New Photron camera is faster than a speeding bullet

From analyzing explosions to ballistics to the science of fluid dynamics, researchers are often looking for clues hidden inside events that happen really fast. But with the right tools, scientists can slow even the quickest moving things down for study.

That is where Photron, a manufacturer of high-speed cameras and image analysis software, comes into play. The company makes some pretty impressive cameras and imaging software, some of which has been tested in the GCN Lab over the years. Its latest model, however, puts high-speed performance into a smaller package.

The new FASTCAM Mini UX100 high-speed camera may be small, at 120 by 120 by 90 millimeters, but it's got speed on its side. The one-piece high-speed imager provides 1,280 x 1,024 pixel resolution up to 4,000 frames per second (fps). If the resolution is turned down to 1,280 x 720 pixels, what is commonly called 720HD, the frame rate up can go to 6,400 fps. Even lower resolution will actually push the FASTCAM to record images at an incredible 800,000 frames per second. That is more than enough to capture the flight path and characteristics of a speeding bullet, which typically is filmed at about 50,000 fps by most analysts.

The global electronic shutter operates down to one microsecond to provide blur-free, black-and-white imagery with 12-bit pixel depth, or 36-bits for the color version. Light sensitivity is ISO 12232 Ssat certified at 8,000 ISO 12-bit monochrome or 4,000 ISO for the 36-bit color version.

FASTCAM Mini UX100’s compact package  weighs only 3.3 pounds and is available with three onboard memory options up to 16 gigabytes. Its CMOS sensor features 10-micron square pixels.  For added functionality, the camera includes a Gigabit Ethernet interface, up to 64 available memory partitions, F-mount (G-type lens compatible) and C-mount lens mounts. A trigger mode offers start, center, end, manual and random control. 

Photron says its new camera would be ideal for life sciences, biomechanics, off-board automotive imaging, fluidics and ballistics testing. 

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


  • Russia prying into state, local networks

    A Russian state-sponsored advanced persistent threat actor targeting state, local, territorial and tribal government networks exfiltrated data from at least two victims.

  • Marines on patrol (US Marines)

    Using AVs to tell friend from foe

    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for ways autonomous vehicles can make it easier for commanders to detect and track threats among civilians in complex urban environments without escalating tensions.

Stay Connected