Hi-Speed cameras for robot development

Has anyone out there used a high speed camera for robot development or testing? I’m not talking about using slow motion on your camera phone, I mean something that captures 500+ frames per second (fps) that allows you to see something you couldn’t see at normal speed.

Here are some of the times in the past that I would have liked to have one:
2009: see how well traction control systems worked on the regolith
2012: watch the wheels compress the basketballs to see what effect the compression has on wheel slip.
2013: watch the shooter wheels interact with the discs to judge what wheels to use.
2014: watch the impact of our ball puncher to find out the best puncher plate shape for better accuracy
2015: canburglars. all we see in a 240fps video is a blur, higher speed was needed

There are a few less expensive hi-speed cameras on the market:
$5,495: Edgertronic
$532: FPS1000 (kickstarter, none delivered so far)

If the second one turns out to work well I think it would be a good investment for a robotics team, especially if a school’s physics department is willing to split the cost.

I’m pretty sure a newer GoPro shooting in slow-motion is a safe bet. 240 fps is still very useful.

We’ve used some slow motion capture to try and see where a jamming issue was occurring in a shooter before. It is definitely a great tool to have.

I use a Nikon J1, which usually is up on amazon for $250.

It shoots decent footage at 400 fps, and somewhat crummy footage at 1200 fps. Good framing and lighting helps us get extremely useful data during testing.

Wow for the cost that second option looks really good. If there are generally good reviews I might look into buying one.

For anyone wanting to buy a high speed camera, remember that you aren’t going to be able to use it without a LOT of light. Don’t expect to be able to film your super fast whatever when you finish it at like midnight.

I’m a bit disappointed in the lens mount. Most people have EF or F glass, but rarely anything with a C mount. It’s nice that they provide a fast lens to use though.

I’ve used the Casio EX-ZR400, which you can find for $200 or less. High speed modes up to 1000 fps, although pretty low resolution (224x64 @ 1000fps, 224x160 @ 480fps, 512x384 @ 240fps, 640x480 @ 120fps) so the aforementioned Nikon J1 might be a better choice (the Nikon does 320x120 @ 1200 fps).

We have a sponsor (Sierra Lobo inc) that allows us the use of their high speed camera. Its a very high end camera but I couldn’t tell you anything more about it than that.

We used it in 2012 and 2013 and found it pretty helpful.

You could check with some of your sponsors and see if they have one you may use.

we uploaded some of it from 2012:

That poor orange, never knew what him 'em.

Thanks for the tip on the Nikon J1. If the fps1000 doesn’t look good by the beginning of next season that would be a nice alternative.

I’ll second the recommendation on the J1. I bought it for the same purpose in 2013. With it on a tripod next to the frisbee shooter, in the ~1200 FPS, reduced resolution mode, I still was able to get at least 40-50 frames of it moving through the shooter (as I recall).

With that, if you do things like make strong black marks on the wheels and frisbee, you have enough resolution to work with. Yes, it won’t be “beautiful” looking footage, but even with blurriness, you can glean useful information. In this case, I could see how much the frisbee was bowing upwards and rubbing on the top of the shooter.

Lighting will be key though, having a strong light source will help a lot on picture clarity for these cheaper cameras.

The fps1000 looks like it will be released in 3 versions. Silver, Gold, and Platinum with increasing framerate-to-resolution as you go up the scale.

Silver is priced at £399($608) with Max Res of 640x480@840fps and 9500fps@256x64.

Gold is priced at £799($1217) with Max Res of 1280x1024@200fps and matches the Res-Fps of silver after that.

Platinum is priced at £1299($1978) with Max Res of 2560x2048@75fps but 1500fps@640x480.

So the Silver is nice with about 4-5x the resolution of the Nikon J1 while only being about twice the price, but you will need to pick out your own lens.

Are there any other good options out there at 500+ fps that are sub-$1000 other than the Nikon J1 and Casio EX-ZR400(and potentially the fps1000 Silver)?

One other limitation on the J1 I forgot to mention is it only has enough RAM to shoot 5 seconds of high speed video.

The specs on the FPS1000 look like an amazing value (and potentially worth the upgrade) if it becomes available soon.

I think you’re underselling the capabilities of 240 FPS; I shot this video of 842 at Championship, one of the fastest canburglars of the Curie qualification rounds, on an iPhone 6 and I can tell exactly what’s going on clear as day.

Our FLL teams made use of this same camera during their season testing the Sports mission; none of us could figure out what was causing the ball to bounce out of the goal until we saw it in slow motion. The shots were much more repeatable after that.

Wow, that does sound limiting. The Casio can shoot unlimited duration (well, up to the capacity of your flash card) at 1000 fps.

Pretty neat development in the high speed arena, Sony announced the RX100 IVwhich among other things can shoot 1000 FPS at 1080P.

Pretty pricey at ~$1000 for a pocket point and shoot style camera, but it’s in the price range being discussed in this thread. For someone in the market for a high end slow-motion camera, this camera will certainly set a new bar. Should be available in July.