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Old Apr 26, 2010, 1:31 PM   #1
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Default Improving low-light performance of the Exilim EX-F1?

I have a Casio Exilim EX-F1 which I use mostly for high-speed videography of combat robotics (see http://www.youtube.com/madoverlord for some of the results).

The basic problem I face is that there simply isn't enough light in the arena (despite having 21kw of worklights). The result is that the videos, when compressed and stored on the SD card, have a lot of gain noise (despite looking decent on the viewfinder during recording), and after boosting the gamma in Final Cut to bring out the details, the noise is of course even worse.

For both economic and practical reasons (lack of power to run more lights!), it seems unlikely that I'll get more photons bouncing around. So I am wondering if there is perhaps some sort of lens adapter that I can get that will let me collect more light and feed it into the camera, without significantly changing things (ie: I don't want wide-angle or telephoto).

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
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Old Apr 27, 2010, 1:59 PM   #2
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In terms of what we conventionally think of as a lens adapters the answer is no. The only thing that would help would be to adapt the camera to a night vision devise and that would significantly change things.

Have you investigated swapping 21KW halogen (worklights) for daylight balanced CFs (21KW input ~ equiv. 56KW output.)

A. C.

Last edited by ac.smith; Apr 27, 2010 at 2:06 PM.
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Old Apr 27, 2010, 3:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac.smith View Post
In terms of what we conventionally think of as a lens adapters the answer is no. The only thing that would help would be to adapt the camera to a night vision devise and that would significantly change things.
I agree. What I'm almost looking for is a non-magnifying telescope that basically has a bigger surface area!

Quote:
Have you investigated swapping 21KW halogen (worklights) for daylight balanced CFs (21KW input ~ equiv. 56KW output.)
These have two problems. First, the price (budget? what budget?!), and second, CF's flicker at 120hz IIRC. When you're filming at 300hz, you need a constant light source or you get beating effects. 500w halogens are good for this because the filaments have enough thermal mass that they don't cool off twice during each AC cycle.

We actually have to have the mercury lights you often see at event centers turned off over the arena to prevent them from causing camera flicker.
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Old Apr 30, 2010, 11:44 PM   #4
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I have seen telephoto adapters in the 1.5x to 2x range which don't lose any light, due to larger objectives, but am not aware of any 1:1 lenses which increase light gathering. Perhaps with one of these teleconverters, you could use a shorter focal length on your camera and get a larger aperture?

brian
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Old May 1, 2010, 7:24 AM   #5
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I have a feeling that they won't be much help, especially since I stay full wide-angle at all times when shooting high-speed.

The good news is that I stumbled upon an excellent temporal noise-reduction filter that does an excellent job of suppressing the gain and compression noise, so I've got a partial fix for the problem. Here's the link in case someone else runs into this issue.

http://www.neatvideo.com/

They have plugins for all the major editing platforms, Mac/Windows.
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