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Pentax Q to DJI Phantom Interface

by Mike Herdering

All the images in my Aerial Photography section are taken with a Pentax Q system mounted on a DJI Phantom multirotor UAV.

I bought the Pentax Q back in September, 2012 because it was so small and thought it might be interesting to use with my Pentax K mount lenses (with an adapter). Shortly after purchasing the Q, I discovered the DJI Phantom. The Phantom is designed to carry the GoPro Hero camera, but it looked to me that it might be modified to carry the Q. Unfortunately the Phantom was too expensive for me to justify its purchase at the time. Fast-forward to September, 2013, and the Phantom price drops $200. Shazam! I picked that puppy up...

These are the features/specifications that are important to me. Full specs are available here: Pentax Q %20%20%20 Pentax Q7 %20%20%20 DJI Phantom

Pentax Q Pentax Q7 DJI Phantom
images/q_small.jpg images/q7_small.jpg images/phantom_small.jpg
- Type: Lens-interchangeable SL digital-still camera (Digital Hybrid ILC)
- Body dimensions (W x H x D): 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2
- Body weight, loaded and ready: 7.1 oz (200g)
- Effective pixels: 12.4M
- File Format Still: RAW (DNG)
- Type: Lens-interchangeable SL digital-still camera (Digital Hybrid ILC)
- Body dimensions (W x H x D): 4 x 2.3 x 1.32
- Body weight, loaded and ready: 7.1 oz (200g)
- Effective pixels: 12.4M
- File Format Still: RAW (DNG)
- Upgraded 1/1.7 inch, back-illuminated CMOS image sensor
- Type: Aerial Filming Multirotor System with GoPro Mount
- GPS & Compass module
- Payload: <400g

The modifications made to the DJI Phantom so it can carry the Pentax Q/Q7 are relatively simple:
What I used was: a) 2 small flat head screws (3mm - .5 x 10mm) and a drill and tap to match them, b) the Hot Shoe cover Fx from my camera, c) silicone/gasket seal or similar, d) strips of balsa wood, wood glue and super glue (temporary until I upgrade the landing gear).

  1. I removed the two pivot tabs from the Camera Mounting Frame. I did this with a coping saw, which is a hack saw that has a very thin blade.

    Cut here

  2. (I didn't necessarily need to perform this step, but it made the next step easier for me.) Assemble the pivot tabs to the white camera mount that screws to the bottom of the Phantom. This is just to keep the parts aligned. Glue the pivot tabs to the Hot Shoe cover of the Q/Q7. I used 3M Scotch-Weld Nitrile High Performance Rubber and Gasket Adhesive 847, but something like silicone seal should work as well. I made sure to keep the parts square and aligned and let the bond dry.

    Gluing the pivot tabs to the hot shoe cover makes it easier to machine

  3. I drilled holes through the Hot Shoe cover and into the center of the pivot tabs, deep enough for the screws. Then I counter sunk the holes so the heads of the screws don't touch the electrical contacts of the camera when the Hot Shoe is placed back on the camera. Next, I tapped the holes in the pivot tabs so the screws can thread into the pivot tabs.

    Counter sunk flat heads

  4. Next I screwed the two screws through the Hot Shoe cover and into the pivot tabs, tightening them snuggly, but without over tightening. Over tightening will strip the threads in the pivot tabs. I checked visually that the screw heads didn't protrude into the area that will be occupied by the camera when the Hot Shoe is replaced.

    Don't over tighten

  5. I placed the Hot Shoe cover, with the pivot tabs mounted on it, back on the camera.

    Pivot tab assembly mounted on the Q

  6. I put the camera mount back on the Phantom, then mounted the camera on the camera mount. Since the Pentax Q is taller than the GoPro, the bottom of the Q and/or its lens, may strike the ground if not oriented properly. To correct for this, I glued balsa wood 'shims' to the bottom of landing gear. At first I tried just wood glue, but that doesn't bond well to the plastic landing gear, so after the shims popped off the Phantom, I put super glue between the wood glue and the plastic, which seems to work OK. Just to add a little extra security, I wrapped two 1/4" velcro straps around each landing gear horizontal bit. I've got a more elegant landing gear solution on order, so I'll be losing the balsa. Stay tuned.

    Phantom w/Q7 and 02 Zoom

  7. Velcro straps act as a safety net if the mount fails.

    Velcro safety straps

Phantom w/Q and 01 Prime

Updated Landing Gear on Phantom w/Q7 and 02 Zoom
Oct. 27, 2013

Flight Notes:

  1. The Phantom has a normal flight time of 10-15 minutes without payload. With my setup I get about 5-7 minutes flight time.
  2. Multirotor aerial platforms have a high degree of inherent vibration. I have found that shooting at 1/800 sec., or higher, results in the sharpest images.
  3. To take the images on this web site, I shoot in shutter priority (Tav) mode and interval drive mode.

Sites I Visit:


Sites I Visit:
Pentax Fora
67 @
The Photo Forum
Pentax Manuals & Literature
Online Visual Artists
Large Format Photography
Manual Focus Forums
Rangefinder Forums
MF Lenses
Luminous Landscape
Chris Wilson (Travel 67)
Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page
photodo Lens Search
Asahi Optical Historical Club
Lawrence Ripsher(67II)
roaming drone
robert s donovan
Theatre Of Noise
Norman Koren
Focal Length Equivalence Calculator
Enticing the Light
Amatuer Photo (V750)
Tips & Tricks (Film)
Tim Parkin -- Still Developing
The Wonders of an Engineering Mind
Adventures In Photography
Rick's Page
67 Lenses
japan exposures
PhotoGuide Japan iStore
Yoshihiko Takinami lens resolution tests
Old Photodo Lens Tests
Photography and other stuff
Dante Stella
DOF Master