Three-CCD camera

Last updated
A beam-splitter prism assembly, with a white beam entering the front, exiting the three focal-plane faces, filtered to produce red, green and blue Color Separation Prism.jpg
A beam-splitter prism assembly, with a white beam entering the front, exiting the three focal-plane faces, filtered to produce red, green and blue
A Philips type trichroic beam-splitter prism schematic, with a different color separation order than the assembly shown in the photo. The red and blue beams each undergo one total internal reflection at the air gap and air-glass boundary respectively, while the other reflections are dichroic. This construction has the advantage over the above type that all 3 separated images are laterally inverted (as with a single sensor). In the first type, the blue image is not laterally inverted but the other two are. Dichroic-prism.svg
A Philips type trichroic beam-splitter prism schematic, with a different color separation order than the assembly shown in the photo. The red and blue beams each undergo one total internal reflection at the air gap and air–glass boundary respectively, while the other reflections are dichroic. This construction has the advantage over the above type that all 3 separated images are laterally inverted (as with a single sensor). In the first type, the blue image is not laterally inverted but the other two are.

A three-CCD (3CCD) camera is a camera whose imaging system uses three separate charge-coupled devices (CCDs), each one receiving filtered red, green, or blue color ranges. Light coming in from the lens is split by a beam-splitter prism into three beams, which are then filtered to produce colored light in three color ranges or "bands". The system is employed by high quality still cameras, telecine systems, professional video cameras and some prosumer video cameras.


Compared to cameras with only one CCD, three-CCD cameras generally provide superior image quality by using full-frame dichroic filters to better separate the red, green and blue color bands, and better low-light performance. By separating red, green, and blue color ranges with a 1:1 pixel ratio, three-CCD cameras achieve much better precision than single-CCD cameras. [1]

In contrast, almost all single-CCD cameras use a Bayer filter, using less accurate dye filters in front of each pixel to separate the colors. Because each pixel on a single CCD sensor is covered with its own tiny color filter, a frame is necessary to keep the dye filters from leaking into adjacent pixels. The result is less light absorbed compared to a CCD without a Bayer filter. Typically there is a 2:1 ratio of green and red/blue pixels, producing less color detail. [2]

As of 2024, no commercial 3CCD camcorders are in production due to modern Bayer sensors having improved sensitivity, higher pixel count, and better color interpolation algorithms.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charge-coupled device</span> Device for the movement of electrical charge

A charge-coupled device (CCD) is an integrated circuit containing an array of linked, or coupled, capacitors. Under the control of an external circuit, each capacitor can transfer its electric charge to a neighboring capacitor. CCD sensors are a major technology used in digital imaging.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pixel</span> Physical point in a raster image

In digital imaging, a pixel, pel, or picture element is the smallest addressable element in a raster image, or the smallest addressable element in a dot matrix display device. In most digital display devices, pixels are the smallest element that can be manipulated through software.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">RGB color model</span> Color model based on red, green, and blue

The RGB color model is an additive color model in which the red, green and blue primary colors of light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Digital camera</span> Camera that captures photographs or video in digital format

A digital camera, also called a digicam, is a camera that captures photographs in digital memory. Most cameras produced today are digital, largely replacing those that capture images on photographic film. Digital cameras are now widely incorporated into mobile devices like smartphones with the same or more capabilities and features of dedicated cameras. High-end, high-definition dedicated cameras are still commonly used by professionals and those who desire to take higher-quality photographs.

LBCAST is a type of photo sensor which the manufacturer claims is simpler and thus smaller and faster than CMOS sensors. It was developed over ten years by Nikon, in parallel with other manufacturer's development of CMOS, and resulted in shipping product in 2003.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Color grading</span> Enhancing the color of an image or video

Color grading is a post-production process common to filmmaking and video editing of altering the appearance of an image for presentation in different environments on different devices. Various attributes of an image such as contrast, color, saturation, detail, black level, and white balance may be enhanced whether for motion pictures, videos, or still images. Color grading and color correction are often used synonymously as terms for this process and can include the generation of artistic color effects through creative blending and compositing of different layer masks of the source image. Color grading is generally now performed in a digital process either in a controlled environment such as a color suite, and is usually done in a dim or dark environment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Professional video camera</span> High-end camera for creating electronic moving images

A professional video camera is a high-end device for creating electronic moving images. Originally developed for use in television studios or with outside broadcast trucks, they are now also used for music videos, direct-to-video movies, corporate and educational videos, wedding videos, among other uses. Since the 2000s, most professional video cameras are digital.

The Foveon X3 sensor is a digital camera image sensor designed by Foveon, Inc., and manufactured by Dongbu Electronics. It uses an array of photosites that consist of three vertically stacked photodiodes. Each of the three stacked photodiodes has a different spectral sensitivity, allowing it to respond differently to different wavelengths. The signals from the three photodiodes are then processed as additive color data that are transformed to a standard RGB color space.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bayer filter</span> Color filter array

A Bayer filter mosaic is a color filter array (CFA) for arranging RGB color filters on a square grid of photosensors. Its particular arrangement of color filters is used in most single-chip digital image sensors used in digital cameras, and camcorders to create a color image. The filter pattern is half green, one quarter red and one quarter blue, hence is also called BGGR, RGBG, GRBG, or RGGB.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dichroic prism</span>

A dichroic prism is a prism that splits light into two beams of differing wavelength (colour). A trichroic prism assembly combines two dichroic prisms to split an image into 3 colours, typically as red, green and blue of the RGB colour model. They are usually constructed of one or more glass prisms with dichroic optical coatings that selectively reflect or transmit light depending on the light's wavelength. That is, certain surfaces within the prism act as dichroic filters. These are used as beam splitters in many optical instruments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Digital camera back</span> Digital image sensor that attaches to the back of a film camera

A digital camera back is a device that attaches to the back of a camera in place of the traditional negative film holder and contains an electronic image sensor. This allows cameras that were designed to use film take digital photographs. These camera backs are generally expensive by consumer standards and are primarily built to be attached on medium- and large-format cameras used by professional photographers.

Demosaicing, also known as color reconstruction, is a digital image processing algorithm used to reconstruct a full color image from the incomplete color samples output from an image sensor overlaid with a color filter array (CFA) such as a Bayer filter. It is also known as CFA interpolation or debayering.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Image sensor</span> Device that converts images into electronic signals

An image sensor or imager is a sensor that detects and conveys information used to form an image. It does so by converting the variable attenuation of light waves into signals, small bursts of current that convey the information. The waves can be light or other electromagnetic radiation. Image sensors are used in electronic imaging devices of both analog and digital types, which include digital cameras, camera modules, camera phones, optical mouse devices, medical imaging equipment, night vision equipment such as thermal imaging devices, radar, sonar, and others. As technology changes, electronic and digital imaging tends to replace chemical and analog imaging.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">CYGM filter</span>

In digital photography, the CYGM filter is an alternative color filter array to the Bayer filter (GRGB). It similarly uses a mosaic of pixel filters, of cyan, yellow, green and magenta, and so also requires demosaicing to produce a full-color image.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Color filter array</span>

In digital imaging, a color filter array (CFA), or color filter mosaic (CFM), is a mosaic of tiny color filters placed over the pixel sensors of an image sensor to capture color information.

A digital scan back or scanning back is a type of digital camera back. Digital imaging devices typically use a matrix of light-sensitive photosensors, such as CCD or CMOS technologies. These sensors can be arranged in different ways, like a Bayer filter, where each row captures RGB components, or using one full-sized layer for each color, such as the Foveon X3 sensor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Large-screen television technology</span> Technology rapidly developed in the late 1990s and 2000s

Large-screen television technology developed rapidly in the late 1990s and 2000s. Prior to the development of thin-screen technologies, rear-projection television was standard for larger displays, and jumbotron, a non-projection video display technology, was used at stadiums and concerts. Various thin-screen technologies are being developed, but only liquid crystal display (LCD), plasma display (PDP) and Digital Light Processing (DLP) have been publicly released. Recent technologies like organic light-emitting diode (OLED) as well as not-yet-released technologies like surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) or field emission display (FED) are in development to supercede earlier flat-screen technologies in picture quality.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laser beam profiler</span> Measurement device

A laser beam profiler captures, displays, and records the spatial intensity profile of a laser beam at a particular plane transverse to the beam propagation path. Since there are many types of lasers—ultraviolet, visible, infrared, continuous wave, pulsed, high-power, low-power—there is an assortment of instrumentation for measuring laser beam profiles. No single laser beam profiler can handle every power level, pulse duration, repetition rate, wavelength, and beam size.

This glossary defines terms that are used in the document "Defining Video Quality Requirements: A Guide for Public Safety", developed by the Video Quality in Public Safety (VQIPS) Working Group. It contains terminology and explanations of concepts relevant to the video industry. The purpose of the glossary is to inform the reader of commonly used vocabulary terms in the video domain. This glossary was compiled from various industry sources.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter L. P. Dillon</span> American physicist

Peter L. P. Dillon is an American physicist, and the inventor of integral color image sensors.. and single-chip color video cameras. The curator of the Technology Collection at the George Eastman Museum, Todd Gustavson, has stated that "the color sensor technology developed by Peter Dillon has revolutionized all forms of color photography. These color sensors are now ubiquitous in products such as smart phone cameras, digital cameras and camcorders, digital cinema cameras, medical cameras, automobile cameras, and drones". Dillon joined Kodak Research Labs in 1959 and retired from Kodak in 1991. He lives in Pittsford, New York.


  1. "3CCD Colour Advantages". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  2. Wootton, Cliff (2005). A Practical Guide to Video and Audio Compression: From Sprockets and Rasters to Macroblocks. Elsevier. p. 137. ISBN   978-0-240-80630-3.