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Best low-cost cam that can match the *still photo FOV* of a Hero 4 Black (not the quality)

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  • Best low-cost cam that can match the *still photo FOV* of a Hero 4 Black (not the quality)

    Is the ActiveON DX camera my best bet? I don't need to match the image quality of the Hero 4 Black, just the FOV, although a decent photo would be nice. And can I hack these cams to do bracketed shots?

    Here's my panohead rig.

  • #2
    The Yi Action Camera 16mp fits the bill, it seems: https://roundme.com/tour/147036/view...n0qfV9CyWmyHFA. I'm guessing the Git2, which has the same sensor and a 170-degree lens will do it too. But the Git2 is a bit expensive for my project. Any others that are cheaper and can still so the job?

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    • nutsey
      nutsey commented
      Editing a comment
      Eken V50 Pro with 13MP Sony IMX258 sensor can be found on Aliexpress for ~$50.

  • #3
    I've just compared Activeon DX vs Xiaomi Yi Z26. The Yi has noticeably wider FOV, but the DX is brighter and sharper. I'll post a couple of samples later.
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    • nutsey
      nutsey commented
      Editing a comment
      Both cams are based on same Ambarella A7 SoCs capable running ambashell scripts so you can use stuff like RAW shooting, expo-bracketing, AE-lock and so on.

    • Aussiemandias
      Aussiemandias commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for this! It's very helpful. I'll share the panohead redesign in .STL format once I have it worked out. BTW, does the active on have a 1/4"-20 thread in the base? I would be more secure than the current snap-in with loop system that I'm using.

    • nutsey
      nutsey commented
      Editing a comment
      Unfortunately the DX has no embedded tripod mount.

  • #4
    Here we are. I've tested 4 somewhat budget cams that can be (or not) interesting for using with panohead.

    Activeon DX. Ambarella A7 + 12MP IMX117:


    GoPro Hero 2014. Ambarella A7 + 8MP AR0833 (I used a scipt to avoid software 5MP limitation):


    Yi Discovery. Allwinner V3 + 8MP IMX179:


    Xiaomi Yi / XiaoYi rev.Z26. Ambarella A7 + 16MP MN34120:

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    • Aussiemandias
      Aussiemandias commented
      Editing a comment
      The active on is the best IMO. Best price to performance that is. The FOV might be less of an issue is seems if I just modify the panohead. It's a simple system that allows three shots up and three shots down, which works for the Hero 4 Black, but all I have to do for a cam with a more narrow FOV is to add another shot top and bottom - i.e. 4 shots top and 4 shots bottom. Higher res image overall and better overlaps. I have to do some quick prototyping, but my 3D printer is out of action and I'm unwilling to pay someone else to print.

    • Aussiemandias
      Aussiemandias commented
      Editing a comment
      I'll start the redesign and maybe pay for one print then refine once I get the part for my printer and I'm back up and running

  • #5
    What do you think about an action cam capable shooting square (1:1 ratio) stills? I think hor./ver. distortion uniformity could provide better results in spite of the possible need of additional shots.
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    • Aussiemandias
      Aussiemandias commented
      Editing a comment
      At this point, I'm looking for simplicity with my panorama head design. I've increased the number of shots it will take to 8 (4 up and 4 down). There still needs to be overlap between the edges between up and down photos and I'm not sure how I'd design the rig to do shots in the middle if I went for a 1:1. Maybe have a rotating mount at the end of the stalk with 3 'click' stops - 4 up, 4 middle and 4 down. I'm giving this to students, so I wanted something that wasn't hard to use. It also increases the number of shots to be stitched. I'd be doing the stitching as a service, so that increases effort and time on my part. Still, definitely worth thinking about.

    • nutsey
      nutsey commented
      Editing a comment
      Do you think an 8MP cam can be enough for your needs?
      Last edited by nutsey; 11-10-2018, 09:28 AM.

  • #6
    This is what we can get with from lower priced 8 Megapixel cams (~$30 each).

    MSTAR 8328Q + 8MP Sony IMX179:


    Allwinner V3 + 8MP Sony IMX179:
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    • #7
      Xiaomi Yi Z26 with my favorite M12 fisheye lens. Shot in RAW. Coverted into DNG with this tool. No additional processing except debayering with imagine plugin.

      I guess the FOV here should be very close to 170 degrees.
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      • #8
        Aussiemandias
        Click image for larger version

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      • #9
        That looks pretty good. You're in Russia? But it doesn't quite fill in the nadir. I'm guessing that the cheaper cams wouldn't even do that much?

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