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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada

    Advice for Beginner on Selecting a (Research) Camera


    Background Information:

    I am currently designing a research system in which I will be taking profile pictures (i.e., side-on, digital) of stationary, molten magnesium droplets around 3-10 mm (~0.1-0.4 in) in diameter, with heights that should range around 1-5 mm (~0.04-0.2 in) (these are only preliminary numbers, and, as such, the actual droplets will most likely be closer to one end of the estimates, depending on the amount of metal used).

    (Note: molten magnesium does NOT glow like other molten metals, but, rather, is somewhat dull grey in appearance).

    The droplets I will be imaging will be immersed in a molten salt electrolyte (the electrolyte is relatively transparent for a window of time), in a rectangular-prism quartz crucible with an open top, with the pictures taken through a window located in the side of an upright,
    cylindrical, "lab-sized" (~10 in diameter) furnace.

    The furnace will be operating ~750C, with enough internal insulation to prevent most heat loss, save though the open top, which I am currently thinking of covering with an insulated cap (i.e., the outer metal covering of the furnace can be safely touched without protection).

    One of my requirements is to obtain an at least distinguishable image of the drop profile, as I am currently looking at using image analysis software to determine the drop outline in the pictures taken in order to determine the contact angles. For this, I will be using a digital camera positioned to photograph though the crucible and window mentioned above. As long as I can distinguish the drop outline from the surroundings, my needs will be met.

    Any additional lighting necessary I am thinking of providing with a halogen light, reflected into the furnace with a mirror, so as to avoid heat rising from the furnace from affecting the light. Note: Lighting is NOT a factor in selecting a camera, as I can completely control the lighting.

    In order to protect my camera system, which is positioned relatively close, 0.6-0.9 m (~2-3 ft), from the furnace, facing the window, I have been looking at placing a hot-mirror (e.g., DK Precision Glass and Optics Heat Reflecting Hot Mirrors, model HRM 070) in front of my camera, and surrounding the remainder of the camera with insulation, if necessary.


    Summary of Key Information:

    digital images of 3-10 mm (~0.1-0.4 in) diameter, 1-5 mm (~0.04-0.2 in) high, dome-shaped, dull-grey droplets
    imaging through furnace window, quartz crucible, melted transparent electrolyte

    Budget for Camera System : ~$4000-5000 CDN (~$3000-3800 US)


    I realise for still images it would be much better to look into digital SLR still-picture cameras, and I have been looking into this area for a while. However, some of the images I need to capture I need video for, hence why I am here in this forum.

    As I am completely new to the digital video field, ANY AND ALL knowledge, experience, comments, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. More specifically, I am looking for ideas of where to start looking (i.e., camera models, useful websites, etc.).

    On the side, if anyone has any knowledge in the use of fibre-optics in capturing images (i.e., could I insert a fibre-optic strand into my furnace in a sheath, cooled by gas, to feed images back to a camera (video OR still-picture, possibly custom designed), and still get semi-decent pictures?), that would be vey useful for another project.

    If any additional information is desired, feel free to ask.

    Thank you for your time and assistance.

    Auf wiedersehen,

    "Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out alive"
    - Bugs Bunny

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Sydney,NSW, Australia

    Re: Advice for Beginner on Selecting a (Research) Camera

    Hi James,

    I am also doing a research project which although different, requires much of the same equipment. I have an existing digital camera to work with, but i need to interface this camera with an optical fibre system that can deliver light to the camera for video recording. I am wondering if you have gotten any new information on this matter. I would greatly appreciate yours or anyone's help.

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