Product: Camera
steadylens   (+4)  [vote for, against]
Camera with built-in steadycam gimbals

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)
-- gtoal, Oct 04 2014

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 http://microbrushle...ghty-midget-motors/
These micromotors designed for RC aircraft are small and light [gtoal, Oct 04 2014]

WKTE http://asia.olympus...slr/ep5/feature/04/
[DIYMatt, Oct 05 2014]

More small motors http://www.seeedstu...BCCM01B-p-1623.html
Small motors used in micro quadrocopters [gtoal, Dec 13 2014]

Possibly useful if anyone ever tries to build this... http://www.operativ.../products-bgmc.html
Brushless gimbal motor controller [gtoal, Dec 18 2014]

Almost there... http://www.raspberr...aspberry-pi-camera/
"Pi Pan" -180 degrees left/right, 110 degrees up/down [gtoal, Dec 18 2014]

Sounds good to me.

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 relatively short.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2014

@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.
-- gtoal, Oct 04 2014

Fair point.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2014

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, Oct 04 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.
-- gtoal, Oct 05 2014

random, halfbakery