Appreciate again that in my primary application I would be flying with the camera ON, seeing a perspective shot in the video display, initiating the shutter, flying the bird a little closer, zooming while watching the display and assuming the camera will auto-focus during the zoom, then initiating the shutter again when I have my shoot, via the remote display of the video feed.

Having a secondary computer (PTP) or even a second camera for live viewing would either not be possible or highly undesirable as weight is a big factor when flying a drone.

Just to give some context - a typical high-end multi rotor quad copter (6 to 8 props) with a DLSR an the ability to tilt and focus would run from say $15K to $20K and generally take two people to operate, one to fly and control the camera and another spotter.  This would be a big rig, say 30 to 40lbs and would take a lot of space to transport and time to setup.  With the latest technology here is a bird for under $1K (http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-2 with a 2 gimbal, tiltable gimbal that has the connections to power an FPV system incorporated.  The FPV system to include the 7" monitor is $370.  So for around say $1.5K you could do the same thing as the $15K rig with a little point and shoot.  Obviously the purist will disagree about the quality of the image from the DSLR verses the point and shoot.  And for a smooth professional video the $1.5K rig may not get it, but for what I want as a roof inspector I'm thinking it could be done with this low cost quad!!


1) Cameras can do TV out while in record mode. Many current cameras do not support this.
The a2300 is one of those 'new' models that no longer support video out in record mode (just confirmed on my same generation a3400).
Video out support in record mode is missing from:
- all current A series models (starting with a810-a1300-a2300-a3400)
- lower end of newest Ixus / Elph series (mostly not supported, just mentioning)
- sx170 (not supported, just mentioning)
...

Again not concerned about "Record" mode

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Offline zeno

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@Accupro

I think you misunderstood what 'record mode' means. It means the camera is not in 'playback' mode (displaying pictures you've already taken) but in the mode where the LCD displays what's visible through the lens (and what would be 'snapped' if you clicked the shutter. I think that's the mode you need when you say things like "...seeing a perspective shot in the video display, initiating the shutter, flying the bird a little closer, zooming while watching the display and assuming the camera will auto-focus during the zoom, then initiating the shutter again when I have my shoot...".

So not having 'live video in record mode' will prevent you from doing what you want to do.
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