The ESS capture rig accommodates three Canon 6D (or similar) digital SLR cameras. These are controlled from an onboard Raspberry Pi single-board computer running the TriCap data acquisition software.
Consumer DSLRs were preferred over professional aerial survey equipment since the goal was to maximize affordability. Equipment failure, especially mechanical shutter failure, was an initial concern. However, after 6 years of operation and in excess of 700 000 total shutter activations, we have only experienced a single failure.
The rig is designed to be mounted in a SkyReach BushCat Light Sport aircraft (both nose-wheel and taildragger variants), but adapting it to be mounted in a different carriage platform should be perfectly possible.
The BushCat is our preferred carriage platform because it is very affordable and has proven to be extremely reliable in real African bush conditions. It can run on either AvGas or regular 95 octane unleaded petrol, significantly reducing complexity of logistics on remote airstrips where fuel is not always readily available.