Friday, 19 May 2017

Teardown: Photec IV - 20,000 FPS 16mm Film Camera

In this video i take a look inside a 1980s film camera capable of 20,000 FPS.

The Photec IV camera was introduced in the 1980s by Photonic Systems Inc, It is a high speed 16mm movie film camera that uses a rotating prism to allow the film to run through the camera in a continuous motion.

The camera can take 400 ft film loads and has a Mamiya 645 lens mount.

The camera was available in different configurations, different prisms could be installed for full frame, half frame and quarter frame shooting which multiplied the FPS by x1, x2 and x4. The configuration on my camera is half frame.

The camera has a configurable FPS from 100 to 1000 FPS in 100 FPS steps and 1,000 to 10,000 FPS in 1,000 FPS steps at full frame. In half frame configuration this is 200-20,000 FPS and quarter frame is 400-40,000 FPS.

Mechanically they are quite simple, a large motor drives the take up reel, the action of the film running through the sprockets drives the prism.

At 10,000 FPS the linear film speed is around 170mph.