Flying the ITW Triton on the beach (nice on-shore wind)
Although I am very happy to continue to use CHDK and older Canon Powershots for my infrared photo kite flying, I had a look briefly at other options, primarily cameras with a built-in interval timer capability, as well as suitability to be modified for IR, support for RAW files and relatively light-weight – I don’t have the appetite to fly my Sony a7ii or any other big heavy and expensive SLR.
After a quick search, and reading various user guides, a few interesting suitable cameras turned up. There are more cameras with built-in interval timers, such as the new Nikon A, Fujifilm X100F, older Lumix LX and Olympus tough TG series, but these either have an unsuitable fixed (too wide) lens, are expensive to dangle from a kite or the interval timer will only do a small number of shots with an interval of minutes, rather than the ideal of 3-5 seconds.
The interesting ones that did turn up were the:
- Fujifilm X30, X70, X-E2, X-E2S, X-A3
- Nikon J1, J2 & J3
- Panasonic Lumix DMC GX7, GX8, GX80 & GX85
- Samsung NX500
All nice cameras, and interestingly able to capture full-spectrum and use lens-filters (rather than just a fixed near-IR frequency), but also more expensive than a cheap older Canon A or SX models running CHDK; although a used Samsung NX500, Nikon J1 and Lumix GX7 would be less expensive to purchase used.
UPDATE: Sony Time Lapse App
I originally missed that Sony offer an in-cameraTime-Lapse app for a number of their cameras: Time Lapse App
- NEX-5R, NEX-5T & NEX-6
- a5000, a5100, a6000, a6300 & a6500
- RX100M3, RX100M4, RX10M2, RX1RM2, RX10M3 & RX100M5
This looks like a very comprehensive capability and on an older camera like an NEX-5 or a5000, a quality inexpensive option.
As I find more suitable cameras I will add them to this page: Cameras with Interval Timers
So the little 590nm modified Powershot n finally came to a destructive end from mother nature and, on reflection, my ill-considered kite flying – I should have flown a kite more stable for bigger gusts on the day. We learn.
The lens took most of the impact and will now not extend or retract. I guess it could be repaired, but it is not worth it and I would like to change it for something less fiddly. It has been good as a light-weight flyer, but I have struggled at times, especially while holding the line, with the small touchscreen and CHDK settings.
Next, it is a Canon Powershot SX240, as I decided to continue using CHDK for access to RAW files and interval timer scripts; saving the weight of an external interval-timer unit. The SX240 is still light-weight, inexpensive to buy used and convert. It also has a shutter priority mode, unlike the Powershot n, which should help with swinging around on the end of a pendulum.
I looked at a few other compact cameras, like the Olympus TG (tough series) but could not find anything inexpensive to buy, with a built interval-timer that supported short intervals around 1-5 seconds and unlimited shots (until the card is full), which is what CHDK scripts will do. I also looked at using older GoPro models, which can now be converted for IR, however, don’t like the smaller sensor images and fixed wide angle – fly too high and the images are too wide losing detail.
The Canon A series (good optiA810, A1300-1400, A2300-2600, A3300-4000) are generally cheaper than the SX series to buy used and lighter, however, they don’t have helpful options like shutter priority.
Infraredy (the ever excellent and helpful Andy) are already converting the SX240 to 660nm and it should arrive for the weekend. I decided on 660nm just for something different from the Powershot n’s 590nm and did not want the more color-limited options of 720nm, 850nm etc.
The final flight of the little modified Canon Powershot n – rode my luck with on-shore winds one time too many off-shore winds and the kite and camera crashed. The kite, an ITW Triton, survived but the not the camera.
On reflection, I should have flown the foil, which is happier in heavier winds. The Triton was stable but got hit by a big gust as it was being hauled down and had no chance to recover.
Monochrome 590nm images, processed at 2400K.
Surfers carrying boards off the beach as the weather worsened.
Into the Wind Triton
KAP shots at 590nm from the little modified Canon Powershot n, flying on an ITW Ultrafoil 15 and a KAPshop Simple 1 rig. Channel swapped, white-balanced at 2400K and recolored.
Into The Wind Ultrafoil 15
Marble Hill house in 660nm. Camera lifted on the Rokkaku.
All image rights reserved.
Interesting site about KAP’ing in Antartica: Chris Henderson
The eagerly awaited new Dan Leigh Wildcard delta arrived, so I headed off to the park this afternoon with the promise of reasonable 9mph from the weather apps….. and, as usual, in the park it was something less than an asthmatic fieldmouse blowing out miniature birthday candles. 🙁
Tried to fly the Wildcard, but in the end only the delicate Carbon Whirlwind would play ball; not even my son’s fun pterodactyl would play with us. Fingers crossed for more wind over the next week so I can give the Wildcard a good tryout.
After some nice early diving in the morning, out on Buccaneer, I managed to get the kites up for a short while on the beach in the afternoon.A nice easy location, with a wide beach right by the old fort. The off-shore wind was a bit temperamental around 8-12pm, with occasional lulls, but sufficient for the Triton and Rokkaku.
A day where the temperamental Rokkaku showed why it is worth persevering with. The Triton lifted to a reasonable height, but did not like the lulls and came down gracefully (one of its qualities). The UltraFoil 15 would not play and just hung around and sulked – this is a kite that likes strong wind. And the Rokkaku showed them all up, straight up, pulled like the usual train and nailed itself in the sky, twice as high as the Triton. Very impressive; I love this temperamental kite more and more.
Camera & Rig Settings
Infrared modified 660nm Olympus e-PM2 & Panasonic 12-32mm lens
- ISO: Auto, capped at ISO800
- Format: RAW
- Mode: Shutter priority @ 1/1000th
- Focal Length: 12mm (full-frame equiv = 24mm)
- Intervalometer: 15sec delay start (saves pointless initial lifting shots), 2 second interval.
- Rig Pan: 20degree steps
- Rig Tilt: H-45-N
Location: Shoreham by the Sea Beach
Occasionally I find the weather forecast is for decent winds, but with potential for big gusts.
One option is to not fly a kite, probably the most sensible option, however, sometimes I feel brave and foolish and put a kite up. There are, however, only a few kites I would trust with the risk, those with a wide enough wind range, predictability and robust enough to take it.
The ones I would trust are my:
- Trooper – I think it can take just about anything
- Cody 30 – always stable, as long as there is someone there to help assemble it.
- UltraFoil 15 – it can collapse, but recovers predictably and floats well.
The ones I would keep in the box are my Rokkaku, enough of a fight inside its comfort zone and don’t fancy it in a more stressful environment, the Whirlwind, just a bit too delicate, and Triton.