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1 Million FPS: What Could You Do With Those Sort Of Image Capture Specs?

Not so very long ago, I remember how pleased I was to learn that my first digital SLR, Pentax's *ist D, was capable of 2.7 fps burst capture speeds (for up-to-5 frame JPG bursts). How time flies; Pentax's latest high-end "35mm" DSLR, the K-5, does 7 fps (for up to 22 JPGs or 8 RAWs) or 2 fps (unlimited JPGs) sustained still frame captures if the storage media write speeds can keep up, along with capturing 25 fps 1080p video.

And if you think that's impressive, check out the capabilities of Vision Research's Phantom v1210 and v1610 cameras, whose credentials I came across in a recent Engadget writeup. From the coverage:

The v1210 is capable of capturing 12,000 fps to 16,000 fps, with its higher end buddy the v1610 capturing between 650,000 fps and one million fps, if you sacrifice resolution. Shooting 1280 x 800 widescreen images (at regular speed), the v1210 boasts 12GB, 24GB, or 48GB of segmented memory, while the v1610 can hold 24GB, 48GB, or 96GB of segmented memory. Other features include an image-based auto-trigger, ethernet port, SMPTE & IRIG timecode, genlock, 28 micron pixel size, 12-bit depth pixel depth standard, and an HD-SDI output.

And by the way, "pricing starts around a cool $100,000." Perhaps obviously, specialized gear like this is most commonly used for slow-motion playback purposes, whether scientific, commercial or entertainment in nature. One might, for example, want to analyze how a bullet exits a firearm, or a rocket ignites and burns, or a bomb explodes. Or, with thanks to Gizmodo for the heads-up, one might want to capture footage such as the following, which transforms ordinarily mundane scenes into unforgettable works of art: