DSLR KAP… getting there

I have replaced the camera, replaced the lens, replaced the suspension method, replaced the tilt stage, upped the ISO+ shutter speed.. and this is what I get!

It’s been a bit of a wait to get decent wind and light and I have spent the down time balancing the rig and trying to fathom the mysteries of AF-S (Nikons autofocus method for the D5100) . I have got the rig weight down to 1.25Kg now and when I can get hold of an LiFe Rx battery it will come down a bit more. So off I set into a choppy Easterly and go through the drill:

Tx on, Rig on, Plug in AV-out cable, Camera on, VRx on, set shutter release to ‘instantaneous’ remote ( and hope I can get shooting in less than 15mins or it will re-set automatically) ISO 500, Shutter priority- 1/250th, Focus mode – single point, algin polarising filter to horizon…launch kite….….check tilt servo for overrun….In the panic over the weight of this camera I have made some decisions which go against my practice with smaller cameras so far:

1. Use of Picavet suspension. I find the stability of pan movements much more stable with a pendulum, there is no backlash when the pan stops- it’s all very wobbly with the Picavet…and my rig is dependant on a knotted loop of line for security too- I’m happier with a well placed steel pin as the weakest link!

2. Use of IR shutter release. This is much lighter (and simpler) than a shutter servo but it  means  single shot mode only- no ‘burst’ mode ( this is a great shame becasue the D5100 will shoot at 4fps in burst)…and it will cut off if no shots are taken for 15mins.

So I’m begining to ask myself: ‘is it worth it?’ the shot to shot time in live view is awful as I’m forced to wait 3 s in review mode (or not have the review at all)  and handling the weight takes quite a bit of the fun out of flying the kite. But when I check over the contents of the SD card I can see the point:

Of a strip of 177 shots I have the usual batch of 10 or so motion blur failures, a lot of very poorly framed shots (the wind was all over the place), some mysterious autofocus fails …. and and handfull of pure gold!

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
Gallery | This entry was posted in KAP and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to DSLR KAP… getting there

  1. Ramon says:

    I get all your points, or rather, all your pros on the DSLR, but I think it has a bunch of cons too – weight being the primary one and you mentioned a bunch yourself. After a while of using R/C and the lot I switched to AutoKAP with a fairly good camera, the Panasonic LX5. I get great shots and most of the times flying the kite and putting is where I want it is a true pleasure. Not that it’s impossible with a DSLR and the other KAP hardware techniques, but with the lighter stuff I think it’s far less stressful than the bulkier load.

    Having said that (just my 2 p), it’s fair to say that your windmill KAP of today is great. No question about that!

    • I agree entirely with you Ramon with one exception: I don’t get what I want with autoKAP, But the more comfortable you are with the kite the more you can do. The DSLR decision is driven by a need for exhibition quality resolution, there is no doubt a heavy camera won’t work well in light wind. In the end its patience and persistance that get the best out of KAP whatever kit you use!

      • Ramon says:

        Haha, you don’t get what you want with AutoKAP. That’s probably because you’re after specific targets, which is not the case during most of my own KAP outings. Of course I need to have a certain number of keepers with something interesting framed well but autoKAP gives me (indeed) much more freedom than R/C (aimed) KAP. However it’s exactly what you say, Bill – patience, persistance, having fun (and a wee bit of skills, maybe) is all you need for great aerials. Proof for that is the diversity of KAP gear we employ to get want we’re after.

  2. Tom Benedict says:

    This is one of the things I truly enjoy about KAP. Each person has their own comfort zone. I tried AutoKAP for a while, but eventually went back to RC KAP for the same reasons Bill did: It gave me what I wanted. And that’s all any of us are after, in the end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s