willing to share your setup? i'm getting more serious with aerial photography for work and will be upgrading from a phantom soon. doing very large commercial work (30-40+ story buildings) and we're outgrowing our current equipment
When I set out to build my quad it was more as a hobby/proof of concept but with potential work application. I was on a budget (who isn't?!) and was looking for the best possible performance in high wind along with reasonable flight time.
Before I decided to try multicopters, I played with your typical single rotor helicopters. I still have a pile of them right here in my office... After my experience with single rotor helis, simplicity was also high on my priority list. As far as performance in high wind goes, I decided bigger was better. As for flight time, large lightly loaded props are far more efficient than small highly loaded props. Also, keeping props away from each other helps efficiency.
Tri copters have the complexity of a sero driven articulated prop mount so I settled on a quad rotor. Quads also have the advantage of keeping the props fairly well out of the video frame. More props could give a degree of redundancy but this is dependant on your controller/setup and is at the expense of efficiency and cost. Redundancy may be a bigger factor for you given that you are obviously working in a built up area. Frame:
Custom built from 22mm carbon fiber tube and 2mm carbon fiber plate. It is 1.055m diagonally between motor centres. It really is not hard to make a decent frame for a lot less that it costs to purchase ready made. Motors
Turnigy SK3 4240 620kv. ESCs
are Hobbywing Pentium 60A modified with external heatsinks and running SimonK firmware. Props
APM2.5 running the latest Arducopter 3.1.2 software. Arducopter has come a long way since I began using it and I believe it is a serious contender in the autopilot stakes. Since version 3, setup is a breeze and you should have no trouble flying right out of the box. Being open source, you have complete access to the code (I have modified parts of it myself) I use an external magnetometer (compass) along side the Ublox LEA-6H GPS on a raised mount.Telemetry
I use the 3DR 433mhz radios or telemetry back to my android phone running Droidplanner. Range 1km+ My transmitter also receives telemetry data via the FrSky transmitter/receiverBatteries
I fly with 2x8000mah 4S Zippy LiPo batteries. I use the Turnigy Mega 400W x2 charger and connected to the truck, can charge both batteries in 30min.Transmitter
Turnigy 9x transmitter which runs the ER9x firmware and has been converted to use the FrSky 2.4GHz transmitter module (which also has telemetry). Range 2km+Gimbal
Custom made carbon fiber gimbal using 2 x Gimbal Brushless Motor 4114 from RCTimer driven by the Martinez controller.FPV
Fat Shark Attitude V2 5.8Ghz - Range approx 500m
Take off weight with GoPro: 5.85Kg
Max static thrust: 13.6Kg (188A @ 15.5v)- measured in a custom made testing rig)
Flight Time: Stable Hover in no wind down to 14V (3.5v/cell) = 26min
I have just today set up a dual operator system where a second operator can take control of the camera tilt/pan. I have done this using one of my old ESky 4 channel transmitters connected to my 9x using the trainer port. At the flick of a switch I can hand over control or take it back from the camera operator who is in charge of framing the shot using the FPV goggles. My gimbal is only two axis (tilt and roll) but the camera pan is achieved by yawing the entire copter. Even with the yaw operated by the cameraman, controlling the copter is still relatively straight forward for the pilot using the Arducopter 'Super Simple' mode which operates independent of the copters orientation.
Having built and setup the system myself, I have an intimate knowledge of all the systems involved. With a few spares on hand, I can be up and running within a few hours of even a serious crash. It is amazing what you can do with some carbon fibre sheet/tube/mat and some 5 minute epoxy