Cameras and camera settings for aerial photography

It seems as though a lot of people spend plenty of time optimizing platforms and not the camera settings. I guess this might not be the place for this discussion, and if moderators decided to delete it so be it. I just wanted to start a discussion about what cameras folks are using and what settings have they used to get optimal photo quality when using UAV’s for aerial mapping. We have used a slew of cameras from A6000, QX1, A7R iii, micasense rededge.

I have struggled getting settings right on the QX1 A7R iii, and the A6000 as there are so many settings to set and I lack quite a bit of knowledge about camera’s, hence asking the community to help each other out.

Normally we focus to infinity on all of our cameras as to get the best depth, but have noticed that sometimes these are not correct. What I would like to hash out would be some sort of optimal settings for cloudy (overcast) conditions, and also settings for sunny conditions.

The micasense is pretty much point and shoot and provides good imagery, but this is also because you have no settings to set and these have been optimized for aerial photos.


I remember seeing some tutorials on the pix4d site.

Following this thread, as my main job is doing aerial mapping too.

Currently, i’m using Sony A5100 and RX0 for normal flight applications.
and using sony a6000 for RTK/PPK Flight.

Set the focus to infinity and set the shutter speed to 1/1600 works well for me, at least in Indonesia.


It all depends on the altitude and speed you are flying. We are using a Sony A5100 at 200 meter altitude with 75km/h and 28 mm lens. For this we use 1/2500 shutter speed, auto fucus and auto iso. Works like a charm.

Before we used the same camera, at 300 meter, 75 km/h and 16mm lens. That required 1/1600 shutter speed, auto focus and auto iso as well.

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Hey Matt_C. Can you tell me what you ever found out on the settings? I have a M200 and I want to order a 3rd party gimbal for it to mount the A6000 along with Emlid M+ for PPK mapping. I have done some PPK mapping on the P4P but I have to believe it would be a sweet setup having the A6000 on my M200 with the Emlid connected to the hotshoe. Any input you (or any of the folks on this thread) can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Which lens do you use on the A6000? I have the A6000, I just need to order this gimbal - and make sure I have the right lens.

Thanks for any help!!

That is very good info. I use the P4P and Inspire 2 for mapping. I have done some PPK mapping with the P4P using the Emlid M+ unit but it does not connect to the camera and only uses the “blink” on the P4P to time stamp the event file in the M+. Since I had the M200, a Sony A6000, and an Emlid M2, I figured it would be nice to use that for PPK mapping. I have to believe I could get some good accuracy with it since the M2 would be connected to the hotshoe of the camera. The gimbal to fit the M200 for the A6000 would be about $375 . I would only fly this in nadir flights. The gimbal is a 2 axis gimbal and would work well for keeping it stable/ 90°.

Thank you for the info!! Very helpful indeed. I will start with a 16mm lens and just see how it goes. Have a great upcoming weekend!

mattc_C : I am using the A6000 and M+. Need certain help to extract accuracy related data. Could you please help me to understand it more?

Matt, I have actually ordered a Gremsy T3 gimbal and an Air Commander Entire 2 to trigger the A6000. You mentioned the M2 can capture the IMU data. Are you referring to the gimbal IMU? If so can you elaborate on capturing that data with the Emlid M2 or M+? Right now, the Air Commander will handle everything nicely except capture the gimbal data (roll, pitch, and yaw) from the Gremsy gimbal.

I see that user @mohitgupta92 is also seeking the same thing. So may they have some insight on this as well.

Thanks again for your previous reply. This is mounting on an M600 Pro.

Matt, I finally got my rig on done and ready to start doing the final testing. I think I am going to be very happy. With the exception of one thing… the SD card in the A6000! It was a pain when I used it for normal photography, and now that it is on the gimbal even more so. Do you use an extension ribbon of any kind or do you guys just remove it the camera? I have the Gremsy T3 so I could slice the camera back. If I removed the door, put a tape extension on the SD card, then it would be much easier to remove it from the camera. First wanted to see if anyone is using a ribbon extension. Thanks, Tim

Hi Guys!

I have Sony A6000 with 16mm 2.8 pan cake lens.
Have put it on a Quad for survey application.
Mode : A ( apperture priority ) , images are blurry.
Any suggestions…

Thanks in advance

Everything to manual except ISO
And you might want to investigate better lenses


Thanks for your help.

I’ll try that, will switch it to M manual.

I’m using the recommended lens 16mm f2.8
I have seen people getting very good output with this Lens.

How can a photo prob be diagnosed without knowing conditions in wich pics are taken?
Telling people to set all to manual and get a better lens is absurd :slight_smile:

What is absurd is your comment. Obviously you have no idea about this subject.