Steve emailed me a question about camera settings.  He is getting some blurry photos and is trying to improve image sharpness through camera settings.  I am responding here with our notes on settings.

Our strategy has been to try to achieve uniform white balance / exposure across the acquisition at reasonably fast shutter speeds to obtain the best comprise of well exposed and sharp photos.  For the Canon SD4000 and Canon ELPH 520-HS, a rough breakdown of the settings can be found on the wiki, here, and basically goes like this.  Note that we typically apply a 'kitchen sink' approach to the CV-SFM reconstruction, letting the algorithms sort out the imagery and not worrying so much about some fuzz.

  • Set the camera to infinity focus
  • Point at Lastolite EZYBalance 18% grey card in full sun (with center spot white balance)
  • Initiate 'Shutter Speed' controlled continuous shooting with speed no slower than 1/800
  • Fly!

In truth, this does still sometimes produce some fuzzy pictures, as was Steve's original problem.

Perhaps a solution might be to use CHDK to collect bracketed photos at a target point? Or hardwire the camera into the Arducopter for automated shutter control? https://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_Camera

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Hi Jonathan, thanks for your response, and directing me to the wiki.  I think I was using a similar approach to you guys, however I was not setting focus to infinity.  I tried that on a recent flight and it looks like it improved the quality of images.  Thanks!

So far I've got 5 dates of imagery this spring and I'm working on processing my quickly accumulating archive of data.  After green up is done, some time in early June, it would be good to chat about processing strategies.

Hope your growing season is off to a good start!

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