A Good Starter Kit

Andrew Davidhazy just pointed me to this kit for high-speed photography. It looks like a great way to get started for not a lot of money. The heart of the device is a microcontroller, so it has few parts and is extensible for the experimenter. It has both a sound sensor and a light sensor. The timing is not crystal-based, so it probably has only a 1% accuracy (I haven’t tested it so I don’t know this.) And it comes with a flash.

The flash is just a disposable camera that you hack into to use only the flash portion. It makes a nice, cheap way to get started. It isn’t particularly fast (1/1700 sec) and it won’t produce a lot of light. But, it will take high-speed photos of balloons popping and drops splashing (not a bullet cutting a card in half.)

For $125 it’s not a bad way to get started.

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9 Responses to A Good Starter Kit

  1. Tom Anderson says:

    Thanks for the mention of the Quaketronics high-speed photography kit. For another $60 or so you can get a Snap Shot II, which will get you a speed of about 1/8000 of a second.

    Very similar flashes are sold under a variety of names internationally, I have bought them from musiciansfriend.com and amazon.

    There are a lot of pictures taken with the kit at http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobephoto/pool/


  2. martinw says:


    Thanks for adding that. And I also forgot to mention that, no doubt, other types of flashes could be used as well.


  3. Levent Atay says:

    Hi Tom,

    Your images are fantastic. Could you go into more technical aspects on a few things:
    1) How do you control the colors: For example: untitled_024, jesterhat
    2) What type of lighting do you use. Flash, multiple flashes, etc
    3) What equipment specifically do you use to trigger the shutter
    4) What software do you use besides photoshop

    I would love to learn and try this on my on – I have the camera, macro lens, tripod, photoshop, mac, water, just need to figure out how to trigger the shutter and flash.


  4. martinw says:


    I use colored gels over my flashes for background color and food coloring for color in the water itself.

    I discuss lighting and control in other posts: http://www.martin-waugh.com/?p=8 and http://www.martin-waugh.com/?p=13.

    I don’t use any other software, and only use Photoshop for noise reduction, color balancing, and a bit of clean up.


  5. Lots of content, but worth the read. Keep it coming.

  6. Eugene says:

    I am seaching for some idea to write in my blog… somehow come to your blog. best of luck. Eugene

  7. I enjoyed your writing style and I’ve added this blog to my RSS reader. Keep up the good work. Pitcher.

  8. Christian says:

    Hello, i use a marionet syphone or what its called, but i seem not to get a stady stream of water.. and im sure that the device i made its not the problem, if you can tell me how to make the droplets totaly stady i would be pleased.

  9. martinw says:


    As the water leaves the vessel, it is replaced by air coming in the bottom of the tube. As it does a bubble forms and then detaches. There will still be a slight amount of variation as the head (pressure) is determined by the difference in height between the water level at the bottom of the inlet tube and the final opening the water drips out of. I think it’s the best one can do without an active control circuit.

    Best of luck,


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