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What factors affect the quality of my FinishLynx images?

Photography basics also apply to FinishLynx image quality and many factors come into play:

  1. Light source
  2. Lens type
  3. Frame rate (fps)
  4. Field depth
  5. Lens speed (f-stops)

Light Source:  Sun,of course, is the best source of light. However, if it’s shining directly into the camera lens, it can wash out your image completely.  The sun is best when it is directly behind the camera and the light is reflecting off the object and back to the camera lens.  Shadows on the camera side of the finish images will also make it more difficult to read hip numbers and identify competitors.  Adjust the iris and gain to account for the amount of ambient light available. If you must use artificial lighting, such as indoor facilities or stadium lights, it helps to add extra light that is shining towards the finish line and reflecting back to the camera lens.

Lens Type:  A fixed lens is going to slightly improve the quality of your images because there are less moving parts and less glass for the light to pass through and be diffused.  A zoom lens does provide flexibility in placement of the camera and several fixed lenses could get expensive so you must weigh your options.

Frame Rate:  The speed of the object moving across the finish line and the frames per second (fps) are closely related.  The faster the object, the higher the fps and reverse for slower objects.  Consider the type of races being timed (sprint versus distance) and the level of competition (youth track versus D1 collegiate races).

Field Depth:  A larger field depth creates difficulty in getting all of the objects, near and far, into focus. To solve this problem, increase the height of the camera location. As the height increases, the ratio of the distances of Lane 1 (closest object) and Lane 8 (farthest object) to the camera decreases, thereby decreasing your field depth.  Closing the iris down (similar to squinting your eyes) will help bring the field into better focus.  Be aware that if the light source is poor, closing down the iris is not a good option.

Lens Speed:  This refers to the f-stops (1.4 to 16) and the distance the iris can open and close in a camera flash (fast is 1.2, 1.4).  Since the iris is fixed during capture on the Lynx cameras, it refers to how wide it can open and how much light will flood the image sensor.  Note: the iris may need to be adjusted when changing the frame rate (a higher frame rate produces a darker image; open the iris to correct).

Learn how to correct overexposed and underexposed FinishLynx images here.

If you want to learn more about taking better pictures, visit our YouTube Channel for tips and watch the “How to take better pictures” video playlist.  It also wouldn’t hurt to buy a basic photography book and learn about some of the things mentioned above if you really want to get the best possible images.


Keywords: image, blurry, focus, lens, dark, picture, light