Aiptek Mega Pencam 1.3 Megapixel
Aiptek Mega Pencam: I was reading the aerial photography forum on RC Groups and found that most people have set up their Slow Sticks with various small digital cameras; anywhere from 2 ounces on up. It is amazing what a Slow Stick can carry. One of the standard setups uses an Aiptek 1.3 megapixel digital pencam, which I got cheap on eBay. Instead of a servo to trip the shutter, I bought a pre-programmed PIC 12c508 microcontroller from MR RC-Cam at www.rc-cam.com. After wiring it into the camera, I can now takes pictures without the added weight and complexity of a servo. The PIC reads the PWM signal coming from the receiver and electronically triggers the shutter. You need to be able to solder on very small pads to install the PIC, but it is worth it. The camera works fine either electronically or via the standard buttons. I have flown the Aiptek in my Slow Stick, 4 meters Solar Plane, and 2 meter AstroFlight Challenger. The Challenger seems ideally suited for aerial photography. It climbs much higher than the Slow Stick and glides much longer. It does take more space for takeoff and landing, so it needs a larger field.
The first two shots are of the Aiptek Mega Pencam installed on the front-bottom of my Slow Stick. After flying the Aiptek on the outside of all my electric planes, I decided that a small hole in the Challenger would be ok and there was enough room inside, as shown in the third picture, to handle the camera and battery. It makes a clean installation with the perfect look angle: down about 45 degrees from horizontal. I have now built three of the Aiptek Mega Pencam's. All three are now flying with other people and I have upgraded to the Aiptek Pencam SD.