We use a Canon Pro1 digital camera to take the shots. It is an 8mp unit with both auto and manual controls. It is arguably the best point and shoot camera available on the market today.
The camera is mounted on a custom made aluminum control structure and a we control the pan, tilt, zoom, and shutter control via a Futaba 4 channel radio control unit. The control structure is suspended from the kite/balloon by a picavet (named after the french inventer Bob Picavet circa 1912) which stabilizes the camera in windy conditions. The camera can also be mounted to a 60ft retractable pole
when the conditions are too rough for the kite/balloon.
The video output of the camera is sent to the base station using a wireless downlink connected to a 7in. lcd display which is used to view the shot prior to taking it.