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Old January 7th, 2006, 11:08 PM   #1
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SD cameras with latitude/low light? For altrernative camera project.

Does anybody know which standard definition camera module heads (used for security cameras, instrumentation or video etc, but not Mini-DV and the like) have the best latitude and low light ability? And any progressive SD.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 06:55 AM   #2
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Wayne.

Try a web search under "Kampro" or "Ness". Ness is an Australian vendor and sell the cam under their own name. The cameras are labelled "digital". They have a comprehensive website.

There is a 480 TV line single CCD colour model, 100-446 which has two gamma settings, acceptable colour and controllable by DIP switches on the back. Outputs are composite via BNC on the back and S-Video (y/c) from the side. There is aso a small 4 pin socket for auto-iris lenses.

It is a "CS Mount" but this can be converted to "C Mount with a simple nylon adaptor. I use my Nikons on it via the Nikon F to C Mount adaptor I also use on the NV for the PD150.

There is also a B/W model 100-447 which has a claimed 600 TV lines resolution. Output is composite via BNC only.

Both work from 12VDC but can be apparently used on an AC source as well.

There is a cable controlled version of both I think.

If your budget can go a bit higher, JVC have a family of SD 3CCD camera heads. The models I know of are KY-F50, KY-F32, KY-F55. With the new generation flow from HDV developments, some of these cams may drift onto the secondhand market.

These cams use a relay lens to confer the optical characteristics of larger TV format lenses to 1/3" 3CCD arrays and conform to SD broadcasts standard.

The KY-F50 is "C Mount" and sees the lens as if it is a 2/3" video camera.

The KY-F32 I think is B3 Mount and sees the lens as if it is a 1/2" video camera.

The KY-F55 is similar but I don't know its specs.

I think these cams may no longer be in production but I could be wrong.

They also have hi-resolution which is effectively 25P in the PAL version. You can port them into a PD150 or a deck via S-Video and have the footage looking like 25P even if the signal is in fact interlaced. There are very many menu based image control options as one would expect to find in a broadcast camera.

Their usage apparently included, microscope imaging and being flown as a remote head on cable systems across football grounds for OB sports.

These cameras have composite, component, RGB and S-video (y/c) output options can be genlocked and managed by computer. There are other accessories for controlling them which may now be getting scarce.

I got one from JVC Australia from their on-line discounted stock as was where was. It actually had a fault.

I understand it had been their loaner/demonstrator and somebody unbeknownst to them had ratted one of the boards whilst it was out and subbed one which they had attempted to fix themselves.

JVC were excellent and repaired the cam under warranty. I still use it today to go in close on aircraft in flight with Nikon lenses.

The KY-F32 manual can be found as a downloadable .pdf file. Pretty much the same rules apply for all the cameras. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll see if I still have a copy here.

Sony and Panasonic apparently offer similar product families.

The Ness cams have very good low light performance, best on the lower gamma selection. The B/W cam also sees some infrared and can be assisted with IR illuminators. I believe these may have Sony CCDs.

The JVC low-light performance is not anywhere as good as the PD150.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 10:06 PM   #3
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Thanks Bob that looks well worth looking at.

I forgot to add that I am looking at 4:4:4, 3 chip or B&w cameras only, and preferably low cost (well this side of $500, closer to $100 preferably).
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Old January 9th, 2006, 03:25 AM   #4
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The Ness cams are under AU$500 but are single chip which takes them out of your equation.

It may be possible to get at the image signal before it goes to y/c or composite out but the cams come with little tech info, only a small operators manual.

I doubt you'll get 3xCCD cams in your price range just yet. It might be worth enquiring with some agents or wholesalers for insurance or warranty write-offs but my efforts in this have only been successful with a broadcast lens, not cameras.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 08:11 AM   #5
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Sorry, I meant single chip 4:4:4 or monochrome, as well as 3 chip.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 08:30 AM   #6
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Wayne.

Those Ness cams whilst "digital" are all analogue signal out.

The JVCs I believe can go to computer via RGB but I don't know the detail. All output versions go out via various arrangements on a 9pin d-sub connector.

That is all too high a science and dark art for my feeble mind. The JVC imaging is based on the same pixel count per each of the three CCDs as Sony PD150 but the gain is lower. The published info is dated 1996, so I guess they sit around the time of the VX1000 in terms of development.

Ness I think, may now have some firewire cams as the later generations of security stuff seem to be evolving away from longplay tape to HDD recorders.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #7
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Thanks for your help Bob.
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