Here are a few snippets from the first flight of my Phantom with the SJ1000 action camera mounted on it. I had to devise a mount from two brackets that come with the camera. Neither the Phantom nor the camera comes with a specific mount to connect these two. The Phantom comes with a GoPro mount, but GoPro cameras are about $300-$400 more than the SJ1000 and have a different form factor, so that mount doesn’t work for me. I used the octagonal bracket with 3M mounting tape (enclosed with the camera) as a base to reduce the “jello” effect that would otherwise appear from the vibration. Then I attached the hinged bracket that has the camera holder to the octagonal bracket with a bolt. It is possible to just attach the hinged bracket directly to the Phantom with the tape, but then it is not removable. That same bracket is needed to mount the camera to the windshield if I want to use it as a dashcam or to a bicycle or helmet. Whether you use one bracket or two, it is then necessary to tie the bracket tightly to the body of the Phantom to take the weight of the camera off the tape. It would be foolhardy to trust the tape to hold the camera/bracket combo by itself. The result looks a bit funky, but it works great and the camera is both secure and detachable.
I flew this out in front of my house. I don’t recommend flying in residential areas since neighbors will object, but it was just a short test flight to see if the mount worked. Now that I’ve proven it does, I’ll fly elsewhere.
I continue to get hits on this blog entry, so I should let readers know that I don’t really recommend this combination except as a training set. It is an inexpensive way to learn how to fly a drone and get some pictures, but it is very low end. You can’t see what you are filming and you will be lucky to get usable footage. You also can’t easily use a gimbal with this setup, so the video you do get will mostly be shaky unless you hover in still air or fly slowly in straight lines, which is not the point of a drone. If there is a breeze of any kind the drone will tilt into it in order to fly straight, which means without a gimbal all the video will be slanted, too. Drones have improved so much since I made this video that it isn’t that much more expensive to buy or make something with a gimbal and first person view. I had fun with it but I sold my drone after the initial fun wore off. I kept the camera and still make videos with it, but the cable that came with it burned out. It is a cheapie, but it is so small and handy and the video is decent so I recommend it.