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Thread: Any recommendations on cameras for capturing laser shows?

  1. #1
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    Default Any recommendations on cameras for capturing laser shows?

    I have realized that I really need to get a new camera to capture my work to be able to market myself. Now, the problem is that cameras are generally rather bad at correctly representing monochromatic light sources accurately, meaning that your pictures/videos look nothing like the actual laser. I suspect it will be hard to find the spectral response curves for the different cameras, so I turn to you. The collective experience of this forum is probably the best there is in this area.

    So, basically I'm looking for a camera in the 200€ price class with the following characteristics:

    • Accurate monochromatic color representation at common laser wavelengths (440-500nm, 532nm, 630-670nm)
    • Good video capture. High resolution video at 25+ fps. Must not be in quicktime format, because I hate it.
    • Resolution for photos does not need to be great
    • Good S/N-ratio. Must be able to capture in dark conditions with little noise
    • SDHC support
    • Good battery type and low current draw
    • Easy to take with you, as I'll be going to raves all over Europe taking photos and videos.

    Am I missing any important points? Any suggestions on cameras welcome.

  2. #2
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is online now Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
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    Sony camcorders with Zeiss lenses.
    used to be the only thing I'd buy for the lab unless I could get my hands on sony industrial or pulnix.
    Or a sony block camera, from sony industrial. Lets you have direct access to the color controls
    Nough said.


    Steve Roberts

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    Oh, I should add that it's not really a camcorder, but a normal digital camera I'm looking for. Even though having a camcorder as well as a DSC would be optimal I cannot afford it at the moment. That's why I want to go for a compact digital camera with good video first.

    Those Sony cameras sound expensive, and I don't like their proprietary media. Nonetheless, those industrial cameras seem very interesting, if I could get my hands on a cheap one in second hand.

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    My camera is a kodak Z712IS. Now, I really dont like kodak as far as digital cameras go, but I think they finally got it right on this one.

    It does 640 x 480 video at 30fps, although I'm not sure of the format... I'll have to check,

    Color representation (at least in pictures) is nearly flawless with my lasers. It can even capture 405nm very well, which is a rarity in cameras. The only problem is that I dont know if it retains this same quality of color in the videos, but I assume that it would.

    It has full optical image stabilization and has a very nice schneider-kreuznach lens. Also, it has 12x OPTICAL zoom, zoomed pictures look amazing.

    The con is that battery life SUCKS. Now, this camera can take standard AA's or it can take the special kodak battery meant for the camera. I would assume that battery life with the special battery is fairly good, but with the AA's it is pretty bad. Dont even try to use alkaline AA's... they are done in a few minutes. Duracell power pix or energizier e2 lithiums do pretty well, though.

    Here are a few pictures I have tekn of various lasers... I'll try to get all the common wavelengths in there.

    532nm:



    405nm:


    Multiline Argon:




    473nm:

    (this one is 473nm along with a HeNe 632.8nm)


    Random laser show pattern:


    And a few general pictures just to show the picture quality:


    (I hate this next one...)






    The best part is that I got this camera for just under $100 on ebay... it retails for around $250

    Here is the camera itself:


    Hope that helps!

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    Looks interesting. Colors seem fairly accurate, even 405nm. It's a bit big though and bad battery life seems unnecessary. I have an old Olympus now that eats batteries, it's quite annoying.

    Do you have any 660nm red lasers? I find that the response is often inaccurate at such long wavelengths as well.

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    I believe the red at the top is either 650nm or 660nm, but I'm not sure which... it was from one of those cheap 100mW lab modules from dealextreme... now it's dead so I cant take any more pictures either. I'll be building a 660nm module soon though so I can take more pics later.


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    its the person using the camera rather than the camera.

    if you know what your doing is does not really batter what camera you have.

    i can get really good laser pics with my mums cheap cam and with my dslr camera
    Eat Sleep Lase Repeat

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    Quote Originally Posted by andy_con View Post
    its the person using the camera rather than the camera.

    if you know what your doing is does not really batter what camera you have.

    i can get really good laser pics with my mums cheap cam and with my dslr camera
    Very true... having full access to all the manual settings is a must for laser photography!

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    sure is

    for good laser pics you also need a tripod.

    you cant extend the exposure time and hold it by hand
    Eat Sleep Lase Repeat

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    It looks ok there, but it's hard to tell from pics of the dots. Beams are generally more useful, especially if you make like a RGY fan so you can compare the red to the green and see what the yellow looks like compared to in reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by andy_con View Post
    its the person using the camera rather than the camera.

    if you know what your doing is does not really batter what camera you have.

    i can get really good laser pics with my mums cheap cam and with my dslr camera
    Not true when it comes to color accuracy. There isn't a camera in the world that allows you to change the absorption of the dyes covering the pixels on the CCD. This is set when they are manufactured and there's nothing you can do to change it.

    You can make some changes to attempt to correct it afterwards, but if the CCD records the colors incorrectly it will be futile in most cases. Just look at pictures of an OPSL whitelight (blue + yellow).

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