September 27, 2013

Want to Shoot Video at 18,000FPS? Affordable 'Edgertronic' High-Speed Camera Makes it Possible

edgertronic High-Speed Slow Motion Camera - HeroNo that's not a typo. A new camera called the 'edgertronic' is not only claiming to be the first affordable high-speed camera, but it's also capable of a whopping 17,791 frames per second. MIT engineers Mike Matter and Juan Pineda have joined forces and have been prototyping the slow motion camera for two years now, and it's finally reached a mature stage where everything is complete -- all that's left is mass production. The team is now turning to Kickstarter to secure funding to get the camera into production in the U.S. and into people's hands by the end of the year. Check out the launch video below:

Check out some of the samples, the first is 500 fps and the second is 5000fps:

Here are some of the major frame rates, though many more combinations are possible (max resolution is 1280 x 1024):

  • 1280 x 1024 @ 494 FPS
  • 1280 x 720 @ 701 FPS
  • 866 x 672 @ 1,000 FPS
  • 640 x 480 @ 1,849 FPS
  • 1024 x 128 @ 4,658 FPS
  • 320 x 240 @ 5,712 FPS
  • 208 x 160 @ 9,836 FPS
  • 192 x 96 @ 17,791 FPS

edgertronic High-Speed Slow Motion Camera - Hero

edgertronic camera back

Here's how it works:

The camera runs a web server and connects to a computer/laptop or to a LAN over Ethernet. The user directs a standard web browser to the camera’s IP address and controls the camera via a user interface (UI) appearing on the web browser. The camera’s UI allows the user to set exposure, frame rate, preview composition, adjust focus, and finally trigger the camera to take a high-speed video.

While running, the edgertronic is constantly capturing frames of high-speed video into an internal buffer. Depending on frame size and frame rate, this buffer contains, at a minimum, the last 8 seconds of video. When a trigger occurs, video before and/or after the trigger is captured and compressed into H.264 video and saved to a removable SD card.

Continuous capture into a this large buffer allows the user to trigger the edgertronic even after an event has occurred. Unpredictable events, like a lightning bolt, are captured with ease.

Once the video is saved, it can be downloaded to the computer, or replayed in the web browser. Alternately, you can remove the SD card and download the videos to their computer or laptop.

Most of the specs:

  • Color or Monochrome Global Shutter
  • Exposures possible down to 1/200,000 sec.
  • ISO 100-400 sensitivity (color), 400-1600( monochrome)
  • Stores captured videos in H.264 format on a removable SD card
  • Accepts Nikon F-mount lenses (manual and D series)
  • 2 USB ports
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • 12 VDC Power, 1.5A 2.5/5.5mm locking connector
  • Type III Hard Anodize Aluminum enclosure
  • Audio Input port (not supported in ver 1.0 SW)
  • Expansion I/O connector (external trigger etc)
  • Trigger button
  • Built in fan
  • Size: 111 x 108 x 79 mm (body)
  • Weight: ~862 gr (body)
  • Field upgradable software/firmware

edgertronic Exploded View

At around $5,000, it's obviously not DSLR cheap, but for a global shutter large sensor ultra high-speed camera (it looks to be at least around APS-C), there really isn't anything remotely near this price. You're going to have to use Nikon mount manual iris lenses (which includes the D versions), but there are so many of them cheaply available it likely won't be too much of an issue for productions (though I am a biased Nikon user myself). It's a specialty camera, without a doubt, which is why it's being built in such small quantities in the first place. It's perfect for scientific uses, but I could see plenty of people using it for anything from music videos to nature documentaries. I have seen plenty of 720 footage within 1080 projects look good, and if you're doing a lot of work on the web, that's how so many projects end up anyway (Vimeo for example defaults to 720p).

I think if you're looking for something that might be more useful all-around, and you can afford a few more thousand, the FS700 is not only a capable cinema camera, but you can get 1,000fps at similar resolutions. If you need to get into Phantom and higher slow motion territory, there is likely going to be some sticker shock when you look at the purchase price. There are other high-speed cameras out there that might be better if you just need one for the day. For example the Fastec TS3Cine camera has more sensitivity and similar frame rates and rents for a little over $600 a day. To purchase one, however, is going to be at least 4 times the cost of the edgertronic (though it does have the advantage of being an all-in-one unit, whereas this one will need to be tethered to control it and monitor the footage).

While H.264 may not be as ideal for all situations, the goal with this project is to keep adding features, one of which may be RAW to SSDs in the future (you can see more of the possible upgrades over on the Kickstarter page). This camera is also not the only one that Mike and the rest of the team have in the pipeline, but they wanted to get something out that was functional and affordable for people who need high-speed. I think if you're doing a lot of seriously high-speed, and you don't absolutely need it to be 2K/1080p and above, this looks like a really interesting option.

If you want to get one of your own, there aren't many cameras left, and only 10 days until the Kickstarter closes, so head on over to the page to read more about it and check out more samples.

Links:

[via PetaPixel]

Your Comment

22 Comments

It reminds me of http://www.olympus-ims.com/en/ispeed-3/ you can get used ones for around 5000$..

September 27, 2013 at 3:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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..and I guess one needs pretty powerful light to shoot with this camera..it needs higher ISO.

September 27, 2013 at 3:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Convergent Design has a video of a 4K 60 fps test with Canon C500 into a twin Gemini 4:4:4 and, as I recall, they needed 10,000 watts of tungsten to light it properly.

September 27, 2013 at 3:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

That would be about right. I regularly shoot at 300fps+ interior, and we have most of a decent truck out for those. For our Phantom shoots if we're interior that's a major truck.

September 27, 2013 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

The fact it only accepts Nikon glass is kind of a bummer for me but looks good! Impressive to say the least.

September 27, 2013 at 3:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hubert

@Hubert, you can get a lot of adapters for Nikon mount for a lot of lenses, including Canon:
http://fotodioxpro.com/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?q=nikon+adapter

September 27, 2013 at 10:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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It says on Kickstarter that it comes with a 50mm f/1.8D lens, so that's a perk.

September 27, 2013 at 1:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Pat

Hugely impressive.

About lighting: you just have to shoot in daylight with reflectors for fill.
In a bright day, I need 6 stops of ND to shoot ISO 100 f/2.8 1/50s.
Take those filters away, and I could be shooting ISO 100 f/4.5 1/1250s, plenty enough for 700 fps.

I guess it also shoots 1280x534 (2.40:1) at 946 fps, which would be my preferred option. For that, you can go ISO 100 f/3.5 1/2000s.

September 27, 2013 at 4:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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But that's because it never rains on the plain in Spain!

September 27, 2013 at 12:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

It's raining today :(

But I still measured f/8 in the shade at ISO 100, which means ISO 400 f/2.8 1/1600s

September 28, 2013 at 5:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I was going to come here and moan about not having 1920×1080, but the guy in the video seems like a really cool nice guy, so all I can do is wish them good luck.
The footage looks lovely.

September 27, 2013 at 5:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

annnnnd another deluge of popping waterballoon-videos on youtube I suspect? :P

September 27, 2013 at 7:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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By the way... since encoding .h264 tends to be kind of resource-intensive. I'm surprised that they don't have a straight image-sequence dump available to get raw or something that is easier on the encoder and looses less quality. I know, the SD-card may not handle it in real-time, but since they are using a built in buffer anyways and dump it post-record to SD I would think they could just as, or more easily dump the footage as a raw or PNG or even some form of bitmap stream. I'm sure we would all accept waiting a few moments more if we knew that it would look better and processed better.

Of course that would make it hard to preview in the browser, but again. I think we could accept it. ;)

September 27, 2013 at 7:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Why is everyone so obsessed with ultra slow motion?

September 27, 2013 at 9:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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AlexaMan

Because it's really cool. You can see things that are invisible in everyday life. Like how that hummingbird's head is totally still even though it's wings and the rest of it's body are moving around like crazy.

September 27, 2013 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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David

brushless gimbals, you reckon?

September 27, 2013 at 11:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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it's kewl!

September 27, 2013 at 9:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

What about Phantom? What magic have them that is so expensive. It is nice 18.000 FPS as the header announces, but the excitement lasted only a bit when you read this :192 x 96 @ 17,791 FPS. It reminds me of the Casio Exilim cameras with many FPS, but a microresolution.

The real bomb, the RED one of the high speed cameras would be a kind of 1000 FPS at 1080p at the very least.

September 27, 2013 at 1:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Simon

Yay. This camera is exciting. It'd be hard to justify buying one, as I really don't do slow motion very often, but the fact that a camera cheaper than the Phantom will exist is still really cool.

September 27, 2013 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ian B

We do instructional athletic training and recruiting video, and are really interested in this.

May 22, 2014 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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$5,000 is not affordable!

June 12, 2014 at 7:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ta

haha! your are right! $5,000 for 1280 x 1024 ??? Really? is good to have good independent kickstarted proyects! but you need to know the standard needs of your buyers! haha! you are right! $5,000 for 1280 x 1024 ??? Really? is good to have good independent kickstarters projects! but you need to know the standard needs of your buyers! 1080p with at least 200fps. Even Gopro puts 1080p 120fps on a $500 camera!

October 3, 2014 at 10:55AM

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Julian Cortizo
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