July 8, 2013

A Better Image

As you are aware, I have been using a portable outdoor action camera in many of my fishing adventures to record what I see and experience. I do this mainly as it is an easy and convenient way for me to record weather conditions, water levels and conditions, equipment used and fish caught. In other words, I do it as sort of a video log.

I have logged my fishing for over 30 years. Most of this has been in the form of a logbook. I can look back every year for the past 30 years and see where and when I fished, what I used and what I caught. To many, logging data like this is just too burdensome and they would just rather participate in their hobby their own way. That is fine. Personally, I like keeping track of the data. I guess it the scientist in me (or my baseline OCD). With my data I do some basic statistical analysis, but more importantly I can see how nature changes over the years. If I want to know how water levels or fish populations have changed, all I have to do is look back at my log book.

Lately I have been using GoPro cameras. I have a Hero2 and a Hero3 Black Edition. Both are fine cameras. I like the Hero2 best since it has given me fewer technical issues and has been quite robust. However, one of the things I have not always liked about the Hero2 has been its optics and dynamic range.

The Hero2's 1/2.3" HD CMOS sensor is a stable platform to imaging most of what I want but is doesn't have the dynamic range that is always conducive to fishing. This means that the sun reflections off the water are burnt out as are the brighter portions of the histogram of the image. This reduces image quality.

To try to deal with this I have started using a new filter system by Snake River Prototyping. Specifically, I have removed the plastic lens of the Hero2 housing and replaced it with the SRP BlurFix adapter. This allows me to use 55 mm photographic filters to adjust the image to my needs. Since I am around water, and reflections are an issue, I mainly use a circular polarizing filter. The BlurFix is also is available for the Hero3, but I am using a different filter for that camera at the moment.

55 mm circular polarizing filter in place

I like the BlurFix so far. I did notice, however, that I was getting reflections off the exposed internal parts of the Hero2's plastic housing. After painting these flat black the reflections went away. I have dealt with internal reflections a lot in photography -- as an astrophotographer reflections are the bane of your telescope system. You have to hunt them down and destroy them to improve your image quality.

Plastic from Hero2 case that needs painting
Plastic from Hero2 case being painted flat black

After painting -- no surfaces for internal reflections!

I think that the BlurFix has improved my GoPro Hero2 image quality, but I'll keep testing. I'll also keep experimenting with tenkara and video. It's just what I do!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.