January 24, 2008

One *miiiillion* images per second

Dang–and I thought 1,200fps was pretty impressive, but that’s so last week.

The camera fiends at Vision Research have trotted out the Phantom V12, a crowd pleaser said to be capable of grabbing 1MM images per second (if you can live with 256×8 resolution; resolution goes up as frame rate goes down).  Their gear is “targeted at industrial applications ranging from biometric research to automotive crash testing,” they say. “Essentially,” opines Engadget, “this little bundle of joy is meant to be strapped into daredevil-type situations in order to grab as many photos as possible within a split second.”  Check out the company Web site for videos of a popcorn kernel popping and more. [Via Jerry Harris]

The proliferation of these high-speed capture devices makes me remember a talk given last year at Adobe by Microsoft researcher Michael Cohen.  He described the idea of “thick photos”–essentially taking little movies instead of single frames, making it possible to select the perfect moment in a series.  This development will probably further irritate photo purists, but I’d like to see a camera maker take a run at the idea.

[Update: Michael points out that his ideas are covered in some detail in this paper.  His own page offers more technical bits.]

Posted by John Nack at 5:43 PM on January 24, 2008

Comments

  • Tim Gray — 6:38 PM on January 24, 2008

    We use cameras similar to this in fusion research all the time. Things happen so fast in fusion devices that you need really high speed cameras if you want to image anything.
    The *crappy* ones run at only 1000-2000 fps at 256×256. By crappy I mean 10 years old.
    Newer cheap models run up to 50k fps, and at more reasonable speeds of a 1-4k, have pretty big images (1000×1000, or 512×512).
    The Phantom cameras are pretty nice – I got to use one of the 100k fps models at one point. There’s also one or two cameras at the lab (forget the company) that do 1 million fps with and actual usable image size (128×128? I forget) but it can only do it for a brief stretch of time.
    [Madness (in a good way, of course). Thanks for the info. –J.]

  • Aaron Lee — 8:14 AM on January 25, 2008

    These guys have been a client of ours for a while now and we developed their site. There’s some amazing footage on the gallery page which I promise will kill about 30 minutes of your day. =) I happen to be a fan of the dragonfly and the car explosion, and there’s nothing wrong with “Super Dangerous”.

  • Zandr Milewski — 9:08 AM on January 25, 2008

    I’ve only had time to skim Michael’s paper, but I’d say that the new Casio EX-F1 in combination with existing panorama and blending tools (autopano-sift, hugin, and especially enfuse) get *very* close to what he’s talking about. I didn’t get a chance to ask about auto-bracketing when I talked to the Casio rep at Macworld, that’s the one area where a small software tweak would make a big difference.

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