Photron, Fastcam

Software enables cameras to record at 1.5 million fps

Federal agencies using Photron Fastcams for research or security can upgrade their performance with a new software fix that enables automatic ultra-high-speed capture of data, all the way up to 1.5 million frames per second (fps), the company announced.

The cameras need to be equipped with a NI USB-6251 BNC data acquisition module from National Instruments, though most of the Photron cameras come paired with at least one. The software update to the BNC data acquisition module will allow all connected Fastcams to use the new feature.

The optional plug-in is controlled via Photron’s PFV camera control software and enables simultaneous recording and playback of analog data that is very precisely synchronized with high-speed video sequences recorded with Photron cameras at frame rates from 60 to 1.5 million frames per second, giving users a detailed account of exactly what occurred and why. 

The plug-in's Level Detection Triggering feature enables the system to monitor data acquisition signals from an event and automatically trigger the high-speed camera to start or stop recording images when levels exceed user pre-set reference values. This feature allows the reliable capture of unpredictable and intermittent events.

Your average videographer, of course, doesn’t need to shoot at 1.5 million frames per second, but agency researchers have found uses for cameras from Photron, which has a range of models with speeds of several thousand fps, with low-resolution options going all the way to 650,000 fps, depending on the model.

NASA, for instance, has used Fastcams to study the effects of water near the edge of an airfoil  and in fluid engineering work related to turbulence in jets.  An Energy Department study used Fastcams to learn how fish respond to turbulent environments.

This powerful upgrade is free for a limited time, so agencies with Photron gear should consider scooping it up.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected