Saturn V S100


Price includes US shipping.

This is a ready-to-fly package with an excellent KAP camera. The Saturn V Rig is fully prepared and configured. A lightly 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 photography, perhaps the best of any PowerShot model:

  • 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)
  • Built in GPS (each photo records the lat., lon., and altitude of the camera for auto placement on maps or structure from motion)
  • Native RAW format
  • Digic V processor (fast and smart)
  • Proprietary battery (included, with charger, reduces weight)
  • Aluminum body (most small PowerShots are plastic)

I purchased this camera used. It is in excellent condition and has been thoroughly tested and configured for operation on the Saturn V Rig. The PowerShot S100 is the camera I used on a Saturn V Rig to make the series of "little planet" panoramas (see below).

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.).

Little planet projection of an aerial panorama stitched from 25 photos taken by a Canon S100 on a Saturn V Rig lofted by a Fled kite from the Middlebury College campus on November 5, 2015.