Automatically triggering Sony A7Rs Cameras with DJI Matrice
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Hammer Missions is a drone flight planning and 3D mapping software platform designed for the commercial drone industry. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets through Hammer App and web-based environments through Hammer Hub.
Sony A7R Cameras
In the past few months, we’ve seen the rising popularity of the Sony A7R cameras. Its full-frame sensor guarantees superior image resolution for a drone camera, while low distortion lenses ensure great reconstruction results.
Sony A7R Camera
One common challenge for custom cameras is the ability to trigger them through a DJI flight app. In this post, we break down the simple steps you can take you configure the triggering of your Sony Camera when integrated with DJI Matrice 600 series or any drone with the A3 / N3 flight controller.
Note: This solution only works for DJI Matrice series / A3 / N3 flight controllers.
Remote Control and Geotagging Module
One of the main challenges using a custom camera is how to trigger and geotag your images. We suggest using a custom geotagging module such as the Airpixel Entire to achieve this. Airpixel Entire is a hardware module that integrates with the A3 flight controller on your DJI Matrice and the custom Sony Camera as illustrated below:
Hardware modules on the Drone
Once this integration is setup, Hammer further integrates with the A3 flight controller through DJIs interfaces so that the final setup looks like this:
Information Flow for triggering capture
Assuming you have access to Hammer, a DJI Matrice (A3 flight controller), Air pixel Entire and a Sony Camera, let’s see how to set it all up.
1. Insert SBUS cable (black and red) for the A3 Flight Controller into F3 port on the A3 and thread down the body of the DJI Matrice.
Insert SBUS cable into F3 port
2. Plug SBUS cable into first splitter for the Airpixel Entire. The other top cable in the splitter is the API cable, which goes to the API connector on the A3 (for geotagging). The bottom cable goes to the second splitter.
Plug the SBUS cable into the first splitter for the Airpixel Entire
3. Cable from the first splitter goes into the second splitter’s input, and the two outputs are connected to the A and B ports on the Airpixel Entire.
4. Configure the F3 port on your drone by connecting it to DJI Assistant and configuring to shutter (precise instructions regarding necessary parameters are found in the Airpixel Entire’s user manual).
5. Connect multi-port cable from the Airpixel Entire to the Sony A7R.
6. Launch Hammer, plan a mission and Hammer will trigger the A7R.
7. To set up the camera parameters in Hammer, please visit this post.
And that’s it! Simple steps on how to trigger your custom Sony Camera using DJI Drones, Airpixel’s Entire and Hammer Missions. Although this solution requires having the pre-requisite equipment and upfront setup, we definitely recommend it for those looking to harness the capabilities of Sony Cameras with DJI Drones.
If you currently do not have access to the iOS app, feel free to contact us through hammermissions.com or download the app through the App store.
If you’d like to learn more about other missions supported in Hammer, please visit https://medium.com/@hammermissions or get in touch with us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
— The Hammer Team
Special thanks to EagleDrone NL for contributing images of their setup and for feedback on a draft version of this post.