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Old 12-03-2012, 07:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
Trails Of Doom
FreeEnterprise's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: West Chester, Ohio

The hardest part would be educating paintball users what they get with an action cam/vs a ZoomCam system. Guys realize it once they buy an action cam and then have an awesome kill on the field, only to go home and you can't see anything... That is why most paintball videos have words on the screen "telling" the viewer what they can't see...

Action cams are only good to about 40 feet. And at 40 feet you still can't see the person you are shooting at...

Look at my video, as that is combining the action cam with my ZoomCam, and you can't see a single person I am shooting at (with the exception of the last guy and him only barely) as that is what an action cam can do... And that is pretty worthless for paintball.

Sure you can zoom in a little post production with the action cams, but nothing like what you need for paintball. You have to have a minimum of 5x zoom to get in there (most of my shots are at 10X or more), and then you have a whole range of issues to deal with, and none of the action cams (or ragecams) can do what I want. As focusing while zoomed becomes a huge issue, as well as image stabilization...

You have to have a camera with auto focus, and NONE of the action cams do this. They just give a fixed focus that stays the same for all their footage, that is why they don't have zoom.

Then if you do have a camera with zoom, it is a digital zoom, not an optical zoom. And all a digital zoom does is zoom in on the existing picture. So you lose resolution each time it zooms in.

So to get the best, you need a camera with great zoom and a high end lens, as well as a very fast auto focus (which at distance, snap shooting still can't keep up, as you are focused on the bunker, and then you pop out and shoot distance, and tuck back in within a second... no camera can handle that...).

So your options are a fixed focus, which will give you soft images on everything except what you set it at... So the majority of your shots will be soft.

Or a camera with auto focus that is FAST, and it can handle the long range stuff, or short range. As long as you give it a second to rack focus before you fire.

Then image stabilization is a huge deal, most cameras fail on this part, but technology is getting better. I picked Sony originally because they have by far the best image stabilization without sacrificing quality (as their high end cameras have a larger than normal image size so when they zoom in to "center" the shot and stabilize it, you end up with a true 1080HD video signal, instead of compressed, like most lower end cameras. The harder the "shock" of your paintball gun, the more the image stabilization has to work to keep it steady when firing.

Clearly this isn't for everyone, but for anyone wanting to actually CAPTURE on film what they see on the field, this is the ONLY solution so far that actually works at multiple distances without having to touch the camera during the game. The rage cams force you to have different lenses and each one has to be manually focused for the distance, which is completely impractical while playing. And the scope mounted cams while having a massive amount of Zoom, have such a small window that it is very hard to capture what you are seeing without a really steady hand...

It is really cool technology, and some of the action I have captured since I started has undoubtedly gotten others to buy action cams thinking they will be able to see what I can on my video... Not realizing that it was only because of my ZoomCam that the viewer can see those shots...

I've been filming paintball first person since 2009, and I would gladly have paid $650 in 2009 to be able to capture what I can today with my ZoomCam back then...

Over the years, I've made a few testing videos that show normal "action cams" vs a zoom system like this. Here is my first prototype mount, which I used for a while, before I changed to the current prototype.

Paintball Action Cam Test, HD Sony SR with Zoom Capture the Best Action Video Test - YouTube

Here is the last ZoomCam version, when I first made it, and I have the widest angle Contour Roam on screen at the same time, so you can compare the field of view as well as what you can see on both. Clearly the Zoom makes a huge difference. Even with something as close as that pole which is 60 feet away.
ZoomCam Test 1 Custom build for gun cam, FPS Paintball - YouTube

Last edited by FreeEnterprise; 12-03-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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