Leica X1: point & shoot KAP

At last there is wind and sun enough to get a test flight in. The object of the exercise is to see if there is a functional view of the subject via the minicam and to get some idea of the shot rate in ‘burst’ mode from the shutter control. I left the camera in ‘auto’ and selected the image stabilisation mode.  It was a rough wind today and, as ever, swirly at ground level on Midsummer common. The rig took some fairly fierce tugging about as the Flowform30 swung madly about the sky.

Eventually I got the kite into reasonably clean air and I took 208 shots of which 55 were rubbished by the inevitable motion blur, I’m pleasantly surprised by the hit rate as the rig was really bucketing about up there. The GS1 on the tilt axis must take some credit for the stability http://www.dunehaven.com/gs1.htm but it looks like the X1 image stabilisation is effective despite it slowing the shot rate down. Taking the shots was something of an act of faith as I have become very used to getting the shot preview on the down link with the EP1; on this set up I just held the shutter control over hard for a count of 5 and hoped for the best. I have noticed there is a delay of about 8s while the image buffer unloads in ‘sequence’ mode on the X1 so again there was quite a lot of silent counting going on.

The view from the mincam isn’t great and I brought the rig back down to re-focus it, it tends to burn out when there is a lot of sky in  shot and has a spherical  distortion to the view: its clearly not designed for long range work- objects are pretty indistinct but nonetheless I was able to frame buildings successfully:

So thanks to careful work by Clive Holins on the voltages and a custom voltage regulator I can point and shoot the X1 at last!

Full size shots are here:



Further improvements would be to try a less ‘fish eye’ lens and to experiment with manual settings, particularly setting the X1 focus to infinity ( to up the shot rate in sequence mode) and set the ISO to a happy speed ( 400 ASA has been suggested). A lens tube ( it will have to be custom made as Leica haven’t made one yet) to take a polarising filter is a must too but for now I’m happy to be able to point & shoot!

It may not look pretty but it does the job: this is the KAP airside case now; it’s all there bar the pendulum ( I have a choice depending on how I travel: a short 56cm one that fits on my bike and longer 92cm one) I keep a drogue in the box and never fly without one, also (under the rolled up drogue) there is the antenna for the RC Tx and a fold up RC Rx antenna. Between them the two cameras give me a weight option in light wind.

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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