No 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
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
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.
- edgertronic - The first affordable high speed video camera -- Kickstarter
- edgertronic Wiki
- edgertronic -- Website