Saturn V S100


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This is a ready-to-fly package with an excellent KAP camera. The Saturn V Rig is fully prepared and configured. A gently used Canon PowerShot S100 12 megapixel camera is included. You can be flying in 30 minutes.

The Saturn V Rig is a kite aerial photography rig designed to use two micro servos to aim the camera for each shot. You can systematically capture photos to stitch into high resolution panoramas or just take lots of photos in all directions.

The Saturn V Rig was designed for the SkyShield autoKAP controller which is included. The SkyShield is a custom circuit board which is a "shield" for an Arduino Nano. The Arduino can run a program ("sketch") which includes eight different regimes of pan/tilt/shoot sequences, any of which can be selected in the field using a DIP switch. The SkyShield allows easy connection of the camera, servos, and battery pack.

The included Arduino Nano is loaded with a sketch which runs when it is powered up. With the free Arduino software installed on your computer, you can update the sketch or modify it to alter any of the pan/tilt/shoot modes described in the sketch.

The S100 camera includes a 4 GB SD card with CHDK installed. CHDK runs when the camera is powered on and is configured for remote triggering via USB. The Canon S100 camera included in this rig has a superb feature set for kite and balloon aerial photography:

  • 1/1.7" sensor (72% larger area than most small PowerShots for less noise and better light sensitivity)
  • CMOS sensor (less noise at higher ISO, so fast shutter speeds do not require maximum aperture, so photos are sharper)
  • Shutter priority mode reduces motion blur (lock shutter speed at 1/800 second and aperture is automatically adjusted for correct exposure)
  • Manual focus (lock focus on infinity)
  • Crisp, fast lens (f/2.0 at the wide end) with iris diaphragm
  • Custom preset (save all the settings for aerial shots and return to them anytime)
  • Native RAW format
  • Digic V processor (fast and smart)
  • Proprietary battery (included, with charger, reduces weight)
  • Aluminum body (most small PowerShots are plastic)

The S100 also has integrated GPS. GPS coordinates (latitude, longitude, elevation) can be saved in the metadata of each photo taken. This data can be used by many mapping, stitching, and structure-from-motion programs to automatically georeference the result. The 3D path of the flying camera can also be displayed. Some examples are here, and one workflow for using the GPS data is here.

This S100 camera is in excellent condition. It has been thoroughly tested and configured for operation on the Saturn V Rig. Camera color is silver.

A Saturn V Rig user manual is included and can be also be downloaded at the Guides page. Flying weight is 540 grams (includes camera, batteries, Picavet, legs, etc.).