Well, I placed my order for the tripod head ... and it was shipped today ... so I figure from Peter's neck of the woods ... it should be here by ... Christmas. LOL ;)
It's not a big rush, as the weather is getting somewhat better and I will be heading out to more "on-site" locales for my images, until it does show up. I was wondering if anyone has left their camera out, over night, at a remote sight for a shot. I am extremely leery about such practices.
I thought that I might try a timed-sequence with the A100 and that low-end Phoenix 28-105mm f/2.8-3.8 lens I have laying around. That way if the darn thing does grow legs ... (shrug). Having the camera flashing away, in the woods, could be a really give-away. I'll see if I can finally get "Bog Foot" (Big Foot's swampy cousin).
Which Christmas, Don.
Let me know when you're gonna pull that stunt with the A100. I could do with a new tripod.
You wouldn't want the tripod ... it is a cast-off from the film days with electrical tape securing the leg grips, semi-permanently, so they won't "accidentally" slide back into each other. I really hate when that happens. :(
Better yet, it works totally like I expected: Steady, "solid" feeling and it also provides its own power from 4x "AA" batteries, instead of trying to sustain itself with the low current USB-line voltages. I will place it on-site, shortly and give it the trial.
Definitely, a move forward.
One of the strange aspects to these mounts, is that these robots are all coming with the 1/4" camera stud hole in the bottom of them. That presents a problem when using the standard tripod that has a 3/8" mounting stud. Usually you place a "tripod head" of some kind on it and that usually takes care of it for you. Anyway, not using a "tripod head", but the robot only between the tripod stand and the camera, somewhere along the line you need to have some type of "adapter" to reduce the 3/8" tripod stud down to the 1/4" stud camera hole. As I look around on the web, not too many of those around, I see.
Currently, I am using a Manfrotto 3299 RC2 mounting plate, which works, but I been using it for somewhere else (on my mini-tripod) and didn't want to expend it this way. If someone is aware of a "reducer" somewhere, please let me know. You can always go the other way with a bushing, but this is backwards.
Okay, got back from the store ... and certainly a little miffed about my options finding a "reducer." I wound up with a Manfrotto 234 Monopod Tilt head, which is stout enough to handle all the weight, plus give me some added flexibility with camera tilt, if I should require it. Darn thing isn't cheap, either. :(
So, the robot is ready ... I'll have it in place, tomorrow, when the bird feeders are restocked and "chow time" is announced. :D
Here's how it looks at the present time (3/21/09):
The cable feeding the robot is the USB-controller module. It plugs into the "remote" USB-Extender module port, along with the A700 remote control USB cable.
So ... only one cable goes to the remote site: the Ethernet Cat 5e cable.
Here is the PC control panel, on my 24" monitor.
when it is operating:
- The upper right window panel controls the robot
- The lower right window panel remote controls the A700
- The left window is your resulting shot screen, collection, and review.
lol thats freakin AWESOME !!!!!! imagine the bug shots i could get with that !
i cant wait to see how it works. you should take a video and youtube it.
Nice one, Don. I think there'll be a few following your lead on this one.
So where does your camera sit, outside? You just leave your A700 out? I don't know that I could do that lol, although you do have a security camera system..... So you just set it outside, run back inside, (presumably wait, and look through a window to see what you can get) and shoot away?
It really does work a whole heck of a lot better than the first attempt. I've been playing with it most of the afternoon, to see were the limitations are. Obviously, experimentation reveals the degrees of arc per second you will encounter rotating and tilting the camera remotely. As I kind of expected, this can be a little tedious without a "live" sighting camera attached to the rig, much like you would have peeking down the viewfinder.
Still, it is, in my estimation, a quantum leap in "covert photography" for skittish birds and other natural subjects of interest.
Points of interest ... I have found that using the long glass (200-500mm) actually balances out the robot's tilt capability. Much like a "see-saw" ... the longer the board, the easier the lift. It seems to struggle a little more from extreme tilts with just the camera and a short lens. Also, the higher the camera is from the tilting pad, the more difficulty it presents to the system. The physics of force and leverage.
Like anything, there are nuances.