Is this camera suitable for IR tracking?

Having just blindly jumped in and wasted some money buying the wrong sort of (non-IRsensitive) camera, I’d like to avoid making the same mistake again…what do you make of this camera and is it good enough for IR tracking, with visible light filtered?

If not can anyone recommend anything specific in the same price range…The sites given on here for cameras are bewildering - too many options…


on infrared lighting:
different lamps emit light in different ranges. IR lamps specify their range in nanometers. typically between 850nm and 950nm what i have seen.

on camera chips:
camera sensors have different sensitivity in different ranges of light. if you are lucky you find a specification-sheet for the camera you are interested in that will tell you how sensitive it is in a certain range. for example have a look at this camera and its accompanying sensor specification. on page 7 you see that this sensor is still sensitive until ~1000nm. we have used those cameras for the touchthing and they worked quite well.

on the otherhand page two of the spec of this camera looks even much more promising.

and so on.

Thanks for your reply. I’ve managed to track down some stats for the sony “ex-view had” sensor that this (and other low-light cctv cameras) use. It seems to actually have a slightly better response in the IR range than the firewire camera you suggested. So I just have a few more questions :)

Would you say it better to have progressive scan 640x480 than interlaced 570line?

Firewire cables are much more limited length than BNC. can they be extended reliably with repeaters etc over larger distances? (say, 20m?)

the cctv camera is slightly cheaper but that’s not necessarily the main issue.


for tracking progressive is definitely better than interlaced. but often you can just capture half resolution with analog capture cards and get only one field (progressive). that didn’t work for me always though and i don’t know why. might be a driver/capturecard issue.

i think firewire can be transmitted via cat5 via special repeaters that might not be cheap.

just for the record, i went ahead and bought this camera in the end. I’m very pleased with it, it has an almost spooky ability to see in the dark (especially with my 940nm IR lamps)

thanks again for the advice it was very helpful.


btw, i bought a MSI StarCam 370i for 30 euros. the image is clear and sharp because of a glass lense. the ‘nightvision’ CMOS sensor has almost no colors, but is very IR sensitive. flipside is, that the manual focus is coarse to adjust and a bit loose, and it has some frames delay because of usb connection.

Hi tonfilm.
do you nkow were can i buy the msi starcam 370i or similar in Berlin?

Thanks a lot

my findings for camera:

i have used the msi starcam extensively, but after a while the heavy latency started to bug me. so i went ahead, experimented with unibrain firewire cams, etc.

now i got a new favorite. its the Philips ToUcam PRO II.
its got similar specs as the the unibrain in terms of resolution and fps, hardly any latency even though its usb and a very good ccd chip with little noise.
the lens is easily exchangeable, the ir-blocker easy to remove and manual settings are extensive and easy.

the best thing is: the cam is dirt cheap on ebay. only some fellow diy hobby astronomers might be interested in this discontinued cam.