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Are Fixed Cameras A Death Sentence for Aerial Videography?

Are Fixed Cameras A Death Sentence for Aerial Videography?

A gimbal can be quite helpful for aerial videography if you have ambitions beyond creating low-budget commercial videos. A UAV gimbal is mainly advantageous because it: Stabilizes the camera Allows independent control Enables changing the view in FPV Yet, gimbals have some inherent disadvantages, including their relatively high cost and a weight which translates to

A gimbal can be quite helpful for aerial videography if you have ambitions beyond creating low-budget commercial videos. A UAV gimbal is mainly advantageous because it:

  • Stabilizes the camera
  • Allows independent control
  • Enables changing the view in FPV

Yet, gimbals have some inherent disadvantages, including their relatively high cost and a weight which translates to a reduction in flight time. Given that a basic 2-axis model such as the Tarot T-2D starts at $100 and a 3-axis model like the Quanum Q-3D starts at $150, they can represent a bit of an investment. And, functionally, these gimbals can only support small action cameras such as the AEE or GoPro. Of course, you can source gimbals that can handle DSLRs such as the Tarot RC, but they cost in excess of $500. So what do you do if you want to take great images or video but don’t want to make this investment? Is your fixed system good enough

Pros and Cons of Fixed Cameras for Aerial Videography

So, do fixed-camera systems such as the one in the AEE AP9 have advantages over gimbals? We think so. Along with being significantly cheaper, they offer these perks:

  • Ease of Use: Fixed camera systems are much more portable and do not require extensive setup in terms of tuning the gimbal controllers. This feature is especially useful for citizen journalism in scenarios where immediate deployment is required, such as during natural disasters.
  • No Requirement for FPV: Using a gimbal without an FPV system is quite challenging since the pilot cannot monitor the video to make sure that the subject of the videography is not being obstructed, by the propellers for example. The added weight of the FPV setup further reduces the flight times, and they cost $100+. A fixed camera system ensures the video is focused where it is required and also represents significant savings on the alternative.

Fixed camera systems do, however, have a few disadvantages that you should consider if you’re wanting to take great images with your drone:

  • Lower Stability: For aerial videography, a fixed-camera system will always be less stable than a gimbal. However, if you are a professional photographer who has a limited budget but you want to use your DSLR for aerial photography, a fixed camera system with a stabilized lens can be a good way to minimize this problem.
  • Reduced Control: Using a fixed camera system, the only way to control where your camera is pointed is by controlling your drone. This is more difficult to master and definitely not recommended for existing or aspiring professional aerial photographers.

Thus, as an amateur aerial photographer, it is recommended that you start off with a fixed-camera system and build a portfolio of impressive videos demonstrating your skills. Later on, you can get certified and move on to becoming a professional. Getting a gimbal for professional aerial videography would be a much more reasonable investment. Do you have any experience with fixed cameras for videography? Please leave a comment below!

Image via: KamrenB Photography

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