Edgertronic High-Speed Camera Kickstarter

By Norman Chan

$5000 for a professional-grade high-speed camera.

I really want this Kickstarter to succeed. Edgertronic is a Bay Area startup that is developing a relatively low-cost high-speed camera that can shoot footage at up to 17,000 frames per second. At $5,000 per unit, this is still a product for the professional market, but it's well below the cost of the Phantom cameras that are used in movies, TV shows, and popular YouTube channels. Even the high-speed camera we rented last year, the Sony FS700, costs $10,000, and it's capped at 960fps at low resolution. Edgertronic's camera has a CMOS sensor that captures video at up to 1280x1024 at 500fps, and can scale down resolution to 192x96 for 17,000fps. A sweet spot for this camera seems to be 640x480 at 1,850 frames per second--60 times slower than real-time at 30fps playback. Just check out the following demo video (among others, on the company's Vimeo page).

Technical features important to the performance high-speed cameras include processing speed, heat dissipation, and storage. Edgertronic uses a custom processing board and stores footage on an internal memory buffer, which allows 8 seconds of footage to be continuously recorded for end triggers (eg. hitting the record button after an event has happened). It then saves compressed H.264 video on an SD card slot; this is definitely a case where using a fast SD card will matter. Edgertronic also comes with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens, and accepts any F-mount lens.

High-speed photography is a technology we see coming down in cost in the coming years--and $5,000 is an incredible price in today's market. This is something we'd love to test!