Whether it's a bursting water balloon or the flapping wings of a bird, super slow-motion video can reveal the incredible nature of seemingly mundane events. But this footage doesn't come cheap. With typical set-ups costing in excess of US$30,000, its use is often limited to those with mega-budgets. The Edgertronic high speed video camera aims to to change that, by offering pro specs with a (relatively) affordable price-tag.
Combining a specialized CMOS image sensor and ultra high-speed electronics, the Edgertronic is capable of shooting 1280 x 1024 pixel video at 494 fps (frames per second). The speed increases to 701 fps at 1280 x 720 pixels, 1,849 fps at 640 x 480 pixels and 5,712 fps at 320 x 240 pixels. By the time resolution is dropped to 192 x 96 pixels, the camera is capable of an almost ridiculous 17,791 fps.
The MIT-trained engineers behind the project say the device has been built from the ground up with custom hardware and software, to give users the frame rate and resolution of a truly professional camera. Measuring just 111 x 108 x 79 mm (4.4 x 4.3 x 3.1 inches) it's smaller than most other slow motion cameras and around the size of a DSLR. It takes Nikon F-mount lenses, and ships with a Nikon 50mm F1.8 D.
On the back of the camera there are two USB ports, one Ethernet port, an audio input, and an accessory expansion I/O port for things like external triggers. Once connected to a computer, or to a LAN over Ethernet, users can control the Edgertronic via a web browser user interface. This gives access to live preview and settings including exposure, frame rate, preview composition and adjust focus.
Another nice touch is that while running, the camera can constantly capture high-speed video to an internal buffer. This means that users can trigger the device and capture moments which have just happened. Depending on settings, this gives a minimum of eight seconds of continuous capture which makes capturing unpredictable events, like lightning, a lot easier. Footage is recorded in H.264 format and files are stored on a removable SD. Once there, it can also be downloaded to a computer, or replayed in a browser.
Edgertronic is being brought to market via Kickstarter and has recently achieved its funding goal. Pledges range from $4,495 to $5,395 depending on package and estimated delivery date, with the first units expected to ship in December. While these price-tags mean it's still aimed squarely at the professional market, it's a lot less than the Phantom cameras from Vision Research and the Fastec TS3 Cine which we've previously drooled over.
Here's the Edgertronic Kickstarter video, unsurprisingly featuring plenty of those lovely super slow-motion clips.