Camera Operation

The main tasks of the mount are holding and operating the camera. The solutions to the latter may be as basic as a onetime mechanical trigger that has to be reset manually before each exposure (Fig. 7-1A, B), but in times of electricity and remote-control devices, repeated triggering via radio-controlled microservos (Fig. 7-1C) or electronic shutter release cables (see below) is the established standard. Many recent camera models (mostly digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras) that support the picture transfer protocol (PTP) also offer remote capture via USB interface. This enables controlling virtually all camera functions (exposure intervals, shutter speed, aperture settings, ISO settings, white balance, etc.) using remote capture software via wireless connection to a field laptop or onboard computer.

Apart from image capturing functions, the mount may also control camera orientation, that is, the horizontal (pan) and vertical (tilt) position of the camera lens. Such variable camera orientation is usually only implemented in sus-pendable mounts (see below) and is less easy to realize for fixed mounts. Pan and tilt positions could be mechanically fixed for the duration of a photographic sortie, for example, in a vertical position, or may be variable via radio-controlled servos. The same remote-control device that is used for triggering the camera may be used to operate pan and tilt servos for camera orientation and, if applicable, for platform navigation functions in airplanes, helicopters, and hot-air blimps (see Chapter 8).

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