A low-cost high-speed CMOS camera for scientific imaging

Daniel J. Duke, Thomas Knast, Bhavraj Thethy, Luis Gisler, Daniel Edgington-Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Non-intrusive temporally and spatially resolved measurements of dynamic phenomena are heavily reliant on high-speed (>1 kHz) digital scientific cameras. The cost of these cameras is a major constraint on the operation of many experimental and educational research facilities. In this paper we present a performance analysis of a low-cost high-speed CMOS camera, the Chronos 1.4. Developed for consumer use, we investigate its potential as a scientific camera. It uses a 12 bit Luxima LUX1310 CMOS sensor with 1280 × 1024 px at 6.6 μm pitch and 1 μs minimum global shutter. It is capable of recording at 1057 Hz at full frame and up to 38 kHz with a reduced field of view. It provides a number of features not typically found in low-cost consumer cameras, such as external triggering and shutter gating control, clock outputs, and raw binary data output. We test the linearity of the sensor response using a pulsed LED source and analyse the sensor performance in terms of noise, jitter and intensity lag. A quantitative demonstration of the camerafs performance under realistic experimental conditions is demonstrated with an image correlation velocimetry measurement in a high-speed propellant spray. The camera compares favourably against several scientific high speed cameras from major manufacturers. The camera is well suited for high resolution forward-scattering and in-line imaging techniques such as schlieren, shadowgraphy, holography and bright-field microscopy. Spatial bias in the dark field noise floor makes it generally unsuitable for lowlight measurement conditions. However, the small footprint and low cost make it ideal as an educational tool and for multi-camera experiments. These tests were conducted independently of the manufacturer and the authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075403
Number of pages11
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2019


  • Chronos
  • high speed camera
  • high speed photography

Cite this