iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

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HThomas
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iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by HThomas »

Hi everyone, I’m new to this forum after just finding it - looks like there are some very interesting topics being discussed here, so thought I‘d join in.

I’ve been involved in the 3d industry for the past 10 years both working commercially and also in academia in the UK and USA.

I’m fairly new to terrestrial 3d laser scanning but have now completed my first project with some Faro and Trimble laser scan tech – I’ll try to post more details on this topic later on.

But first thought you may be interested to read this, it’s some personal photographic research I’ve recently completed.

I’ve a particular passion and interest in VR photography and thought I’d test out some of the very latest camera tech in the field of auto capture of spherical 360 photography – testing both the NCTech iSTAR Fusion and Spheron SceneCam cameras and putting them head to head.

Read my study piece and see the results here – http://goo.gl/mYGvj0

Regards, Huw
Huw Thomas
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by Rikore »

Huw,
Thank you for the posting. As an iStar user and the Cannon 70D as external camera options for our Leica P40's the article was very useful as we are looking into another camera for our third scanner.
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by steves01x »

Thanks for sharing.

From your results the Spheron looks a lot better and with the option of additional lighting for the tripod would be beneficial.

How much more is it over the iStar - does anyone know if you can hire one in the UK?
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by Bill-Wallace »

The comparison data is surely useful for decision making but I think these cameras aren't really direct competitors per se. The price difference and key values are very different.

It's a little like comparing a Fiat 500 and a Porsche 911. Both compact european cars but...

iStar reasonable resolution and color with super fast capture and low cost (comparatively)
Spheron ultra high res, very accurate color capture, professional grade lighting accessories but slower and more expensive

We support both for Leica workflows because both have a place in the market and both are really great instruments. I would suspect that some people would want both.
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by NTocher »

HThomas wrote:testing both the NCTech iSTAR Fusion and Spheron SceneCam cameras and putting them head to head.Huw Thomas
Thank you for creating the comparison between the NCTech iSTAR and Spheron systems. There is a lot of valid and technical content in there worth reading. However, we feel there is a slight bias on some points.
On your Linkedin profile your title is 'Spheron Specialist'.
The report seems to be in response to Leica's decision to include the system as a newly compatible camera.

A summary of things to consider when reading the comparison report :
- the product image of the iSTAR and Spheron is misleading. The Spheron requires a many other parts in order to operate such as its external battery, tripod, large tripod mount adaptor, a PC, cables to connect it to the a PC and battery.
The iSTAR requires no accessories, its capture and processing happens within the 11cm unit itself.
- the setup time is almost instant for iSTAR, Spheron takes some time to setup and also configure on the PC.
- the iSTAR is very portable and weighs 1.5Kg, Spheron has many parts and weighs 4Kg without the tablet PC.
- the capture time is iSTAR is almost instant, Spheron can take over 10 minutes to capture, during this time the scene and lighting levels can change causing the image to have bands of dark and light areas.
- iSTAR's instant capture allows minimum time between scan and image, so ideal for colour overlay by reducing the possibility of changes in the scene. The significant time for the scan and Spheron capture means its best suited to controlled situations where environment changes are kept to a minimum.
- The long capture time of Spheron also means that passing vehicles or people in the scene appear as spikes of interference in the picture. You can count the spikes and heights to determine how many vehicles and people walked through the scene during the 10 minute capture.
- The center of gravity on the Spheron is set back so when it rotates it can slightly tilt which can cause measurement error between offset pairs.

To sum up, the Spheron can take a fantastic picture in a controlled environment at 50 megapixel resolution and has been a great camera solution over the last 10 years.

The iSTAR can take a great picture in any environment at 50 megapixel resolution and is a professional camera.
iSTAR has a built in tilt sensor, digital compass, WiFi, GPS, speaker and touch screen.
The iSTAR is small (smaller than the Spheron battery), faster, robust, easy to use, does not require a tethered PC or tablet to control it on site, automatically colours point clouds in seconds via ColourCloud already integrated with many point cloud software packages. Time-lapse modes and vehicle mount mobile mapping capable.
iSTAR Lite from £3,500
Spheron Lite from £13,950 (online news source)

Thank you for the report, we look forward to seeing more coming through.
Best Regards
Neil Tocher
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by DavidL »

I didn't know Cyclone could do automatic overlay of Spheron imagery. We are Faro users so this is not much benefit to us however we do have a Spheron camera, so I'm wondering if they could get together with Faro to make it work in Scene?

Interesting reading the test comparison, perhaps it was a bit harsh to have picked an iStar image which caught bad lens flare. Also I think it would be more helpful if the pros and cons of two systems were compared specifically in relation to laser scanning, for example how easy is to swap between camera and scanner?
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by colhum1 »

Personally I think the comparison was a tad biased...as were the selected images.
I'm doubting that the HDR function of the iSTAR was used.

I've been a user of Leica scanners, the C10 and the iSTAR since 2012. Actually we got both at the same time.
The iSTAR is as previously described simply a stand alone camera, small form factor and with an IP64 rating.
It's so quick and easy to setup and the idea for us was to use it inconjunction with the C10 and colour our scans instead of using the internal camera.
Yes it has a small screen...it shows within a few seconds the image you have captured and is a bonus...if I'm not happy with it..re-take...if good, move on to the next setup.

I've posted loads on the forum re our experiences from our early inception and at times received a bit of ridicule and banter from others... :lol: ...however....there are now many top scanning firms and individuals who have invested in an iSTAR and found it to produce consistently great results colourising scan data.

Not only that but the iSTAR is so quick in taking an image it saves minutes per scan (compared to the internal cameras) and takes under 30 seconds to swap scanner for the iSTAR on a tribrach...no messing with separate tripods.....multiply that by 100's of scans and you've got a good on-site cost saving.

Leica and NCTech listened to us, the users, and worked together and successfully integrated NCTech's ColourCloud into Cyclone, then with continued development and we can now see batch processing of 100's scans and iSTAR data.
NCTech's Immersive Studio is so simple to use....let it read the contents of the units SD card and hit go.
All the processing is done seemlessly and with very low to no...stitching errors.

My role means I get to scan and use my iSTAR in all weather conditions day and night. I've used my iSTAR in virtual darkness (on its own and with the scanner) and again a quick search will find posts from myself and others echoing its virsitality and showing our images.

As Bill put it re the costing....one is reasonable...the other expensive and requires additional hardware.

I wouldn't recommend this but from experience the iSTAR is so well made that it can be dropped from above waist height onto the road surface....it bounces :D and when caught on the rebound...found to still function perfectly. 8-)

Colin
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by Jamesrye »

My experience with the iSTAR camera is hugely positive. I have also been impressed with the fast and helpful support that we have received.

I have noticed that the immersive view program doesn't always stitch the images perfectly, however - when applying the imagery to the scan data using depth mapping, the stitch is perfect every time. Now that Leica have implemented the wonderful batch colouring feature into Cyclone, the iSTAR solution is fast and accurate both in terms of field work and office processing.

Some of the critiques in the article are valid, such as the chromatic abberation and soft image when zoomed in. I have also experienced problems with lens flare on occasion. But I have never experienced software crashes or erratic battery status, though we use an external battery as the internal one won't last all day.


youtu.be/dwrxOW42fLs
HThomas
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Re: iSTAR vs Spheron - 360 camera comparison test results

Post by HThomas »

Rikore wrote:Huw,
Thank you for the posting. As an iStar user and the Cannon 70D as external camera options for our Leica P40's the article was very useful as we are looking into another camera for our third scanner.
Dear Bruce, No problem... I've updated that original post too (http://goo.gl/mYGvj0) and hope to add more examples in the future, including some Spheron ScanLight tests.

Great forum, lots of interesting stuff!

Best, Huw
Huw Thomas
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