Author Topic: Review of Chronos 2.1  (Read 3619 times)

SergeyKashin

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Review of Chronos 2.1
« on: October 05, 2020, 03:10:08 AM »
A small review of Chronos 2.1 and my frustrations after the purchase

I bought a camera to train and promote myself as a slow mo operator, the wait for the camera was long 8 months, but not justified. Yes,for this price there is no camera, but all the others are more expensive, but you could do better and better and a little more expensive

1. the most terrible screen I've seen (even the screen on the Sony a7iii camera is just perfect), the screen sensor also works on 4 out of 10. When connecting an external monitor the camera can just hang out and help only restart (tried different HDMI and then connected the included camera and monitor, turn on the camera - connect monitor - included monitor and camera still hangs)

2. Saving from the camera to a USB flash drive, provided that from the stick to computer material saves very quickly, so then it's probably just the camera itself

3. the image quality is just awful, vertical stripes in all modes at 0 dB, and if you increase the dB, then horizontal stripes also appear. Only post-processing noise reduction helps, i.e. if you are shooting a commercial shoot and the customer is standing next to you, they will be shocked by what they see.

4. white balance why do such a stupid selection of Kelvins I do not understand why you can not put the slider with a change of 100 when shifting is not clear.

5. The cooling system is very very very noisy, in a couple of hours your head will be buzzing, as if you are using an old computer from 2000.

6. mount lenses with-mount - how could you think of in our time to make such a terrible mount lenses, there are so many different variations of Canon Nikon and many others that live well in our world now.

A little bit about the sore point and what I was able to see in the camera for my period of operation (week), I think there will be more. I will update the review over time

Advice for those who want to buy cameras for Commerce and develop in shooting ads - Oh, collect money and buy a phantom (better used phantom than the new Chronos 2.1)

Nikon1

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2020, 06:43:57 AM »
While i am absolutely with you on the point about the Screen and the White balance/ Color Settings in general, those can be quite frustrating indeed, i have to disagree in a few points about this post.
 Have you ever used a Phantom Camera? depending on the exact model you end up using, the fans can be as loud or even WAY louder than the chronos one. for sure, a completely quiet camera is always nice to have, but then again, when you shoot 1000+ fps, sound will very rarely be an issue. i can post some Reference for really loud Phantoms if you never seen any of those.
 And about the Mount bit, i also have to disagree with your post, C-Mount or more precise CS-Mount in this case is a very apropriate mount for this camera. The Chronos is a Highspeed-Camera, which while aimed a bit at motion-Picture productions, has still a lot of users in Industry and Research. and in this field C-Mount and CS-Mount are very much THE STANDARD for Lens Mounts.
 There Are Adapters readily available to buy for both Lens Systems you named there, nikon and canon, so i dont get what your problem is, if you just want to use Standard SLR-Mount Lenses. Things get indeed a bit more hairy if you tried to use Some Speciality Lens made for a Mirrorless-Mount. But even then, The Chronos itself allows for mounting even Sony-E-Mount Lenses, MFT-Mount Glass and much more, there are just no Mass-Produced Adapters Ready to buy as of now. If you need any, there are plenty of people on the Forum that can build adapters for those more special mounts or help you make one. The Design of the Camera itself is very good in terms of mounting options, so that is not true. Just name one (somewhat reasonable, there are Some wicked strange Lenses out there which are not possible to be mounted on the Chronos without a lot of modifications to either Lens or camera or both, but most of those Lenses will also not be possible to be mounted on any today Digital Camera without a simmilar amount of modifications, so....) Lens you cant mount on there?
 And on the Point of Image Quality, i am partly with you, but also partly not...
 While i am also a bit disapointed about the Low Light Performance, i have to say this camera can produce very Stunning images in the Right conditions. And every camera or lens will have some limitations at some point, and especially if you want to work as an camera operator or even Highspeed-Cam-Operator, you should know better than anyone else how to get the best image out of your camera, even under not absolutely perfect conditions. you can shoot pretty bad quality footage even on the most expensive of cameras, so the camera itself is always only part of the result.
 The Cinematographer creates the image, the lens paints the image, and the Camera captures it.
 So, if you work with customers or directors that will freak out immedeatly about a bit of image noise or something like that, you are propably are not secure enough about yourself or work with the wrong clients/ people. There should be enough trust in a healthy work enviroment in the film industry to be able to explain what is going on with the noise and that it could be easily removed in post (and if it can not, there is too little Light on your set) without anyone loosing their cool over that.
 and while i also agree, that, if you are able to afford a Phantom, absolutely go for one, but allways keep in mind that they need special Storage, Storage Readers, some Serious Power Supply, an External Monitor, and some even an actual Computer to even use them propperly. Those can be bought for "reasonable" prices sometimes if you are lucky, but more stand-Alone more modern Models are usually more expensive. The Cheapest, kind of compareable stand-Alone Phantom i know of is the Miro Line of Phantom Cameras, and those are a bit over 7x the Price of the 2.1 in basic configuration, some modells of the Miro cost way more.... So, yeah they are better for sure, but i would be highly shocked if they where not at that kind of price point... If you can afford to get one or can live without the Mobility of the Chronos, and only use it in an Studio enviroment, where you have a bunch of Cables and stuff attached to the Camera anyways, those older Phantoms are sure a great option. Just dont forgett all the other stuff you need for the Phantom to be actually able to use it, which you dont need with the Chronos.
 Just had to put this out there as my opinion. Nothing personal, but a few of the points you made there in your review are just not correct (especially the thing about the mount).
 Hope you will get better in using the Chronos 2.1 and get really good results with it, or find a camera that fits your needs and butget.

Nikon1

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2020, 06:58:54 AM »
On an other note about the noise in general, i found, that i need to expose Images rather (almost too) bright, so the image will always be clipping to 100% white in some areas, and then just crush the Darker Areas to black, that way, even if there is noise, i found it to be not that much of a problem. If you need to brighten up the Shadows at any point, yes, Noise will look really bad.
 Thats one somewhat strange thing to get used to with this camera. The general known best practise is to never over expose anything in the image and rather get your image a bit too dark, then push exposure and the Shadows a bit in post, but with the chronos i found it to be better to shoot a bit on the bright side and drop exposure in post if needed.

B.H.V

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2020, 06:51:57 AM »
I found this to be true too on my Chronos 1.4 for exposure. To get less noise in dark areas, I tend to expose image on the brighter side even if it clips a bit. Bringing up shadows a lot in post with the Chronos (especially with the 1.4) can create problems. There is noise reduction software like Neat Video that has helped on my Chronos 1.4 videos, but just donít overdo it so that you donít get plasticky like video.

** Also, did you do any black calibration before shooting? This improves image quality. The consensus is to do a black calibration after turning on the camera, then wait 15 minutes, then do a black calibration again, then wait another 15 minutes and do a black calibration. It's not ideal if you're a run and gun type shooter, but if you don't mind allowing extra time to do this before shooting, I think it's worth it for the improved image quality.

Nikon1

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2020, 09:44:44 AM »
just did a quick search, and found an kind of affordable Phantom Gold HD, at 16kÄ used.
 https://www.ebay.de/itm/Vision-Research-Phantom-HD-Gold-1000fps-High-Speed-Camera/274043307223?hash=item3fce4104d7:g:2YAAAOSwRwpdnGIe
 this one is about as close as you can get to the 1kfps @ FullHD from the Chronos 2.1, though i am not really sure if it can hold up with the Higher Framerates of the 2.1 when used at lower resolution.
 As i said, you also need to buy special Storage, a special reader for that storage, a way of powering it if you intend to use it on the field, and a External Monitor (a Spare Laptop to adjust Settings Quickly would also not hurt).
 Then it is huge and Heavy, and has a PL-Mount. so better get a serious tripod and a bunch of actuall cine Lenses. Good luck finding cheap lenses for that mount... and you wont be able to use any Nikon or canon Lens btw. (Without professional Lens Remounting or even Rehousing), as much about the "bad Mounting solution" of the Chronos.
 Never used one of those, but Image Quality should be quite a bit better than the Chronos, just because of the way bigger sensor alone, so less noise.
 If you got the money to get one of those, it propably would be worth it, if you can make the cost back from Client work in a reasonable amount of time. For my usecase this is just a bit tooooo expensive and setup time will make the 15/30 minute Warmup time of the Chronos seem fast, unless you build yourself some serious camera Rig for that.
 .
 If you actually wanted to go for the cheapest Camera in the Highspeed-Field, with best image Quality, maybe look into film Highspeed-Cameras. even 16mm Film will give you at least 4 to 8 Megapixels per frame on high Quality film Stock, and cameras are usually rather cheap to get. There Are also still plenty of 35mm Film HS-Cams for sale. While Film Stock can get expensive if you shoot a lot, if you got customers, that pay you for good results, it might be worth it. 35mm Film has huge Resolution potential and Image Quality is mostly limited by the kind of film you feed your Camera. Highspeed Filmmaking is one of the Few fields of filmmaking where i think usage of Film is still interresting (apart from some Film Purist People) because of the very low price of Camera Hardware (but VERY high running costs) if you just want to get into it and want to get high resolution results. While i still will prefer Digital over film even for highspeed because of a few rather obvious reasons, it might be an option to think about. But also keep in mind, developing the Film takes a lot of time and money, and Film Stock availability can become a Problem depending on what you shoot. also the obvious problem of pre-only Trigger and very limited Record time on most of such cameras.
 for example Fastax Cameras can be had for under 200Ä usualy (but they have short record time and if you allready disliked the Chronos Mounting Options, well prepare for some Nasty surprises with the Fastax Mount, where only a handfull of Lenses Are Available, nobody even knows the Flange distance, and Adapters arent a thing AT ALL. You will litterally need to modify lenses to fit on there if you want to use anything apart from the original, now very expensive Lenses for Fastax-Mount), and there are also a bunch of other, more Rare Film Highspeed Cameras.
 Again, wouldnt get one myself, but might be an option for anyone reading this....
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 09:46:40 AM by Nikon1 »

Thomas L.

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2020, 05:10:48 PM »
Thanks for the different feedbacks on the Chronos 2.1-HD.

While the image correction, screen, fans and lens mount options are being worked on, we highly recommend to:
- save the footage via the eSATA connector for an optimal transfer speed (it is about 2 times faster than using USB and 3 times faster than using an SD card). This is even more important when saving at uncompressed formats if wait time is a constraint.
- light up your scene as much as possible and use a 0dB gain for a better image quality: shooting at 1000fps generally requires 5 times more light than regular 24fps videos to achieve the same amount of exposure. Lenses with a wide aperture are also recommended especially if you are limited in the amount of light you can supply, provided that your setup allows for a shallow depth of field.
- perform a black calibration with the lens fully covered after changing either the resolution, frame rate or shutter speed after making sure your camera has warmed up properly
- run the camera on the latest software version 0.5.1
- play around with the Set Custom option and Custom Color Matrixes in case the presets white balance conditions are not satisfying enough for your application and see how it turns out.

SergeyKashin

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2020, 12:15:15 PM »
Thanks for the different feedbacks on the Chronos 2.1-HD.

While the image correction, screen, fans and lens mount options are being worked on, we highly recommend to:
- save the footage via the eSATA connector for an optimal transfer speed (it is about 2 times faster than using USB and 3 times faster than using an SD card). This is even more important when saving at uncompressed formats if wait time is a constraint.
- light up your scene as much as possible and use a 0dB gain for a better image quality: shooting at 1000fps generally requires 5 times more light than regular 24fps videos to achieve the same amount of exposure. Lenses with a wide aperture are also recommended especially if you are limited in the amount of light you can supply, provided that your setup allows for a shallow depth of field.
- perform a black calibration with the lens fully covered after changing either the resolution, frame rate or shutter speed after making sure your camera has warmed up properly
- run the camera on the latest software version 0.5.1
- play around with the Set Custom option and Custom Color Matrixes in case the presets white balance conditions are not satisfying enough for your application and see how it turns out.


All these conditions I fulfill and do, but in the black areas the stripes are very visible.
Black calibration after switching on and changing any parameters.
1. it is also very bad there is no automatic stop recording when filling the cache, if You can add it, then the work with the camera would be much better.
2. It is also very lacking to be able to display all the information on an external screen
3. it is also not clear why all the settings take up half the screen, they can be made only by swipe or by clicking on the wheel.
4. very much slows down wifi, provided that the camera is connected to a 1000Mb router and the phone is working at 5GHz
5. As you can power the camera via v-mount? These batteries produce a maximum of 15 volts, and the camera requires a power supply of 17-20 volts. Where can I find a v-lock to power the camera
6. also in the new version, you can slightly increase the thickness of the camera and add space for installing ssd inside the cameras, this would add reliability and more chances of not losing material. All you can accidentally touch the wire and break it or pull out, well, extra wires

Nikon1

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2020, 12:48:17 PM »
Thanks for the different feedbacks on the Chronos 2.1-HD.

While the image correction, screen, fans and lens mount options are being worked on, we highly recommend to:
- save the footage via the eSATA connector for an optimal transfer speed (it is about 2 times faster than using USB and 3 times faster than using an SD card). This is even more important when saving at uncompressed formats if wait time is a constraint.
- light up your scene as much as possible and use a 0dB gain for a better image quality: shooting at 1000fps generally requires 5 times more light than regular 24fps videos to achieve the same amount of exposure. Lenses with a wide aperture are also recommended especially if you are limited in the amount of light you can supply, provided that your setup allows for a shallow depth of field.
- perform a black calibration with the lens fully covered after changing either the resolution, frame rate or shutter speed after making sure your camera has warmed up properly
- run the camera on the latest software version 0.5.1
- play around with the Set Custom option and Custom Color Matrixes in case the presets white balance conditions are not satisfying enough for your application and see how it turns out.


All these conditions I fulfill and do, but in the black areas the stripes are very visible.
Black calibration after switching on and changing any parameters.
1. it is also very bad there is no automatic stop recording when filling the cache, if You can add it, then the work with the camera would be much better.
2. It is also very lacking to be able to display all the information on an external screen
3. it is also not clear why all the settings take up half the screen, they can be made only by swipe or by clicking on the wheel.
4. very much slows down wifi, provided that the camera is connected to a 1000Mb router and the phone is working at 5GHz
5. As you can power the camera via v-mount? These batteries produce a maximum of 15 volts, and the camera requires a power supply of 17-20 volts. Where can I find a v-lock to power the camera
6. also in the new version, you can slightly increase the thickness of the camera and add space for installing ssd inside the cameras, this would add reliability and more chances of not losing material. All you can accidentally touch the wire and break it or pull out, well, extra wires
1. I dont quite understand this problem, could you not just use pre-Trigger? will only record untill memory is full after pressing trigger, so technically what you want... or am i missing something?
 2. i personally am very happy, that you could get an clean Signal out of it, without any overlays, but maybe try using the web interface, that kind of allows for all the info and the Image on an external Screen, but this is kind of a sketchy setup since there is a ton of lag on the Image itself and it also doesnt play fluidly.
 3. This can and should actually be improoved, absolutely agree on that. A bunch of different options on display layout would be really good to have, for example just live image, all the Info like it is now, and something like where you still see all the info, but as a half transparent overlay in small font, so you could get most usage out of the Screen itself. Also still hoping there will be an Histogramm at any point added.
 4. I dont know how this slows down Wifi, but maybe try using a wired connection if Wifi is a problem?
 5. Yes, you very much can, i was not really happy with battery live on the Stock Nikon Batteries, and now use V-Mount 190Wh Batteries. You need to use something that will Convert the Voltage up to the 19V the Chronos needs, i bought this Voltage Converter, i can also use with a lot of other Cameras:
 https://www.globalmediapro.com/dp/A2HG93/Globalmediapro-VLP-U-V-Mount-to-DC-Multi-Voltage-Converter/
 You however need to find a way of mounting it, doesnt have 1/4" Mouning points or anything else, its just a "Standalone" Unit. or find something similar to this, there are plenty different options for such voltage Converting V-Mount Plates, that one just fit my needs best, so i got that one.
 6. While that propably would be nice, i think its a bit problematic to implement into the camera itself. If you allready rig the Chronos up with a V-Mount battery and -Battery-Plate, maybe just rig it up on Rails or find a way to Put it under the Camera like a huge Battery grip. a standard Size SSD should hide pretty elegantly on top or under a V-Mount plate. I get however what you are saying about the Cables, havent really got around to use my 2.1 for real work, but allready managed to drop it and damaged the BNC-Port. So a Cage is pretty much needed if you want to make sure that nothing happens to the connections. Have to say however, the rest of the Cam barely got scratched, pretty impressed. Integrating a Port or Space for an Internal SSD would propably also reduce general strength of the Camera body, so thats not nessercarily the best idea. I am trying to design a Battery grip kind of thing for mine with an Integrated Cage, if i finally get around to do that, and you are interrested, i could share that at some point.

SergeyKashin

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2020, 07:31:03 AM »
I also noticed that very often when you change the fps, the camera just freezes and you can't do anything, only a reboot helps
Just a couple of times the camera hung when saving
There was also a hang after saving the material to a flash drive

clkdiv

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2020, 01:12:58 PM »
Don't have any hangings here. For me the camera is outstanding in terms what you get for your money. I wouldn't ever had thought about buying a phantom, since I don't need the last quantum of extra image quality. For me it is more important, that the camera delivers good quality while being that lightweight and small.

Nikon1

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2020, 02:30:01 PM »

 5. Yes, you very much can, i was not really happy with battery live on the Stock Nikon Batteries, and now use V-Mount 190Wh Batteries. You need to use something that will Convert the Voltage up to the 19V the Chronos needs, i bought this Voltage Converter, i can also use with a lot of other Cameras:
 https://www.globalmediapro.com/dp/A2HG93/Globalmediapro-VLP-U-V-Mount-to-DC-Multi-Voltage-Converter/
 You however need to find a way of mounting it, doesnt have 1/4" Mouning points or anything else, its just a "Standalone" Unit. or find something similar to this, there are plenty different options for such voltage Converting V-Mount Plates, that one just fit my needs best, so i got that one.
 
So, just to also add this information here, Bian from the forum here just sent me a PM, he has the Same one and he has issues with it when using with an SSD because it also consumes more power then, also seems to have trouble keeping up with the power his 2.1 needs sometimes. The Adapter i have and linked here will only provide 2.0A at 19V, which is just a tiny bit to little for the 40W of power the 2.1 needs according to the datasheet. So, just so nobody runs out there and buys one of those and is then surprised. Do your research, and get one which will provide at least 40W at an propper voltage, especially if you dont use it in combination with internal batteries or even intend to use the Chronos with an SSD.

SergeyKashin

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2020, 09:10:14 AM »
Don't have any hangings here. For me the camera is outstanding in terms what you get for your money. I wouldn't ever had thought about buying a phantom, since I don't need the last quantum of extra image quality. For me it is more important, that the camera delivers good quality while being that lightweight and small.

Stability of the camera is a guarantee of quality, and when the camera freezes very often it is a loss of time and footage

hydraulicpresschannel

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2020, 11:17:27 AM »
At the moment you tend to get lines on large dark areas no matter what you do but I hope that it gets fixed on future up dates. But when everything is bright enough you can get really nice image and usability is always better compared to even bit easier Phantoms like Veo640. When we film it takes always at least one hour to get phantoms running while I can easily get all of my 3 Chronos cameras ready in 10 minutes.

clkdiv

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2020, 12:37:28 PM »
When we film it takes always at least one hour to get phantoms running...

Really? Why is this? I never had access to a Highspeed-Cam, the Chronos is my first one... I am just curious.

Nikon1

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Re: Review of Chronos 2.1
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2020, 01:12:55 PM »
When we film it takes always at least one hour to get phantoms running...

Really? Why is this? I never had access to a Highspeed-Cam, the Chronos is my first one... I am just curious.
I also never worked with one, but from my experience, the More Professional Cameras Can take quite a bit of time to set up, unless you own them and built yourself a run and Gun Setup you can break down and Set up very Quickly, for example Some Kind of assembly on rails, with Monitors, battery plates mounting and All Cables, Tripod mounting Plates, Cages/ Grips and Lens allready attached all mounted, in a Hardcase, ready to put onto the Tripod on location. If you just have those on rental or work with cameras on a production which are not your own, things can take really long to set up. Just remember, that the Most Phantom Cameras (at least the ones i know of, except the Miro ones) dont come with a internal monitor and i think most only have SDI out also, so you allready need to set up a Monitor, mount the Monitor to the Camera or Tripod somehow, find a fitting cable, maybe need to set up an SDI-HDMI converter, find out how to power the Converter, find out how to power the Camera with propably a V-Mount battery, find out where to mount the Battery/ Batteries, Tripod Plates, then Lens, figure out the Settings, find out later, that you should propably actually set up a Laptop to more easily change setting on the Camera, Set everything and get your framing right, then find out that the monitor is now in an Awkward to look at place, so remount it somewhere else on the Camera or tripod. Also somewhere in between you will propably end up searching for some Adapter, Cable, or Screw/ Connector (and mostly end up using Gaffa Tape anyways, cause the propper Screw is allways missing or something else comes broken...) from an other Cameraguys bag, cause stuff not allways goes as planed. Not sure though about why they need 1 Hour over there at HPC to set their Phantoms up, but that is just what i seen when working on bigger producions where i get an camera from there, and cant use my own stuff. time is really going by fast when Setting up Camera Gear. Can be other reasons there which are special to HS-Cameras or Phantoms, but usually, the more Advanced Production cameras CAN do a lot more stuff than your point and shoot Cam, but this usually also comes at the cost, that a lot more setup is Required. And Since you will mostly rent Cameras like the Phantoms daily or even hourly, you usually cant prepare 3 days bevore your Shooting day and test everyting 5 times to make sure it works 1000%. Maybe Lauri can give more info about why that is, but that would be my best guess anyways.