Digital cameras and high speed photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Eigenvector, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Eigenvector

    Eigenvector Guest

    Is there a camera out there that will simulate or reproduce the abilities of
    high speed cameras. I don't have the exact term in my head, so I'll
    describe it as the type of camera that you would use to photograph bullets
    in flight or very high speed actions. Normally I see this done with film
    cameras, but with the advent of the digital camera is there something on the
    market that is accessible to the average person?

    I realize this is more of a motion camera question, but is there really any
    big difference between a digital motion camera and a photograph digital
    camera these days - and does there need to be a difference?
    Eigenvector, Aug 4, 2003
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  2. Eigenvector

    Tom Thackrey Guest

    Capturing high speed motion, like a bullet, is usually done in a dark room
    with an open shutter and a strobe light that is tripped by the object being
    photographed (the bullet for example). Pretty much any digital camera with
    manual settings would work. Get an external strobe with a pc connector and
    make a cable. The trick is the trigger timing.
    Tom Thackrey, Aug 4, 2003
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  3. Eigenvector

    Frank ess Guest

    Do you know how fast those stop-a-bullet cameras run? Something like 10K
    frames per second. The way they used to do it, they used a lot of cameras. I
    think the state of CCDs or whatever is such that the latter would be a more
    likely solution.

    The guy who invented that ultra-high-speed camera approach was named "Doc"
    Edgerton. Look him up. Another true innovator.

    Frank ess
    Frank ess, Aug 4, 2003
  4. Eigenvector

    Ed Ruf Guest

    Actually Edgerton, of EE&G fame, made use of strobe photography.
    Fast light sources were also used before him Ernst Mach took the first
    photos of the shock waves off the nose of a bullet in the late 1800's
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    Ed Ruf, Aug 4, 2003
  5. Pretty easy, though I have not tried with with a digital yet...Did it
    in my darkroom past.Pentax, Strobonar 880 with a mirror taped to the
    sensor so the quech tube would fire instantly to give me about a
    microsecond flash duration.
    Glue a piece of aluminum foil to each side of a 70mm slide mount (Or
    other cardboard "window") with doublesided tape, being careful the
    sheets do not touch. Tape a wire to each sheet, and connect the wires
    to the strobe input. Place the slidemount assembly in the bullet's
    line of flight.
    In calculating the required flash duration, a bullet at Mach 1 (9/mm,
    ..22LR) will traverse a foot in about a millisecond. The results are
    not worthy of Edgarton, but the rifling marks will easily be

    You can use the foil switch trick to catch the old "Hammer and
    Lightbulb" photo..very impressive, and always comes out well; Rest the
    bulb carefully on the foilswitch, wind up with a hammer and (try) to
    hit it in the darlk. The hammer is usually only moving about 20-30
    feet per second, so it's easy to catch, usually showing cracks
    propagating, with the top of the bulb collapsing.
    Grunty Grogan, Aug 4, 2003
  6. Eigenvector

    Charlie D Guest

    This isn't available to the average person, but...
    In the August 2003 issue of the "American Rifleman" magazine they have
    an article entitled, "the Guns of NASA." It discusses the high velocity
    guns (up to 24,000 feet/second) they use to test the impacts of space

    Here's what they say about their cameras:
    "Three types of high speed cameras are used. Cinema cameras run at
    10,000 frames/second; 35mm infrared cameras are capable of 2 million,
    and the digital cameras are capable of 100 million frames per second."

    For work done with a consumer digicam:
    Charlie D, Aug 4, 2003
  7. Eigenvector

    MarkH Guest

    Is there any film camera on the market, capable of this, that is accessible
    to the average person?

    My suspicion is that there is no camera of any kind with this sort of
    capability, that is not horribly expensive.
    MarkH, Aug 4, 2003
  8. Eigenvector

    Eigenvector Guest

    Cool, I might just have to try that one. It doesn't sound too tough to do
    then, might take a little money but that can be overcome somehow.

    Okay thanks guys, I appreciate the tips. Second question, does anyone know
    if you can externally trigger an Olympus C720, rather than using the button
    on the camera? Olympus' website was ambiguous to me, and I've also heard
    yes and no from other sources?
    Eigenvector, Aug 4, 2003
  9. Eigenvector

    Don Guest

    The film camera that was used years ago, the Fastex (sp?) had variable frame
    rate up to 10,000 or so frames per second. It was used in conjunction with
    a strobe light to freeze the motion. I don't see any way to do that with a
    digital, as the bandwidth requirements for the focal plane and memory would
    be enormous.

    Don, Aug 4, 2003
  10. Eigenvector

    Lionel Guest

    OTOH, modern strobes & triggering electronics are much, much more
    sophisticated than they were even 10 years ago[0], so I see no reason
    why one couldn't come up with a method that'd only require a single

    [0] Even when I was designing digital electronic systems ten years ago,
    it was routine to process electronic events with durations as short as
    10nS (10/1,000,000,000ths of a second).
    Lionel, Aug 4, 2003
  11. Eigenvector

    pjp Guest

    I'd expect my S602 in Manual mode using 1/10,000 sec shutter would capture
    the bullet. As others have pointed out though, when to press the button is
    more of a problem, e.g. timing.
    pjp, Aug 4, 2003
  12. Eigenvector

    John Russell Guest

    Yeah, well, I'll bet you only get a few seconds worth of continuous
    shots and then you have to wait for the buffer to clear. :)

    John Russell, Aug 4, 2003
  13. Eigenvector

    Don Stauffer Guest

    You can make one by buying an intensifier tube and camera, or an
    intensified camera. Image intensifiers can be gated on and off in a
    VERY short time (sub-microsecond). And, because the exposure is so
    short, the intensification comes in handy. You can buy surplus
    intensifier tubes, though I don't know whether these are capable of
    being used with a short gating pulse.

    There are professional cameras sold for this purpose, with everything
    you need. Try Pulnix as a manufacturer.
    Don Stauffer, Aug 4, 2003
  14. Eigenvector

    Eigenvector Guest

    Yeah, but for the events that they are concerned with you only need about
    1/2 a sec or so of time. As always the trick is to know when to push the
    Eigenvector, Aug 4, 2003
  15. Absolutely. We used to rent Wollensak Fastaxes, and Red Lake streak
    cameras for ballistic photography all the time..But, alas, that was so
    long ago, these pieces of hardware are probably in the Smithsonian,
    next to the steam looms!
    With the Framer at 35,000 FPS, with floodlights on the line of sight,
    we could, on moist mornings, obtain beautiful bow shock waves and tail
    turbulance in supersonic 40 mm projectiles.
    The streak camera was a special case. The film was accelerated by
    monster DC Motors to the speed of the object's projected image, past
    a slit. the image was "Wiped" onto the speeding film. The 16 mm film
    was developed, and the reel placed on a pencil and allowed to unwind
    onto the floor, until the ONE image of the projectile was
    found...around the middle or last third of the roll, if you did the
    calculations right.
    Grunty Grogan, Aug 4, 2003
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