KAP Cameras

Contemporary KAPpers use cameras ranging from single use film cheapies to Digital SLRs. Use this category to tell us what you use and why or to pose questions on matters photographic.

Ricoh GR - APS-C - fixed 28mm equivalent - intervalometer



  • Man that is cool! Your whole rig including the camera weighs about the same as just the Canon EOS M with 22mm lens.
  • Thanks for your positive comments guys.

    This rig has been a labor of love over the last few weeks but as usual we build on the efforts of others. Many of the ideas behind this rig come from designs described on this forum. One hidden feature is that it has an RC power switch used to control the video transmitter, conserving the 300 mAh 2S Lipo battery for up to an hour of flight time. This avoids the heavier 3S battery which usually powers these types of transmitter. A 78L05 regulator drops the voltage to 5v for the receiver and the servos.

    Malman - Thanks for your congratulations on the arrival of the GR. It was certainly worth waiting for. The configurability of the beast is mind blowing but I've more or less settled on Auto Hi ISO set to a maximum of 1600 with change shutter speed set to auto. The Noise Reduction is set to low at ISO's below 400, Medium at 800 and then High above 800. I've set snap shutter focus to infinity and operate in shutter priority mode nominally set to 1/640th of a second @ f2.8. I'll report on the results once I get airborne which will be this coming weekend with any luck!

  • A video of this rig in action would be nice. chippy U.K.
  • Hi, Al

    Would you tell me how to connect the gentWire and AV output simultaneously ?
    I'll try to use my GR for KAP.
  • I'm considering an upgrade of my S95 to a Ricoh GR. The size and weight are similar and it looks like the GR would fit my rig with almost no modification. I always shoot at 28mm, so a fixed focal length doesn't bother me much and 28mm seems to work very well for stitching panoramas. On my pendulum rig, the controller is set to trigger the shutter at the peak of the pendulum swing when motion is at a minimum. This works well with my S95 because SDM allows the shutter to be triggered via USB with almost no delay. Does anyone know if the Ricoh GR can be controlled similarly with very low delay using the USB port (i.e., 0 to 20 msec)?


  • edited November 2013
    There is now a gentWIRE-videoUSB that allows access to shutter release AND video out simultaneously.

    @Mike LeDuc
    For autoKAP rigs there is an intervalometer option using both genTIMER and gentWIRE-USB. Not sure if it gets to 20mS though, must be reasonably fast though...
  • Thanks James.
    I will order soon.
  • Thanks for the information James.
  • edited November 2013
    your rig is a beauty. couple questions if you don't mind- what is the gold/bronze colored disc item, and how do you secure
    your gears to shafts- seems like there's a lot of load / torque out-front in picture 3 ? upon another look it seems that you've used
    the " squeeze-it-between-a-couple-of-nuts " ( sounds like a car- pool ) approach, which usually works for me.
    the only thing that scares me is the wing nut above the picavet. how 'bout a lock-nut instead, even though it's more work
    to switch the picavet to another rig....

    ps- just came back from flickr and now understand that the disc is an antenna.... would you tell us more about it...?
  • edited November 2013
    This David Wheeler thread, which includes my own experience and that of several others, covers the use of wing nuts for this purpose:

  • Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your kind words on the GR Rig – it was a long time in the making!

    The load on each set of gears is balanced to minimize the turning moment for any given position in each plane of rotation. I used an idea gathered from this forum, building the rig for balance, beginning from the inside. I built the camera support arm first (twist), followed by the tilt arm next and finally the pan arm ensuring each was supported at the optimum balance point, limiting the tendency to turn unaided. (Note the pivot point for the camera is in line with the lens rather than the tripod socket). And you’re right, the gears are secured by the car-pool (!) method but with “crinkle” lock washers either side to stop slipping.

    I have read the wing nut thread and will be changing my ways immediately, using a lock nut instead – thanks for the horror stories Tony! The thought of dropping another camera into the sea has me cringing after bidding farewell to my faithful NEX-5n over the surf at Secret Harbour only last week.

    The gold disk (ground plane antenna) is another version of the usual RC transmitting antenna. This standard sleeve-dipole antenna creates a spherical radiation pattern around the rig whereas the ground plane antenna covers only the hemisphere below the rig. The disk effectively concentrates the energy downwards and outwards in a doughnut pattern, ideal for Kappers. In its vertical orientation the antenna is symmetrical so the signal strength is the same regardless of where the rig is pointing. This is not really an antenna you can build at home as it needs some testing and tuning (VSWR) with specialized equipment which is quite fiddly at 5.8 gHz.
    Cheers, Al
  • Nice rig skysnaps99! Sorry to hear about your NEX-5n.
  • edited December 2013
    I just did my maiden flight with my newly purchased Sutton Flowform 16 and Ricoh GR. Both performed beautifully together in 6 to 12 mph winds with a rig & camera weighing only 15 oz. The images are outstanding and out of 794 images I only found 3 image out of focus. The 28 mm lens really feels right, I really feel Ricoh got it right and that this camera is perfect for the type of KAP I do.

    Robert Moses Water tower III
  • edited March 2014
    I've recently purchased a Ricoh GR and love the quality of the photos it produces. It does have USB remote shutter control, however, I've found that the delay to activate is too long (~250 msec) to work with my pendulum rig. My rig controller synchronizes the shutter to fire at the peak of each pendulum swing to reduce blur resulting from camera movement. My rig pendulum length is 18 inches, which results in an oscillation period of 1.36 seconds. For this reason, I would like to keep the shutter control delay to less than ~50 msec. I've played around with a way to get a faster shutter response on the GR and found that a mechanical servo mechanism does the trick pretty well (trips the shutter in less than 50 msec). I've programmed my rig controller to command half press to fix the exposure and wait for a decreasing pitch and roll rate of less than 50 deg/sec on the pendulum, and then command full press. This results in shutter activation consistently very close to the peak of the pendulum swing. I'm still playing around with the timing aspects of this, but so far have achieved very good results. I'm shooting at a pretty high shutter speed (1/2000), however, I typically have only 1 or 2 even slightly blurry photos out of several hundred in a session even in winds at 20+ MPH so I'm encouraged by the results.

    Additional info on the rig can be found here:

    Ricoh GR Shutter Servo

    Ricoh GR Shutter Servo a
  • Interesting!
  • As always, very inventive, Mike. Would you share more information on your rig controller? I assume it has an accelerometer to measure when the camera stops oscillating?
  • edited April 2014
    Thank you Hussam. The July 5th 2011 entry in this thread has some additional information on the microcontroller and gyro/accelerometer that I'm using. I have not made any significant hardware upgrades to the microcontroller itself from its original configuration, but the software continues to evolve.


  • I'm seriously thinking of buying myself a lot better camera for KAP and am coming down in favour of the Ricoh GR.
    As Tony says in another discussion

    "Added to this you get the excellent Ricoh menu structure, lighter weight, lower price, smaller size and a better lens than Nikon. You also get Pentax's Time and Aperture priority mode (TAv) where you can set both shutter speed and aperture and the camera automatically adjust the ISO.."

    I fancy being able to choose shutter speed, aperture and/or ISO which the Ricoh GR doors and of course a lot higher quality photos which would enable cropped photos still to be good quality. It also has the built in intervalometer so no need for external stuff to trigger it.

    I had a look at the Ricoh website which has a series of photos showing the on screen interface and all the choices. Looks good.

    All the KAPers who have them seem to be very happy with them.

    I just need to find one at the right price so I don't cry too much if it hits the ground. I might well take out "Square deal" warranty which I have done with some other cameras and gadgets. It would save claiming on the house insurance :-) Mind you, the only camera claims have been when I dropped them... On the two occasions of 'fast KAP descends' (crashes) the cameras were OK

    Fly High

    P. S. I've just watched this very comprehensive review.
  • edited November 2014
    Thanks Sue, I had not seen that review. It took me ages to get around to purchasing my Ricoh GR, but I have had it for a while now and am very pleased with it. It is available here in the Netherland for 600 euros at the moment.

    If you have any specific questions just ask.
  • Sue, the Ricoh GR is on sale at Amazon UK until Wednesday 3 December 2014 for 469 UK pounds (free delivery).
  • I am very happy with the results from the Ricoh GR! Before I used a Canon S90 with UAV/KAP exposure control Lua CHDK script which did not reach the the amazing image quality I get with the Ricoh GR.
  • SueSue
    edited November 2014
    I've seen one a lot cheaper at. slrhut.co.uk. http://slrhut.co.uk/. for £389 with a further£20 off if you 'like' it on Facebook or Twitter. I'm also watching two newish ones on EBay.co.uk. No rush I guess.

    @ Tony. How do you find the angle of coverage with it being a fixed lens. I'm used to having cameras with zoom on them but don't often use the zoom while KAPing though I have seen photos of others who have used the zoom to get "nearer" to a subject

    Has anyone used the video out on the Ricoh GR for a video downlink. I have a little transmitter I have used with my Pentax cameras... Till the fine wire could not be re-done any more as it was too short. .:-( I like having the Live view direct from the camera rather than from the mini cam attached to the frame because you know if you got "the" shot....or not.

    Fly High

  • Sue, I highly recommend the GR over the Nikon Coolpix A which I own both, for the following reasons.
    GR has fallen from over 50' a few times landing on grass & sand and is still working this is one tough camera the Nikon fell from 4' and did not work for a day but for some reason it started working again.
    It is lower in price then the Nikon.
    The JPEG images look great.
    The intervalometer has no limitation unlike the Nikon will only shoot 999 images and then it will stop.
    The GR just has better options then the Nikon.
    The only real thing I like about the Nikon is the RAW images which are excellent compare to the GR.
    I hope this helps in your decision to get this camera.
  • Sue, I used excactly the same system like you once did (http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/discuss/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/38022#Comment_38022) and it worked very well with the Ricoh.
  • @nriverajr
    Good to know it's tough.
    It's the image quality which is selling this camera to me.
    @ Ronald. Thanks for telling me my rx downlink sent will work. I need the connecting wire though and they don't seem to produce a ready made one.

    This is very good, lots of info about the Ricoh GR camera.

    The latest one on EBay went for £380 !!! That's more than I can buy one new from slrhut !!!

    Fly High

  • . That's it. Made the decision and ordered the Ricoh GR from

    Oooh can't wait for the camera and good KAPing weather. It will be interesting to compare the quality against my present cameras. Yes I've quite a few. ☺

    Fly High

  • edited December 2014
    @ Tony. How do you find the angle of coverage with it being a fixed lens. I'm used to having cameras with zoom on them but don't often use the zoom while KAPing though I have seen photos of others who have used the zoom to get "nearer" to a subject
    28mm equivalent a good compromise for KAP and PAP for me. Anything wider is prone to distortion and other artifacts, but the Ricoh GR lens is very good. If I want a wider angle of view I take multiple images and stitch. I have a PAP rig that holds the Ricoh vertically for panoramas and a winter project is to make one for KAP as well.
    Has anyone used the video out on the Ricoh GR for a video downlink.
    I have not had any success with that so far with the GR or any other camera :(
  • Thanks Tony for the reassurance about coverage.
    Re video downlink. I've had great success with my system RonaldWe links to above. The only problem was that the wires were so thin that they kept breaking till they were too short to use and I haven't found another wire yet. There isn'tt a commercially made mini usb to connector (CLG? )used on the transmitter as they say they use two different systems.

    Looking forward to receiving my Christmas present ☺

    Fly High

  • I received the Ricoh GR on Thursday lunchtime having ordered it just after midnight on Tuesday morning. It came from the US. Brilliant service from SLRhut and CHK delivery. I'm still waiting for the spare battery sold to me on Tuesday after I was asked to call them. There hasn't been enough wind yet and today I think it's a bit too windy and blustery to try flying an expensive camera today !
    I'll have to be brave and fly it one of these days :-)
    I tried it out indoors and out seemed to take good photos of people etc. I want to take test photos along side my other cameras. That will be interesting.

    Fly High

  • Sue congrats on your new Ricoh, I think you will be happy with this camera. I have a spare battery which I have never used because these batteries last unusually long.
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