Drone photography can capture some truly breathtaking photos in hard to reach areas. But a malfunctioning mount leaves the camera useless.
If, like many, you fly your drone primarily for its camera capabilities, then you are well-acquainted with the ever so important gimbal system. A faulty system can cause anything from slight blur, to an entire wasted video recording of a spectacular flight. In order to make sure this never happens to you, you need to understand how the gimbal and its servo motors work. After all, a camera drone is useless without a functioning camera.
Take care of your camera drone, and it will take you some incredible photos.
Understanding the camera mount
The Gimbal Support
As seen in the cover image above, the gimbal is the pivoted support for the camera. It allows the camera to rotate about multiple axis for stability. This translates as your drone’s camera staying steady and in the same position regardless of the drone’s position. It means that your camera will stay pointing at your target for a clear image.
2-axis and 3-axis systems
In short, a 3-axis gimbal provides more stability as the 2-axis does not compensate for yaw which leads to a more jittery image. A 3-axis system tends to be heavier and more expensive but, for the purposes of drone photography and shorter flight times, it is well worth it. Find out more here.
The Servo Motors
The vibrations from the rotors, which cannot be helped, can cause real headaches for drone photographers in terms of image blur and jitters. In order to neutralize the vibrations, two things are done. Firstly, the simple concept of movement absorbing suspension is found in the system’s mounts. The second is far less rudimentary and can all but nullify vibration. Using a series of small servo motors on each axis, a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) detects when the camera is not level (which is calibrated by the user) and prompts the same motors to realign. This all happens in a fraction of a second and eliminates vibration on the camera.
Tilt control Motors
This is the coolest aspect of the camera mount and one that allows you, the pilot, to adjust the tilt and positioning of the camera. Using the same concept as MEMS, the user can send a PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) signal to a DC brushless servo motor which mechanically moves the camera position. The servo motor has the benefit of being efficient in terms of their weight to power ratio and you can find a wide variety of servo motors in RS Components, a major online electronic retailer.
Ultimately, the gimbal needs to be fine-tuned to your specific camera. Both the weight and shape of the camera come into effect, whilst its proportional weight to your particular drone is also hugely important. If you’re not confident calibrating the system yourself, check out your manufacturer’s instructions online or better yet, take it to your local hobby shop.