The Chronos 1.4 team has been hard at work on firmware improvements. The latest pre-released software patch shared with HSC improves the h.264 file quality at the pixel level by using a new demosaic algorithm to better match the real camera output. We did a few sample tests to see how big an improvement it is and also to maybe ditch the slow and space eating RAW 16bit workflow which is our preferred file saving format as it retains all the sensor information.
The new improvements are already available to the community as a beta in this post. It is very stable it should immediately improve the way you work with the camera. Also, a new roadmap of upcoming firmware releases was shared in the forums which include HDMI monitoring and a complete OS change to Debian Linux from the current Arago distro for the camera which should improve development and speed in implementing features.
The fps1000, fps2000 and fps4000 projects are alive and well and are progressing forward with a unified hardware base. We are not able to share information the current state of the project other than it is advancing to a ready to ship point in the future to all outstanding backers. The fps4000 camera is able to be rented now in the United Kingdom at this website for £150.00 pounds a day plus VAT & Insurance.
We are awaiting a 4k version of this camera in the future and the current fps4000 looks to be evolving to include a Sony Infolithium standard battery which also looks like a grip of sorts. You are able to rent it with a micro 4/3 mount or a Canon EF if needed. Some may point out that if its available for rent it should be ready to ship but these cameras are engineering non-mass production samples that are still evolving. The rental house also helps the project by testing and finding issues with the camera with the help of production users, that can be corrected before final production.
The Chronos 1.4 Team has now posted the first incarnation of the RAW Camera data to DNG File tool to convert the sensor information files to usable Adobe DNG sequences. They also have posted a sample image comparing the before and after characteristics of the image quality if saved on H.264 in camera and then the same scene shot and saved in RAW format which converted to DNG yields a substantial improvement in image quality as we explored in our previous post about this issue here.
The camera is expected to allow direct to DNG format file saving in the future but now you can shoot in the camera RAW format and later convert as an interim solution without sacrificing quality on the H.264 files. Maybe in the future, the camera will be able to simultaneously save RAW and H.264 files as a proxy feature to be able to easily sample clips in editing before conversion. We believe the DNG format should be your one-stop solution for this camera if image quality is important for your use case.
We received a set of Adobe DNG image samples from Krontech to check the resolution, dynamic range and grading potential of the camera when using the RAW recording mode. As of now the utility to convert the raw data is still being tested but we were impressed by the results the camera was able to achieve by offloading the de-bayering process to a more capable converter like the Adobe Camera RAW module.
The Chronos files were already good when properly exposed but did suffer from some aliasing and moire in fine detail while resolution also took a hit by saving in a compressed H.264 format. Now with the DNG RAW capability, we are glad to see that the camera image quality made an enormous improvement in the resolution, color fidelity, and dynamic range. It really brings out the real potential of the camera for a variety of applications, also creating a cleaner result in the noise department when processed correctly.
The fps4000 is starting production of 1080p units with 4k cameras following closely behind. The Slow Motion Camera Company Ltd. has launched a new website today with specs, pricing and an easy order page which will let you finally be in the order queue for an fps1000, fps2000 and fps4000 camera. Website here: https://www.slomocamco.com
We are expecting an fps4000 camera for our lab sometime in the 1st quarter of the year which will let us put it through its paces. The cameras aim to change the way you record slow-motion footage by allowing up to 2 minutes continuous recording in camera solid state memory which can free up DPs from the typical few seconds in slow motion cameras. This, in theory, allows recording an entire production in slow motion which can be ramped in speed slow or faster if needed.
The fps4000 camera hinted in Q4 of 2017 as the camera to replace the fps lineup is now entering its first production batch and it will fulfill the promises to backers that expected a camera either in 1080p or 4k. The fps4000 will reach up to 4k resolution at 500fps in it’s highest configuration. This is half the performance of the Phantom Flex 4k camera when it comes to frame-rate at that resolution.
The fps4000 also has a lower resolution configuration for 1080p at 2000fps. Back in 2017 on the announcement, there were configurations up to 4000fps at 720p using different sensors. The hardware main design seems to be shared among the cameras which makes it possible to offer different models at accommodative costs. This should allow all Kickstarter backers to have their promised camera and continue the line for new customers who need low cost extra long recording times in camera.
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