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Tip: Enhance Low-Light FinishLynx Captures with an Ellipsoidal Spotlight

Cycling photo finish with ellipsoidal spotlight
Cycling finish line with Ellipsoidal spotlight.

Capturing crystal-clear photo finish images can be especially challenging during low-light situations (e.g., night-time events or dim indoor lighting). Because the EtherLynx 2000+ and Fusion cameras are equipped with very light-sensitive image sensors, most Lynx users will never have issues with low-light conditions. The FinishLynx software also has built-in controls for adjusting the brightness, contrast, gamma, gain, and Phased Light Compensation. But adding artificial lighting to your finish line can also be a great way to enhance the clarity and contrast of your finish line images in low-light settings.

Flood lights and halogen lamps are both viable finish line lighting options. Lynx service provider Rob Whitacre from GC Racing has found an especially elegant solution for capturing low-light cycling events: an ellipsoidal spotlight. According to Rob:

A tool that has helped me a lot for low light situations is a theatrical ellipsoidal spotlight. Since I do many evening events at our velodrome and road cycling events at night the ellipsoidal light has been a very good tool. I used a Source 4 ellipsoidal made by ETC. What is nice with the ellipsoidal is it has shutters so you can create shapes with the light as opposed to a massive spot. I make a rectangle with the light focused only on the finish line.

The ellipsoidal spotlight allows for light to be focused across the entire length of the finish line. This produces image captures that are more uniform and evenly lit. Unlike stadium lighting, which can strobe 50-60 cycles per second and distort images, the ellipsoidal spotlight has a frequency that prevents any such distortion.  See the image below for a real FinishLynx capture taken with the spotlight in use.

low-light finishlynx cycling image
Low-light FinishLynx image captured while using an ellipsoidal spotlight.


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