One of our favorite high speed camera companies has shared a lot of information regarding it’s COVID pandemic operations as well as unit shipments for their cameras. It looks like Sanstreak corp the parent of edgertronic is considered an essential business to the government which is probably because of the support and software development they do with clients for important government agencies. They have sold thousands of cameras to date and the company seems to be on firm footing to continue solidly into the future.
Their product line has the SC1, which is the 700fps 720p camera that started it all, as well as the SC2/SC2+ 720p at over 4000fps and SC2X over 2000fps at full HD 1080p. Check our page here for full in-depth reviews on these three cameras. Our favorite the SC2X is capable of a beautifully detailed and artifact-free image that can be used for cinema and broadcast. The SC2+ has the edge in frame rates with speed as a primary focus being able to record 6x the frame rate of the original edgertronic. The cameras have Color and Monochrome options if needed.→ Continue Reading Full Post ←
Over the last seven weeks testing and shooting with the edgertronic SC2X high-speed camera we have a complete picture of what this camera can do and where it can really shine. This camera is a special one in its own right because it is the breakthrough 1080p Full HD camera that achieves 2,000fps at excellent quality for film and TV productions. This is a camera we have been waiting for a long time and it is all that we were expecting and more concerning quality and frame rates.
Part 3 of this review will focus on the camera’s portable setup capability. We will also go into the newly introduced overclocking feature which makes the camera a lot more capable, things still left to add into the software platform that could improve the user experience and help in getting the shot plus, a conclusion for the SC2X review.
SC2X Camera Portability:
Being portable can be easily done with any laptop Mac/PC/ChromeBook connected to the camera Ethernet directly but unless you have a full rig support it becomes an exercise in frustration to carry a laptop all day. You will need a surface to support the computer while working in the field. That is not a problem for indoor use but for outdoor it becomes a harder setup to use and cabling can get in the way.
WiFi Router Wireless Setup:
The first idea was to create a wireless setup for the edgertronic that would let the camera be controlled by an un-tethered terminal computer.
By Connecting the edgertronic to a wireless router via an Ethernet cable we were able to control the camera from a WiFi setup by a Laptop or even a Tablet computer capable of running Google Chrome browser.
The delay came at about 1.3-1.4 seconds, so any adjustments in focus or position would be quick. Be advised that the camera connected straight through an Ethernet cable to a PC or Laptop has about a 1 second delay. So adding .3 or .4 seconds to form a wireless control machine is not bad at all.
At times the feed went down close to 1.1 seconds or close to par with a direct Ethernet connection. This was affected by distance, signal range and or position of the laptop or tablet. By using a Wireless N router we were able to have a consistent feed through a couple of walls and over 100ft without disconnections. The camera was easily controlled and could be used from a different location within the range. By using a 50ft Ethernet cable it was easy to connect the camera to the wireless router which was plugged far away. By freeing the camera from a short tether it becomes a much more versatile tool. You also have to think about power cords or portable batteries. We went with the bescor power pack with 12v car adapter. It gave us about 6.5hrs of continuous camera use. After it ran out of juice the recharge was done over night. Amazon has the battery kit with charger for under $80 here!
Another recent battery option is the Paul C Buff Vagabond Mini $239.95 MSRP. Which lets you power devices via standard AC Plug like your Laptop, charger and the edgertronic camera for up to 10 hours continuously.
But why not go further and go even more portable? Wifi routers are good and all for a building, factory or laboratory but what if I just want to take the camera out for a spin and catch some nature shots?
Tablet Control With Ethernet Adapter:
By connecting the edgertronic to a tablet directly you get the low latency of 1 second refresh of the live image and complete touch control of the interface. The setup will work either with Android powered tablets like the Galaxy Tab series and or the Apple iPad with an Ethernet adapter that works with it.
We found an Ethernet adapter for our Galaxy Tab S 8.4″ Tablet on eBay for around $12 US. Here is a link to a search for this particular adapter on eBay! Be advised that many sellers on eBay sell refurbished products that are not new. If the price is too low it probably is a re-manufactured unit even though it is listed as new.
Our Galaxy Tab S 8.4″ has about 10hrs battery life normally at half brightness, with the Ethernet adapter it was reduced to under 6hrs at medium brightness. When out in the sun we needed full brightness which reduced the battery life to 2.5 hrs for a 100% charge. Once focused and set up if you have access to a wired controller we suggest locking the tablet to save battery.
The configuration to connect to the camera on Android looks as follows, probably close on Apple iPads:
IP Address: 10.11.12.1
DNS address: 10.11.12.13
Default Router: 10.11.12.13
It was a completely different experience to use the edgertronic while on a portable setup with a Tablet. The camera, the adapter, the lens, the trigger and battery all fit in a small shoulder bag. With a lite tripod added to the mix you have a portable high speed solution that can go anywhere and film wildlife or other nature subjects. If you get an edgertronic camera you really need to try a setup that is as portable as this, it becomes very close to what a DSLR is able to do for portability when shooting video.
We recommend you choose a larger tablet as our 8.4″ Galaxy S did have it’s battery drained too quickly and the interface sometimes required portrait orientation to adjust settings. A 12″ tablet would make this setup even more impressive while a 10″ will make it very portable still.
Nano USB powered Router and Tablet/Laptop:
The last method for edgertronic portability came courtesy of =&0=&who also=&1=& Marcus decided to try the ZyXEL nano wireless router.=&2=&
The router is so small that you can Velcro it to the side of the edgertronic and by connecting it to USB on board the camera “powered by the edgertronic SC2X itself“ it becomes a full featured wireless access point that can be accessed by laptops, PCs, tablets and even smart phones. We did not try this method first hand but many edgertronic owners use this method for portability. We expect the delay from live preview to be around 1.2-1.4 seconds same as our wireless router test. Very nice!
Here is the setup; Camera is connected to the router by USB for power and a small 1ft Ethernet cable is connected from the edgertronic SC2X to the router. Then the Router feeds wireless data to any device with a chrome browser and WiFi. Pretty ingenious setup!
If you want complete freedom from the camera and want to control it wirelessly and with minimal cabling, having the nano router setup is the way to go.
Notes on SC2X Portability:
The power of the portability options create a camera setup that is able to be anywhere and everywhere. Underwater setups would require something more sophisticated as wireless signals are unreliable when it comes to water, they will either not reach anywhere or reflect too much to be a coherent stream. For setups in every other scenario the portability of the edgertronic is both easy and relatively cheap to achieve.
Be aware that using the camera out in nature will need a very bright screen to be able to read the interface in the sun. Tablets and laptops even at full brightness may become hard to read or judge focus on the interface. Having a shade screen for a tablet or laptop will help when dealing with sun issues. Dealing with the California intense sunshine at HSC is great for high shutter speeds and frame rates but it’s torture for judging camera settings, so get a good bright screen that performs well in direct sunlight. Many of the newer OLED sceens with HDR do much better in sunlight due to newer coatings that are anti reflective.
We also can’t stress enough the unsealed aspect of the camera. The vents are not prepared for water splashes of any kind or sand/dust getting in there which includes the mount when changing lenses. Your camera might be wrecked if subjected to inclement weather in seconds. Plan ahead with an EWA marine or other type of camera weather case/sleeve if you plant to be in humid or flying particle environments like the beach or industrial scenarios. The camera can take enough heat to be in a sealed case for a while so that is a plus for harsh climate use.
We were expecting this feature for a while but now that we have it, there is no way we can go back and use the edgertronic without it. It works extremely well and saves so much time that we really cannot be more pleased with it. Gone are the days of waiting for the entire buffer to be saved to the SD card and recording unnecessary information. Now you can only record whatever you need of worthy information. We set the feature to On and never looked back. This is an excellent free upgrade to all edgertronic users from the SC1, SC2, SC2+ and now the SC2X.
Histogram: (Still Missing X):While the edgertronic SC2X has good dynamic range and hardly misses exposure it does present a problem with highlights when over exposed or shadows under exposed clipping data.
Having a histogram is an ideal way to avoid under exposure and over exposure in the footage. The absence of RAW shooting makes this feature needed even more. While exposure has to be judged on the live screen, it is sometimes extremely hard to know if highlights will be blown out or shadows completely cut. Judging exposure will become less of a guessing game. A simple histogram is one of the most needed features for the camera to preserve all luminance values in a frame and dial the correct settings to maintain balance.
The Histogram should be live and positionable on screen. A color histogram with RGB values for the color edgertronic would be the icing on the cake!
Focus Peaking(Still Missing X): Focusing on the edgertronic is somewhat easy and if you have a large monitor more so. However, when you are outside in the sunshine or under extremely bright light, focusing is very hard. Having Peaking with color accent on high contrast areas would be ideal to be able to accurately focus on the camera by adjusting the manual lenses.
The peaking issue and the histogram could be addressed by having HDMI out from the camera as many portable HD video monitors could be adapted and have both features instantly implemented as many brands have both exposure information and many more settings like false color, peaking and even LUT support. Since the edgertronic has no HDMI out we have to wait for the software to offer these features if possible.
White Balance (Still Missing X): Balancing to white or gray should allow for a custom White Balance setting and some presets like tungsten, incandescent, daylight and maybe Kelvin. The edgertronic is already balanced to daylight right off the bat which is great if you are using 5600k light sources or sunshine as your main light sources. Which should do well for most shots; however, if you are in different artificial lighting conditions the inability to adjust white balance is hard to cope with.
This feature is especially needed for TV and Film production. The lack of RAW support (Which allows White Balance changes after the fact) makes this feature a must-have for serious filming. Since the edgertronic SC2X is intended for the TV and film markets there is a real need for custom white balance or at least presets.
RAW File Support (Feature Request):
Since the edgertronic SC2X is geared to the TV and Film crowds then RAW file support while saving is very important. Many times you have to grade the look of a file to match other cameras, RAW support allows for your editing program to make this process much easier as both color correction and S curves can be applied after the fact. It may be even possible that ISO value could be factored in after the fact like the RED cameras do. But we will be more than happy with white balance, a flat image and the ability to recover highlit/shadow information. This will liberate the image from the 8 bit wrapper constraint which the sensor is subjected to by loosing at least two stops of dynamic range in the process.
The camera is still gradeable and most images taken with it can be tweaked and fixed in post to fit your needs but the RAW support will be an excellent feature for TV & Film production users.
If implemented we wish to see Adobe DNG RAW as the standard used. It is freely available, no royalties for camera manufacturers, easy software compatibility and should be relatively easy to implement. Saving to this format will require a longer recording time and probably will not be ideal for SD cards. a Portable Hard Disk which can be plugged into the edgertronic is an easy solution as is Ethernet and python scripted file server if needed.
File Browser: (Included but some missing features and GUI):The SD card and camera file system can be accessed by a new tab and typing the following address: 10.11.12.13/static/mnt/sdcard/DCIM/
Note: The IP address of your camera can change depending on the connection used.
The file system HTML viewer lets you download any file from the camera be it a configuration file or a video. There is no ability to rename and or delete a file if needed. This is better than having nothing but we would love to see a GUI file system accessed by the main user interface like the one below:
Ability to browse the SD card contents and Preview Saved Footage besides the current last recorded. A simple HTML 5 based file system with the ability to rename, erase and copy clips to and from the SD card to a connected USB device. Erasing a video should also erase it’s Exif file along with the clip.
NOTE: A way to access files and interface with them is planned for a future release of the camera software.
Python Programming Support (New in camera software version 2.2 & Up):
The camera SDK here in the WIKI Page has allowed for some clever ways to program it for scientific purposes and or create party slow motion video booths. However, the Python support creates avenues for new features like the ones below:
Multishot auto save – Automatic save of multi-shot videos if the camera is idle for more than a specified timeout value.
Hardware watchdog timer – Enable the DM368 hardware watchdog timer to reboot the camera if the python code stops responding.
Auto download videos – After the camera is finished saving the video file, copy the file over the network using ftp or scp.
Email alert – Send an email when the storage device starts getting full.
NOTE:We have to point out that the absence at this time of these features above does not impact the usability and or performance of the camera today. It works as a great slow-motion camera and it does so reliably with a robust set of features. The open architecture allows for all sorts of features to be added in the future and if you do not see a feature you desperately need you can probably program it to fit your needs.
edgertronic SC2X Overclocking Feature Software v2.2.2g3 and Up!
During the middle of our review we received a new software update for the edgertronic SC2X camera. The newv2.2.2g3 patch discussed here at HSC allows for overclocking the SC2, SC2+ and SC2X cameras to offer even faster frame rates. We spent a great deal of time making the most of this update and finding what setting you will probably want to apply in order to extract the most out of the new feature.
As you can see from the interface screenshot above you can apply overclocking easily from the main interface. Offmeans, there is no overclocking applied and all factory settings are used. A,B,C & D will each boost the camera’s speed by 5% for a total of 20%.
We have created a table that shows the frame rates that you can expect to get while using overclocking with the edgertronic SC2X Below:
As you can see from the table above, the gains in frame rate are pretty extreme in some cases. It makes the camera a true 2,000fps 1080p Full HD capture device as we found the Overclock A setting to be nearly as clean as the stock 1,910fps 1920*1088 pixel stock setting.
The lower in the resolution you go, the more frames can be extracted from the sensor, overclocking makes the 1920*96 pixel 20,132fps now an effective 24,940fps camera if you need to capture a really fast event. The camera at 1920*720p which is the HD 720p equivalent it goes from 2,940fps to 3,642fps over 700fps more which is the original edgertronic SC1 stock speed. Nothing short of amazing by those numbers.
Overclocking is not a free lunch “In Our Sample”:
While the overclock settings in A and B showed consistent performance without much image quality degradation, the C & D modes started to show some line artifacts in some frames. They may or may not show depending on your camera as with all electronics; the yield on some of the chips can be different depending on the batch. Some cameras may do better than others. We found that under the 1st second of recording there were no artifacts in the image even in the C & D overclocking but anything past that point they did show up the further in the buffer we went. Either information gets corrupted as more of it is written or the memory is generating signal noise at those speeds.
Note: According to edgertronic our camera sample is alone in showing these color artifacts. Their other SC2X cameras do not exhibit these artifacts in testing. As we mentioned above, some semiconductor yields are better than others and that may be part if it. All cameras work fine in standard modes, overclocking is an experimental feature and should be treated as such. Also, a fix could be in the works for the artifact if it affects more cameras.
That said the A & B settings are completely usable and free of the artifact in our review camera, but will require you to properly light the scene being shot by filling every shadow that you want to conserve detail with some extra lights. Overclocking increases the image noise and the higher you go the more it shows up. Overclock A setting is good enough for production if lit properly while B, C & D will be a matter of experimentation.
We consider the edgertronic SC2X a 2,024fps production ready 1080p camera due to it maintaining image quality with Overclock A and delivering excellent performance. Like with any circuit overclock, your mileage may vary but a little should do fine for most users.
We recommend you stay at A & B settings and at 1920*1088 or 1920*1024 for TV and film shooting as these are the most reliable high-resolution overclock settings.
You get nearly 2,300fps at the 1024px setting with overclock B. A simple scaling to 1080p will not be too harsh and still could maintain broadcast quality. Not bad for a free out of spec feature!
Overall the overclocking feature is a win for the SC2X camera, it makes it even faster at capturing events and if you stay within the A & B settings quality is still very good. For anything mission critical and only single take shoots then we would not venture above Overclock A setting. However, you should do some tests before you decide to use it on paid shoots. The camera is excellent with overclocking turned Off, and usable with it on. It will be a matter of weighing your priorities. We, however, feel confident with the A setting as a usable feature on most occasions especially in well-lit scenes including full sunshine.
edgertronic SC2X Review Conclusion:
The edgertronic SC2X camera is a full featured high-speed option for TV & Film production in a segment of the market dominated by very few and prohibitively expensive equipment which is orders of magnitude more in price.
It creates a new market for 1080p full HD 2,000fps at “$15,990 USD”. It gives film students, creative video professionals in television & film unfettered access to their very own professional grade high-speed camera at up to 20,000+fps at reduced resolution and a killer maximum shutter speed of 1/800,000 sec. Most consumer high-speed solutions cannot surpass 1/30,000 sec, so that is one crazy good spec.
It works with just about any terminal that can run the Google Chrome browser including Laptops, PCs, Macs, Android Tablets, Smart Phones or iPads with an Ethernet interface or wireless with the addition of a router to the mix. The interface is straightforward and easy to operate with many features that will help catch the hardest of shots. Pre-triggering and Post-triggering will allow any capture combination you can think of with an interface that lets you know in advance the maximum shot duration without doing any math.
edgertronic SC2X Footage Samples Part 2 – 1080p:
Resolution wise it delivers Full HD 1080p at 1,910fps stock and 2,024fps in the Overclock A setting. The closest competitor that is available and can shoot an anything close to these speeds costs at least 5x the price of the edgertronic SC2X. It is quite a marvel of a camera.
As an evolving platform, you get support now for preset favorites that let you recall settings commonly used and a way to browse within the browser the file system and download files to the host computer if needed. You get overlay data and a logo image if needed as well as a very useful frame counter for scientific and industrial uses.
The non-electronic Nikon F mount allows for a large combination of lenses to be used with manual focus properties and with the use of adapters several other lens brands. While some will want access to a Canon mount, it is a small compromise as it was intended for non-electronic operation in the first place. It is after all one of the better mount options out there. If one mount could be chosen, we would go for the Sony NEX mount that has adapters for dozens of mounts including Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Leica, Pentax and PL. However, the Nikon F mount is a good compromise that performs as needed.
The edgertronic camera delivers very good resolution that when looked at in a 1080p display or TV; feels very sharp and detailed.
For those of you looking for the Realm of affordable 4k slow motion, you will have to wait a bit longer. Most content is still delivered at 1080p and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. 4k Delivery on cable is close to non-existent and only services like Netflix, Hulu or Youtube allow for 4k delivery and with some serious bandwidth bottlenecks. The affordable 4k slow motion product will come in the future but 1000fps today costs over $100,000 USD in the Phantom Flex 4k , we estimate a long time before 4k high speed becomes commonplace. You will be better off up-scaling the excellent 1080p image from the edgertronic SC2X to 4k and forget about 4k for now. The camera has enough detail for most discerning viewers.
In the image aboveyou can see that the camera delivers excellent 1080p sharpness across the board. Upscaling to 4k UHD above yields excellent results that should be able to intercut with a film or TV show shot in 4k if needed. Use your favorite scaling software and add a little sharpness to improve the results of your end product.
Image Artifacts: The Camera does have a few issues when detail gets extreme in shots with angled lines; like color moire. High-speed cameras and regular cameras with no low pass filters exhibit the same artifacts. The edgertronic does not have a low pass filter which makes moire and aliasing more apparent and at the same time allows for a lot more of detail captured to be retained in the frame. However, the SC2X delivered excellent results with barely a hint of a moire problem in regular use. We were hard pressed aside from the chart test to see the appearance of color moire.
We did encounter some aliasing in shots containing strands of fibers like hair or fur, common in most cameras. For the times for when detail will show these artifacts, you could always de-focus just a tad or add a softening filter to the lens. This will get rid of most artifacts the very few times when they will show up. Also, you can try an optical low pass filter like those made by Mosaic Engineering and adapt it to the edgertronic if needed see here! The video below shows a low pass filter applied to a Nikon camera. It can make wonders to reduce artifacts from the lack of a built-in OLPF in your camera.
That said the edgertronic SC2X is able to handle almost every scene without artifacts showing up, the extra resolution if good enough to counter these compared to the previous edgertronics with 720p sensors.Resolution has its benefits and lack of artifacts in shots is a big one!
Codec:The H.246 codec in the edgertronic SC2X is very good at retaining detail and motion with no visible artifacts, it is a great implementation of the variable bit-rate codec. The case for RAW gets stronger if you need more dynamic range or want to process images with a RAW converter and the flexibility it allows when it comes to color, sharpening, white balance and noise suppression. However, we were impressed by the cameras near 13 stop Dynamic range and beautiful color rendition. The detail, color, and codec are all at professional levels of quality, certainly, there is no lack of motion bitrate for even demanding users here.
Files grade and are edited seamlessly on any modern computer system with beautiful color, tonality and highlight roll-off that are at the limits of what an 8 bit image can provide with nearly 60 megabits/sec when using high quality encode mode on a detailed scene at 1088p which is extremely high by any standard.
The open architecture of the camera allows for adding features or automated functionality for your applications. Be it a laboratory experiment or an automated photo booth. You can completely automate the camera capture process and have an autonomous high-speed terminal for any use. The new Python language programming additions allow for even more customizability by allowing files to be saved on a remote server or computer for instant backup after the first save. These and other features are ages ahead of other prosumer cameras that shoot pseudo-slow motion like the Sony FS5 or FS700 which offer no programmability.
Who is it for: educators, scientists, industrial production line monitoring, hobbyists, imaging geeks, nature researchers, party photo booths, small and large video production companies for TV & film, sports coaches, universities and even NASA as the cost is so low compared to the performance achieved.
If you ever wanted to have your own high-speed camera for capturing nature wildlife, people, cinematic scenes, products for TV ads, food, people, and pets in full 1080p slow motion at up to 2000fps this is the camera for you!
Who should pass on it: Soccer Moms, people that look for better low light ability and higher frame rates at 720p resolution “like the edgertronic SC2+ here”, point and shooters, scientists that care not for detail, industrial testing that is fine with 720p resolution and needs better low light and higher 720p frame rates.
The workflow on the edgertronic is simple but it is not for everyone, if you think that you want it to record your kid at soccer or baseball it could be a frustrating experience because of the lack of a built in screen. If you install a wireless nano router and use a tablet it becomes much easier but it is hardly at the level of a camcorder or point and shoot camera. You need to think your shot, pre-focus, frame and prepare for every recording prior to clicking the trigger shutter. Waiting for the camera to write a clip can also make you miss the next moment if you choose a very high frame rate that takes minutes to record and save. However, all of these issues become transparent after using the camera for a few days and becomes second nature with it becoming easier every time. The camera is very easy to use compared to most other professional slow motion options out there and this is no small detail.
Dependable and solid design with 24/7 operation in mind.
High Quality 1,910fps Full HD 1080p is a first for this price range.
Large APS-C sensor with large 10um pixels excellent in low light.
Nearly 13 stops of Dynamic Range.
Well controlled noise pattern, easy to improve with NeatVideo if needed.
Costs less than 20% of competing high-speed products.
Excellent new feature Review Before Saving – Saves Time/Space!
Programmable/customizable with SDK and Python support.
Multi-Camera Triggering Capability – Genlock and Network Sync
Ethernet 10/100 and dual 5v Powered USB ports included.
Nikon Mount allows for the use of hundreds of available lenses.
Complete kit with 50mm lens, cables and Trigger shipped in box
Uses H.264 codec with high-quality encoding to SDHC Cards.
Controlled by any device that runs Google Chrome browser.
Easy to use out of the box with Automatic Sensor Calibration.
Includes Mechanical Shutter for Automatic Black Calibration!
Multi-Shot Support which allows several recordings before save.
Small footprint allows for portability and custom enclosures.
Small Portable 12v batteries allow it to work for up to 10hrs+.
Custom info, frame# and logo can be burned in footage if needed.
Can be operated remotely with an Ethernet network connection.
Active software development continuously adds new features and fixes found bugs.
Easy upgrade and switch for edgertronic SC1 or SC2, SC2+ Camera owners. Plug and Play Replacement!
Camera lacks weather sealing, requires external casing for wet and dusty environments. Like an EWA Marine Bag see here.
No Peaking to aid Focus, No Histogram to judge exposure, No Custom White Balance (Camera is Daylight Balanced) and No RAW/Flat Profile Support above 8 bits in color H.264.
Lack of built-in touch screen requires a device like a tablet or laptop for on the field portability. (This is by Design for encased environments)
Lack of internal WiFi module requires low-cost external solution.
Lack of HDMI Out means you cannot use portable monitors that offer peaking for focus aid and LUTs. (needed for TV and Film Production) – You will have to use an Apple or Android Tablet instead.
The edgertronic SC2X is a camera that the high speed imaging market had been expecting for a decade. Advancements in processing, sensor design, and economies of scale are used to port what is normally a $50k+ USD camera into a $15,990 package that is ready to shoot. This is a point that we have to emphasize because the performance offered here for the price is astounding when compared to the rest of the market.
There is nothing shipping today that gets close to the features of this camera at 1,910fps Stock and up to 2,300+fps 1080p with overclocking enabled in this price range. If you want high-quality Full HD slow-motion video that is affordable above 240fps, 700fps, 1000fps or 2000fps the edgertronic SC2X is the only game in town as of this writing.
The camera is rock solid with no crashes or reboots at all during our 7 week testing. The camera is designed for 24/7 operation and it shows engineering that is refined and time-tested.
It’s open architecture and programmability makes it adaptable and extensible going forward. Continued software development improves the camera with every release and they do listen considering features we asked for in our earlier edgertronic reviews. The implementation of Review Before Saving and further image quality improvements are just two features that are already implemented in the current release for all edgertronic cameras.
This shows a dedication to the user base that most other manufacturers ignore after a couple of years of a camera’s release. Your investment in a camera like this will continue to become valuable over time aside from the estimated revenue generated from TV, Web or Film production if that is your intention.
That said we wish they implemented a few remaining features like Peaking for focus, Custom White Balance with presets, RAW/Flat Profiles and a Histogram display in upcoming software revisions. All of which should be doable if there is high demand from users. edgertronic caters to the industrial and scientific crowds for the most part and are a strong name in those markets with heavy numbers of cameras being deployed by fortune 500 companies and research labs. The new edgertronic SC2X is their push to get into the TV, Web and Film production markets and as it ships today, it delivers on the majority of the features this crowd expects. Having those missing features implemented will just make it easier to pull the trigger for this camera against competitive products or rentals.
We give the edgertronic SC2X camera our highest praise with the “Platinum Award” for making available for the first time to anyone with a mid-range professional camera budget; a high-quality Full HD super slow motion video camera that breaks the 1,000fps barrier at 1080p and goes above and beyond by doing it twice at 2,024fps using the excellent quality Overclock A. The camera was a joy to use and the footage that you can record will leave you speechless most of the time.
The SC2X is a technological marvel that takes full advantage of modern technology. If you are serious about video production, are tired high rental prices for dedicated slow-motion cameras and are looking for an edge over the competition, you should really take a deep hard look at the edgertronic SC2X which will probably be a crown jewel in your camera gear line-up!
MUST HAVE FOR VIDEO PRODUCTION!
Thanks to Mike Matter of Sanstreak for providing HSC the edgertronic SC2X color camera for this review & to the Sanstreak staff for support.
For more information about the edgertronic SC2X camera including ordering information please visit http://edgertronic.com/
Thanks for your support of HSC, if you decide to acquire an edgertronic or any other camera please mention this website to the manufacturer. We do not get a commission or remuneration for sales but it helps us measure the reach of our blog.
Now the SC2+, for example, can shoot above 5000fps at 720p full resolution from the maximum stock of 4456fps. Overclocking settings come in four settings and while your mileage may vary according to your camera, most settings should work as advertised. We tested the SC2X at all settings and find that Overclock A 5% and B 10% offer quality very close to the stock setting and allowing for over 2000fps.
Overclocking edgertronic specs using C Mode:
SC2X high speed camera 2,252 frames/sec at 1080P resolution
SC2+ high speed camera 5,134 frames/sec at 720P resolution
SC2 high speed camera 3,350 frames/sec at 720P resolution
SC1 high speed camera 882 frames/sec at 720P resolution
“The frame rates quoted above are using overclock C setting, which produces videos comparable to those taken with overclock set to (off)! edgertronic.com”
Improvements since software release version 2.2.1:
Overclock support for SC2+ and SC2X similar to SC1 overclock support.
Improved web U.I. response time when configuring the camera.
Reduced time from post-trigger buffer full until the next multishot can be triggered. Time reduced to around 100 ms.
Improved SC2 and SC2+ image quality by reducing image sensor noise.
Clean up user-supplied configuration file line endings when the files are installed into the camera.
Added support to pipelines file to allow preview while saving to be disabled to improve file save performance.
Improved camera temperature range for a few cameras that didn’t tolerate colder temperatures. Thanks to the Boise camera owner who reported the problem.
Fixed defect wherein review mode if you relocate the status boxes then would jump around to a different location.
Improved user experience when using the overlay notes helper buttons to add camera-specific information to the notes field.
Fixed defect where the web UI didn’t work properly if the cookie was in an unexpected format. No clue how that customer created a browser cookie in an unexpected format.
Added support for keyboard control when in review before saving. Tab, space, left arrow, right arrow, page up, and page down now allow the review sliders to be controlled via the keyboard. This is helpful in sunlit areas when the laptop screen is hard to read.
In our testing of the new 2.2.2g3 firmware, we were able to put it through its paces. We found that the Overclock A and B Settings were nearly as good in quality as the stock maximum 1910fps 1080p mode but did show some extra noise in the shadows which is expected with overclocking. The B setting started to show some shadow banding but did not show any artifacts when properly lit.
If you need to shoot with overclocking frame rates be sure to give it excellent illumination. If you light a scene with proper lights and fill in every shadow you will have an excellent image on the SC2X at A and B settings. We, however, had some color noise artifacts when shooting in the C and D overclocking modes. It seems some sensors are more forgiving than others in this mode and our copy of the camera seems to have hit a wall at the C setting. These artifacts are of no concern for analyzing data in a lab if needed but they are not usable for broadcast TV or film. Stick with Stock speeds up to 1910fps on the SC2X for the utmost quality and use Overclock A and B as you see fit to get nearly 500fps more if needed.
SC2X Overclocking mode / Frame Rates:
1910 fps 1920*1088“Stock Setting” (Overclock Off)
2,24.41 fps 1920*1088 Using Overclock A 5% Increment
2,138.44 fps 1920*1088 Using Overclock B 10% Increment
2,252.46 fps 1920*1088Using Overclock C 15% Increment
2,366.55 fps 1920*1088 Using Overclock D 20% Increment
This is a very significant update!
With all the news coming out this year about new cameras it is of note that this new edgertronic firmwareis a significant step forward for slow motion frame rates on an affordable camera. The SC2+ breaking 5000fps with excellent quality means the camera is now even more coveted by motion analysis uses at 720p.
The SC2X breaking 2000fps and offering beautiful performance at 2,024fps at full 1080p resolution makes this the camera to get for small studios that need a high-speed solution on a budget that you can own and not rent. The SC2X might be the best slow-motion camera of 2017 when it comes to frame rates, resolution and performance. This update only cements that position and makes it much harder for the competition to offer a counter punch.
If you own an edgertronic SC2+, SC2 and or SC2X be sure to publish your overclock findings below. We are still hard at work on Part 3 of our review of the SC2X which will delve deeper into the overclocking function and explore it on lower resolutions to find the best quality/performance balance. -HSC
The edgertronic SC2X is the culmination of a lot of engineering prowess and expectations for a full HD 1080p capable high-speed camera that is both capable and usable for the most demanding image quality trials. The 1,910fps speed is ideal for capturing a plethora of human and physical events that do not happen in the blink of an eye but over a few seconds. Sports videographers and Nature shooters will feel right at home with the resolution finally being big enough for the minimum submission guidelines of TV production and Film post.
Connecting and firing up the camera for the first time:
Once placed on a tripod or other stand using one of the two 1/4″ bolt screw mounts it is time to wire the camera up. The sequence in which you attach the cabling can be out of this order but we found it easier to do it in the following steps:
1)Insert a compatible SDHC card on the SD slot of the camera. The kit comes with an 8GB card but we tried a Sandisk 32GB Extreme 30MB/sec video rated card and had no issues (Make sure it is SDHC and not SDXC).
The cards have to be formatted in the FAT32 filesystem common to Windows machines of the last decade. FAT32 works on smaller sized storage fine and up to 32GB it should have absolutely no performance difference compared to other more capable file systems like NTFS. SDXC Cards will not work with the edgertronic so keep this in mind!
2) Connection of the 10/100 Ethernet cable shown in blue. Connect the other end to your PC, Laptop or wireless/wired router for easy connectivity to portable devices like smartphones or tablets.
3)Connect the wired trigger remote in its port. Connect the extender if you need extra reach (advisable)!
Once you connect the power cable the camera turns on automatically and starts the bootup process “There is no Power Switch”. Booting up takes about 15-20 seconds including calibration it is really a non-issue since you still have to open the control interface on the PC, Mac or Laptop. The camera runs on Linux and you never have to fiddle with the system unless you want to test your own software code with the camera using the SDK here.
Setting up Networking:
The camera needs to be accessed through a 10/100 networked device that runs a web browser. edgertronic works best with the Google Chrome browser and while it worked fine on explorer and Apple’s Safari you really want reliability and stability when using the camera. Just use Chromeand save some headaches. We used Version 61.0.3163.100 64Bit of Google Chrome during our review and it was rock solid.
The easiest way in our view to access the camera without many configuration steps in a studio; is to use a router either wireless or wired with the camera. Plug in the Ethernet cable on a router that is also feeding a signal to your computer and just find the device by typing the IP address on the browser bar.
The router we connected to had the following IP address 192.168.0.1 and the camera had an address in that range, in this case, it was just a matter of changing the end number .1 to .2,.3,.4,.5.6 etc to find the camera. Our router assigned the number http://192.168.0.6/ to the edgertronic and worked every time on that address for the length of the review testing on the local network. Once you punch the address you are greeted with the edgertronic interface.
Network setup by direct cabling to computer:If you need to access the camera from your computer directly it needs to be configured first in order to talk with the edgertronic. The Ethernet cable needs to be connected from the edgertronic to your computer network port.
Network setup by direct cabling to computer:If you need to access the camera from your computer directly it needs to be configured first in order to talk with the edgertronic. The Ethernet cable needs to be connected from the edgertronic to your computer network port.
Your computer network settings should look like this:
IP address 10.11.12.1
Sub Net Mask 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway: 10.11.12.13
Once you set up your computer this way you will lose your current networking except for being able to access the camera. If you have a laptop or desktop with an Ethernet cable and WiFi interfaces you can access the camera while retaining internet/local network connectivity without issue if you connect to your network through WiFi.
To connect to the camera in this mode you just need to type the following URL in the Chrome browser:http://10.11.12.13
The Camera’s IP is always =&1=& unless you decide to change it by entering the firmware change through a Telnet command line. We saw no sense in changing this easy to remember IP number.
If you want portability we urge you to get a wireless router like the ZyXel here for about $20. We used it a lot and it worked like a champ. The edgertronic begs to be portable and with this router, you can use any Apple or Android tablet with the Chrome browser and take the edgertronic anywhere with little trouble. As long as you have a good portable battery the router can be connected to the USB ports on the camera and be powered from there.
Once you connect to the camera you are greeted by a first connect greeting and agreement, once you say ok you are then presented with the basic main interface parameters.
The interface is programmed using HTML 5 with Bootstrap and is very responsive while looking modern. Floating windows and panels are movable around the screen to fit workflow.
Settings are divided into two columns, one for Input which is the Requested column and the Actual which is the value that will be applied. Actual lets you see in advance how the hardware will behave with a certain set of parameters before applying the changes and start calibration. This saves time and guesswork and lets you learn the features of the camera and its limitations.
Settings available on the standard interface as follows:
-Sensitivity: Lets you input ISO sensitivity in single unit increments see our ISO 1202 below. You have the freedom to choose the ISO increment according to your available light to within a single unit and not to hard-locked parameters. This is a great feature to have to use the best quality compared available light! For example, ISO 1250 can be used to add just enough sensitivity without altering the quality of the image perceptively.
The ISO on the color only edgertronic SC2X goes from 1200 to 19,200.
-Shutter: Lets you choose a specified shutter speed. The scale goes from 1/30th of a second to 1/797,619th of a second. This box also lets you set shutter speed by the single digit, in this case, a frame by frame increment. If you need a specific number to avoid some flickering in your light source you can do so by finding that parameter by increasing or decreasing the value with 1 unit precision.
-Frame Rate:Lets you choose a specified frame rate you need for the shot. The scale goes from 30fps all the way up to 20,132fps- resolution dependent and fixed in the horizontal at 1920 pixels. It can be adjusted by single digits and while not all values result in an actual precise value, the frame rate is within 1fps from the requested input value. It is still an extremely flexible frame rate that very few cameras allow. (Note: Sometimes you will have to increase the shutter speed at least 1/100 more than the desired frame rate to get such speed. Has to do with some sensor parameters)
Vertical:Lets you select the vertical resolution of the frame. From a low of 96px to a high of 1088px. Single digit input but with auto adjustment to the closest sensor supported resolution.
-Horizontal:The edgertronic SC2X is Locked at 1920 pixels for the horizontal at all resolution settings and frame rates.
-Duration: Lets you specify the shot recording duration in seconds up with up to hundreds of a second or two decimal places. i.e. 1.22, 2.38 3.88, 4.87 etc… The maximum duration is dependent on resolution and frame rate, for example recording at the lowest settings of 1920x96px which is the lowest the camera can go resolution wise, will yield a memory buffer recording of 3,106 Seconds at 30fps and 4.63 seconds at 20,132 fps the highest the camera sensor can go. That is a whole lot of recording at 30fps which is not really that useful unless you are recording a live event of 74 minutes non stop, of course, you will not be using a high-speed camera for that.
At the other end of the spectrum at the Full HD resolution which is 1920px * 1088px and at 1,910fps using the 16GB memory buffer on the SC2X, delivers 4.305 seconds which is actually a pretty long time in slow motion action. That would be 8,222.55 frames recorded or 274 seconds played back at 30p or 4.56 minutes.
The following chart shows common resolution and frame rates possible on the edgertronic SC2X:
Resolution edgertronic SC2X
1920*1088 Full Sensor
1920*736 HD 720p equivalent
1920*768- 1024*768 equivalent
1920*672- 768*688 equivalent
1920*480- 720*480 NTSC equivalent
1920*480- 640*480 VGA equivalent
640*352 Half HD
1920*224 Half VGA Equivalent
1920*96 Lowest Res
Note:All resolutions on the table above can only work at 1920 px horizontal. This does not impact final frame rate performance. The sensor is locked on the horizontal resolution!
-Pre-Trigger: Most high-end high-speed cameras have what is called a Pre and or Post trigger function to be able to predict and catch the action during the limited time frame the camera records.
The bar above shows a pre-trigger of 50% default which is highlighted in green. The 16GB in the camera memory is segmented in two at 50%, 8GB in green and 8GB in gray. For a 10 second record time, for example, it means you get 5 seconds recording before you push the trigger and five seconds after.
You can alter the pre-trigger number in single digit increments from 0% which means you won’t have to record unless you press the trigger in which case will give you the full buffer after and or at 100% which means the camera records up until the point the trigger is pressed.
Depending on your shot you will need to alter the pre-trigger value in order to capture the action. If you are a single shooter that will also be performing the action “i.e. popping a water balloon” it makes sense to allow a pre-trigger of 100% to capture the pop until by pressing the trigger you stop recording. The balloon has already exploded, water comes out and no action remains. If you are waiting for a lighting to strike you will also need a large pre-trigger value or the like so you capture the lightning in the pre-trigger buffer and stop after it passes when you press the physical trigger.
Shorter pre-trigger values are needed for catching wildlife like birds and dogs as a 30% for example gives you time to react press the trigger and record the secondary motion after the initial subject movement. If you want to run yourself or jump framed in the shot you will need no pre-trigger and put it at 0%, then after clicking the trigger you will perform your action and it will record for the specified duration in seconds.
The flexibility of this system cannot be understated as it reduces the chances of false captures or failed keepers and the buffer is long enough to allow for some or a lot of wiggle room depending on your agility and preference.
-Shot Count:This setting is quite a wonderful addition to the camera. It was planned to be supported in hardware from the start and it works by splitting the buffer into the shots specified according to the time allowed. For example, if you have 9 seconds of the buffer at your specified resolution and frame rate at 1 shot, then you could ask for 3 shots in this parameter and get shots that last 3 seconds each all with their respective Pre-trigger percent number % as selected in the pre-trigger box.
If you record in shot count mode you get the interface above which lets you know how many shots remain and lets you record them to the SD card before all of them have been shot in case you don’t need another take. If you are doing a lot of repetitive actions that require patience and endurance then multi-shot Shot Count is for you. If you wanted to record lightning during a storm you could record quite a few before the card writing process begins which will give you more chances to get a great sample.
At 1,910fps 1080p Full HD we were able to get 4 shots of 1 second each which considering how slow a time frame it is you will spend several minutes waiting for the camera to record the actions.
Recording the first shot:
Calibration With Included Shutter for Black Cal: After settings have been entered and the settings window is closed on the X close mark or the mouse clicks outside the settings window area; the camera will do a quick black calibration step which sets the sensor mode to the parameters requested by the user and does a series of dark frames by closing the physical camera shutter “making an electronic audible noise” for an instant and taking some exposures. The image will momentarily change to a series of vertical noise pattern lines which is the sensor’s noise pattern. The camera uses this frames to cancel out the signal noise and produce the best image quality for that mode.
The edgertronic SC2X does this automatically which is a big plus as some other more expensive high-speed camera solutions require manual calibration after each settings change which is a time-consuming process. This is an impressive feature that works perfectly and makes the camera extremely friendly and dependable at the same time.
The camera is ready and the blue and green LEDs on the back are steady which means settings have been entered, calibration happened and it is awaiting a trigger event from the controller, software or the back plate multi-function button.
The above shot shows our settings on the right, 1800 ISO, 1/4000 shutter, 1088p resolution, 4.305 seconds duration and 1,910fps.
The camera icon is the interface trigger button and if pressed it will start a recording event. You can also do this by pressing the manual trigger controller or the Multi-function button on the back of the camera. Once pressed the buffer will begin to fill and record the shot.
Files and Saving the recording:
The saving process shows the post-trigger buffer filled in Magenta color and the actual SD card or Hard drive saving process on blue filling on the bottom dark gray line. For every second that passes in the blue saving bar, the camera has saved give or take 30+ frames or a little over a second. However, depending on frame content the encoder could take more or less time to save depending on the complexity of the image. For extremely detailed shots saved in the high-quality mode which is default, the 1080p capture could go as low at 22fps encoding. The process is still quick considering the camera is encoding to H.264 at huge bit rates for 1080p video, orders of magnitude higher bit-rates than common portable camcorders. In our testing, it was common for a 1 second of high speed recording at 1080p Full HD, 1,910fps to meet or exceed 500MB in space when saved in at 30p frame rate. So a buffer of 4 seconds would record 2GB of data to the card which is a time-consuming process. Your pre and post trigger events, as well as the Review before save feature, will help you reduce your card usage and get action more precisely in the time allotted. With practice, it will become second nature.
The video encoder:The H.264 encoder in the edgertronic SC2X is a variable bit rate encoder. It allows for low bit-rates when the frame contains few elements and or very high bit rates when the frame has huge detail. The encoder is so good that it delivers a very gradable image with great highlight roll-off and very few artifacts. You would be hard-pressed to find any compression artifacts in edgertronic footage. Even after heavy grading and curves adjustment the codec held it’s own. Motion is beautifully smooth and small details like minute dust particles are completely retained. Click on the image below for a full frame sample at 1080p.
In the above sample, the encoder delivered 57.6 Mbps for the 1080p image. This is a huge amount of bit rate for slow motion Full HD resolution. Most consumer and some professional Full HD 1080p cameras record at a rate of 15-24Mbits/sec. You are getting a quality image here no doubt about it. The encoder can predict in advance any significant changes in the image as the data has already been captured. On the fly camcorder encoders have very little buffer to look ahead which means a harsher motion vector implementation that can cause image tearing artifacts. The edgertronic is cheating in a good way as it delivers the utmost image quality from its H.264 encoder by looking ahead and back at the data and choosing the appropriate amount of bits that won’t sacrifice image quality.
The camera can record anywhere from 35 Mbits/sec to 60+ Mbits depending on scene complexity with its variable bitrate encoder.
Video Encoding Quality Options:The edgertronic SC2+ allows for High, Medium and Low predetermined settings plus a Custom Mode.
Medium offers around 20% file size savings compared to High and similarly Low saves around 30%.
Custom, is for those who want to control the camera’s video processing pipeline. The pipeline is described in a text file which can be provided by the user in the form of a configuration file.
The video processing pipeline file used by the camera can be retrieved from the web address here:
The case for RAW Recording: Most professional high-speed cameras deliver their data as RAW image data sequences or TIF image sequences. Which give 10, 12 or even 14 bit color data in the process. The edgertronic captures in H.264 at 8 bit which is perfectly usable for most jobs but lacks that extra bit depth that can save that under or overexposed shot. If you needed perfect gradation with no banding even in extreme circumstances you would need RAW but while testing the camera we found no instance where we thought we needed that extra information when it came to color gradation.
1080p Full HD resolutionis high enough to be more demanding than the typical 720p camera that shoots high-speed. Furthermore, the color accuracy of the camera is exemplary with less than 2% deviation from our chart when using 5,600K daylight LED lamps and the Sun. The highlight retention and dynamic range of the camera which we think is close to 11-12 stops have been proven more than adequate for our tests. If highlight retention is your goal then dialing a faster shutter speed would alleviate any overexposure on the image.
The shadow areas are very clean at base ISO 1200 and lifting them produces very few artifacts. The files are very gradable and applying color 3D LUTs works fine if needed when used in moderation. We wish there was a way to scrap the edgertronic’s default S curve and get a flat profile out of the camera. This would allow for easier grading to mix it with other cameras.
TV and film are the edgertronic SC2X’s primary market so this is something that should be offered in a future firmware update. Furthermore, RAW DNG support should be an option at the time of saving as a simple checkbox on the GUI interface. RAW DNG is an open standard that should be implemented on the SC2X to give full sensor data for highlight recovery and uncompressed quality. Recording time and file sizes would take a big leap but a camera that aims at the production market needs the utmost quality possible.
If in the future the edgertronic allowed for RAW capture on DNG sequences or similar formats we have little doubt the vast majority of users would still default to H.264 for High Quality Setting encoded footage. It works, it is of very good quality and your storage will thank you!
File Wrapper:The video files are saved as H.264 codec video streams in a Quicktime .mov wrapper. This is ideal and compatible with both Mac and PC computers and Linux workstations with compatible players. If needed, changing the file extension from .mov to .mp4 lets the files play on any player that can playback MP4 files. In short, you won’t find any video compatibility issues with this camera video file format.
File size and cutting length of files: The file size of the videos captured is based on the bit rate size, image frame size and the duration. Some of our clips passed the 2GB mark but most were under 500 MB as we truncated the duration either with time or while saving a clip with the interface Truncate Button or the new Review Before Save feature implemented in the latest software.
While saving a video you can stop the recording at any time which will cut or truncate the video from that point forward. If the action in your footage has already happened you can cut the tail end of the footage and save time and space. Our 32GB card was able to record about 70 1080p resolution 1 second 1,910fps videos before filling up. That is quite good mileage for a high-speed camera of any sort. If it was RAW the entire card would fill before reaching 10 clips. You will get tired way before the camera has filled up from an entire day of shooting. Our longest stretch was 7 hours of shooting and we filled the full of the 32GB card.
Exif Information: The edgertronic camera records a complete exposure and recording information file Exif along with every video recorded as a separate .TXT text file an example of one below…
Camera time: Mon Oct 9 20:58:14 2017
Model: SC2X Color 16 GB
Sensitivity: 2400 ISO
Shutter: 1/4000 Seconds
Frame Rate: 1909.97 Frames/Second
Horizontal: 1920 Pixels
Vertical: 1088 Pixels
Duration: 4.30529 Seconds
Pre-trigger: 80.0073 percent
Overclock: 0 level
Extended Dynamic Range: 0
genlockForce monochrome: Off Sensor behaves normally
Multishot Buffers: 1 buffers
External trigger debounce: On 5 ms debounce delay after external trigger falling edge
As you can see, a lot of information is recorded which lets scientific, industrial and creative users extract useful information about the settings and conditions of the camera when a recording occurred and replicate a shot settings precisely if needed. This is a very easy and useful way to gather camera data. And or troubleshoot a camera if any problems arise This easily beats digging in the video file information for the data. This is a big workflow plus for the edgertronic.
Once a video has been saved it can be played back directly from the SD card or hard drive that is connected in the USB slot. Only the last saved video can be accessed; if you need to see a previous video you need to examine the SD card or hard drive itself after un-mounting. Below is a screenshot of the video preview window after recording. You can start/Stop and expand full screen. This is a full resolution sample and identical to the one recorded on the card.
The Camera can also download to the host computer the last saved video .mov file from the SD card to the computer’s local storage. If you want piece of mind about a great shot and want to keep it as a backup it is a good option to have.
If you need to remove the SD card or USB Hard drive or Stock device for any reason you have an un-mounting button available that lets you do it. If you pulled either the SD card or hard drive while the camera is on, without using this eject button you risk of damaging the file system in the card causing corruption. Be sure to keep this in mind!
There is a Help button accessible from the main interface which opens a new tab in the browser and gives you a complete user guide and other troubleshooting information for the camera. This is independent of internet access as the information is located on the Micro SD card inside the camera body. You can never lose the manual because it is readily available. Good Thinking!
The wrench button is just the way back to the original settings dialogue box.
You will be using this button plenty. Going in and out of this mode will trigger a camera calibration event if frame rate, ISO, shutter speed settings change.
In Multi-shot recording mode you loose the ability to play back your last shot or download the last clip. Which when a sequence is fully recorded should be available. You get new icons of record and stop recording which let you record all the multi-shot recording buffers or cancel the remaining buffers at any time.
Auto Fill Camera Settings Intelligence: The entire interface value panel adjusts to the entered numbers or by the lack of them. The interface and software for that matter are intelligent enough to show in the “Actual” column the outcome of filling or leaving fields empty. This is an extremely easy way to get to know the camera features and limitations. It is as if a genius of high-speed values was guiding you through the whole process and won’t let you make a mistake.
Lets say that your main interest for this shot is frame rate, If you Input 5,000 fps in the “Blue Marked” field you will not get a solution immediately because the camera defaults to 1/500th of a second shutter speed; this is too low for 5k fps you need at least the same number of frames as shutter speed in order to capture that many. The edgertronic will always like a bit more shutter speed than the frame rate requested so we gave the shutter speed a value of 20,000 shown in “Yellow“. Now if you look at the “Actual” column you are given the effective resolution for 5000fps which is 1920*384 pixels along with the duration and a base ISO of 1200 which is the default. If you continue to modify values like upping the ISO or the resolution all the values will adjust accordingly.
The benefit of this entire intelligent Actual system is that without looking at a manual or spec sheet you can experiment with any resolution, shutter speed, ISO, duration and frame rate combination to get a shot. This is especially useful to get a vertical resolution like 1088p to stay fixed regardless of other settings. In that case, you will fill the Horizontal value with: 1920 pixels and the Vertical with: 1088 pixels. If you had a great idea for a shot rest assured, by using this system you will arrive at your desired settings very quickly.
Using the camera becomes second nature after a few days of use. You will estimate and learn how to apply the settings for any shot you might need by playing the values in your head and then trying them out. There is no harsh learning curve. Not only is the camera powerful & affordable compared to similar options, its also very user-friendly and logical.
edgertronic SC2X Footage Samples Part 1 @ 1910fps 1080p:
Settings – Beyond Standard Camera Features!
Clicking the Options Tab in the main interface, gains access to them.
The edgertronic SC2X Options let you go at it with several very useful features to get the most out of the camera and use it in a professional setting with more controls.
-Genlock: To quote Wikipedia “Genlock (generator locking) is a common technique where the video output of one source, or a specific reference signal from a signal generator, is used to synchronize other television picture sources together. The aim in video applications is to ensure the coincidence of signals in time at a combining or switching point. When video instruments are synchronized in this way, they are said to be generator locked, or genlocked.
Basically what that means is that a device or camera will sync or be synchronized by other deices or cameras. If you need to start recording on multiple cameras at the same time; like that needed for 3D recording applications Genlock is your friend.
Master- If clicked the camera will feed the signal to other devices. You will need to only record on this camera and the others will start recording at the same time.
Slave- If clicked will make the camera expect a signal from another camera to start recording and be timed synced. You will need to record from a device or another edgertronic on Master mode to start recording.
External-This mode lets an external timing source to control the cameras, could be made by a computer or custom Genlock timer.
Limitations on Genlock from the Wiki:
There are limitations:
All cameras have to be configured for compatible timing (see below). For one-to-one frame lock, each slave has to be set to a frame rate that is greater than or equal to the master’s frame rate.
The user is responsible to make sure all cameras can be triggered before issuing a trigger. There is no automated check that verifies whether or not a slave camera has completed saving the previously captured video, finished the calibrate operation, has available storage, etc.
When using genlock the cameras can have different duration, iso, percentage pre-trigger, and shutter speed settings.
-Force Monochrome:Allows the color version of the edgertronic SC2+ camera to record in Black and White only. This generates a slightly sharper image and compression data savings but will not equal the per pixel quality of a Monochrome sensor on an edgertronic. The Bayer filter on the sensor pixels will cause a resolution loss on any camera and the edgertronic SC2+ is not immune to this. If you need the utmost sharpness and low light ability then a Monochrome edgertronic is the way to go. In fact many labs and enterprise buy Monochrome cameras much more than color versions as they need it to analyze motion and not look at the colors.
-Video Encoding:Lets you select Low, Medium or High quality plus custom which allows you to tweak the settings in the configuration text file if you need other parameters outside the basics.
-Trigger Debounce: For code version 2.2.1 and above there is a user-settable debounce setting. If debounce is on, a 5 ms debounce delay occurs between the falling trigger edge and when the camera processes the falling edge. With debounce off, there is no delay and the falling edge is processed immediately.
-Review Before Saving: With the newest versions of the software it is now possible to enable reviewing a clip with easy In-Out Points on all edgertronic cameras. This was a major gripe we had while reviewing previous edgertronic cameras. This is a big dealand it is easily the most important feature added since our last review. It works solid and you can save any amount of clips with pre-determined in-out points you desire. If a shot contains events far apart it is very easy to isolate them and not save the entire frame buffer. Saves card space and isolates action. The camera is now frustration free in the save clip department.
You can see the (^) time selectors above which let you isolate a time frame for any framebuffer you have recorded. Only the selected clip region will be saved. The feature can be turned on and off if you need autosave of the entire buffer without user intervention.
-Status Timeout:Allows you to set a second limit for the interface overlay icons to fade away including all information and buttons. Goes from 1 sec to 100 seconds If you set it to 0 they will never go away!
Overlay allows the edgertronic camera to display custom information and data on the screen and burn it in the recorded footage as well. This is ideal for all sorts of tests and scientific experiments as you can record the actual frame number associated with the time slider and add features like Notes “we used it to title shots” and a custom logo which you can edit. The camera pulls the logo from a file on the internal micro SD card on the camera. You can create custom logos and have the camera overlay them as needed.This is perfect for identification purposes and file logging. Overlay is a must-have feature for many and the current release of the edgertronic software has it available on all models of the camera; the SC1, SC2, SC2+ & SC2X all have the same software support.
The camera saves Presets or Favorites of the settings so you can recall them easily. It saves every parameter and overlay setting for easy set-up. This feature is a must-have for TV and Film production to get solid repeatable results for multiple cameras and lighting environments. The usefulness of this feature cannot be under-stated.
You can save up to 6 settings which will recall the entirety of the camera options with a single click. You get a dialogue box to confirm the selection and or overwrite. For example, 1088p 1,910fps is our most requested resolution setting and we have it in different shutter/ISO configurations.
With the Favorites, you can save odd resolutions and ISO setting depending on the shot you need without guesswork and time wasted. In the field, the recall of presets can mean getting the shot or missing it. Glad to see this implemented so well!
ISO Performance “Sensor Noise”:
The edgertronic has large pixels 10 micro-meters which is huge compared to common DSLRs which have 3.5 to 4 micro-meters pixel diodes. However the global shutter circuitry introduces noise and reduces the performance significantly compared to those rolling shutter prone DSLRs. See part 1 of this review for more on why the Global shutter is essential on a high-speed camera. Still , however, he edgertronic SC2X is extremely clean at base 1200 ISO, and holds well up until ISO 5,000. Given enough light the edgertronic works well up to ISO 8,000. Above that banding starts to appear and the signal degrades. It is still usable for scientific purposes but not ideal for TV or film production even with Noise Reduction post-processing.
Staying at ISOs 1200-4800 for image quality reasons yields excellent results. With some Noise Reduction using Neat video ISO 3,000-8,000 is very usable. ISO 10,000 has horizontal & Vertical banding that cannot be removed easily. We were hard-pressed to go above ISO 3,000 in our entire review. High-speed cameras need lots of light and if you give them that; high ISO settings are not used much as they will not be needed. If in doubt just add one more light before bumping the ISO. ISO 2400 is almost as clean as base and yields excellent results with good lighting.
Banding starts to appear at ISO 9600 so ISO 4800 should be ok for the highest quality in lower light levels. We took these tests in full LED 1000w equivalent lamps at 30fps. Only shutter-speed was altered to compensate for the ISO variance.
However, the camera can move up the ISO scale by single units so you can experiment up by 1 digit increments until you get the desired result. We used ISO 5,220 with good results as we needed more light for a few shots.
edgertronic SC2X ISO test & Neat Video Profiles Applied:
Using Noise Reduction Software with edgertronic SC2X:
Neat Video is your friend: Looking at how the noise is compressed by the H.264 codec it’s apparent not much is being thrown out compared to a RAW or high-quality JPG image. Neatvideo is an application for video editors and compositing applications like After Effects; that analyses video footage frames and averages the noise out with some very clever algorithms for retaining image detail. We created some profiles at ISO 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600 and 19200. You can see the results in the video above. It is clear the performance of Neat Video in the latest v4 is much better in preserving detail while getting rid of even some banding at higher ISOs.
We created the profiles from ISO1200 to ISO 19200 out of 50% Grey frames for the edgertronic and for use in Neat Video v4.0.
Download Profiles for Neat Video v4 for the SC2X Here:
-Sync Time: Will modify the camera’s time to your computer browser’s time. This is useful if you are shooting in a different time zone and want to keep track of the time there in your shots this is a handy way.
-About This Camera: This button will tell you hardware information among other parameters like time, date, software version, hardware information like color or monochrome and memory configuration. The most useful ones for the average user would be the MAC Address, time/date and the temperature of the sensor and FPGA processing circuitry. It is good to have access to the internal temperature to see if the camera is overheating and or at what temperature the sensor starts to degrade image quality. Too cool a sensor and or too hot makes image quality not optimal.
During our testing camera never overheated or locked up. It is a very solid product that is built for 24/7 year-round operation if needed.
Some more important points:
The edgertronic software is in constant evolution. Features like overlay, Favorites and multi-shot “Shotcount”, and Review before saving were not available at first with the SC1 camera but now are, this is a great thing for people that want their camera to grow in functionality over time. All software updates are free of charge to all edgertronic owners.
The http://wiki.edgertronic.com/ edgertronic wiki page is also a great resource for users of the camera to get the latest on development, footage samples and more on the camera and it’s community of users.
SDK For Camera Customization & Programming:
There is a robust SDK for software developers that want to customize the edgertronic for custom installations. You can get more information about it here. This makes the platform ideal for a variety of custom applications.
Many edgertronic customers have used the SDK with success in labs, testing facilities, education and multi-camera setups that can really take the camera and it’s time recording possibilities to the next level. You can program it to record and sync with other edgertronic cameras using Genlock for example to create a custom rig for TV or Film sets. A series of SC2X cameras shooting from different angles could really make an average shot, a truly incredible visual reward to the senses. The relatively low cost of the camera means you could build a 6 camera slow motion setup for the price of a single camera competitor’s rig. We expect to see the SC2X being used in these types of setups which will make the art of super slow motion capture evolve to higher aesthetic levels.
We expect to see the SC2X being used in these types of setups which will make the art of super slow motion capture evolve to higher aesthetic levels.
Moire and Aliasing:
During the review of the camera, some shots exhibited color moire and some aliasing in very detailed textures and diagonal lines. This is not a problem for the majority of shots and it is a clear improvement from other 720p edgertronic cameras. 1080p resolution makes shooting detailed objects much less of a problem with ample levels of detail retained in the frame without seldom an artifact.
The effect will be visible on the monitor at capture time so you can tell if it will show up beforehand. The edgertronic SC2X has an excellent sensor with very good characteristics which suffers very little from aliasing and moire.
See the ISO video test above for a detail vs Low pass filter live comparison!
As you can see in the test above of a resolution chart, the edgertronic SC2X has excellent detail but does have some color moire when lines get too close. This is normal for all sensors that use the Bayer color array. The edgertronic itself does not have an optical low pass filter installed which means the camera will allow all available detail to be recorded. We installed an optical low pass filter on demo camera temporarily to essentially create an OLPF effect. As you can see moire and aliasing are gone using this method, the resolution does take a small but perceptible hit if using a filter.
If you need a shot that needs to be free of moire and aliasing, you can use an OLPF and have it done with good results “We used a modified filter for our test. There is no OLPF made for edgertronic cameras that we know at this time”. Search around for OLPF filters on Google as they can be purchased relatively free. Trial and error is a must since OLPF can be too strong or weak depending on the camera they are being applied to.
We encourage you to have a large monitor to be able to spot such artifacts before recording in case they show up. The camera like many recent DSLRs and Mirrorless are shipped without an OLPF which makes aliasing and moire an unavoidable trade-off. However, this way you get the most detail possible from the sensor with no artificial softening.
We consider the absence of an OLPF a plus feature for the SC2X camera and not a negative.
Wrapping Up Review Part 2:
Using the edgertronic camera over the last month, and being able to see how it performs in a variety of situations has been a very interesting experience.
Shooting with the camera is a rewarding endeavor that will have you looking for new angles and subjects to shoot every day. You will be getting better at catching action and setting up shots in a few days of use and will make you a certified expert in a few weeks.
The camera is very user-friendly and has a lot of features to help you in getting the shot quickly. understanding how to best tailor the hardware to your needs will take a few sessions. The ongoing development of features is a plus and gives the camera room to grow and expand what it can do.
Over time you will start to think of even larger slow motion shoot projects than what seemed possible at first and the limit will be your imagination. You will easily run out of ideas before the camera has run out of frames. The SDK extensibility will also allow you and or your team to create customized rigs of multiple cameras for demanding video production environments for TV or Film.
The edgertronic SC2X is built on a mature product platform which inherits years of hardware and software development on a very solid & dependable platform. You get to finally have 1080p full HD high frame rates in what is essentially the same camera platform in shape and size to previous edgertronics.
You can just replace the camera by swapping it on your lab or studio and you are up and running. The cameras share the same user interface and the learning curve is the same. If you are an edgertronic SC1, SC2 or SC2+ owner, the SC2X is a clear image quality/resolution upgrade ready for demanding video production requirements and new levels of resolving power compared to 720p cameras. 1920*1088 pixels is a pretty huge leap to 720p HD and at near 2000fps you are not loosing much in the way of high frame rates. At this point, we can safely recommend the SC2X for your video and Film production needs without hesitation.
The quality of the files, noise pattern and resolution achieved are class leading when compared to many competitive cameras. A number of quality shots you will achieve will only be limited by your imagination and or will to prepare the shots, not by the hardware possibilities.
Over part 3 of this review, we will be looking at portability out on the field, rigging and recommendations for the future of the edgertronic as-well as the final verdict for the SC2X and why we feel this might be the camera you have been waiting for in the affordable slow-motion camera space. Coming Soon!
Thank you for reading and your support of HSC, it allows us to keep bringing you the latest info, rumors, videos and reviews in the world of affordable high-speed imaging.
For more information about the edgertronic SC2X camera including ordering information please visit http://edgertronic.com/
Last year we reviewed the edgertronic SC2+ affordable professional high-speed camera with a near 5000fps 720p performance and it offered the best price/performance yield in the high-speed camera world. The first edgertronic was revolutionary in price and features and was a big disruptor in the slow-motion camera space as many competitors that offered essentially the same performance, were left with price tags several orders of magnitude higher which limited their adoption to only a handful of users in some cases.
This year Sanstreak the company founded by Mike Matter the mind behind the edgertronic SC1 and SC2+ is now launching the edgertronic SC2X 1080p Full HD slow-motion camera, which offers performance that rivals the most demanding competitor products in the space of professional high frame rate capture. Software wise it shares an evolving code base with other edgertronic cameras that continually improve features, stability and user interface.
A Little History on the original edgertronic:
Back in September 2013 Michael Matter the brains behind the edgertronic hardware development went to Kickstarter in an effort to gather funds to support the project and gauge the interest for such a product for the camera gear community.
By that time the project already had gone through two revisions or hardware prototypes A and B that were working fully. The project was headed to final revision C with a finalized hardware circuitry, case design, camera mount, and ports. In just a month that the project was posted on Kickstarter, it was fully funded with 109 backers who pledged $170,175 USD.
With the development money in hand, and cameras now expected by backers; Sanstreak, Mike Matter and also Juan Pineda “the software architect behind the camera” went to work on finishing and building the final cameras. These cameras were ready and delivered to backers starting in December 2013. To the surprise of many the cameras performed and worked as advertised and lots of content started to be produced and science experiments to be performed.
Launch video for Kickstarter campaign by edgertronic:
The name of edgertronic as the video shows is in honor of Harold Eugene “Doc” Edgerton (April 6, 1903 – January 4, 1990) who was a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology credited with the development of the stroboscope which is a precursor to today’s high speed video. He is also commonly mentioned as the father of modern high speed imaging.
Flash pulses freeze objects in motion at high speed and captured on film like that of a modern DSLR high-speed stroboscopic hot shoe flash function. Doc inspired Mike Matter to develop his own flash strobe and take high-speed images and eventually go to MIT himself to become an engineer. Mike Matter has since worked at Apple among other Silicon Valley companies developing top products for decades. The edgertronic is his own creation and contribution for the world of high-speed imaging.
Development has continued on the camera and lots of new features have been added to the software that is hardly present in many high-speed camera solutions. To their credit, the edgertronic engineers delivered a product on time, that exceeded backer expectations and continues to sell. By mid April 2015, the edgertronic has been shipped to nearly 400 buyers. Talk about a concept well executed.
An interesting note is that manufacturing, assembly, and design are done in the USA, for those folks who are keen on buying products made in America, this camera fits the bill perfectly!
The edgertronic SC2X Makes Its Debut in 2017!
The new edgertronic SC2X is reminiscent of the original SC1 camera and last years SC2 and SC2+ in body build and design. Nearly unchanged in the body and design except for a golden anodized aluminum ring before the Nikon F Mount to allow for infinity focus on the lenses. This extra ring is needed because the sensor is a little higher in the board stack which makes it closer to the front of the camera. The added distance is needed to allow for the shutter curtain to fit and for infinity focus to be maintained on Nikon F mount lenses.
The Main internal hardware differences in the SC2X vs the SC2+ and SC1 are that there is only a Color cameras option with no Monochrome. The camera is intended for filmmakers and video production due to the added “Full HD 1080p” resolution. A new sensor with 1920*1088 pixels is now the imaging part with a maximum frame rate of 1910fps at full resolution. 16GB of DDR3 RAM is also standard now in the camera giving a maximum recording time at the highest resolution and frame rate of 4.3 seconds. Maximum frame rate performance is 20,132fps at 1920*96px. This compares well with the SC1 which maxed out at 22,236fps at 192*96px. It is, however, lower than the SC2+’s 31,191fps at 1280*96px. At those smaller resolutions quality is not the primary goal but capturing a really fast event in time.
Maximum frame rate performance is 20,132fps at 1920*96px. This compares well with the SC1 which maxed out at 22,236fps at 192*96px. It is, however, lower than the SC2+’s 31,191fps at 1280*96px. At those smaller resolutions quality is not the primary goal but capturing a really fast event in time. The SC2X is mainly geared at shooting 1080p and or 720p if needed for TV and film production. The camera is no slouch for other uses like lab/industrial settings due to its great performance, but other edgertronic cameras like the SC1 and SC2 series are more geared to those customers.
The chart below shows all three edgertronic cameras and their differences. SC2X highlighted in Yellow!
We were sent a demo “retail” unit which is a carbon copy of what the customer receives when they get their new edgertronic camera. The first impression is very good as it resembles serious equipment when looking at the Pelican Case, which comes standard. This case is durable, dust proof, watertight “not waterproof” and resists changes in atmospheric pressure like that of plane cargo bays. It has built-in purge valve for pressure release before opening. Pelican cases are a de-facto standard for shipping costly camera gear across the globe and shipping the camera in one of these cases is an ideal match for storing it after use as well. It will be ideal if more manufacturers shipped their cameras in such a case.
After opening the case with both latches you are greeted with a well-organized foam cut layout of the camera and accessories. Everything is self contained in a comfortable space with even more space for some foam cut modifications if your needs go past the included kit.
By tightly fitting the components in foam, the camera can be shipped with minimal external packaging as the kit components are safely stored for shipping and even moderate impacts common on FedEx and UPS shipments. The Pelican Case is built for severe impacts but you wouldn’t want to test that theory with such a piece of precision gear.
On the left, you can find the trigger, extender trigger cable, and ethernet in blue. On the center, the edgertronic body and AC adapter with it’s respective power cord. The right side is taken by the included 50mm Nikon 1.8 D Lens and the 12v Car style adapter which is recommended for Bescor, Anton Bauer and batteries built for steady output for cameras and other similar gear. While it could theoretically work of the car connector and probably does, we didn’t want to risk it on this demo unit. We decided to use a Bescor 12v 4.5amp Single Pouch Battery Pack About $80 at Amazon. The Battery pack lasted over 3hrs of continuous portable use of the camera without any problems.
The included cables are meant to provide a fully shoot ready camera kit. You will be hard pressed to go out and find something missing to fully use the camera right out of the box. This is a good decision as it becomes much easier to get started with the camera and forget about connector compatibility nuances.
We, however, recommend that after a while you get an even longer Ethernet cable if you plan on mounting it on a crane or hard to reach place. The good thing is that Ethernet is very easily adapted over long distances up to hundreds of feet. We tested a 50ft cable without any need for a router boosting the signal directly to our control laptop. Better yet get a wireless router connected to the camera like a Mini USB Wifi Router like the ZyXEL here $28.99 at Amazon.com that can be powered by USB from the camera.
Documentation: There is an included page of instructions printed from both sides. That gives you a quick guide of what to do and where to get the rest of the info about operating the camera. We had no problem operating the camera by following the guide at http://wiki.edgertronic.com/ pointed in the included page. However other users might feel it a little daunting to start using the camera without a friendly quick start guide. More on this topic on the usability part of the review.
NOTE:The edgertronic SC2X requires a slightly higher capacity AC adapter compared to the original edgertronic SC1 camera. So it is not possible to use that older adapter and you may damage your camera.Use the AC adapter that comes bundled with the edgertronic SC2X!
The Camera Body:
Once you take out the camera body it is apparent that a lot of care went into designing and polishing the little details in the simple but useful case. The Type III Hard Anodized Aluminum enclosure in aqua “Teal” blue color, is beautiful to look at and it is supposed to be hard to scratch or dent easily. We have seen no damage developed to the case during testing which means the body should last forever if taken care of.
The Lens Mount is a Nikon F mount with a very good machined tolerance lens grip and release mechanism. The lenses will not rattle or wobble by any perceivable amount once they are twisted and locked into the mount. Quite a solid and pro feel, as good as an SLR Camera. The mount is solid metal “looks to be a Fotodiox built part” and will easily support heavy large aperture lenses. However, if the lens is a large telephoto you will mount the lens and let the camera be locked to the back of it instead as with any large lens. The camera mount due to the Nikon F mount being of longer flange distance from the sensor plane than other popular systems like Canon EF, Panasonic Micro 4/3, Sony E mountmeans the edgertronic will not support those lenses. However, a multitude of other lens systems can be fitted with adapters see the list we researched:
Lenses Compatible with Nikon F Mount – Adapters Sold Separately:
Sony A Mount
Telescope T Mount
Canon FD mount
Mamiya 645 Lens Mount
Leica R Pro
Olympus Zuiko OM Lenses
Pentax 67 Lens Mount
Voigtlander DKL Pro Lens Mount
Minolta MD Mount
Pentax K Lens Mount
To many the lack of compatibility with the EOS mount will seem disappointing to buyers with a newer set of Canon glass or old dependable lenses, but considering how many lenses can be adapted and the fact that the mount can’t control the Auto Focus or aperture on those or any lens as its a nonelectronic version of the Nikon F Mount, makes it for less of a possibility in the first place. In our view, a Micro 4/3 or Sony E Mount are the ideal candidates for camera compatibility as almost any lens can be adapted to those mounts with the respective adapter.
The choice of the Nikon F Mount was made by the edgertronic team for having a solid problem-free mount that had popular widely available lenses with manual apertures like those in the Nikon F mount “except Nikkor G lenses that lack an aperture ring”. We tend to agree with the statement and considering how good the implementation turned out it is hard not to see how this was a good compromise. Solid operation and dependability trumps almost any other metric.
The Included Lens:
The included 50mm Nikkor 1:1.8 D lens with manual aperture ring and a fast f1.8 maximum aperture is a versatile and useful standard lens. It is sharp, dependable and very high quality above f2. You could use this lens with the edgertronic exclusively without changing it for other lenses in your use of the camera and be content with the performance. The idea was to offer a complete kit out of the box with minimum setup time and this lens makes it possible.
The Camera Body:
You won’t find a grip or handle on this camera for a simple reason, it is intended to be tripod or cage mounted and not for hand holding but that doesn’t mean holding it and shooting is impossible; the Size: 111x108x79 mm exclusive of lens
The weight of just 862 grams without lens;of the camera makes it very easy to adapt handles or grips to easily kit the camera for portable use. More on that later in the review!
The body has two tripod 1/4 inch screw mounts with recessed lock support which is ideal for the camera being oriented properly on a tripod mount at all times with no angle drifting. There are vents on the top of the unit and a fan on the back for heat dissipation. The camera is well cooled and seldom gets hot even in direct sunlight for a few hours the camera never reached an internal top temp over 45 C. The camera is designed for 24/7 operation and dependability and it delivers on that promise by working non stop for our testing in several conditions.
Back of the Camera:
The edgertronic camera has quite a few ports on the back and it allows for good customization and expansion.
Storage: On the top left we have the SDHC Card compatible slot “Does not support the SDXC standard” formatted in Fat 32. We tested a Sandisk 32GB 30MB/sec HD Extreme video rated SDHC card with no problems. We were supplied with an 8GB SD card in the kit which was quickly swapped for more storage space. The SD Card has to have the Label of the card oriented to the left outside of the body and not to the interior for it to insert and lock; Right next to the SD card slot is the Micro SD card slot that has the camera software and space sufficient for customizable settings and software updates as they become available. You do not need to remove this card at any point as all updates can be done from the regular SD card by copying the file to the root folder of the Fat32 formatted card easily.
Top Indicator LEDs: The camera has two multi-color LED indicator lights that show the status of the camera at all times. They flash in different patterns and colors to inform the operator of the status of the system. This sounds complicated but in use it becomes second nature after a while as solid lights in blue “System” and green “Camera” mean the camera is working and ready to take the next shot. For all the patterns and flashing of the LEDs and what the mean see the edgertronic wiki entry here.
Multi-Function Button:The only button that the camera has is the one located below the system and camera LEDs. You do not use this to turn the camera on or off that is done by connecting and disconnecting the power cord like you would do for an appliance. The button if pressed when the camera is ready will start recording footage if pressed exactly what the trigger controller will do if pressed. the other use of the button is done by leaving it pressed and will reset the camera to factory settings when turned on. Not recommended except in the case of troubleshooting or needing a hard software reset for a reason.
Audio Connector:Currently deactivated but it will let the camera record audio from a microphone on a future release if needed.
Trigger Connector:A standard 2.5mm trigger connector and or daisy-chain genlock cable can be inserted in this port allowing for quick recording of an event.
Some Compatible triggers:Canon RS-60E3, Vello RS-C1II, Pixel RS-201
Dual USB Ports: The two USB ports supplied allow for connecting a USB portable device like a USB stick, or 2.5 inch 5v portable Hard disk formatted in FAT 32 standard. If you insert a device while the SD card is also present the recording will default to the USB device automatically. We tested a Toshiba portable 750GB travel hard drive formatted in FAT32 with success but would rather record to the SDHC card for simplicity. However, it is good to have the ports if the need for expandability arises like that in a lab, studio or industrial setup that needs continuous access to the files.
10/100 Ethernet Connector:This will be the main connector to interface with the camera. You plug the cable on this end and then directly to a desktop computer, laptop or router for access in the network. You then control the camera by using the browser “Google Chrome Recommended for Stability and Compatibility” The MAC network address is clearly printed in the back of the camera if needed, good thinking on this design decision!
12v DC Power Connector: This is the power connector which if connected turns on the camera immediately and off when unplugged, the connect-disconnect serves as the camera on and off switch. You plug in the end of the included AC adapter and or you can use the included 12v Car style adapter for portable batteries. If you unplug when the camera has not finished writing the file you will loose the shot or corrupt the memory card, make sure the camera has finished recording before you unplug the power.
The Sensor in the edgertronic SC2X: The edgertronic SC1 & SC2+ sported a global shutter sensor as well but this time around the differences come mostly from the resolution of 1080p Full HD 1920*1088 pixels.
SC2X Sensor Specs:
19.20x 10.88 mm 22.2mm diagonal active area on the SC2X.
Pixel Size is about 10 Microns vs 13 microns on teh SC2+ & 14microns on the SC1 edgertronics
1920 * 1088 CMOS Global Shutter Image Sensor
ISO 1200-19200 sensitivity (color only)
10 to 20,132 fps frames/sec depending on resolution
Global shutter settable from 1/30 to 1/800,000 sec
Noise Profile and Dynamic Range highly improved from SC1 a little less sensitive than SC2+
Sensor Notes: For starters, it is not a CCD but a CMOS Sensor but one with a global shutter. The common CMOS sensor like the one on DSLR cameras has a weak spot called a rolling shutter. The camera records images by lines usually from the top down in order to read the entire extent of the sensor and produce an image. This creates a wonderful looking image with little noise but the subject is not captured at the same moment in time. It is however captured at a fast but offset speed depending on the sensor and camera used. The speed at which the subject moves is critical for cameras with rolling shutters to show the artifact or not.
HSC Tests the edgertronic Global Shutter vs GH4 Rolling Shutter:
In the above video, rolling shutter vs global shutter test; you can see that in reality the strings on the guitar do not bend but just vibrate and stay almost completely in a straight line on the edgertronic camera with a global shutter. On the GH4 with it’s rolling shutter the strings vibrate in a wave pattern showing deformations that are not actually there. Hence why for scientific purposes the Global shutter is a must have!
For a high-speed camera, the rolling shutter would be a complete disaster. The camera would not be able to read the action as it happens with enough speed and would deform the subjects making them elongated or curved. This for scientific applications is prohibited as measurements and phenomena need to be studied in complete detail. For Filmmakers, cameras like the Sony FS700 with a rolling shutter, do work fast enough for frame rates of 240p or even 480p with reduced line readout. However, for faster frame rates you need a global shutter to preserve image integrity.
The edgertronic sensor in the SC2X has an advanced global shutter circuitry that allows it to avoid rolling shutter completely as a CMOS sensor. This, however, does limit the ISO range of the camera as the extra circuitry creates added heat and noise in the analog to digital signal stage. In the end, the edgertronic SC2X is capable of up to 20,132 frames a second with no rolling shutter to speak of. This spec until recently was extremely expensive to include in a camera. Other high-speed cameras that cost several orders of magnitude more than the edgertronic SC2X have had a global shutter for years in a CMOS senor but never at this price/performance metric.
The pixels on the sensor are still huge at 10 microns in size due to the 1920*1088 resolution, in comparison, a Canon EOS 7D camera at 18MP has 4.3 microns in a similar area on a rolling shutter technology. The dynamic range and sensitivity of the edgertronic SC2X camera is extremely good especially at base ISO 1200 to 4800. If this was a rolling shutter sensor it would be a class leading one in the industry. The dynamic range is so good that it preserves highlight and shadow detail comparable to a 10 bit RAW image on a DSLR.
Dynamic Range: We estimate about 11-12 stops depending on ISO setting used and saved on H.264 codec. If it was saved as real RAW 13 or 14 stops could probably be extracted. This new full HD sensor is that good. It is hard to miss a good exposure with such a good dynamic range latitude. More on this in p2 and p3 of this review!
Shutter Mechanism:The edgertronic SC2X also has a physical shutter mechanism that is used for obscuring the camera during automatic black sensor calibration. Black Calibration is something you need to perform to reduce signal noise and tailor the sensor to operate it’s best at a given shutter speed and ISO setting. This reduces the noise pattern on the final image. It takes a series of black frames to do it and the integrated shutter saves this step transparently to the user. Many high-speed cameras including the Chronos 1.4 released this year have to be calibrated after every ISO and shutter change in order to preserve optimal image quality; it is a manual and painstaking process. This is a great feature to have and it works very well on the edgertronic and makes for a fluid shooting experience with just 2 seconds of downtime every time it calibrates.
Frame Rates Supported SC2X:
The edgertronic SC2X is a pretty versatile little machine when it comes to frame rates. Offering nearly 2,000 fps at full resolution. Most affordable cameras that offer a high speed function top out at 120fps or 240fps. Some pretty good ones go up to 480fps or 960fps like the Sony FS700 or Sony FS5 or the RX series but at severely reduced resolution. The edgertronic SC2X on the other hand can do from 1,910fps full res 1920*1088px (With lower frame rates selectable like 1000 and 500fps if needed) all the way to 20,123 fps @ 1920 x 96 px resolution.
The Setting that most people will use for TV, the internet and Film that offers the best performance, quality and frame rate will be 1920*1088 Full HD or 1080p. In this mode, the camera does 1,910 frames a second which is slow enough to record most human motion, wildlife subjects like insects and birds in flight, scientific experiments, and industrial machinery. It is also a great setting for food, object fractures to some degree, falling objects and sports analysis. Filmmakers makers and video pros would want to stay here for optimal quality and slow motion goodness with no resolution loss.
Note: All resolutions on the table above are stock and can work at 1920px horizontal without affecting final frame rate performance. Sensor is locked on the horizontal resolution!
The edgertronic SC2X has no pre-determined resolution settings, you can use a plethora of numbers on the vertical resolution on the user interface which will present you with an “actual” number result for your given choice. The camera will do all the adjustments necessary to reach your given resolution choice. However, it is a little more restricted than the edgertronic SC1. Your horizontal resolution essentially always stays at a locked 1920 pixels widewhile the vertical can be varied by closest available resolution. We could get a vertical option every 10-15 lines of resolution which is probably based on the AD converter rows on the sensor. Staying at 1920 pixels wide will not harm performance frame rate but will allow you to crop action later on if needed. You gain horizontal space in the frame but you lose nothing but a little bit more SD card space.
The duration timeof recording in seconds will also vary. At full resolution and 1088p it is 4.304 seconds recording while at the lowest resolution 1280*96 it jumps to 23.657 seconds.
The camera is capable of recording at 4 Gigabytes a second internally from the sensor to memory so the entire buffer memory of 16GB on our sample SC2X would fill up in 4.304 seconds. In use, however, you will very rarely be recording 4 seconds of video at 1,910fps, more like 1 to 2 seconds max due to the pre-trigger function and the new Review Before Save Feature implemented in the new firmware. More on this on part two of the review which will go over using the camera while shooting.
We were very impressed by the edgertronic design since it’s inception back when the SC1 was launched. The build quality of the metal anodized case is excellent, fit and finish is durable under a variety of environments and rough treatment. It is rugged and very functional in heat prone environments with ease due to adequate cooling and ventilation. Even in direct sunlight the camera never malfunctioned or locked up while testing.
Mounting: The addition of two tripod 1/4″ mounts is ideal for creating a custom setup and the ease of setup is a plus for a variety of mounts and tripods.
Weatherproofing: If there is one thing we would love to see either from edgertronic or a third party is a weatherproof enclosure that allows for some degree of water and full dust proofing. The electronics are exposed to the elements and since the main ventilation grille is on the top, it makes for easy access of water or dust. This could essentially fry the camera if subjected to these conditions. You could very easily buy an EWA Marine style plastic bag but heat build up could be a problem in a sealed environment, even then the camera could operate for some time under those conditions. Cooling the enclosure either with ice packs or cool air could make it work for a long time in a tightly sealed case. Underwater in cool sea water with a custom dive enclosure will probably self-regulate temperature due to the water dissipating the heat.
Your best bet for keeping it safe from water splashes or dust is to use a regular video camera water cover like those for ENG cameras. We used an SLR rain cover with lens extender with great results and resulted in carefree operation in case of mild rain. For heavy rain, you will need to use a more weatherproof sealed case design. Some owners of the camera have constructed submarine enclosures and blast-proof enclosures with success, however, a product like the Altura Photo Professional Rain Cover for DSLRs could fit the bill in this situation for under $15. We have some recommended solutions below, be aware that due diligence is a big part of keeping your equipment safe. We are not liable for any failure while using any camera cover like the ones listed below. If the weather is hurricane-like, go for shelter and stop using the camera.
Just a few weeks ago we were surprised by a camera release that not only met the demanding 1080p 1000fps spec but actually nearly doubled it at 1910fps. The edgertronic SC2X is the result of the continued evolution of the popular camera line that aims to bridge the gap without compromising features, dependability or image quality.
The edgertronic SC1 and SC2, SC2+ have already proven themselves to be rock solid cameras in the fields of industrial production line monitoring, scientific labs in physics, biology and material testing. The cameras have also been used in broadcast TV, internet delivery and sporting events with amazing results. Naturally, we are expecting a lot from the SC2X and the 1080p resolution. This preview aims to answer a lot of questions and see if it’s a worthy addition to the edgertronic line.
edgertronic SC2X Main Specs:
Color only APS-C Sensor 19.20 x 10.88 mm
Global Shutter Sensor (No Rolling Shutter)
16 GB Memory (4.34 seconds at full resolution 1910fps)
Full HD Resolution 1920 x 1088
1/30 to 1/800,000 sec Shutter
ISO – 1,200 to 19,200 Intermediate ISOs Freely Selectable!
1920 x 96 to 1920 x 1088 Resolution Range
Full Resolution Maximum Frame rate: 1,910 fps @ 1920 x 1088*
Maximum Frame Rate: 20,132 @ 1920 x 96
1920*720p @ 2,940 fps HD Equivalent, VGA 640*480 4,290 fps
Nikon F Mount
50mm 1.8 Nikkor lens Included
Fixed IR Blocking Filter
11-12 Stops Dynamic Range
H.264 High Bit Rate Codec
Built in Auto-Calibration Shutter (No Need to do Dark Calibration)
12 volt Compatible power source portable batteries.
10/100 Ethernet, 2 USB ports, external trigger, multi-camera genlock.
Field upgradeable software/firmware
Video Trimming in Camera Interface!
Video overlay support for frame number, text, and graphic logo
Removable SD card
edgertronic camera spec comparison:
As you can see the edgertronic SC2X has the exact same body shape and color as the past edgertronic cameras with the distinctive difference of the mount flange distance ring being anodized gold color. This allows for previous edgertronic camera owners to easily replace the camera on a rig or casing with no modifications. Last year’s SC2+ had a red ring as the only visual differentiating factor.
The SC2X camera however is a very different beast when it comes to the components and capabilities. It has for the first time in the edgertronic line a sensor capable of Full HD 1080p resolution at 1920*1088 which has 8 lines to spare in the vertical. This does not pose a problem for editors as you actually get 4 lines above and 4 below of wiggle room for some slight cropping. This actually takes care of sensor limit lines which usually exhibit an incomplete pixel line in some edge. We are happy that the line falls within this range and saves an extra step for editors.
Edgertronic SC2X Hands On Preview:
Finally Professional 1080p Resolution in an Affordable High Speed Package!
At 1,910fps 1920*1088 this camera finally caters to TV and film producers that needed that extra detail above 720p to be in compliance with editorial and production requirements. Many TV markets require at least a 1080p signal to be able to broadcast those clips. This left the edgertronic SC1 and SC2, SC2+ cameras out of the running even when they were excellent cameras in their own right.
Since we are preparing a full detailed review of the edgertronic SC2X, we will only touch the surface of the image characteristics in this preview. Needless to say the verdict after a few days of active shooting is a resoundingly positive one. The resolution is true 1080p, no line skipping, very limited moire artifacts in heavy detail scenes (Caused by the Bayer Pattern Sensor Which is present in all Bayer Color Sensors) and excellent noise characteristics.
The frame above is un-porocessed and straight out of the camera. It is designed to give you a fair assessment of the image quality without any post processing applied. Of note is the escellent detail, subdued aliasing and low noise levels at ISO 1200 base on a completely dark background. The quality the edgertronic SC2X is able to deliver is crisp, clear and will not disappoint camera gear enthusiasts looking for a real 1080p image that can deliver close to 2000fps. We are in Phantom territory here and the quality to go along with it. Give this camera plenty of light and you will be amazed at the results.
The SC2X besides pixel resolution also has big improvements in image quality and software.
-NO Black Sun / Highlight Dark Spots: While not a big problem if you are shooting within normal dynamic range, specular highlights in many high speed camera sensors tend to show dark pixels in extremely over exposed areas. The edgertronic SC2+ suffered from this but we are glad to see that the SC2X is free of the artifact. You can shoot any highlight range and the specular roll off will be clean and beautiful. This is a big deal especially if you want to use this camera for broadcast or cinema. Excellent improvement and makes it a dependable camera for the discerning image quality connoisseur!
-No Heavy Aliasing on sharp edges: It may not be apparent at first but on 720p slow motion cameras, aliasing is a problem especially if you want to show some detail. The 1080p sensor in the SC2X is very clean when it comes to aliasing on sharp edges to the point of not being a problem. The image is much improved from a 720p sensor.
–Software 2.2.1 and abovenow allows for “Review before Saving” which makes it possible to save an unlimited number of clips from memory withe easy to set up in and out points. This was a request we made with the edgertronic SC1 and SC2+ and it is probably the best addition to the software yet. Gone are the days of saving unnecessary frames for several minutes and allows for only saving the needed action fames. This cuts down saving time, memory space and can also work in multi shot mode. In our testing we have used it for several days without a single glitch. It makes every edgertronic camera from the SC1, SC2, SC2+ and SC2X improved in usability with a simple software update.
At 1920*1088 resolution which is the maximum the sensor will read; it will record in the 16GB of RAM about 4.34 Seconds worth of footage at 1,910fps. This equates to 8,289 frames recorded at 30p to 276 seconds or 4.6 minutes playback time. This is a lot of recording power even when it sounds short. At 1,000fps you can double that making it at nearly 9 minutes playback at 30p. You will grow bored way before you review the entire clip. That is when you will use the Review Before Saving feature and learn to love it. The camera will record about 40 to 60 frames per second to the SD card depending on the scene complexion; So a long detailed clip will take above 5 minutes to save. Rest assured you will very rarely need to record the entire frame buffer.
At high quality the edgertronic SC2X is recording about 35 Mbits/sec to 60 Mbits / sec of data depending on scene complexity. The codec is H.264 and the ability to push and pull in post is quite good with very little break up. The edgertronic cameras do not shoot RAW by design and instead opt for a high quality H.264 implementation which is smaller in file size and compatible with most editing systems and online video services. While RAW has it’s merits, the edgertronic SC2X quality is extremely good with no visible artifacts from compression due to the very high bit rate. At 60 Mbits/sec it is approaching what some 4k cameras store their footage but with the difference here being it’s 1080p only. You will not have much problems color correcting or applying filters to the footage.
edgertronic SC2X Footage Samples Part 1 @ 1910fps 1080p:
Our Initial Take:
Considering the image quality we have sampled and the dependability of the camera in almost any shooting condition; we can easily recommend the edgertronic SC2X for any TV and film production that requires a high speed camera. Be aware that you may need to use plug-ins like Neat Video to reduce noise in the shadows before broadcast which is no big problem and something inherent at high frame rates and ultra high shutter speeds. We will supply Neat Video profiles for you to download when we publish our full review.
At a price of$15,990.00 for the ready to shoot Kit with Case, Cables and Lens it may be out of reach for some small studios and producers but it is certainly much more affordable than comparable options in the market that can balloon the cost upwards of $70k USD for a ready to shoot kit for 1080p.
This is a camera that is ready to capture shots that could make it pay for itself in a commercial setting many times over quickly. Also you can use it as a business deduction when filing your taxes. The price while steep at first glance will probably be an afterthought just a few months into ownership, and you will be able to shoot things that were just out of the realm of possibility before, improving your product.
The edgertronic SC2X is a very fast, dependable and production ready camera that will deliver mind blowing shots for many years to come. Stay tuned for our detailed full review of the camera in the coming weeks. We can safely recommend it for any production in TV, web or film today. It is that good!
Disclaimer: We do not receive payment of any kind by edgertronic for the promotion or sale of their cameras. This is our full and honest opinion. All questions and orders should be directed at edgertronic.com directly, HSC holds no responsibility or claim for the information stated in this article!