Microsoft Flight Simulator FAQ

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Camera Overview

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BASIC CONCEPTS

There are 3 main camera modes in MSFS:

Cockpit view

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  • The cockpit view is the main camera mode of MSFS and is the primary means to interact with the plane
  • While in cockpit view, you can control the camera translations, rotations and zoom factor from any camera position
    • Rotations
      • Cockpit look left” (Left shift + left)
      • “Cockpit look right” (Left shift + right)
      • Cockpit look up” (Left shift + up)
      • “Cockpit look down” (Left shift + down)
      • Or you can press & hold the right mouse button and move the mouse to control the eyepoint
    • Translations
      • “Decrease cockpit view height” (down)
      • “Increase cockpit view height” (up)
      • “Translate cockpit view forward” (Right alt + up)
      • “Translate cockpit view backward” (Right alt + down)
      • “Translate cockpit view left” (Right alt + left)
      • “Translate cockpit view right” (Right alt + right)
    • Zoom
      • “Zoom cockpit view” (Mouse wheel up)
      • “Unzoom cockpit view” (Mouse wheel down)

 

  • The cockpit view has four (4) default camera positions from the Pilot’s perspective:
    • The VFR position defaults to the pilot seat and offers a good view of both the main instruments and the exterior.
      • It can be activated using the “Toggle VFR Cockpit mode” command (F10 by default)
    • The IFR position defaults to the pilot seat and is more focused on the plane’s instruments
      • It can be activated using the “Toggle IFR Cockpit mode” command (F9 by default)
    • The Landing position defaults to the pilot seat and offers a good view of the runway.
      • It can be activated using the “Toggle Landing Cockpit mode” command (F11 by default)
    • The Copilot position defaults to the copilot seat, in a VFR style position
      • It can be activated using the “Toggle Copilot view” (unmapped by default)
    • Additional notes:
      • Using the “Reset camera” shortcut (F by default) will always replace the camera to the last used Pilot’s view
      • You can cycle through the VFR, IFR & Landing Pilots view using the “Next Pilot position” & “Previous Pilot Position” commands

 

  • The cockpit view also has different instrument views
    • Instrument views are preset camera positions focused on each instrument panel of a given plane
    • You can access them using their default shortcuts, “Toggle instrument view [1, 2, 3…]” (left ctrl + [1,2,3…] by default)
    • You can also cycle through them using “Next instrument view” and “Previous instrument view” (by default, A or left shift + A)

 

  • The cockpit view has ten (10) Custom views slots
    • At any time, you can save the current camera position to a Custom view slot, using “Save custom camera [0, 1, 2…]” (by default, left ctrl + left alt + [1, 2, 3…])
    • You can then reload this custom view using “Load custom camera [0, 1, 2…]” (by default, left alt + [1, 2, 3…])

 

  • Finally, the Cockpit view has a set of 8 Quickviews
    • A Quickview allows a pilot to quickly orient the camera preset direction from the pilot seat
    • The Quickviews are:
      • “Cockpit Quickview Up” (left ctrl + Up), +30° pitch
      • “Cockpit Quickview Rear” (left ctrl + Down), +160° yaw
      • “Cockpit Quickview Right” (left ctrl + Right), +90° yaw
      • “Cockpit Quickview Left” (left ctrl + Left), -90° yaw
      • “Cockpit Quickview 45° left” (unmapped by default)
      • “Cockpit Quickview 120° left” (unmapped by default)
      • “Cockpit Quickview 45° right” (unmapped by default)
      • “Cockpit Quickview 120° right” (unmapped by default)
      • You can cycle through the Quickviews using “Cockpit Quickview cycle” (Q by default)

External view

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  • The external view controls the plane from a 3rd person perspective
  • You can freely rotate and zoom the camera around the plane
    • Rotations
      • “External view left” (unmapped by default)
      • “External view right” (unmapped by default)
      • “External view up” (unmapped by default)
      • “External view down” (unmapped by default)
      • Or you can press & hold the right mouse button and move the mouse to control the eyepoint
    • Zoom
      • “Zoom external view” (Mouse wheel up)
      • “Unzoom external view” (Mouse wheel down)
  • Like the cockpit view, the external view has a set of Quickviews 
    • Quickviews allows a pilot to quickly orient the camera preset direction around the plane 
    • The Quickviews are: 
      • External Quickview Top” (left ctrl + Up), top down view
      • External Quickview Rear” (left ctrl + Down), rear front view
      • External Quickview Right” (left ctrl + Right), right plane profile
      • External Quickview Left” (left ctrl + Left), left plane profile 
      • External Quickview 45° left” (unmapped by default)
      • External Quickview 120° left” (unmapped by default) 
      • External Quickview 45° right” (unmapped by default) 
      • External Quickview 120° right” (unmapped by default) 
  • From the external view, you can still access the set of cockpit baseinstruments views using their dedicated shortcuts (ctrl + [1,2,3…]). 
  • At the moment, you cannot save custom views in External view 

 

  • Showcase views 
    • The showcase view provides a way to manipulate external camera positions to either capture screenshots and videos, or to enjoy the scenery. 
      • The “Toggle Drone” input (Insert by default) allows you to activate and de-activate the Showcase mode 
  • They are split into two (2) different categories: the Fixed camera and the Drone camera 
  • The Fixed camera are a set of wide angle views positioned on the plane’s fuselage 
  • Toggle Fixed camera [1, 2, 3…]” (left ctrl + left shift + [1, 2, 3…] 
  • You can also cycle through them using “Next Fixed camera” (A) and “Previous Fixed camera” (left shift + A) 
  • The Drone camera is a highly customizable free moving camera 
    • You can freely control its position and rotations 
      • Translations 
        • Translate Drone Backward (S by default) 
        • Translate Drone Forward” (W by default)
        • Translate Drone Down” (F by default)
        • Translate Drone Up” (R by default) 
        • Translate Drone Left” (A by default) 
        • Translate Drone Right” (D by default) 
      • Rotations 
        • Pitch Drone Down” (Numpad 2 by default) 
        • Pitch Drone Up” (Numpad 8 by default) 
        • Roll Drone Right” (Numpad 9 by default) 
        • Roll Drone Left” (Numpad 7 by default) 
        • Yaw Drone Right” (Numpad 6 by default) 
        • Yaw Drone Left” (Numpad 4 by default) 
  • You can set its speed, both for translations and rotations 
    • Increase Drone Translation Speed” (F6 by default) 
    • Decrease Drone Translation Speed” (F5 by default) 
    • Increase Drone Rotation Speed” (F8 by default) 
    • Decrease Drone Rotation Speed” (F7 by default) 
  • You can control its depth of field 
    • Toggle Drone Depth of Field” (F1 by default) 
    • Toggle Foreground Blur” (left ctrl + F1) 
    • Toggle Drone Autofocus” (F4 by default) 
    • Increase Drone Depth of Field” (F3 by default) 
    • Decrease Drone Depth of Field” (F2 by default) 
  • You can control its exposure 
    • Toggle Drone Auto Exposure” (left ctrl + F4 by default) 
    • Increase Drone Exposure” (left ctrl + F3 by default) 
    • Decrease Drone Exposure” (left ctrl + F2 by default) 
  • Its “Follow mode” allows it to move freely in the plane frame of reference 
    • Toggle Drone Follow Mode” (Tab by default) 
  • Its “Lock mode” sets and locks the Drone camera onto the plane. 
    • Toggle Drone Lock Mode” (left ctrl + Tab by default) 
  • The “Follow mode” and the “Lock mode” are not linked, meaning you can activate or de-activeate them independently 
  • You can change the target of the Drone camera (other players, landmarks…) 
    • Attach Drone to Next Target” (left ctrl + Page up) 
    • Attach Drone to Previous Target” (left ctrl + Page down) 
    • Lock Drone to Next Target” (T) 
    • Lock Drone to Previous Target” (left shift + T) 

USER INTERFACE

A summary of the camera controls and modes can be found in the camera panel located in the in-flight toolbar 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • What is the Smartcam and how can I use it ? 
    • The Smartcam is a feature accessible from the Cockpit and External views 
      • Toggle Smart Camera” (S by default)  
    • It allows the pilot to  focus the camera on the closest point of interestor a selected one 
      • Set Custom SmartCam Target” (T by default) 
      • Next SmartCam Target” (left ctrl + Page Up by default) 
      • Previous SmartCam Target” (left ctrl + Page Down by default) 
  • There are several points of interest available for the Smartcam 
    • Navigation 
      • Navigation points of interest are dynamic and contextually updated, depending on the current flight state.
      • On the ground, it will follow each taxiway intersection. 
      • On the runway, before taking off, it will target the climbing slope. 
      • After take off, it will target the next waypoint if a flight plan is active, or the closest airport if there’s no flight plan 
      • During approach, it’s updated to the designated runway threshold 
      • During final, it is updated to the end of the runway 
  • Tourism 
    • The Smartcam can target landmarks, fauna, etc. 
  • Multiplayer 
    • The Smartcam can target other players 
  • Activities 
    • The Smartcam can target the current mission objective 

 

  • What are the lockable versions of the camera controls?  
    • The lockable camera inputs are activated when their corresponding “lock” control is triggered.  
    • The pilot can, for example, change the behavior of the mouse from controlling the cursor to controlling the eyepoint when the right mouse button is held. 
    • Most of the camera controls have a lockable version, allowing for a fine customization of the interaction model. 

 

  • Can I map the camera controls to my joystick POV hat? 
    • Yes, you first have to remove the Quickviews from your joystick POV hat (please refer to the Inputs FAQ for more details) 
    • Then, you have to set the following commands to each direction of you POV hat: 
      • COCKPIT LOOK LEFT 
      • COCKPIT LOOK RIGHT 
      • COCKPIT LOOK UP 
      • COCKPIT LOOK DOWN 
      • COCKPIT LOOK UP LEFT 
      • COCKPIT LOOK UP RIGHT 
      • COCKPIT LOOK DOWN LEFT 
      • COCKPIT LOOK DOWN RIGHT 
      • The camera system in MSFS is very versatile and most of the camera controls can be set on any button or axis. 

 

  • How do I remove the HUD from external view? 
    • Disable Options > General > Camera > Chase Camera > Display Instrument HUD 

 

  • Are TrackIR devices supported by MSFS? 
    • Yes. It is important tolaunch the TrackIR software before launching the simulation and make sure it is up to date (software version & game list) 
    • The head tracking device controls add to the camera system, meaning you can still interact with all the camera as you want while wearing the head tracker. 

 

  • While in Drone camera, is there a way to control the plane at the same time? 
    • Yes, you can use the “Toggle plane control” (keyboard C by default) command while in the Drone camera to take control of the plane. 
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