NEX-5n A great remote camera for aviation and other use

Started Oct 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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dbiela Regular Member • Posts: 159
NEX-5n A great remote camera for aviation and other use

Hi my team has been shooting the end of the Space Shuttle Program for the last 3 years and at various times we have used the Sony 5 and now the Sony-5n. I think the 5n is a great camera but it only had IR remote in and you were limited to just one image at a time without any additional features like HDR. I have talk to various photographers and tried different solutions over the last 2 years. First the people at Hypoxia modified two NEX-5’s for us to take a wired remote but the attachment was too sensitive to abuse and the fine wires would brake off with heavy use. Undaunted I kept looking for a solution and finally one of our team members Peter Tsai. Said he could figure it out and he did a great job.  After a bit of hair pulling he figured out the right connections and used a two-pin connector from pc components to make a nice looking conversion. It does not effect the camera operation at all and looks good not like most hacks.

My first big use for the camera was to place the camera between the struts of Sean Tuckers Oracle 260 biplane. Sean, Brian the Oracle team Operations Coordinator and his entire team are just great to work with. Safety is always the first priority and I sent the camera to Brian ahead of time so they could make the bracket to mount the camera on the exterior of the plane. I bought an inexpensive but small intervalometer then cut of its connector and put a two pin male connecter on it.  Meeting up with Brian at Oakland Airport just outside of San Francisco we mounted the camera. After Brian was done placing the camera to the mount there was no way it was going to come off they use a screw, safety wire, several nylon tie wraps and gaffers tape. I was worried with how tight they had the tie wraps that the camera would be bent :-D. The intervalometer would wipe the settings clean if you turned it off and with all the tape and attachments it would not be easy to get to it and the camera when it was mounted. So we set the camera to f8 on aperture priority then made sure timer was set to take one shot per second and running. Next we just turned the camera off. For the next few hours it was funny to walk by the plane and hear a beep, beep, beep from the timer - I had not found a way to turn off the audio on it yet. After Sean was all buckled in we just turn the camera back on and made sure it was firing then Sean started up and taxi out to take off. My big concern was how long the battery would last. It was fully charged but I had no idea how long it would last. Turns out it was not an issue. I used a fast Sony 32GB SD card and when Sean came back I had about 2400 images and the battery was still at about 80 percent power. Guess that the image review time and having the camera LCD on but not shooting is the real drain of power.  I was spoiled for choses on the images there were so many. We did have one issue the camera internal gyro during the aerobatic routine did not always have time to recover so some images were shown upside down or at odd angles to what the camera actually shot at. I would have turned that feature off but have not found a menu item for it…

I also shoot air to airs with the new Sony a99 you can see images for that at the Sony SLT forum here

Camera used Sony NEX-5n with Fisheye lens iso 400 f8, Sony 32GB SD memory card

Brian Norris mounting the camera

Mounted ready to go. The timer is to the right of the camera no way I could reset it so we just left it on and hear it beep for hours.

The remote in for the NEX-5n it works great and looks like it belongs. I showed the camera to a few Sony people and they did not even catch it.

The remote in on the left as you see it here. The flash highlights the metal in the fitting in person you would not even see it.

Sean Tucker performing at Fleet Week in San Francisco 2012

If you look at the image you will see that the edges are soft I found out you should turn off the first curtain shutter feature and use the shutter in a normal mode.

I like this shot if you look to your left you will see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

With 1 shot per second I have a lot to choose from.

You can see that the camera sometimes had issues with orientating the images under heavy aerobatics.

The last day we shot the flight as video its pretty cool Enjoy Dennis

 dbiela's gear list:dbiela's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5N NEX5R Sony Alpha a99 Sony a7R Sony 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* +9 more
Sony Alpha a99 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5N
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