The list of shame fake 4K cameras and CMOS size

DesertBike

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Isn't 12 MP way past 4k resolution anyway? IIRC "4k" means 3840x2160, which is only about 8 MP.

16-20 MP on a 12 MP sensor should perhaps be termed "digital zoom" as they are literally inventing information (aka interpolating) to come up with more pixels.

FWIW, I think you are right about some software sharpening happening.

I know that with the Viofo A129, the fellow who makes modified firmwares addresses sharpening. He offers different amounts of sharpening according to user's needs. This is apparently due to variations in the optics of the A129 cameras.

I have been running with "standard" sharpening, since as you say too much sharpening reduces image quality.
 
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philaphlous

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Ok few thoughts:

1) I don't have adobe lightroom so I think the DNG files I'm trying to edit are cropped res photos and they're not that great... I've tried a few free editors and none really get me where I want to go...so basically I'm stuck with jpeg...
2) 800iso is probably the highest usable photos, I tried 1600 in a dark room and its worthless. Sooo much grain and overcorrection on sharpening that its just all mush
3) Bitrate appears to be around 35mbps at h.265 50fps or 30fps...doesn't change...so technically 30fps will get you better quality. I haven't tested h.264 yet....but from what I've read, h.265 is the way to go with better quality and smaller files without any loss of quality
4) the Hi3559V200 chip does get decently warm uncovered. I couldn't get a thermal pad to stay in place with just the right thickness so I ended up going with butyl tack strips...it's modable dense butyl tape that acts as a heat dissipator. Even though its dissipating into the screen it'll still help prevent any overheating.
5) SkHynix memory appears to be 2GB DDR3L-1600 speed. file:///C:/Users/phila/Downloads/Consumer_DDR3L_H5TC2G8(6)3GFR(Rev1.3)_151106.pdf (speed marking of PBA pg 4)
6) I used a hex editor on the most recent firmware I received from Crosstour and it appears searching the .jffs2 file that the sensor is indeed an IMX377
7) I have no idea what the hex editor does and if I can edit the bitrate in the hex editor....still working through that...



https://flic.kr/p/2jguF31
https://flic.kr/p/2jgvUGu
 

philaphlous

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Would a lens like this be something of an upgrade? http://www.ebay.com/itm/174314200569Looks like a Treeye clone...

I've been looking hard for a decent lens that might provide an upgrade. the fisheye and distortion is pretty bad with the 12MP pictures... wondering if this would at all be worth the cost... I decided not to try and readjust the focus at this point... jpeg and video's do seem quite sharp at this point so I'll just deal with it since the DNG photos come out with such weird colors... I don't think the free software I'm using is adjusting and reading them properly...
 

SawMaster

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The Russians doing modified firmware might be able to help you work with the hex editor- that's their main tool working with Novatek cams and they can do a lot.

Of the lens, it's a crapshoot unless you know all the needed specs including back focal length (which nobody in the cam-making business publishes that one). And short of going to B+H or Peu Productions with their ginormopus prices, there's no assurance of getting a good quality lens from almost any other usual source. Good lenses are out there, but you've got to find them either by suggestions from others who have tried something very similar, or by trying them yourself until you find the right one. It's worth a try- seems the lens you've got now really isn't up-to-par with what the sensor/CMOS can do.

Phil
 

jokiin

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
6) I used a hex editor on the most recent firmware I received from Crosstour and it appears searching the .jffs2 file that the sensor is indeed an IMX377
7) I have no idea what the hex editor does and if I can edit the bitrate in the hex editor....still working through that...
Goprawn forums are the best resource for firmware hacking info, you might find some useful info here https://www.goprawn.com/forum/hisilicon-cams
 

SawMaster

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@nutsey Are those the specs for the Crosstour or for an aftermarket lens? Easy to get specs for aftermarket lenses of course.

Phil
 

SawMaster

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It's the cam's lens whose specs are hard to find, and some of those (like back focal length) are needed to get a good match with a replacement lens. Or you can just try different ones till you find one that works. Lots of good info about lenses in the Mobius Varifocal and Telephoto threads, along with a few Chinese sources who have good quality lenses cheap.

Phil
 

philaphlous

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Still working on a few options for lenses:
1) http://www.ebay.com/itm/1743142005692) http://www.ebay.com/itm/3527536792773) (Same as 2) http://www.ebay.com/itm/3527536792764) http://www.m12lenses.com/3-6mm-F2-0-Mega-Pixel-CCTV-Board-Lens-p/pt-03620bmp.htm - Possibly too narrow FOV?
5) http://www.m12lenses.com/2-1mm-F1-8-Mega-Pixel-Board-Lens-p/pt-02118bmp.htm - Not sure on MP?

It would appear the FOV of the Crosstour lens is too wide...but also something to note that the EIS really cuts down on the FOV and essentially is a crop of the full 12-13MP sensor... Best clarity and sharpness is when the camera has EIS off since it defaults to Medium FOV with EIS on and WIDE doesn't work with EIS.
I'm buying a new m12 mount holder so I can easily swap out the new lens whenever I decided on what's the best the lens...
 

philaphlous

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@philaphlous Could you please show your stock lens?
I don't have any pictures of the bare lens by itself...just from what I took of the pcb. Amazon has decent pictures of the lens from the front.

I ended up getting this: http://lyxoptics.com/index.php?c=product&id=27
Seems like the focal length will be good, more narrow than what I believe I currently have and appears to have around the same bfl just off research and guessing... I actually want a slightly narrower fov and I didnt want to get anything with more glass in it knowing camera lenses with more glass typically are less sharp. They had ones with 13 elements and this one with 8 should be good. The only concern I have with this particular lens is from the pictures it looks really long... So it might stick out of the camera making the waterproof cover useless. We shall see.......
 

nutsey

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Amazon has decent pictures of the lens from the front.
I can't find any... only photoshopped renders.

I ended up getting this
Please keep in mind f/2.8 is not so bright for your IMX458 sensor and its crop factor will result in something like ~4.5mm focal length with ~85 degrees of HFOV.
 
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philaphlous

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Here's a quick vid I made without EIS, as you can see there's quite abit of distortion...

According to the exif on the images, the stock lens is F2.8 so I'm not sure if that's infact real or just a fake number they put...since the lens isn't electronic we may never know....
 

Dashmellow

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Earlier in this discussion I was going to recommend 8K Productions on AliExpress but I thought perhaps they were too pricey for this particular project. I've been aware of them and doing some occasional business with them for quite some time but I hadn't realized that they now have a separate retail outlet called Lyx Optics where @philaphlous made his purchase. Looks like some of the items on 8K Productions "may" be priced somewhat lower than on Lyx but it needs further exploration to confirm.

On another note, people should understand that the term "MegaPixel" lens is just a marketing term that doesn't really mean anything. The spec we would really need to know is resolving power or "LP/MM" - (lines per millimeter) but since that spec is rarely provided, Megapixels is all we have to work with. Also, it is possible to buy a lens that has too many "Megapixels". The "Megapixel" requirement is based on the size of the pixels on your sensor, so too much resolving power in the lens, if mounted on the wrong sensor with larger pixels can have a negative performance effect, but people are often led to believe that more is better. Megapixels is a term they came up with for digital cameras but lenses still work the same as they did with film, except that too much resolving power when focused on a particular sensor may not such a good thing.

For some reason, the dash cam industry indulges is the "more is better" approach to marketing. So, with lenses, it's "more" Megaixels or more lens elements. Many manufactures (like Street Guardian as one example) claim that they use "7 Element all glass lenses". Their lenses really have only 6 elements and an IR filter which they falsely claim as an extra "element". It's just marketing B.S. designed to fool people who don't know about lens optics. Again, the idea is that "more" is supposed to be better. Street Guardian is hardly alone in doing this, in fact most manufacturers do it these days. Street Guardian just happens to be the first company I've ever seen who started claiming that the IR-cut filter is a lens element.

The fact is that a well designed, well made lens optic with only four elements can outperform an equivalent lens with 6 or more elements. The number of glass elements in the lens has little to do with the final optical performance.

The classic Leitz Elmar 50mm ƒ/2.8 is a simple triplet design and yet it still holds up today for it's superb optical correction.

Elmar.jpg
 
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philaphlous

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Wow , Thanks for the info Dash...it does look like I found a decent source supplier of actual lenses rather than some unknown source lenses...

@nutsey sure seems to know his stuff along with modding firmware...so I'm hoping even though I found IMX377 specifically in the hex editor of the jffts2 file... he says its an IMX458 sensor which is far superior as far as age and optical density...pixel's are smaller which doesn't help for high ISO but supposedly is better than the 377... With EIS off the sharpness of the video's do seem really good, almost to that of the image quality, my big beef is you can really see so much distortion in the photos...hopefully with a slightly lower FOV lens and no distortion will really make this camera shine. Looks like the width of the lens is ~20mm which means I'd need to mod the case of the camera but we shall see... Hopefully I can just unscrew the back of the M12 mount and easily remove the lens and m12 mount rather than have to disassemble the entire camera to swap out out the stock lens...that's my goal with the new lens and it already mounted on its own m12 mount.... Then that way I can keep the stock lens with it already in focus and swap it out with the new one very easily... My teardown of my older CT9500 ended up ruining the plastic holes for the PCB mount which then I had to glue it...which then I went crazy and just filled the entire camera with hotglue...also effectively making it waterproof...lol
 

philaphlous

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I did just find a hidden digital zoom feature with the buttons.... if you hold press the side UP arrow it will zoom to 4x, if you HOLD press the DOWN button it'll zoom back out to 0. You can stop it anywhere inbetween 0-4x... pretty cool feature I had no idea about....pretty sure it isn't in the menu anywhere...
 

philaphlous

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Earlier in this discussion I was going to recommend 8K Productions on AliExpress but I thought perhaps they were too pricey for this particular project. I've been aware of them and doing some occasional business with them for quite some time but I hadn't realized that they now have a separate retail outlet called Lyx Optics where @philaphlous made his purchase. Looks like some of the items on 8K Productions "may" be priced somewhat lower than on Lyx but it needs further exploration to confirm.

On another note, people should understand that the term "MegaPixel" lens is just a marketing term that doesn't really mean anything. The spec we would really need to know is resolving power or "LP/MM" - (lines per millimeter) but since that spec is rarely provided, Megapixels is all we have to work with. Also, it is possible to buy a lens that has too many "Megapixels". The "Megapixel" requirement is based on the size of the pixels on your sensor, so too much resolving power in the lens, if mounted on the wrong sensor with larger pixels can have a negative performance effect, but people are often led to believe that more is better. Megapixels is a term they came up with for digital cameras but lenses still work the same as they did with film, except that too much resolving power when focused on a particular sensor may not such a good thing.

For some reason, the dash cam industry indulges is the "more is better" approach to marketing. So, with lenses, it's "more" Megaixels or more lens elements. Many manufactures (like Street Guardian as one example) claim that they use "7 Element all glass lenses". Their lenses really have only 6 elements and an IR filter which they falsely claim as an extra "element". It's just marketing B.S. designed to fool people who don't know about lens optics. Again, the idea is that "more" is supposed to be better. Street Guardian is hardly alone in doing this, in fact most manufacturers do it these days. Street Guardian just happens to be the first company I've ever seen who started claiming that the IR-cut filter is a lens element.

The fact is that a well designed, well made lens optic with only four elements can outperform an equivalent lens with 6 or more elements. The number of glass elements in the lens has little to do with the final optical performance.

The classic Leitz Elmar 50mm ƒ/2.8 is a simple triplet design and yet it still holds up today for it's superb optical correction.

View attachment 52402
I did some digging and it looks like the shop or store front for lyx optics is the same as 8k productions...so essentially they're the exact same lens. Supposedly there's a 12mp and 16mp version of the 3.8mm lens.... Not exactly sure what the difference is but I got the 12mp one since the 458 sensor is only 13mp. I'm actually in the process of completely taking apart my old ct9500 to get the lens and m12 holder since it's an identical holder to that of the newer ct9500. Hopefully once the new lens arrives....probably in 2 months... I can mount it using the other lens holder, focus it properly, and easily be able to swap out either lenses.

Oh and btw. I was able to hex edit the firmware from my old camera...flash it and it would load. Then I tried a modded set of firmware and it bricked it. So I haven't been able to get it to boot yet but I'll use it as a test bed if I can get firmware loaded back on it...Hopefully.

Edit: Soo... i decided to destroy my older CT9500....at this point it was worthless to me. I tried to pull off the M12 mount and its glued/welded on to the imaging sensor board..there's absolutely no way to get it off... so essentially I'll just have to unscrew the M12 lens and screw in the new M12 lens and focus it using it as a webcam...shouldn't be too difficult with a 28" 4k monitor... I should be able to get the focus pretty accurate...
After work settles down a bit I'll probably continue to work on the bash scripting... I have ubuntu on a flashdrive and so I think I need to load the JFFS2 file or at least be able to somehow interface the hidden framework of the camera and how it's currently running with a bash script... not sure I'll be able to but that seems like the best option at this point. Either way, jpeg images won't get any better with bitrate increases and 4k is pretty sharp as is...if anything the new lens is going to be the best bet for making it a better camera...
Anyhow...back to the topic of the thread... Since the CT9500 has the new IMX458 it's a pretty awesome sensor. I will say one area that it doesn't shine is low light since its a TINY sensor.. 1/3 to be exact. Anything moderately dark and the ISO is jacked WAY up! once ISO goes up pictures get fuzzy. I'm thinking if it had a better lens with maybe a lower Fstop it'd be better but I took some comparison shots between ISO1600 and ISO100 with a 1second shutter... which is the limit btw.
 
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