SG9665GC blurry

Dashmellow

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it was probably temperature related if you had your car parked with the cameras running?

the lens and lens mount are both stable beyond the upper and lower temp ranges of the sensor and processor but you could exceed the stable temps of the sensor or processor which can take the edge off things, you'd never see the sorts of temps this takes while driving as it's way hotter than what you could comfortably drive in, if you're parked though you can easily add 30°c~40°c to ambient temps if the car is locked up, direct sun on the front cam could let it heat up pretty quickly, even more so when you have a dark colour car, if things were back to normal the next day then I'd lean toward this just being environmental influence, being parked up and hotter than normal working temps at the time
a sudden temperature change could have an effect, a gradual change less likely
"it was probably temperature related if you had your car parked with the cameras running?"

"a sudden temperature change could have an effect, a gradual change less likely"?

I'm really quite dismayed by your answer @jokiin and hardly know what to say.

It is technically still Winter here in Northern New England and the ambient temperature was only around 45 degrees Fahrenheit the day the above posted blurry screen shot was taken. As you can see in the photo the conditions were hazy and slightly overcast with the sun low in the sky at 3:30PM. I was in the local food COOP doing some shopping and was away from my vehicle for about twenty or so minutes.

The only other camera I've owned that would go out of focus in a hot car like that was the G1W-H and that would only occur during the very hottest days in July. (No surprise to anyone that the G1W-H would shift out of focus if it wasn't already.)

As you know, five days ago I finally launched a thread entitiled "SG9665GC High Contrast/Dynamic Range Flaw and other Discouragements" after a full year of struggling with that particular issue. I haven't even touched upon any of my "discouragements" as yet in that thread but certainly having the camera suddenly going out of focus was not one of them.

Considering the constant drum beat of "hype" (sorry for the lack of a better word at the moment) from you, @Pier28, @niko, etc, about the heat stability of the metal lens barrel and module based used in the SG9665GC, I'm at a loss for words to hear you say "it was probably temperature related if you had your car parked".

As you know there are numerous mentions of the metal lens and heat stability of the SG9965GC here on the forums but I will cite three, so as to be clear here.


In the thread, "What temperatures can this sustain?", @niko states, "Chamber tests on SG9665GC are done on much higher figures than advertised. ............................ SG9665GC has special metal lens holder tested to work in extreme Australian hot weather, there for there are no focus shift."

In the same thread, @Pier28 states, "We've shipped plenty of these to Texas and have nothing but happy customers. no heat warping, no heat focus shift, no problems."

Elsewhere @Pier28 states, "The SG9665GC is as good as it gets for DashCam heat tolerance. All metal lens base = zero heat related focus shift."

I don't for a minute doubt the truthfulness of these remarks but where does that leave me when I suddenly experience a situation like I demonstrate in the screen shot above that occurs in only modest temperatures in light of your explanation that it was probably temperature related?


I should add that this is the third SG9665GC unit I've had in my possession. The first one had a focus problem on arrival (and the high contrast issue) and was returned. The second one was in use all last summer and the focus was rock solid in all temperatures but was taken out of service, also because of the contrast issue. The third unit was shipped to me in December and only now that Winter is ending does it seem to be manifesting this (left side?) focus shift problem. Perhaps this unit has a unique, rare flaw? Let me keep my eye on it for awhile and see what happens.








 
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jokiin

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The processor rated operating temps is -10°c to +70°c, the sensor has a guaranteed operating temperature of -30°c to +75°c, the sensor has a guaranteed performance temperature of -10°c to +60°c, (the data sheets for these are on our website) our lens assembly we've tested from -20°c to +80°c, at temps lower than the rated performance temps we've seen the colour performance is sometimes not stable until it a few minutes after startup once it gets some heat in the components, at higher than rated performance temps you may see some softening of the picture, can these results differ depending on how fast temps change, I believe they can, as noted by @wozzzzza any time he has seen this it quickly gets back to normal once he's in the car and the interior temps drop, if a heat related lens focus issue it would normally take a lot longer to recover so it would be more likely to occur from sensor and processor being above rated temps at the time, can't underestimate just how hot it can get in a locked car

If your car was parked in the sun with the cameras running it doesn't take very long to get to +60°c, you could easily get to +70c°, it's hard to know without knowing the context of a screenshot and trying to diagnose a problem remotely so was only working with the information provided, it's not really possible to know if the temps were above normal at the time, the storage temps are above what the camera would see if just parked but not running so if the car is parked and cameras off you can expect things to work as expected once you start the car, I leave my car parked in full sun everyday with cameras off and have never seen any focus drift when starting back up as even as hot as it gets here it's not exceeding the storage temps of the components, storage temp of the sensor is the lowest rated component at +80°c so I would expect if it had exceeded that temp there could be some instability in the picture until the temp dropped, no way I or anyone else would be driving a car at those temps though so it's a less likely scenario, previous summer we did see the temperature hitting +47°c for a few days in Sydney, in car temps can can get +30° to +40°c above ambient temps so getting over +80°c interior temp while parked is easily achievable, dark coloured vehicles will get there a lot faster also, my cars are white so don't heat up as quickly and as much, at those kinds of temps though you'd be opening the car up and getting some air in there before driving off anyway

As you mentioned when you checked the next days footage it looked normal so I don't believe you have a focus issue, your first camera had a focus issue, it just wasn't correctly focussed during manufacture which meant the focus was always off, that's something that can happen with any brand of camera unfortunately as it comes down to operator error during the manufacturing process, try as we might the occasional one slips through but when it does we replace the camera without question, anyone that has a focus issue (ie; a camera that has not had its focus correctly set during production) can expect the same, it would get replaced, from the first production to the most recent we have not changed the lens or lens mount so there's no variation from what you've used before to what you have now in regard to stability of lens focus, it's still the same component

Anyway that's enough rambling, keep an eye on it and see how it goes
 
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gcent

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Finally got a nice sunny day :) Yesterday was very overcast, I got more footage but the light quality was about the same as my other clip. Here is one from today, it's much clearer. And this is with a dirty windshield (landscapers just came through with a blower)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bxql5a6d74ufv6z/2016_0319_161428_036.MOV?dl=1

I notice I still have a good bit of dash reflection but I haven't tried it without the CPL for comparison, I am assuming it would be much worse without it. I had some trouble getting it to fit well enough (to get rid of the vignette effect) so I kind of don't want to mess with it.

I also got it tapped into my mirror with an invisicord today, looks really great. Maybe not as discreet from the outside as I would like, but I will leave it like this for now.
 

jokiin

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I always use a a windscreen cleaner additive in my washer fluid, a dirty window can take the edge off things, particularly in direct sunlight

looks fine though
 

niko

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Even if outer windscreen is clean, I will not surprise if majority cars inner glass has thin "hidden" layer of dust which can be seen only at specific light scenes in a sunny day. To keep inner glass clean is one of the jobs which I don't like to do TBH, quite hard to fully clean it to perfect result. And after few month can find that it's dirty again.
 

jokiin

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Even if outer windscreen is clean, I will not surprise if majority cars inner glass has thin "hidden" layer of dust which can be seen only at specific light scenes in a sunny day. To keep inner glass clean is one of the jobs which I don't like to do TBH, quite hard to fully clean it to perfect result. And after few month can find that it's dirty again.
not my favourite job either, does make a difference though so worth the effort to keep it clean
 

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I've been trying to get a better handle on what is happening with my SG9665GC which seems to now drift in and out of focus throughout the day whether parked or driving even though the conditions are not particularly hot this time of year where I live. The other day I took a small digital thermometer with me so I could try to obtain some objective information. Here is what happened.

The outside temperature was 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). The temperature inside my vehicle while driving and when I first parked my vehicle at the local supermarket was 64 degrees F (17.78 degrees Celsius) . The thermometer was placed on the sun visor about six inches away from the camera. When I returned to my dark blue truck about twenty minutes after leaving it parked the thermometer on the passenger side sun visor was at 82 degrees F (27.78 degrees Celsius).

temps.png

canalstreet.jpg
GCblur.jpg

Earlier things were not so bad but still not great.
riverview.jpg

Something definitely seems to have happened to my SG9665GC and at this point it does seem that when the temperature dropped to -15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-26.1111111111111 Celsius) early in the morning of February 14, 2016 the unit was damaged. (Valentine's Day!)

feb 14.png

It seems unusual to have a camera damaged by extreme cold temperatures and I imagine it is pretty rare, especially with the SG9665GC but I would be curious to know if anyone else has encountered anything like this. (None of the Mobius cameras that were in the vehicle that same night experienced any issues.)

At this point I've had no choice but to take the camera out of service which I'd been considering anyway due to the other problems I've been reporting.

In the meantime, I've attempted to resurrect my other SG9665GC which was taken out of service for exposure/contrast issues but was always spot on with focus, even during the very hottest weather last summer. I've tried re-calibrating the camera (for the third or fourth time) and have flashed the latest beta firmware. Problems still persists but so far so good and things are looking a whole lot better, especially on the focus front.

sharpredtoyota.jpg
 
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jokiin

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yeah those temps are certainly nothing extreme that would cause focus drift so I'd agree it's most likely something there is damaged, we'll arrange to replace that for you once @Pier28 gets back from Hong Kong, once we get that one back we can work out what has failed on it and more importantly why
 

Dashmellow

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yeah those temps are certainly nothing extreme that would cause focus drift so I'd agree it's most likely something there is damaged, we'll arrange to replace that for you once @Pier28 gets back from Hong Kong, once we get that one back we can work out what has failed on it and more importantly why
Thanks. Like I've said, so far so good with the other unit after the most recent beta firmware and another calibration. :)
 

jokiin

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Thanks. Like I've said, so far so good with the other unit after the most recent beta firmware and another calibration. :)
thanks, we have a lot of things we're looking at right now for this, we're still in Hong Kong this week and not quite finished with the trade shows but I'm heading back to China on the weekend and I'll be with the engineers all next Tuesday and Wednesday
 

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@Dashmellow

I'm wondering if some of your problem is the cam being confused by the reflection of the rough texture of the dashboard top, although only when there is sun and only from certain angles.

Below are a couple of screenshots from one of my cams. The textured dash top often isn't noticeable but sometimes it makes the video look blurry and very occasionally the reflection can be clearly seen.

-

-



 

jokiin

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understand the effect you mean where the textured reflection can make it look like it's out of focus but no dashboard reflected in any of those screen shots above so won't be that, the other cam doesn't show this issue either, I'm more inclined to think there's some sort of hardware failure that has occurred with that one
 

Dashmellow

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@Dashmellow

I'm wondering if some of your problem is the cam being confused by the reflection of the rough texture of the dashboard top, although only when there is sun and only from certain angles.

Below are a couple of screenshots from one of my cams. The textured dash top often isn't noticeable but sometimes it makes the video look blurry and very occasionally the reflection can be clearly seen.
What @jokiin said. There is very clearly (no pun intended :)) an out-of-focus issue here that I believe is impossible to explain away as a "confused camera". It was indeed one of the reasons for posting a screen shot from a different SG9665GC unit taken a day later at the same location.
 

Dashmellow

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@jokiin, I know I could look this up but what is the rated low temperature specification for the SG9665GC? The extreme sub zero temps the camera experienced is the only thing I can think of that might have damaged the camera.
 

jokiin

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we rate it from -10c to +60c operating temp, we have however tested it from -20c through to +80c which is beyond the rated spec of the processor, CMOS etc
 

Dashmellow

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we rate it from -10c to +60c operating temp, we have however tested it from -20c through to +80c which is beyond the rated spec of the processor, CMOS etc
So -26.11111 C certainly exceeds that by quite a bit but the important thing is that the camera was not in use at the time the temps dipped that low. This seems more like a contraction/expansion phenomenon that may have broken a glue seal or perhaps something worse.
 
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jokiin

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Yeah I think you're probably right, something internal to the lens has shifted due to contraction/expansion, haven't had this come up before but certainly feasible
 

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@Dashmellow

When did you switch to beta 9? I just noticed I am having similar focus/blurry issues after updating from original v1 firmware to beta 9. For me, it only manifests during sunny conditions. Cloudy and low light seem normal. Sorry, no pics to share yet, I'm doing some more tests, as I need to rule out my home made polarizing filter first.
 

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@Dashmellow

When did you switch to beta 9? I just noticed I am having similar focus/blurry issues after updating from original v1 firmware to beta 9. For me, it only manifests during sunny conditions. Cloudy and low light seem normal. Sorry, no pics to share yet, I'm doing some more tests, as I need to rule out my home made polarizing filter first.
The firmware version you are running will have no effect whatsoever on whether the camera is experiencing focus issues. Blurry images result from a mechanical problem.

Yes, it would be important to rule out the DIY polarizer and do your testing without it.
 
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