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Osmo Pocket 2 as a Cab Ride Camera

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Osmo Pocket 2 as a Cab Ride Camera
Posted by Pruitt on Monday, September 6, 2021 5:04 PM

I just bought a DJI Osmo Pocket 2 camera to use as a cab ride camera in videos.

The depth of focus is somewhat shallower than I'd hoped (to say the least). The f-stop is fixed, so all I can do is play with the point of focus.

Here's a short video of some testing I've done using four different points of focus - one about 40 scale feet in front of the lens, one at 80, one at 120, and one at 160 scale feet.

I'd sure like some feedback on this. IS the camera suitable at the farther points of focus, or is the depth of focus just too shallow for the application?

One thing I do like is the low camera angle - it scales out to about 6 feet above the ties!

So what do you think? Return and buy a cube camera? Or keep and use for future videos?

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, September 6, 2021 5:15 PM

It is not great, however, if it is relatively inexpensive it might be worth keeping to shoot back towards a following train or something along those lines.

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 


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Posted by York1 on Monday, September 6, 2021 5:23 PM

Mark, I actually liked the 120 focus.  I don't normally focus my eyes on things too close, and that seemed to give me the best look in the distance.

I'm not sure how much this camera cost, how much you're going to use the camera, and how high-quality video you want.

I'm sure you could pay a fortune for a camera that will do more, but for me and what I would prefer, this one seems to be fine.

Be sure to let us know what you decide!

My kids say they want a cat for Christmas.  Normally I do a turkey but hey, if it'll make 'em happy ...

York1 John       

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, September 6, 2021 6:44 PM

Very impressive.

I have several micro cams, all cheapos.  I haven’t done much with them as my arthritis has kept me from working on my layout.



Mine are all pinhole cameras so no focusing available.  I like your test methods.



Just when I was about to do my thing on my layout several years ago we had a break-in and they stole my 7” tablet (viewfinder) so I backed off, I still haven’t ordered a replacement.  70 HO locomotives in the garage and thousands of dollars of power tools and all they took was a $40 tablet.

The SQ series cameras have WiFi as well as on board recording, I use the WiFi as a viewfinder.
 


Mel


 
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Posted by mvlandsw on Monday, September 6, 2021 7:15 PM

I prefer the 120 ft. focus.

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Posted by selector on Monday, September 6, 2021 7:32 PM

I found 80' to be a distinct improvement over 40' and quite liked it.  My next choice would be the next highest focal point, but I would favour the 160' the least.  I need to see details the way I would be 'seeing' and looking if I actually were in the cab.  To me, the 80' is about perfect, followed reasonably closely by the 120'.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 6, 2021 8:49 PM

Pruitt
So what do you think? Return and buy a cube camera? Or keep and use for future videos?

Hi Mark,

I'm no camera expert by any means, but I do know what I don't like. In all four settings there were still some things that were out of focus. The 120' setting was the best but I still found the out-of-focus elements to be distracting. Perhaps when you have more scenery and detail in the foreground the effect might be less noticable.

I think I can safely predict that you will be taking a fair number of operational videos so if I were you I would invest in a better camera.

My how easy it is to spend someone else's money!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 8:02 AM

Thanks everyone - your feedback is extremely helpful.

I did some additional testing last night, including at some lower light levels. Here's that video:

This is not an inexpensive camera. Total cost was $350 (not including tax!). 

I really like the eye-level view the low lens position allows, and the gimbal-stabilized image (the reason the camera costs what it does) prevents most wobbling. Then again, my video editor has stabilization routines that might eliminate the wobble. So I'm still uncertain of what to do. I have about ten days to decide, so...

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Posted by Lee 1234 on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 9:10 AM
Not being able to read the lettering on the cars as you ride by is an issue for me. It just seams so unnatural. My vote is 80.

L

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 11:14 AM

Pruitt

...the gimbal-stabilized image (the reason the camera costs what it does) prevents most wobbling. Then again, my video editor has stabilization routines that might eliminate the wobble. So I'm still uncertain of what to do. I have about ten days to decide, so...

 

Mark, about ten years ago (...already???!!!...Indifferent ) I uploaded a video of my BlueLine Class A 2-6-6-4 for someone who wanted to see what it looked like and sounded like with a Revolution in it, or was it a Titan...can't recall, a QSI new variant (oooh, must not use that word. Zip it!).  I was surprised when youtube prompted me to use their new stab tool.  I accepted, being the curious guy and because I had hand-held whatever it was, I think my Powershot A710is.  

Let's just say that it was a huuuuuuuuuge mistake.  The image was rendered much worse, essentially spoiled, by that app.  So, my advice would be to find contentment with the gimbal method resident in your appliance.  If youtube's app has been improved, maybe what I say is moot ten years later, but I'm not banking on it.

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Posted by maxman on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 2:16 PM

Lee 1234
Not being able to read the lettering on the cars as you ride by is an issue for me. It just seams so unnatural. My vote is 80.

 
If you were riding by on an adjacent track at any speed I don't believe that you would be able to read the car side lettering anyway.

 

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 10:39 PM

selector
Mark, about ten years ago (...already???!!!...Indifferent ) I uploaded a video of my BlueLine Class A 2-6-6-4 for someone who wanted to see what it looked like and sounded like with a Revolution in it, or was it a Titan...can't recall, a QSI new variant (oooh, must not use that word. Zip it!).  I was surprised when youtube prompted me to use their new stab tool.  I accepted, being the curious guy and because I had hand-held whatever it was, I think my Powershot A710is.  

Let's just say that it was a huuuuuuuuuge mistake.  The image was rendered much worse, essentially spoiled, by that app.  So, my advice would be to find contentment with the gimbal method resident in your appliance.  If youtube's app has been improved, maybe what I say is moot ten years later, but I'm not banking on it.

Selector,

My video editor of choice is Davinci Resolve. I've messed with the stabilization processor in it - it's very good. It doesn't degrade the video at all. Basically it crops the edges of the frames just a bit as needed to move them around to stabilize the video, then enlarges the entire video clip back to full frame. Very effective.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 12:56 AM

Pruitt
This is not an inexpensive camera. Total cost was $350 (not including tax!). 

Hi Mark,

I apologise if I offended you by suggesting that it was a cheap camera. I didn't have all the facts.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 2:48 AM

Dave all my cameras are cheapos.  I started out with a wireless analog pinhole camera about 25 years ago, TV Channel 4 about $40. I installed it in the nose of an Athearn PA1.  I bought a second analog camera about 10 years later and installed it in a shortened Athearn PA1 frame with a Proto E7 shell.

About 5 or 6 years ago I bought my first micro digital recorder, MD80, much better resolution over the analog cameras but not very reliable.  A couple of years later I bought a SQ7, $18.  A bit larger than the MD80 but not very reliable either.   I moved on to a SQ8, much better camera and half the size of the SQ7.

The SQ8 has been very reliable and has exceptional video quality.  About a year ago I liked the reviews of the SQ23 and bought one, about $20.  The SQ23 has been very good, all the features work as advertised, very good video (for a pinhole camera).

I haven’t been able to run the SQ23 on my layout do to many things, arthritis pain and I tore up my control panel before the arthritis problem and haven’t been able to run any trains since last December.



Mark

If you decide to return the OSMO Pocket 2 give the SQ23 a shot.  It has worked out very good on my bench tests.  The focus isn’t real sharp at all distances but it’s the best pinhole camera I’ve ever had.  The only thing that isn’t real good is like all pinhole cameras it has a slight fisheye look but it’s the best camera I’ve ever tried for my layout.

The flat car has Mel wheel wipers for track power and a DC to DC converter to supply 5 volts to the micro USB connector on the SQ23.  With the WiFi on and in record mode the battery life is about 30 minutes, it takes me that much time to get it ready to take video, old Shaky Mel just moves very slow.





Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 8:50 AM

hon30critter
Hi Mark,

I apologise if I offended you by suggesting that it was a cheap camera. I didn't have all the facts.

Dave

Nothing offensive about anything you wrote, Dave! 

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Posted by CABCAM on Saturday, September 11, 2021 8:42 AM

Hi Mark,

 

Love what you are doing with the CAB-CAMs!!  

Have you seen the Choo Choo Vision cameras?  They are micro-sized 2MP WiFi cameras that run from track power.  GHR line in Ontario is using them for Remote Operations.    There's also a PAN-CAM accessory that allows you to pan the camera. 

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:54 PM

Hi CABCAM,

No, I haven't seen the Choo Choo Vision camera before. I checked out the website briefly just now. Very interesting! Your company?

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 11:15 PM

After reading through everyone's comments and thinking it over, I returned the Pocket 2 to the store and ordered one of the first models - the Osmo Pocket. It has a slighly smaller aperture (2.0 compared to 1.8) and a somewhat more restricted field of view. I thought these might combine to provide better results for cab ride videos.

I got the Pocket today and tested it out. Here's a short video of those tests, and the video includes side-by-side comparisons of the recordings from the Pocket 2 and the Pocket.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 11:32 PM

Hi Mark,

I prefer the Pocket 1 results overall, but I have a question. One thing that bothers me at the higher ranges is that the foreground track is noticably out of focus with both cameras. That track takes up a lot of space in the frame so, to me, it is very obvious. I know you said that you like the ability to mount the camera quite low, but I wonder if the blurry track would be less obvious if the camera was mounted higher, say at the engineer's level of sight?

Just speculating.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 2:32 AM
Gidday Mark, As it stands, Pocket One and 120, and most surprising of all, Her-in-Doors agrees with me!!Surprise
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 6:32 AM

Mark, I studied these tests more than once to get a solid feeling of how I felt about your test results.

Regarding Pocket (1), the results first became "acceptable" to me at 80 scale feet, but seemed "good enough" at 120 scale feet. At 160 scale feet, the results were "outstanding".

Regarding Pocket 2, the results also became "acceptable" to me at 80 scale feet, but seemed "better than good enough" at 120 scale feet. At 160 scale feet, the results were once again "outstanding".

However, using that green strip of wood above the track and rolling stock as a reference point, I noticed that the green strip seemed clearer with Pocket (1) than with Pocket 2 at 160 scale feet. The results at 160 scale feet were clear enough with Pocket 2 but for whatever the reason seemed even clearer, maybe sharper, with Pocket (1).

Hope this helps.

Rich

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 6:56 AM

hon30critter

Hi Mark,

I prefer the Pocket 1 results overall, but I have a question. One thing that bothers me at the higher ranges is that the foreground track is noticably out of focus with both cameras. That track takes up a lot of space in the frame so, to me, it is very obvious. I know you said that you like the ability to mount the camera quite low, but I wonder if the blurry track would be less obvious if the camera was mounted higher, say at the engineer's level of sight? 

I took another look at the video based upon Dave's comments. He is correct. At higher ranges, the track in the foreground is out of focus. I see that you note this as well. Maybe it has something to do with the speed of the moving train. Maybe, as Dave suggests, the camera needs to be moved higher.

Another thing that I notice is that the camera captures your ceiling. My Mobius camera does the same thing. While I have yet to try this suggestion myself, I wonder if the ceiling view could be eliminated if the camera were mounted higher and tilted slightly downward.

That said, I wish these cameras would come with some sort of lens adapter to cut out unwanted viewing of the side room area. My layout is in an unfinished basement without backdrops on at least on one side. The viewer gets to see one gallon paint cans, broom handles, etc.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 9:30 PM

richhotrain
I wish these cameras would come with some sort of lens adapter to cut out unwanted viewing of the side room area. My layout is in an unfinished basement without backdrops on at least on one side. The viewer gets to see one gallon paint cans, broom handles, etc.

Hi Rich,

How about hanging a couple of light blue bedsheets in front of the storage area?

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, September 16, 2021 5:37 AM

hon30critter
 
richhotrain
I wish these cameras would come with some sort of lens adapter to cut out unwanted viewing of the side room area. My layout is in an unfinished basement without backdrops on at least on one side. The viewer gets to see one gallon paint cans, broom handles, etc. 

Hi Rich,

How about hanging a couple of light blue bedsheets in front of the storage area?

Dave 

Hi Dave, I actually did that with dark blue floor length curtains in strategic spots. I just need to put some more curtains up to cover open shelving.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, September 16, 2021 4:06 PM

Dave,

The lens is about five scale feet above the ties in the videos. I have a thin pink foam shim that will raise that to about eight feet when placed on a flatcar (which is where the camera was for the tests). I like the walking-down-the-tracks-level views, but for an engineer's perspective it should be probably 15-25 feet above the track, depending on the locomotive. I think that would make the track close in much less blurry.

Bear,

Thanks for the feedback. And if Her-in-Doors is in agreement, I know I made the right choice!

Rich,

Your observations certainly do help, especially since they agree with mine (otherwise they'd be no help at all! Wink).

 At higher ranges, the track in the foreground is out of focus. I see that you note this as well. Maybe it has something to do with the speed of the moving train.

No, it's like that when the train is standing still too.

 Another thing that I notice is that the camera captures your ceiling. My Mobius camera does the same thing. While I have yet to try this suggestion myself, I wonder if the ceiling view could be eliminated if the camera were mounted higher and tilted slightly downward.

Tilting the camera down might help, but I figured I'd just brute-force it and use my editor to crop out unwanted areas of the video. It does a great job reframing after doing that sort of thing.

That said, I wish these cameras would come with some sort of lens adapter to cut out unwanted viewing of the side room area. My layout is in an unfinished basement without backdrops on at least on one side. The viewer gets to see one gallon paint cans, broom handles, etc.

Again, cropping and reframing the remaining image would do that for you. If you've a mind, try DaVinci Resolve as an editor. It's free and very powerful, but it has a learning curve. You can pick up the basics pretty quickly though.

Where can I see some of the shots of your layout, Rich (especially the blue curtains - I'm really curious about those)? Do you have them on a website somewhere?

Thanks again for all your comments, folks. It really does help.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, September 16, 2021 4:56 PM

Pruitt

Rich,

Your observations certainly do help, especially since they agree with mine (otherwise they'd be no help at all! Wink).

Undestood, Mark, I aim to please. Smile, Wink & Grin

Pruitt

Where can I see some of the shots of your layout, Rich (especially the blue curtains - I'm really curious about those)? Do you have them on a website somewhere?

I dug out a few photos. The first photo is a shot of my old layout. Notice all of the clutter. The next two photos are my new layout (still in progress) with the dark blue curtains concealing the clutter.

Rich

DSC03036.jpg

P1020472.jpg

P1020473.jpg

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, September 16, 2021 8:54 PM

richhotrain
I dug out a few photos. ... The next two photos are my new layout (still in progress) with the dark blue curtains concealing the clutter.

 

Rich

P1020472.jpg

P1020473.jpg

 

Those curtains really make a difference! They look like expensive theater stage curtains. Where did you get them, if you don't mind my asking?
 
Nice layout too, by the way.
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, September 16, 2021 10:39 PM

Rich and Mark,

I suggested light blue sheets, but I can see now that the dark curtains do a much better job of focusing the viewer's eye on the layout itself. Nicely done Rich.

This has caused me to think about what the background view will look like on my own layout. Since it is in a very cluttered garage it won't be pretty. I'll have to think about doing something similar to what Rich did.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, September 16, 2021 10:56 PM

Off Topic

richhotrain
I dug out a few photos. The first photo is a shot of my old layout. Notice all of the clutter. The next two photos are my new layout (still in progress)

Photos of Richs new layout!!!Surprise
We are truly blessed!!!
Looking good!!Thumbs UpThumbs Up
 
We use matt black sheets/curtains to hide the underneath of the modular layout.
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, September 17, 2021 4:21 PM

Mark, Dave and Bear, thanks for your kind words.

Dave, I actually started out with light blue curtains, but as you pointed out, the dark curtains do a much better job of focusing the viewer's eye on the layout itself.

I had to ask my wife to remind me of the source. We bought them at K-Mart back in 2012. Turns out, they were dark blue bed sheets, not curtains. The sheets were hemmed, so it was easy to cut open the ends of the hems and feed curtain rods through them.

Rich

Alton Junction

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