ADC Tetracam's LCD-Equipped

Quick Overview

Agricultural Digital Camera 

More details

Tetracam's Agricultural Digital Camera (ADC) sets the standard for multi-spectral imaging of crop canopies and vegetation. The ADC boasts a conventional digital camera's feel while delivering unparalleled multi-spectral imaging capabilities.
The ADC contains a single precision 3.2 megapixel image sensor (storing 2048 x 1536 pixels) optimized for capturing visible light wavelengths longer than 520nm and near-infrared wavelengths up to 920nm. The image sensor is divided into a mosaic of tiny optical filters. Each filter allows a separate red, green or NIR band of wavelengths to pass while blocking others. These are equivalent to TM2, TM3 and TM4 Landsat bands.
PixelWrench2, the image processing software included with the camera, enables extraction of standard vegetation indices (such as NDVI, SAVI, canopy segmentation and NIR/Green ratios) from the captured images. Competing with images available from satellites, the ADC offers lower-cost image capture, freedom from cloud cover and the ability to readily obtain re-occurring images for timely comparisons. Refer to our Multispectral Crop and Application Database or Selected Readings for descriptions of example applications.

The ADC is GPS compatible and ideal for ground-based or airborne operations. The unit's liquid crystal display provides the user with the ability to observe the live image, menus for handheld use, and color palletized vegetation indexed images. The same images available on the LCD may be sent to a remote receiver.
The ADC's field of view (FOV) is laid out in a 4:3 format. When carried in a manned or unmanned aircraft, the field of view increases as the above ground level (AGL) altitude increases. As the AGL increases, the camera's ability to resolve individual details on the ground decreases. With its standard 8.0 mm lens, when flown at altitude of 400 feet above ground level, this camera creates an image large enough to capture 1.85 acres at a resolution of less than two inches per pixel in a single shot!

ADC (with 8.0 mm Lens)

Ground Resolution & FOV Examples


Sensor & Lens Parameters
Object Distance
(Altitude Above Ground Level in meters)
Ground Resolution
in mm per pixel
(width x height)
in meters
The values shown at right were derived from the FOV (Field of View) Optical Calculator contained in Tetracam's PixelWrench2 software (included with this camera) using the current values for this camera shown below:
Sensor Dimensions (mm): 6.55 x 4.92
Pixel Size (in microns): 3.2
Camera Lens Focal Length (mm): 8.0
122 m (~ 400 ft)
100 x 75
213.4 m (~ 700 ft)
175 x 131
365.8 m (~ 1200 ft)
300 x 225
915 m (~ 3000 ft)
749 x 563

System Controls and Connections


ADC Controls
User control of the ADC is accomplished through a hierarchical system of menus such as the one shown at left. These are accessible via the liquid crystal display and buttons on the back of the unit or through the system software (PixelWrench2) running on a Windows computer connected to the camera via its USB interface. The system menus present users with a series of configuration choices. Scrolling through and selecting these configures the camera.
The button atop the ADC acts as a shutter release triggering image capture. The ADC's daylight-viewable liquid crystal display possesses a high definition 16:9 aspect ratio. In operation, the camera's viewfinder is flanked by an information panel which shows the state of the device without having to access system menus. The items that are displayed during normal operation on the right side of the screen include:
Firmware version
Battery % charge
File format mode DCM/RAW8/RAW10
Alarm setting OFF/ON
Continuous Capture ON/OFF
Available memory on CF card
Picture counter
Exposure AUTO/FIXED, Exposure +/- setting
Average and Peak Brightness values (%)
Viewfinder image histogram
Current Time


ADC Connections
The ADC obtains its power from a 12 VDC external power supply provided with the unit. This plugs into the 12V power input on the side of the chassis. The system is also able to be powered by means of eight AA alkaline batteries inserted into the opposite side of the chassis.
The camera contains a Video Out connector that may be used to feed the same images available on the LCD to a remote receiver via a wire or telemetry.

To the right of the Video Out connector, the USB connector provides a link to host computers. PixelWrench2 can process images accessed via this link or the CF card containing the images may be pulled from the camera and inserted to the computer containing PW2. The camera contains an RS232 link that may be connected to a GPS receiver for capturing the precise GPS coordinates at the exact instant that an image is captured. Lastly, the camera contains a external Trigger connector. An External Trigger Cable (un-terminated on one end) is available with the system for remotely triggering the camera to capture images. Closing the connection between the RING and the TIP on the provided cable causes the camera to trigger (reference TYPICAL EXTERNAL TRIGGER CIRCUIT for further details). The ADC may also be triggered in a variety of other ways - see below. Check out the User Manual below for precise descriptions of the system menus and all other controls and connections in the ADC.

Standard System Contents

System Contents Includes:

ADC Camera and 8.0 mm Lens
2GB CF card
USB Cable
AC/DC power supply
White Teflon Calibration Plate (AKA Calibration tag or Software Calibration Tile)
8 AA batteries
Rugged carrying case
System CD with PixelWrench2 software (PW2)
(See additional CD contents at right)

Typical Availability:
2 to 3 weeks (although faster turnaround times are often possible). Please contact us for more information regarding configuration options, pricing and availability.

Options Commonly Purchased with this Product:
Tetracam Camera Calibration Service ($250.00 USD)

List of files on included System CD:

Features and Specifications

Features Specifications

High resolution and precise spectral accuracy

Simple operation and control

Red, Green and NIR bands (approximating TM2, TM3 and TM4) provide the information needed for extraction of NDVI, SAVI, canopy segmentation and NIR / Green ratios

Video out in PAL or NTSC format
GPS-logging of captured images with external receiver

Daylight-viewable display

User interchangeable optics

Uses standard Compact Flash Memory cards (standard = 2 GB Optional = up to 256 GB)

Powerful PixelWrench2 image editing software with several tools specific to multi-spectral images and Tetracam cameras (see Tetracam Application Software Overview for further details)
Multiple Camera Triggering Methods

Shutter Release: The button atop the ADC acts as a shutter release for the camera. Depressing the button triggers the camera to take a picture.

Auto-Timer (Continuous Capture Mode): The ADC may be configured to capture images continuously at intervals specified by the user via the camera's system menus. Press the Shutter Release or trigger the camera via one of the methods below to begin continuously capturing images. Press the Shutter Release or trigger the camera again to stop continuous capture of images. Always stop continuously capturing images by pressing the Shutter Release or via a trigger command prior to powering the camera off. Interruption of power during continuous capture of images may damage the camera.

Computer Triggering: The camera may be triggered through its USB interface. Optional GetShot software enables remote triggering under command of a linked computer. Optional SensorLink GPS waypoint triggering application enables camera triggering at pre-defined waypoints - a popular method used in manned aircraft.

Optional Remote Shutter Release: Closing the connection between the RING and the TIP on an optional External Trigger Cable causes the camera to trigger (reference TYPICAL EXTERNAL TRIGGER CIRCUIT for further details).

RS-232 Triggering: The camera may be commanded to trigger by receiving an <ESC> T command via its RS232 serial interface. Due to the delays incumbent in a serial link, the RS232 link is more commonly used to transfer GPS position coordinates to the camera at camera trigger time. When the camera is connected to a GPS receiver via its RS232 link, the camera records the coordinates of the location at which each image is captured into its log file upon receiving any camera trigger command.

Superior Low Noise Image Sensor


3.2 megapixel CMOS sensor (2048 x 1536 pixels)

Image storage to Compact Flash memory cards in Tetracam 10 bit DCM lossless, 8 bit RAW, and 10 bit RAW formats.

Image Capture Capacity:
Up to ~3 MB per image (DCM format), limited only by CF card size.

Maximum Image Capture Rate: Approximately 1.0 to 7.5 Seconds between consecutive images depending upon image format and resolution selected - See Interval Tables
Tough CNC machined aluminum housing.

CS lens mount system compatible with thousands of available lenses.

Camera supplied with a 8.0 mm lens
Optional 4.5 - 12 mm varifocal lenses may be substituted

Power Source options:
Battery - (8) AA size batteries.
External Power Supply +9 VDC to + 12 VDC (300 mA)

+ 9 VDC to +12 VDC (300 mA current rating) Center Positive
RS-232 dedicated to capture of NMEA GPS sentences.
External Trigger

Power Consumption
Two watts nominal

Real time NTSC or PAL Video for both viewfinder and menu operations.

Data Interface:
USB 1.1

4.8 in. x 3.0 in. x 1.6 in. (122 mm x 78 mm x 41 mm) without lens (see link below to drawings)

12 oz. (340 gr.) without internal batteries.
18 oz. (520 gr.) with alkaline AA batteries.

Standard 1/4-20 tripod socket, centered under lens.


Additional ADC Reference Information


Download the ADC Brochure ( 2.2MB)

Download the ADC FAQ (29kb) 

Download the ADC Optrex/Aptina Addendum 3/1/12  

(Updated image sensor and other technical details different from current manual)


Download the ADC CAD Drawings


ADC - Users Manual (1.04 MB - pdf) 

Note: Each system in the ADC family shares a common Users Manual.


Tetracam Warranty Card

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