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Can a photo finish image produce a false result in a race or other circumstance? Answered

Whether a 100m dash, a cycling race, or boats, cars or motorcycles going in excess of 200mph many times these close finishes are determined by high speed photo finish cameras or even less accurate low speed digital video. My question relates primarily to alignment of the camera in relation to the finish line but also other variable such as the surface of the finish line which could be either crowned or banked. Racers crossing over the line a few mm above another just because they are on either side of the centerline of the racing surface. Water finishes produce even more variables. Using a simple bike race where bunch sprint finishes are common with speeds approaching 40+mph I would place a bank of 9 (or 3) cameras on opposite sides of the finish line. Each camera should in theory produce a slightly different image of the finish with variable determinations of outcomes and results based on the resulting images. How would a judge or anyone determine the "correct" image and true result having only the digital picture? Second - of the photo finish images I have seen it seems the finish line is rather subjective? Is the actual finish on or more frames before or after the determined finish? If photo finish and photos in general admissable in court (myth???) how often is the perpective of the camera being judged considered? i.e. Someone who is significantly off the perpendicular snaps a photo producing an image that is quite different from another person's who is at a different angle in relation to the finish. Thank you!


You need a camera looking right down the finish-line, on rapid-fire. One of the photos it takes will show the winner over the line first. Photos are admissible in judging races, I'd assume they count in a court should someone take a race dispute there. L

Thank you - I realize this is the answer to the converse of my question. I admit that a camera can produce a true image. My question more relates to how does one tell by only looking at an image that the image is a TRUE result. Thank you!

If you look at this page:
You can see that the camera's line of site is the official photo-finish line. It's in the arrangement of the camera that you get the true result. Looking at the image alone won't really tell you, which I guess is why you're asking the question.