Rocket camera advice

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Active Member
Jun 3, 2004
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Hello all. My first post here. Apologies in advance if I end up needing to extract a foot from my mouth.

I'm a BAR (only learned this term about a week ago), back for the last six or seven weeks after about a 27 or so year hiatus (I was 12 back then, and I'm 41 now). I have two daughters (8 & 11), that visited cousins in Dallas last summer and came back telling me about this rocket that cousin Jean-Luc (not, I'm not kidding) had just gotten. So, while I'm back because of my daughters, I'm very likely to stay because of myself (I'd forgotten about how much fun this is... besides, now I can actually afford this hobby, plus there is eBay and the Internet, so it is easy to buy stuff and talk about it and Rebecca (11 yr old) seems to really be into it alot and Miranda (8 yr old) is also having fun).

Anyway, Rebecca wants an Estes Snap Shot. I've seen a Snap Shot starter kit on eBay (BIN) for $30 plus shipping, but I didn't find a Snap Shot review on EMRR (maybe I didn't look hard enough?) I know there is also the Astrocam and there are probably others as well.

Any comments or recommendations?

Thanks in advance. (Hmmm... I think I managed that without tasting my foot. :) )
hey there,

snap shot starter set is OK. it's tough to impossible to find 110 film and developing these days, though.

how about a Boostervision video camera and a Q EZ Payloader instead?

First, welcome back to the fold

second, welcome to TRF. You will not find a better place to get reintroduced to the hobby than this set of forums, beleive me :)

The Astrocam *does* work, but is tricky and ditto on the difficulty in finding film. I am very interested (myself) in the quality of the new camera that Estes is talking about.

Personally, after you get yourself settled back into the hobby I would recommend that you build your *own* camera rocket using a camera in the price/quality range of your choice. There are several folks (most notabley Ray Dunakin) who can help you out here. Just do some searches in here for "camera" (if you search titles only, you'll find 28 threads.)

As for young Jean-Luc... ...*tell* me that was a miniature warp powered rocket he was playing with... :D

You might want to search out a photo lab that actually does film developing on the premises, instead of sending it out. Often, these are little family run businesses that would be delighted to help you out--they can often cut special deals for you. For instance, you may not want to expose the entire roll--maybe just a few shots/roll. Then, you may just want half a dozen copies of the few shots that seem interesting. Helps if you talk to them when they aren't busy, and can wait a few days for them to do the work. Avoid the day after a holiday.
I bought the Snapshot starter kit, I hated the paint job so I stripped it and painted it black and white with Spy vs. Spy stuff on it. :D :cool: Called it the Spy vs. Spy Missile Cam. I am very pleased with the performance flight wise. As far as taking pictures goes, I suggest using every other frame to make sure you don’t overlap. Also, cover the seams in the camera with black electrical tape to keep light out. Only use it when it is very sunny for maximum lighting. Close the shutter before advancing the film, and keep the shutter closed at all times (remember to open it just before you launch though!) :D Now, that having been said, I have yet to successfully develop film out of this. Once, I had a separation and found the camera the next day, it sat outside in the sun for hours, it also sat up in a tree for 2 days until I gained victory over the rocket-eating tree. (watch for the gripping story in the Coffee House!) :D ;) When I developed the film, it had been damaged too much. I’m on my second roll. Some people develop the film after only 7 or 8 pictures to be on the safe side. As far as where to go for developing, I went to Wal-Mart and they were able to do it. They were even going to put them on a CD for me if they had been good pictures.

USE C6-7 ENGINES TO MAKE SURE THE NOSE IS POINTING DOWN WHEN THE PICTURE IS TAKEN. C6-5’s will sometimes give you cool horizon pics, but mostly just sky. C6-3: nothing but sky. Hope this helps!
Thanks to all for the replies and the warm welcome as well. :)

I haven't had a chance to speak with Rebecca about this yet (had a minor flood last night :( joy, oh joy), but since I like the idea of a digital camera, we're going to wait and see what the Estes offering is like. I'm not saying we'll end up with one, though, since I also like Jim's suggestion of building my own. (I have an old Jam Cam that might make a very cheap prototype if the camera inside the clunky plastic case isn't all that big. It would be great to actually get some use out of the thing, though 640x480 is not going to be all that great from 500 feet up, but maybe change the lens as well.)

Rebecca will probably show up here as well before too long. School ends June 25, so the insane homework assignments will be ending even sooner. (She's going back to Dallas with her mom to visit Jean-Luc (and his brother, Jean-Claude) right after school ends.... oh that reminds me: No Jim, it's Jean-Luc's friend Zephram that has the warp capable Snitch. :rolleyes: ;) ;)

Thanks again to all.
The best price that I have seen for the Snap Shot starter set is at Wal-Mart for $24.99 comes with launch pad, two motors and one pack of film.

As far as the firm, you can buy it at Wal-Mart for around $3.00. I have flown the camera and it works good if you carefully follow all the instructions to the letter. Better yet, make a check list for before launch and a check list for after recovery. I also wouldn't recommend trying to do 24 pictures or 24 flights before turning in the firm. I would do 6 or so and then turn the firm in and see what you got. It would be sad to lose a camera full of pictures from to many flights.

Wal-Mart can handle the firm for you too.

As far as the digital camera from Estes, it might not come out until next year, you never know. I would go ahead and get my feet wet now and use what you have learned when you get the digital camera.


You are in good company, most of us have had not only one foot but both feet in our mouths many times. TRF is a great rocket community. Stick around !!

and....welcome back......welcome here..........