Digital camera system captures objects moving at 10-times the speed of sound

digital camera system captures objects moving at 10 times the speed of sound metrolaser shotgun pellets
Shotgun pellets, frozen in time using a new digital streak camera system developed by MetroLaser.

Whether it’s an athlete running down the field or a train zooming by, high-speed action is something that’s usually difficult to photograph, requiring a fast camera and a bit of luck. So imagine if you’re asked to photograph an object that’s traveling at 7,500 miles per hour. How on Earth are you going to do that? Well, you’d call up a company in Laguna Hills, California, called MetroLaser, which has developed a high-speed system that works with current pro DSLRs.

metrolaser-freeze-frame
A fast-moving object freeze-framed using MetroLaser’s digital streak camera system.

MetroLaser, a company that makes “optical diagnostic solutions,” was tasked to develop this camera by the U.S. Air Force as a replacement for film-based streak cameras, which uses film that’s no longer manufactured but are still in used at high-speed test tracks. A traditional streak camera captures a moving object as it passes the camera lens while the film behind a vertical slip aperture moves along during exposure, resulting in a continuous composite image. According to Phys.org, “The new digital technology for this camera relies on a precisely controlled mirror to follow the object and freeze the image on the camera,” allowing for high-quality magazine-type images. 

metrolaser-system-diagram

This new digital streak system works with any camera designed for commercial portraits and standard flashes, while the software can run on compact, low-power computers. “The real power of this approach is that you can take almost any kind of existing camera back and fit it into a rig like this to turn it into a high-speed streak camera,” MetroLaser engineer Benjamin Bruckner told Phys.org. Bruckner and co-engineer Drew L’Esperance published the findings in the journal, Optical Engineering.

With its capability of capturing objects traveling at nearly 10 times the speed of sound, the system is ideal for things like ballistics research, racetracks, and rocket sled imaging.

metrolaser-camera-system-setup
MetroLaser’s digital streak camera system setup on location.

(Images by MetroLaser via PetaPixel via SPIE)

Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Product Review

Sennheiser brings audio perfection to wireless earbuds like no one else can

Sennheiser took its time entering the true wireless earbud market, and the results are what you’d expect from the storied audio brand. The new Momentum offer seamless operation, best-in-class sound, and a high price tag to match.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Photography

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Photography

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.
Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.