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Old August 13th, 2005, 07:09 PM   #1
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Point Grey Flea Cam?

I'm interested in opinions on the Point Grey Flea camera:
http://ptgrey.com/products/flea/index.html

This fits into the category of industrial camera, but it is being used for doing bullet time camera rigs and such because multiple units can be triggered from one PC. So it must be capable of general purpose image capture.

I did a search of the forums and couldn't finds any references to discussions about this company's cameras, they make some interesting stuff. I see the Flea cam as a possible intermediate solution on the way to 10 bit 4:4:4 HD et al. It seems end-user friendly in comparison to the other homebrew HD projects being hatched here, and it costs about $1100.

Here are the key stats:

-The hi res version is 1024X768, 8 bit 30 fps
-12 bit A/D conversion
-1/3" Sony CCD (a dealbreaker for some)
-c-mount for lenses
-Firewire to computer
-Bayer pattern imaging
-Global shutter

I'm Mac based and there is some promising software available to control this camera, aimed at astronomy enthusiasts:
http://www.outcastsoft.com/ASCASTROIIDC.html

The key features are:
-Uncompressed capture
-Realtime preview at full res
-Will convert Bayer images to RGB, Quicktime, using Bayer codec QT component.
-Allows 16 bit capture at half frame rate
-Can make camera operate at 25/12.5 fps
-Custom gamma, gain, brightness, black point and exposure control
-Histogram display

As far as lenses go, obviously there are plenty of good 16mm c-mount cine lenses. Also I found this c-mount to PL-mount adapter:
http://www.visualproducts.com/storeP...tID=479&Cat=11
...so you could add PL-mount Lomo lenses etc.

Assuming you have the computer, you could get up and running with a nice lens for less than 2 grand.

Any opinions/advice on this approach?

Michael
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Old August 15th, 2005, 10:58 PM   #2
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No response?

It seem that the best thing about the possible setup I'm suggesting is that the AstroIIDC software is already implemented with tight integration for the Point Grey cameras with lots of the kind of functionality one would typically want. Having said that, the Point Grey Windows-based software may work great.

The Flea cam has a 1/3" CCD so I'm not sure how well it would perform with say a c-mount 16mm film lens, but such lenses were used on Beaulieu Super8 cameras, ie the film gate corresponds more closely with a 1/3" CCD. There is also the 1/2" Scorpion cam but I don't know about the frame rate.

I guess now I would rule out a PL-mount after doing a bit more basic research on FOV issues when using film lenses with smaller CCD sensors.
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Old August 16th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #3
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I think it is kind of a general consensus that it is dificult to get the industrial camera method to work right. Their is software and hardware to contend with along with all sorts of other things like size, casing, and battery life (I think a big one). But it can be done but you still need to write your own software or find something out their that can debayer and its not easy to find and implement algorithms.

A lot of things seem to have gone silent but as far as I know people are doing things, working more tightly on things that the general community will have little understanding of.

So from what I know this setup you propose should work provided you have the software and stuff but you'll have to use an anamorphic adapter to get 720p like widescreen rather than 4:3. That 1/3" is going to be a bit of a pain to if your into the whole DOF stuff. 1/2" and 2/3" will make better use of 16mm lenses than a 1/3" or using a relay lense with a GG would also give you that look.
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Old August 17th, 2005, 12:20 AM   #4
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Hi Kieth,


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Wakeham
I think it is kind of a general consensus that it is dificult to get the industrial camera method to work right. Their is software and hardware to contend with along with all sorts of other things like size, casing, and battery life (I think a big one). But it can be done but you still need to write your own software or find something out their that can debayer and its not easy to find and implement algorithms.
I agree, but the only reason I am considering doing this is because those factors are taken care of, at least to the extent that there are end-user solutions available that may work satisfactorily.
As I mentioned, the software is well written, being used now by hobbyists with telescopes and microscopes, and that includes de-bayering to Quicktime. Wether the algorithms are up to snuff remains to be seen.
There is no need to worry about batteries or casing for my application.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Wakeham
A lot of things seem to have gone silent but as far as I know people are doing things, working more tightly on things that the general community will have little understanding of.

So from what I know this setup you propose should work provided you have the software and stuff but you'll have to use an anamorphic adapter to get 720p like widescreen rather than 4:3. That 1/3" is going to be a bit of a pain to if your into the whole DOF stuff. 1/2" and 2/3" will make better use of 16mm lenses than a 1/3" or using a relay lense with a GG would also give you that look.
I don't have to get widescreen if I don't want to! 4:3 is not a disease, although I think WS is easier to compose for. But yes I agree the scope adapter would be the way to go. I'm just interested in creating a camera that will create nice images for PAL finishing. One reason this project may be more accessible is because I'm not going for the glory HD/35mm DOF crown. I'm going for something that is a step up from DV that is still 444 uncompressed and has 10 or 12 bits per channel.

Regarding ccd size, yes this is an issue based on 16mm lenses, but I have thought of a nice solution.

All up it's still a gamble, an experiment, but fairly low risk in comparison to the more pro HD solutions being developed. But thanks for your comments.

Michael
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Old August 17th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #5
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Hi,
I really don't have much of a clue what your talking about and don't feel like taking the time to find out, however I am curious of what would be the most popular way in using a camera this small. I understand how scientists might use it for microscopes but what have been some other uses people have done with it.
Thanks to anyone who answers

Patrick
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Old August 17th, 2005, 07:41 PM   #6
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Two applications for filmmaking that I have seen:
1. Setting up a "bullet time" style of array of cameras, that can be triggered all at once for crating time slices etc

2. I read an article in DV magazine about 2 years ago of a guy who was using cameras like this on music videos, either as a second camera, or for mounting in unusual places.

The actual unit may be tiny but that is mainly because it doesn't have a tape mechanism, large lens and viewfinder.

Michael
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