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There are several products out there which convert a camera such as a Gopro into a steadycam by putting it on the end of a handle with a 2-axis gyroscope/tilt sensor and a pair of brushless motors to make an external handheld gimbal mount.
However this is overkill - with the tiny size of lenses nowadays
it should be possible to put the same logic *inside* a camera, and have small motors control the movement of just the image sensor/lens module. I can easily see building a camera like this as a proof of concept prototype using a Raspberry Pi and a PiCam for example.
(Just to clarify, I'm talking about a device that can rotate the lens by maybe 100 degrees to track a moving object; I'm not talking about the few degrees that you get from image stabilization devices built in to existing cameras)
External steadycam gimbal mount
This is the existing style of product where the whole camera is held in the gimbal mount. [gtoal, Oct 04 2014]
Motors used in current products
These are the relatively large motors used in external steadycam adaptors [gtoal, Oct 04 2014, last modified Dec 18 2014]
but there are much smaller motors available
These micromotors designed for RC aircraft are small and light [gtoal, Oct 04 2014]
[DIYMatt, Oct 05 2014]
More small motors
Small motors used in micro quadrocopters [gtoal, Dec 13 2014]
Possibly useful if anyone ever tries to build this...
Brushless gimbal motor controller [gtoal, Dec 18 2014]
"Pi Pan" -180 degrees left/right, 110 degrees up/down [gtoal, Dec 18 2014]
||But also a question: instead of moving the
sensor/lens module, can the image not be steadied in
software? Presumably, if accelerometers can detect
the exact movement of the camera, the movie can
be stabilised in software (post-capture), as long as
the exposure time for each frame of video is
||@MaxwellBuchanan - Yes, there is a lot of software out there to do image stabilization, but it is aided considerably if the camera is stable and pointing in the right direction to begin with. I would expect a good image-stabilized camera to use both techniques.
That style of correction works by having a smaller clip window taken from inside the default picture, which is moved around a little to register with the same scene in the next frame. It stops working as soon as the clip window hits the edge of the actual image.
||Umm, isn't this Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
which has been a feature of almost every *decent
camera (and the new iphone) for at least 10 years?
You can even buy image stabilizing lenses for older
SLR cameras that don't have sensor stabilization. I
thought at first I might be reading one of those
zombie ideas from 2002 then I saw it was 2014.
||@DIYMatt - OIS compensates for simple vibration, a gimbal mount compensates for major camera movement in 2 or 3 degrees of freedom. Watch some Youtube videos to see what a gimbal mount can give you - for example, NwEeqWqypuo - simple optical stabilization isn't in the same ballpark.