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Old August 26th, 2005, 05:50 AM   #1
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Imperx 2/3" CCD 1920x1080 test

I will be testing an Imperx 2M30H camera at dealer on Wendenseday.

I am looking at it as a potential base for a home built HDTV RAW to disc camera. With the intention of producing footage acceptable to broadcasters (hopefully with a reasonably portable system).

This has 1920x1080 pixels in a single 2/3" CCD with upto 33fps at maximum res, 15-60 variable fps. Output is Camera link base.

The asking price is about 2.5k or $4.5k USD.

Spec sheet:-
http://www.imperx.com/cameras/megapi...X2M30HSpec.pdf

Unfortunately the one available for demo has a C-mount, which will not fill the frame, but it is more usually shipped with a Nikon F-mount which does.

Q1) is there anywhere I can post pictures, frame grabs, very short RAW video clips for others to see?

Q2) what tests would other members like me to do (within what the dealer will allow without me buying it).

Q3) what questions would you want answered?
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Last edited by Nick Hockings; August 27th, 2005 at 03:35 AM. Reason: correction of CCD size.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 08:46 AM   #2
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What Formats does it write to?

What would be the minimum setup hardware required to have a fully working unit (eg sensor + lens + computer +what software??)
and also what kind of ballpark figure are we looking at (UK price please)

Also what is the resolving power?
and dynamic range tests would be nice


I know thats a lot to ask but..
Thanks in advanced

Anhar Hussain Miah
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Old August 26th, 2005, 12:35 PM   #3
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Hi Nick, that is pretty interesting. Could you find out if they have a complete solution....I think that is most likely the foremost concern of many of the people here. Do they have recording solution (hardware or software) and if so what is it. Is it included in the 4.5K and if not how much up and above that is it? Thanks for the heads up and I can't wait to hear and see what you find out.

thanks,
Omar
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Old August 26th, 2005, 12:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anhar Miah
What Formats does it write to?

What would be the minimum setup hardware required to have a fully working unit (eg sensor + lens + computer +what software??)
and also what kind of ballpark figure are we looking at (UK price please)
The supplier, www.multipix.com in (old, ie UK)Hampshire, tells me:

"""...Output is Bayer RAW 8,10 or 12bits. At full resolution and 30 frames per
second with 12bit depth this equates to 89Mb/s data rate, and that's
sustained data and not peak.

"""This camera actually outputs progressive frame so you may want to reduce the frame rate to 24 or 25 then do the necessary conversion, this will reduce
data rate also to 71.12 or 74MB/s. this would then be inline with Film and
Europe TV formats.

"""Camera control: All the Imperx cameras are controlled by the same software
or "Camera Configuration Utility" and this is a fairly straight forward
control program which adjust all of the settings

"""For the GigE output version will require some form of programming as it
comes with a full SDK and not much in the way of GUI.
--------


My understanding is that a 64bit camera-link PCI card is needed
as no PCMCIA cards will suport these cameras at HDTV RAW due to the data rate exceeding the bandwidth of the PCMCIA bus.

By comparison the unit I understand Obin is basing his project on, the Sillicon Imaging SI-1920 HDTV single CMOS camera which costs EUR 4.018,00(2,740.62 GBP) ex VAT comes bundled with {Power supply,Framegrabber 64Bit/66MHZ CL-2 2m cable, Software} for EUR 5.518,00 (3,763.12 GBP) ex VAT, from http://www.ehd.de/products/cmoscameras/

That's not a whole lot more, so I might end up switching to it.

My understanding is that no PCMCIA cards will suport these cameras at HDTV RAW due to the data rate exceeding the bandwidth of the PCMCIA bus. For that reason using a laptop isn't possible.

I anticipate the big issues to be:
1) ensure capturing without dropping frames (hopefully already sorted by supplier)
2) to have an adequate viewfinder without upsetting the system
3) how to handle huge RAW files with an NLE

The box I'm planning is intended to offer some editing ability, and to be something I can hike with for use in remote/hostile areas.

I am looking into building a mini PC into the bottom of a Pellican case of airline carry-on-baggage size (about 140 from www.cpcases.com). Hopefully there will be enough space in the top of the case for camera, lenses, and cameralink cable, microphone, and a small monitor + keyboard.

The camera would be hand held, and attached to the box by the cameralink cable. ie ultralight camera chained to a heavy rucksack.

Parts:-

A 7200rpm 500GB hitachi hard drive serial or parallel ATA costs around 250. It may be wise to use a second hard drive for back up, having only one turned on most of the time.

A small motherboard, CPU, operating system, editing software lots of RAM, graphics card, audio capture card with XLR ports, Batteries, transformer/charger... I have yet to price out, but they are not the difficult part.

As I intend to use the monitor as a viewfinder and for basic editing in the field, I will probably go for something like the Lilliput 7" 19:9 (220 from Optex).

Manual focus Nikon F-mount lenses range fro 50 to 5000 depending on what you want. Cannon EF lenses would require a very special adaptor to provide electronic input etc, not a serious option.

Please understand this is a feasibility study at this stage, and I claim no special expertise. Ball park figure: I'll question the benefit if it goes over 6K minus the lenses.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #5
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Nick, I could not find this info on the site.....does the sensor have a global shutter or a rolling shutter like the si-1920? This would be pretty important to find out.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anhar Miah
Also what is the resolving power?
and dynamic range tests would be nice
Are there specific ways you would like this measured?

My plan was to look a some detailed objects eg bank notes, stamps, and foilage, then check skin tones, rapid movement, all in high and low contrast light conditions. English sunlight is somewhat pale relative to eg California, so I will include some artificial bright light as well. Respose at low light levels is also important to me.

There is a slight change of plan, the sales tech isn't sure if everthing will be to hand on Wednesday. He proposes to shoot footage as soon as he has the kit together and post me a DVD. Obviously that doesn't let me see it in action, but it may provide some footage sooner. I will still persue seeing it in the flesh.

Is there interest in similar tests being done with the SI-1920HD CL ?
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Old August 26th, 2005, 03:08 PM   #7
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Re: type of shutter,
I couldn't find anyting other than "programable" and "electronic", so I've mailed the distrubuter, but don't expect anything before Tuesday evening, Monday is a bank holiday.

The manufacturer's FAQ discuses motion artefacts caused by using the interlaced mode. I'm not certain that relates to this camera, but if it does I would think it is a rolling shutter....

Re: minimum cost of a system,

If you are using it in a studio attached to the workstation you use for editing, then I would thing you could have a system working for about the price of the Sillicon Imaging bundle ie 6,777.20 USD/EUR 5.518,00/3,763.12 GBP.

That would mean capturing sound separately though eg on you existing DV camera.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 03:14 PM   #8
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Old August 27th, 2005, 03:40 AM   #9
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Correction

Please note it is the C-mount that is 1", The CCD is 2/3".
(My mistake skiming the rather long spec sheet.)
The C mount lenses actually have an image area that is too small. The Nikon F-mount is the sensible option for our purposes.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #10
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The sensor is a kodak KAI-2093 and its a ccd. They are an interline sensor so their is no such thing as rolling shutter with IT ccd. It is actually excessively difficult to even simulate rolling shutter with it.

IT ccd's build charge and transfer it to a holding area and is read out while more chage is built up in the photosensitive area. When the holding area is empty the photosensitive area transfer charge again to the holding area and the process restarts. This is why IT ccd's have been used for years, so in sense a really perfect electronic global shutter (next to FT ccd's).

The big problem with that camera is your going to need a dual cameralink system and some really good 64 bit card(s) to handle it in order to get a system working because the sensor has dual outputs and unless they have a memory buffer and a line reversal device in their then they are not getting that data out over a single cameralink line easily. Your also going to need a full atx computer to handle the capture as well as software to capture and software to debayer. This is definetly more suitable to a studio setup.

I'd love to see some pics from the camera because I had some for the KAI-2093C but I can't find them anymore:( But from a technical point the camera head should give you a really really nice picture (Kodak colour filters for bayer have the best response curves i've seen of anything available that can do the frame rate)
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Old August 28th, 2005, 03:47 PM   #11
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Could be interesting. Both imperx and SI-1920HD. As far as it known, SI offering more or less complete system: head, CL or GigE and software. Their only disadvantage is rolling shutter. I havnt heared much about ccd' head you going to test, but, i am extremely curious about the result. There is no footage posted from these cameras, at least I havent seen.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:24 PM   #12
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Some feedback

Re Capture cards, hard drives and portable PCs:

Following a face to face discussion with the sales engineer re portability and shooting on location, he sent me the following.
No easy way to abbreviate this so I've cut & pasted....

"""The CL160 (IO industries capture card) stores 12-bit pixels in exactly 12-bits of hard disk storage, not 16 bits as one would expect.

Actual recording data rate = 1920 x 1080 x 1.5 bytes/pixel x 30 fps = 89
MByte/s

Required number of hard disks = 2 Hitachi 10K rpm Ultra 320 SCSI 300GB.
Please note the Hitachi 10K rpm hard drives are really fast. We have
performed benchmark tests with the 300GB drives and the performance of 2
drives will sustain the required 89 MB/s recording rate for 99% of the
drives surface. The remaining 1% that is too slow is located at the end of
the drives, and can be excluded from the recording operation during the
initial system configuration.

Recording duration with two 300GB drives =
(((2x300000000000)/(1024x1024x1024)) / (89 x 1024)) / 3600 sec/hr = 1.78
hours

Alternatively, you could use (3) 147GB drives, the price would be about the
same, but you wouldn't have as much storage capacity.

I recommend using the following portable computer system from ACME Portable
computer: Hercules HTII-763,
http://www.acmeportable.com/products...le/htii763.htm.

You can install an ATX motherboard in the system. We recommend the
Supermicro PDSGE,
http://www.supermicro.com/products/m.../955/PDSGE.cfm.

Streams 5 should definitely be used as the recording software. It has an
intuitive means of managing the recorded video clips that will be easy for a
cinematographer to understand. Video clips are automatically catalogued as
'Scenes'. 'Scenes' are organized within 'Movies'. 'Movies' are organized
within a 'Video Libary'. The user can quickly access each scene for
playback and backup.
""""
End quote.

I'm still trying to get some prices on the above suggestions.
These portable workstations are robust, but I suspect they are seriously heavy and expensive. The spec and performance give a guide line as to what is feasible. A lot depends on whether you need an untethered walkabout camera. The true portability that I want may require a custom built computer.

I am mulling various options for the camera itself. I use Canon lenses, so one way would be to get an old 35mm EOS SLR (50 UKP for an EOS 500) and have a precision engineering firm modify the back door to mount the Imperx. That would give me autofocus, lightmetering and aperture control at the start of a shot.

An expensive option would be to get a pentachroic prism (http://www.optec-spa.com/products/mu...-prisms_uk.htm)
That would allow 3CCD rgb for normal use, with the option of also recording IR and/or UV depending on the prism spec for nature videography.
That would create unique images, that might justify the cost!


Images:

I have some photos of the camera and card that I will put up shortly. The engineer said he got the camera working this afternoon, and will try to shoot some test footage tomorrow time permitting.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Hockings
Images:

I have some photos of the camera and card that I will put up shortly. The engineer said he got the camera working this afternoon, and will try to shoot some test footage tomorrow time permitting.
Looking forward to it.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 05:48 PM   #14
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Looking forward to it Nick - hope it works out and love to see those pics
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Old September 11th, 2005, 03:46 AM   #15
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Hi Nick, just wondering if you had a chance to post any photos or clips from the camera. Any other word on the camera?

thanks,
Omar
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