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A New High Quality Underwater USB Camera

As I mentioned initially, it would probably require a Raspberry Pi 4, which has USB-3 ports :slight_smile:

Encoding on Companion itself most likely isn’t feasible - it’s too processing-intensive (although it may be ok for say a single stream on an RPi4). The OAK cameras support H264/H265 encoding on the camera’s processor chip, similar to how the BR camera and your exploreHD have built in H264 encoding capabilities. I expect any multi-camera system likely requires cameras with onboard encoding, or a Companion computer that’s specifically chosen to support video encoding (which Raspberry Pis aren’t really intended/optimised for).

Fair enough - I agree that that’s a concern with any camera being used underwater :slight_smile:

Makes sense. That could reasonably easily be added as part of a processing pipeline, but I expect it’s preferable to solve that physically/optically (with sensor size/lens magnification) instead of digitally where possible, because it reduces processing requirements and complexity.

That may well be the case, and could be a persistent issue with using higher resolution cameras until larger sensors are economically available. That said, a higher resolution camera is in general just a different set of compromises/optimisations, so no doubt they’re better for some use-cases and clearly also worse for others :slight_smile:

I can’t comment meaningfully on that. I’m yet to try their cameras in an underwater environment, and more generally since most of their docs examples are showcasing different models being run there’s no guarantee any effort was put in to tuning the camera’s parameters for good/sharp image quality, and they may also not have been running/uploading at the full 4k resolution :man_shrugging:

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Yeah, sorry I should’ve specified. I was talking about sending the 4K H264 stream with the companion is so far not supported, only 1080P. I did not mean to encode the H264 on the Pi. :slight_smile:

Also, smaller sensor size means worse dynamic range (harsh in water) and more artifacts like chromatic aberration from the lens and such. The lens will also have to be more expensive as the crop factor makes any small artifacts from the lens are shown.

I don’t think this camera was designed with sharpness and quality in mind. It seems to be better for openCV applications so that’s probably why we don’t see much image samples of the camera on the website for comparing quality. This also make sense for using a smaller sensor because the processing work is much lighter with a smaller sensor compared to a larger one.

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Hi, 2 days ago I bought explore hd, as soon as I get it on the bluerov2 next to my gopro 7 at the same resolution and conditions, and I send the Rov at 200mt in not very clear waters, here at Lake Iseo, then I will do a review on youtube.

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Cool stuff! When you have the chance you could also compare it to the default BlueROV camera. Since our ROV system doesn’t have a dome end cap, we were not able to compare it underwater but only above water which you could see the results in our Technical Introduction Video.

What case are you going to be using on the GoPro to go that deep?

Cant wait! :slight_smile:

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I use a t-housing case, guaranteed for 150m but which I have already taken to 205m without having any problems, on December 5th I plan a bluerov dive at 260m, if I implode the case, it means that it was time for me to buy the gopro hero10 black :slight_smile:


Oh wow! This is my first time seeing the case. Very expensive though, that entire case is more expensive than the exploreHD :laughing:

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this video that I made with gopro at 205mt is of poor quality because it is just my test to print the data on the video, and further reduced from youtube. The main problem of gopro with bluerov spotlights is the wrong white balance. With gopro you need spotlights with red LEDs that I have, but which cannot go beyond 100mt.


Very cool! Yeah it will be interesting to see how the exploreHD compares. I assume the colors would be better (less green/yellowish). I also notice a bit pin-cushioning distortion on the GoPro. I wonder if thats form the GoPro or the case because we didn’t have that issue when using our GoPro.

Anyways! We are rushing to get these shipped out as soon as possible now we have the new updated firmware! :slight_smile:

Thanks for being patience.

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Any more info available on setting these for streaming with an RPi4 and FathomX without using Pixhawk and QGround control?

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The normal camera streaming functionality is already unrelated to the Pixhawk, and QGroundControl is just a receiver.

Given this:

I expect it should be possible to use the exploreHD the same way as any other H264 camera, which could either be done using our Companion software, or just setting up a gstreamer pipeline (if you only want the video stream).

This comment covers how the camera stream is set up in the existing Companion software (including a link to the gstreamer pipeline we use), as well as some ways of receiving a stream outside of QGroundControl.

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The exploreHD is now in stock and ready to ship! We are proud to introduce some of the exciting changes that have come to this camera since the announcement back in August.

The camera is now plug and play with ArduSub Companion software, just put the cable through your electronic enclosure and plug this camera into the Pi! You can even use the new WetLink Penetrator for 4mm cables.

To support multiple streaming (up to 3 cameras at once), you can look at Blue’s new Companion Beta Software. To receive multiple streaming on the surface, you can use software like OBS with the gstreamer plugin or use our alpha software of QGroundControl that allows for displays of multiple streams at once!

If you have a special request for using the camera, feel free to reach out to us on our new forums page or shoot us an email! :slight_smile:

To learn more about the camera: