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1.6 MP CMOS Compact Scientific Cameras


  • Monochrome and Color CMOS Cameras
  • High Quantum Efficiency and Low <4.0 e- Read Noise
  • Versions Available with External Hardware Triggers

This monochrome image of a printed circuit board was acquired using an MVL50M23 Machine Vision Lens mounted to a CS165MU1 Camera using an SM1A10Z Adapter. Click here for the TIFF file.

CS165MU1

Monochrome CMOS Camera with External Hardware Trigger

Related Items


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Scientific Camera Selection Guide
Compact Scientific
Zelux™
(Smallest Profile)
Kiralux® CMOS
Kiralux® CMOS Polarization Sensitive
Quantalux®
(<1 e- Read Noise)
Scientific CCD 1.4 MP CCD
4 MP CCD
8 MP CCD
VGA Resolution CCD
(200 Frames Per Second)
Jason Mills
Jason Mills
General Manager,
Thorlabs Scientific Imaging

Feedback?
Questions?
Need a Quote?

Contact TSI

Features

  • Monochrome or Color CMOS Sensor
  • 1/2.9" Format, 1440 x 1080 Pixel (1.6 MP) Sensor with 3.45 µm Square Pixels
  • Ultra-Compact Housing: 0.59" x 1.72" x 1.86"
  • SM1-Threaded (1.035"-40) Aperture:
    • Requires SM1A10 Adapter for CS-Mount Lenses (Not Included)
    • Requires SM1A10Z Adapter for C-Mount Lenses (Not Included)
  • High Quantum Efficiency (69% at 575 nm for Monochrome Version)
  • <4.0 e- RMS Read Noise
  • Global Shutter for Imaging Rapidly Changing Scenes
  • Versions Available with External Hardware Triggers
  • USB 3.0 Interface
  • Compatible with 30 mm Cage System
  • Available with Either 1/4"-20 or M6 Tapped Holes for Post Mounting

Software

  • ThorCam™ Software for Windows® 7 and 10 Operating Systems
  • SDK and Programming Interfaces Provide Support for:
    • C, C++, C#, Python, and Visual Basic .NET APIs
    • LabVIEW, MATLAB, and µManager Third-Party Software

Thorlabs' ultra-compact, lightweight Zelux™ Cameras with CMOS Sensors are designed to provide the imaging performance of a scientific camera at the price of a typical general-purpose camera. These cameras offer low read noise and high sensitivity while maintaining a small footprint. The global shutter captures the entire field of view simultaneously, allowing for imaging of rapidly changing scenes.

These CMOS cameras have a USB 3.0 interface and can be controlled through our ThorCam software; see the Software tab for more information. The most up-to-date firmware can be downloaded here. Cameras are available with or without MMCX connectors for external triggering to synchronize image capture with other devices. Two MMCX-to-BNC cables (item # CA3339) are included with versions that have external hardware triggers.

The aperture of each camera has SM1 (1.035"-40) threading for compatibility with Ø1" Lens Tubes. CS- and C-Mount (1.000"-32) adapters are available below for compatibility with many microscopes, machine vision camera lenses, and C-mount extension tubes. These cameras are available with either monochrome or color CMOS sensors. The monochrome cameras feature a clear AR-coated window, while the color cameras feature an IR blocking filter that cuts off transmission above 650 nm. Each optic can be removed and replaced with another Ø25 mm or Ø1" optic up to 1.27 mm thick. The window and filter are held in place by an SM1RR Retaining Ring, which can be tightened using an SPW602 or SPW606 Spanner Wrench (sold separately).  

Two 1/4"-20 or M6 tapped holes on adjacent sides of each Zelux camera housing provide compatibility with Ø1" pedestal or pillar posts and many standard tripod mounts. Four 4-40 tapped holes on the front of the housing allow the camera to be mounted into our 30 mm cage system. The combination of flexible mounting options and compact size makes these cameras an ideal choice for integrating into lab-built imaging systems as well as those based on commercial microscopes.

Kiralux Compact CMOS Camera
Click to Enlarge
All Zelux Cameras are shipped with an SM1EC2B snap-on lens cap to protect the sensor while cameras are not in use.

Zelux Mounting Features

Zelux with Machine Vision Lens
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An MVL16M23 C-Mount Machine Vision Lens is installed on a Zelux camera using an SM1A10Z adapter.
Zelux with Lens Tube
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An SM1 Lens Tube is installed on a Zelux camera using the SM1-threaded aperture.
Zelux with 60 mm Cage
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Four 4-40 tapped holes allow 30 mm Cage System components to be attached to the camera. Pictured is our CP13 Cage Plate with
C-Mount Threading.
Zelux on 1
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A CS165MU1 Zelux camera is mounted on a Ø1" pedestal post using the 1/4"-20 tapped hole on the bottom of the housing.
Common Specificationsa
Number of Active Pixels
(Horizontal x Vertical)
1440 x 1080
Imaging Area
(Horizontal x Vertical)
4.968 mm x 3.726 mm
Pixel Size 3.45 µm x 3.45 µm
Optical Format 1/2.9" (6.2 mm Diagonal)
Max Frame Rate See Table Below
ADCb Resolution 10 Bits
Sensor Shutter Type Global
Read Noise <4.0 e- RMS
Full Well Capacity ≥11 000 e-
Exposure Time 0.040 ms to 26843 ms
in ~0.025 ms Increments
Region of Interest (ROI) 80 x 4 Pixelsc to 1440 x 1080 Pixels, Rectangular
Dynamic Range Up to 69 dB
Lens Mount SM1 (1.035"-40) Threading;
SM1A10 CS-Mount Adapter and SM1A10Z C-Mount Adapter Sold Below
USB Power Consumption 1.17 W
Ambient Operating Temperature 10 °C to 40 °C (Non-Condensing)
Storage Temperature 0 °C to 55 °C
  • The specified performance is valid when using a computer with the recommended specifications listed on the Software tab
  • ADC = Analog-to-Digital Converter
  • When Binning at 1 x 1
Item # CS165MU(/M) CS165MU1(/M) CS165CU(/M) CS165CU1(/M)
Sensor Type Monochrome CMOS Color CMOS
Hardware Trigger/Strobe No Yes No Yes
Peak Quantum Efficiency 69% at 575 nm
(See Graph Below)
65% at 535 nm
(See Graph Below)
Removable Optic AR-Coated Window,
Ravg < 0.5% per Surface (400 - 700 nm)
IR Blocking Filtera
Vertical and Horizontal Hardware Binning 1 x 1 to 16 x 16 1 x 1 to 16 x 16b
Mounting Features Imperial: Two 1/4"-20 Taps for Post Mounting, 30 mm Cage Compatible
Metric: Two M6 Taps for Post Mounting, 30 mm Cage Compatible
Taps are on Adjacent Sides of the Housing
  • Please see the graph below and to the right for more information.
  • Binning >1 x 1 is only available when the camera is operated in unprocessed mode (monochrome).
Compact Scientific CMOS Camera Mechanical Drawing
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Mechanical Drawing of the Zelux™ Camera Housing. MMCX connectors are only included in versions with an external hardware trigger. The dimensions of metric parts are indicated in parentheses.
Example Frame Rates at 1 ms Exposure Timea,b
Region of Interest Frame Rate
Full Sensor (1440 x 1080) 34.8 fps
Half Sensor (720 x 540) 67.0 fps
1/10 Sensor (144 x 108) 260.0 fps
Minimum ROI (80 x 4) >800 fps
  • 1 x 1 Binning, Frames per Trigger = Continuous
  • The specified performance is valid when using a computer with the recommended specifications listed on the Software tab.
Quantum Efficiency Plot
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
This curve shows the quantum efficiency for the monochrome camera sensor.
Relative Sensitivity Plot
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
These curves show the relative response for the color camera sensor's red, green, and blue pixels. This data does not take into account absorption from the installed IR blocking filter. The shaded blue region above 650 nm represents wavelengths blocked by the removable filter.
IR Filter Transmission
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
The curve shows the typical transmission through the IR blocking filter. The filter can be removed and replaced with another Ø25 mm or Ø1" optic up to 1.27 mm thick.

Triggered Camera Operation

Our Zelux scientific cameras are available with or without MMCX connectors for external triggering to synchronize image capture with other devices. For Zelux cameras with MMCX connectors, there are three externally triggered operating modes: streaming overlapped exposure, asynchronous triggered acquisition, and bulb exposure driven by an externally generated trigger pulse. The trigger modes operate independently of the readout (e.g., binning) settings as well as gain and offset. Figures 1 through 3 show the timing diagrams for these trigger modes, assuming an active low external TTL trigger.

Camera Timing Diagram
Click to Enlarge
Figure 1: Streaming overlapped exposure mode. When the external trigger goes low, the exposure begins and continues for the software-selected exposure time, followed by the readout. This sequence then repeats at the set time interval. Subsequent external triggers are ignored until the camera operation is halted.
Timing Diagram
Click to Enlarge
Figure 2: Asynchronous triggered acquisition mode. When the external trigger signal goes low, an exposure begins for the preset time, and then the exposure is read out of the camera. During the readout time, the external trigger is ignored. Once a single readout is complete, the camera will begin the next exposure only when the external trigger signal goes low.
Camera Timing
Click to Enlarge
Figure 3: Bulb exposure mode. The exposure begins when the external trigger signal goes low and ends when the external trigger signal goes high. Trigger signals during camera readout are ignored.

Camera Specific Timing Considerations

Due to the general operation of our Zelux CMOS cameras, as well as typical system propagation delays, the timing relationships shown above are subject to the following considerations:

  1. The delay from the external trigger to the start of the exposure and strobe signals is typically 12 µs to 15.5 µs for all triggered modes (standard and bulb).
  2. For bulb mode triggered exposures, in addition to the 12 µs to 15.5 µs delay at the start of the exposure, there is also a fixed exposure time period after the falling edge of the external trigger. This is inherent in the sensor operation.The fixed exposure time period for the CS165 models is 14.26 µs.

It is important to note that the Strobe_Out signal includes the additional fixed exposure time period and therefore is a better representation of the actual exposure time. We suggest using the Strobe_Out signal to measure exposure time and adjust the bulb mode trigger pulse accordingly

ThorCam™

ThorCam is a powerful image acquisition software package that is designed for use with our cameras on 32- and 64-bit Windows® 7 or 10 systems. This intuitive, easy-to-use graphical interface provides camera control as well as the ability to acquire and play back images. Single image capture and image sequences are supported. Please refer to the screenshots below for an overview of the software's basic functionality.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) and a software development kit (SDK) are included for the development of custom applications by OEMs and developers. The SDK provides easy integration with a wide variety of programming languages, such as C, C++, C#, Python, and Visual Basic .NET. Support for third-party software packages, such as LabVIEW and MATLAB, is available. 

For customers with loan units of our Zelux cameras, please contact sales.tsi@thorlabs.com for information on software functionality and downloads.

Recommended System Requirementsa
Operating System Windows® 7 or 10 (64 Bit)
Processor (CPU)b ≥3.0 GHz Intel Core (i5 or Higher)
Memory (RAM) ≥8 GB
Hard Drivec ≥500 GB (SATA) Solid State Drive (SSD)
Graphics Cardd Dedicated Adapter with ≥256 MB RAM
Motherboard Integrated Intel USB 3.0 Controller
or One Unused PCIe x1 Slot (for Item # USB3-PCIE)
Connectivity USB or Internet Connectivity for Driver Installation
  • See the Performance Considerations section below for recommendations to minimize dropped frames for demanding applications.
  • Intel Core i3 processors and mobile versions of Intel processors may not satisfy the requirements.
  • We recommend a solid state drive (SSD) for reliable streaming to disk during image sequence storage.
  • On-board/integrated graphics solutions present on Intel Core i5 and i7 processors are also acceptable.

Software

Version 3.5.1

Click the button below to visit the ThorCam software page.

For the most up-to-date version of the firmware, please click here.

Software Download

Click the Highlighted Regions to Explore ThorCam Features

Thorcam GUI Window

Camera Control and Image Acquisition

Camera Control and Image Acquisition functions are carried out through the icons along the top of the window, highlighted in orange in the image above. Camera parameters may be set in the popup window that appears upon clicking on the Tools icon. The Snapshot button allows a single image to be acquired using the current camera settings.

The Start and Stop capture buttons begin image capture according to the camera settings, including triggered imaging.

Timed Series and Review of Image Series

The Timed Series control, shown in Figure 1, allows time-lapse images to be recorded. Simply set the total number of images and the time delay in between captures. The output will be saved in a multi-page TIFF file in order to preserve the high-precision, unaltered image data. Controls within ThorCam allow the user to play the sequence of images or step through them frame by frame.

Measurement and Annotation

As shown in the yellow highlighted regions in the image above, ThorCam has a number of built-in annotation and measurement functions to help analyze images after they have been acquired. Lines, rectangles, circles, and freehand shapes can be drawn on the image. Text can be entered to annotate marked locations. A measurement mode allows the user to determine the distance between points of interest.

The features in the red, green, and blue highlighted regions of the image above can be used to display information about both live and captured images.

ThorCam also features a tally counter that allows the user to mark points of interest in the image and tally the number of points marked (see Figure 2). A crosshair target that is locked to the center of the image can be enabled to provide a point of reference.

Third-Party Applications and Support

ThorCam is bundled with support for third-party software packages such as LabVIEW, MATLAB, and .NET. Both 32- and 64-bit versions of LabVIEW and MATLAB are supported. A full-featured and well-documented API, included with our cameras, makes it convenient to develop fully customized applications in an efficient manner, while also providing the ability to migrate through our product line without having to rewrite an application.

Thorcam Software Screenshot
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Figure 1: A timed series of 10 images taken at 1 second intervals is saved as a multipage TIFF.
Thorcam Software Screenshot
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Figure 2: A screenshot of the ThorCam software showing some of the analysis and annotation features. The Tally function was used to mark four locations in the image. A blue crosshair target is enabled and locked to the center of the image to provide a point of reference.

 

Performance Considerations

Please note that system performance limitations can lead to "dropped frames" when image sequences are saved to the disk. The ability of the host system to keep up with the camera's output data stream is dependent on multiple aspects of the host system. Note that the use of a USB hub may impact performance. A dedicated connection to the PC is preferred. USB 2.0 connections are not supported.

First, it is important to distinguish between the frame rate of the camera and the ability of the host computer to keep up with the task of displaying images or streaming to the disk without dropping frames. The frame rate of the camera is a function of exposure and readout (e.g. clock, ROI) parameters. Based on the acquisition parameters chosen by the user, the camera timing emulates a digital counter that will generate a certain number of frames per second. When displaying images, this data is handled by the graphics system of the computer; when saving images and movies, this data is streamed to disk. If the hard drive is not fast enough, this will result in dropped frames.

One solution to this problem is to ensure that a solid state drive (SSD) is used. This usually resolves the issue if the other specifications of the PC are sufficient. Note that the write speed of the SSD must be sufficient to handle the data throughput.

Larger format images at higher frame rates sometimes require additional speed. In these cases users can consider implementing a RAID0 configuration using multiple SSDs or setting up a RAM drive. While the latter option limits the storage space to the RAM on the PC, this is the fastest option available. ImDisk is one example of a free RAM disk software package. It is important to note that RAM drives use volatile memory. Hence it is critical to ensure that the data is moved from the RAM drive to a physical hard drive before restarting or shutting down the computer to avoid data loss.

Pixel PeekVertical and Horizontal Line ProfilesHistogramCamera Control IconsMeasurement and Annotation FunctionsMeasurement and Annotation Functions

Insights into Mounting Lenses to Thorlabs' Scientific Cameras

Scroll down to read about compatibility between lenses and cameras of different mount types, with a focus on Thorlabs' scientific cameras.

  • Can C-mount and CS-mount cameras and lenses be used with each other?
  • Do Thorlabs' scientific cameras need an adapter?
  • Why can the FFD be smaller than the distance separating the camera's flange and sensor?

Click here for more insights into lab practices and equipment.

 

Can C-mount and CS-mount cameras and lenses be used with each other?

Characteristics of C-mount lens mounts.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 1: C-mount lenses and cameras have the same flange focal distance (FFD), 17.526 mm. This ensures light through the lens focuses on the camera's sensor. Both components have 1.000"-32 threads, sometimes referred to as "C-mount threads".
Characteristics of CS-mount lens mounts.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 2: CS-mount lenses and cameras have the same flange focal distance (FFD), 12.526 mm. This ensures light through the lens focuses on the camera's sensor. Their 1.000"-32 threads are identical to threads on C-mount components, sometimes referred to as "C-mount threads."

The C-mount and CS-mount camera system standards both include 1.000"-32 threads, but the two mount types have different flange focal distances (FFD, also known as flange focal depth, flange focal length, register, flange back distance, and flange-to-film distance). The FFD is 17.526 mm for the C-mount and 12.526 mm for the CS-mount (Figures 1 and 2, respectively).

Since their flange focal distances are different, the C-mount and CS-mount components are not directly interchangeable. However, with an adapter, it is possible to use a C-mount lens with a CS-mount camera.

Mixing and Matching
C-mount and CS-mount components have identical threads, but lenses and cameras of different mount types should not be directly attached to one another. If this is done, the lens' focal plane will not coincide with the camera's sensor plane due to the difference in FFD, and the image will be blurry.

With an adapter, a C-mount lens can be used with a CS-mount camera (Figures 3 and 4). The adapter increases the separation between the lens and the camera's sensor by 5.0 mm, to ensure the lens' focal plane aligns with the camera's sensor plane.

In contrast, the shorter FFD of CS-mount lenses makes them incompatible for use with C-mount cameras (Figure 5). The lens and camera housings prevent the lens from mounting close enough to the camera sensor to provide an in-focus image, and no adapter can bring the lens closer.

It is critical to check the lens and camera parameters to determine whether the components are compatible, an adapter is required, or the components cannot be made compatible.

1.000"-32 Threads
Imperial threads are properly described by their diameter and the number of threads per inch (TPI). In the case of both these mounts, the thread diameter is 1.000" and the TPI is 32. Due to the prevalence of C-mount devices, the 1.000"-32 thread is sometimes referred to as a "C-mount thread." Using this term can cause confusion, since CS-mount devices have the same threads.

Measuring Flange Focal Distance
Measurements of flange focal distance are given for both lenses and cameras. In the case of lenses, the FFD is measured from the lens' flange surface (Figures 1 and 2) to its focal plane. The flange surface follows the lens' planar back face and intersects the base of the external 1.000"-32 threads. In cameras, the FFD is measured from the camera's front face to the sensor plane. When the lens is mounted on the camera without an adapter, the flange surfaces on the camera front face and lens back face are brought into contact.

A CS-Mount lens is not compatible with a C-Mount camera.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 5: A CS-mount lens is not directly compatible with a C-mount camera, since the light focuses before the camera's sensor. Adapters are not useful, since the solution would require shrinking the flange focal distance of the camera (blue arrow).
A C-Mount lens is compatible with a CS-Mount camera when an adapter is used.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 4: An adapter with the proper thickness moves the C-mount lens away from the CS-mount camera's sensor by an optimal amount, which is indicated by the length of the purple arrow. This allows the lens to focus light on the camera's sensor, despite the difference in FFD.
A C-Mount lens is not compatible with a CS-Mount camera without an adapter.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 3: A C-mount lens and a CS-mount camera are not directly compatible, since their flange focal distances, indicated by the blue and yellow arrows, respectively, are different. This arrangement will result in blurry images, since the light will not focus on the camera's sensor.

 

Date of Last Edit: July 21, 2020

 

Do Thorlabs' scientific cameras need an adapter?

A C-mount lens can be mounted on a Zelux camera, when the correct adapter is used.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 6: An adapter can be used to optimally position a C-mount lens on a camera whose flange focal distance is less than 17.526 mm. This sketch is based on a Zelux camera and its SM1A10Z adapter.
A CS-mount lens can be mounted on a Zelux camera, when the correct adapter is used.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 7: An adapter can be used to optimally position a CS-mount lens on a camera whose flange focal distance is less than 12.526 mm. This sketch is based on a Zelux camera and its SM1A10 adapter.

All Kiralux™ and Quantalux® scientific cameras are factory set to accept C-mount lenses. When the attached C-mount adapters are removed from the passively cooled cameras, the SM1 (1.035"-40) internal threads in their flanges can be used. The Zelux scientific cameras also have SM1 internal threads in their mounting flanges, as well as the option to use a C-mount or CS-mount adapter.

The SM1 threads integrated into the camera housings are intended to facilitate the use of lens assemblies created from Thorlabs components. Adapters can also be used to convert from the camera's C-mount configurations. When designing an application-specific lens assembly or considering the use of an adapter not specifically designed for the camera, it is important to ensure that the flange focal distances (FFD) of the camera and lens match, as well as that the camera's sensor size accommodates the desired field of view (FOV).

Made for Each Other: Cameras and Their Adapters
Fixed adapters are available to configure the Zelux cameras to meet C-mount and CS-mount standards (Figures 6 and 7). These adapters, as well as the adjustable C-mount adapters attached to the passively cooled Kiralux and Quantalux cameras, were designed specifically for use with their respective cameras.

While any adapter converting from SM1 to 1.000"-32 threads makes it possible to attach a C-mount or CS-mount lens to one of these cameras, not every thread adapter aligns the lens' focal plane with a specific camera's sensor plane. In some cases, no adapter can align these planes. For example, of these scientific cameras, only the Zelux can be configured for CS-mount lenses.

The position of the lens' focal plane is determined by a combination of the lens' FFD, which is measured in air, and any refractive elements between the lens and the camera's sensor. When light focused by the lens passes through a refractive element, instead of just travelling through air, the physical focal plane is shifted to longer distances by an amount that can be calculated. The adapter must add enough separation to compensate for both the camera's FFD, when it is too short, and the focal shift caused by any windows or filters inserted between the lens and sensor.

Flexiblity and Quick Fixes: Adjustable C-Mount Adapter
Passively cooled Kiralux and Quantalux cameras consist of a camera with SM1 internal threads, a window or filter covering the sensor and secured by a retaining ring, and an adjustable C-mount adapter.

A benefit of the adjustable C-mount adapter is that it can tune the spacing between the lens and camera over a 1.8 mm range, when the window / filter and retaining ring are in place. Changing the spacing can compensate for different effects that otherwise misalign the camera's sensor plane and the lens' focal plane. These effects include material expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, positioning errors from tolerance stacking, and focal shifts caused by a substitute window or filter with a different thickness or refractive index.

Adjusting the camera's adapter may be necessary to obtain sharp images of objects at infinity. When an object is at infinity, the incoming rays are parallel, and location of the focus defines the FFD of the lens. Since the actual FFDs of lenses and cameras may not match their intended FFDs, the focal plane for objects at infinity may be shifted from the sensor plane, resulting in a blurry image.

If it is impossible to get a sharp image of objects at infinity, despite tuning the lens focus, try adjusting the camera's adapter. This can compensate for shifts due to tolerance and environmental effects and bring the image into focus.

Date of Last Edit: Aug. 2, 2020

 

Why can the FFD be smaller than the distance separating the camera's flange and sensor?

Refraction through an optical filter or an window shifts the focal plane.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 9: Refraction causes the ray's angle with the optical axis to be shallower in the medium than in air (θm vs. θo ), due to the differences in refractive indices (nm vs. no ). After travelling a distance d in the medium, the ray is only hm closer to the axis. Due to this, the ray intersects the axis Δf beyond the f point.;
Tracing a ray through the ambient.
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Figure 8: A ray travelling through air intersects the optical axis at point f. The ray is ho closer to the axis after it travels across distance d. The refractive index of the air is no .
Example of Calculating Focal Shift
Known Information
C-Mount FFD f 17.526 mm
Total Glass Thickness d ~1.6 mm
Refractive Index of Air no 1
Refractive Index of Glass nm 1.5
Lens f-Number f / N f / 1.4
Parameter to
Calculate
Exact Equations Paraxial
Approximation
θo 20°
ho 0.57 mm ---
θm 13° ---
hm 0.37 mm ---
Δf 0.57 mm 0.53 mm
f + Δf 18.1 mm 18.1 mm
Equations for Calculating the Focal Shift (Δf )
Angle of Ray in Air, from Lens f-Number ( f / N )
Change in Distance to Axis, Travelling through Air (Figure 8)
Angle of Ray to Axis,
in the Medium (Figure 9)
Change in Distance to Axis, Travelling through Optic (Figure 9)
Focal Shift Caused by Refraction through Medium (Figure 9) Exact
Calculation
Paraxial
Approximation
When their flange focal distances (FFD) are different, the camera's sensor plane and the lens' focal plane are misaligned, and focus cannot be achieved for images at infinity.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 11: Tolerance and / or temperature effects may result in the lens and camera having different FFDs. If the FFD of the lens is shorter, images of objects at infinity will be excluded from the focal range. Since the system cannot focus on them, they will be blurry.
When their flange focal distances (FFD) are the same, the camera's sensor plane and the lens' focal plane are perfectly aligned, and focus can be achieved for images at infinity.
Click to Enlarge

Figure 10: When their flange focal distances (FFD) are the same, the camera's sensor plane and the lens' focal plane are perfectly aligned. Images of objects at infinity coincide with one limit of the system's focal range.

Flange focal distance (FFD) values for cameras and lenses assume only air fills the space between the lens and the camera's sensor plane. If windows and / or filters are inserted between the lens and camera sensor, it may be necessary to increase the distance separating the camera's flange and sensor planes to a value beyond the specified FFD. A span equal to the FFD may be too short, because refraction through windows and filters bends the light's path and shifts the focal plane farther away.

If making changes to the optics between the lens and camera sensor, the resulting focal plane shift should be calculated to determine whether the separation between lens and camera should be adjusted to maintain good alignment. Note that good alignment is necessary for, but cannot guarantee, an in-focus image, since new optics may introduce aberrations and other effects resulting in unacceptable image quality.

A Case of the Bends: Focal Shift Due to Refraction
While travelling through a solid medium, a ray's path is straight (Figure 8). Its angle (θo ) with the optical axis is constant as it converges to the focal point (f ). Values of FFD are determined assuming this medium is air.

When an optic with plane-parallel sides and a higher refractive index (nm ) is placed in the ray's path, refraction causes the ray to bend and take a shallower angle (θm ) through the optic. This angle can be determined from Snell's law, as described in the table and illustrated in Figure 9.

While travelling through the optic, the ray approaches the optical axis at a slower rate than a ray travelling the same distance in air. After exiting the optic, the ray's angle with the axis is again θo , the same as a ray that did not pass through the optic. However, the ray exits the optic farther away from the axis than if it had never passed through it. Since the ray refracted by the optic is farther away, it crosses the axis at a point shifted Δf beyond the other ray's crossing. Increasing the optic's thickness widens the separation between the two rays, which increases Δf.

To Infinity and Beyond
It is important to many applications that the camera system be capable of capturing high-quality images of objects at infinity. Rays from these objects are parallel and focused to a point closer to the lens than rays from closer objects (Figure 9). The FFDs of cameras and lenses are defined so the focal point of rays from infinitely distant objects will align with the camera's sensor plane. When a lens has an adjustable focal range, objects at infinity are in focus at one end of the range and closer objects are in focus at the other.

Different effects, including temperature changes and tolerance stacking, can result in the lens and / or camera not exactly meeting the FFD specification. When the lens' actual FFD is shorter than the camera's, the camera system can no longer obtain sharp images of objects at infinity (Figure 11). This offset can also result if an optic is removed from between the lens and camera sensor.

An approach some lenses use to compensate for this is to allow the user to vary the lens focus to points "beyond" infinity. This does not refer to a physical distance, it just allows the lens to push its focal plane farther away. Thorlabs' Kiralux™ and Quantalux® cameras include adjustable C-mount adapters to allow the spacing to be tuned as needed.

If the lens' FFD is larger than the camera's, images of objects at infinity fall within the system's focal range, but some closer objects that should be within this range will be excluded. This situation can be caused by inserting optics between the lens and camera sensor. If objects at infinity can still be imaged, this can often be acceptable.

Not Just Theory: Camera Design Example
The C-mount, hermetically sealed, and TE-cooled Quantalux camera has a fixed 18.1 mm spacing between its flange surface and sensor plane. However, the FFD (f ) for C-mount camera systems is 17.526 mm. The camera's need for greater spacing becomes apparent when the focal shift due to the window soldered into the hermetic cover and the glass covering the sensor are taken into account. The results recorded in the table beneath Figure 9 show that both exact and paraxial equations return a required total spacing of 18.1 mm.

Date of Last Edit: July 31, 2020

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About Thorlabs Scientific Imaging

Thorlabs Scientific Imaging (TSI) is a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to solving the most challenging imaging problems. We design and manufacture low-noise, high performance scientific cameras, interface devices, and software at our facility in Austin, Texas.

A Message from TSI's General Manager

As a researcher, you are accustomed to solving difficult problems but may be frustrated by the inadequacy of the available instrumentation and tools. The product development team at Thorlabs Scientific Imaging is continually looking for new challenges to push the boundaries of Scientific Cameras using various sensor technologies. We welcome your input in order to leverage our team of senior research and development engineers to help meet your advanced imaging needs.

Thorlabs' purpose is to support advances in research through our product offerings. Your input will help us steer the direction of our scientific camera product line to support these advances. If you have a challenging application that requires a more advanced scientific camera than is currently available, I would be excited to hear from you.

We're All Ears!

Sincerely,
Jason Mills
Jason Mills
General Manager
Thorlabs Scientific Imaging


Posted Comments:
GT KIM  (posted 2020-09-18 04:29:51.09)
HI, I wonder relation between exposure time and frame speed in detail of this camera. For instance, I want to get image during 4 sec with 50ms exposure time when one external trigger occurs. So I change Frames per Trigger setting to 80 frames. Then I expect total 80 frames in 4 seconds of imaging time with 50ms exposure time but actual imaging time is more than 4 seconds.
llamb  (posted 2020-09-22 01:42:15.0)
Thank you for contacting Thorlabs. It sounds like your case is when frames/trigger is not set to continuous mode, so the exposure time and readout time are sequential (non-overlapped). In continuous mode, all but the first exposure are overlapped with readout. If elapsed time is most important, then I would recommend setting the number of frames per trigger to "continuous" and stopping the acquisition after the desired elapsed time.
Pawel Czuma  (posted 2020-04-10 06:32:14.99)
Dear Sir/Madam, On RAW data spec of CS165MU1/M I see big quantum efficiency 50,396% at 235nm (I suppose after removal of AR-Coated Window). Could You send me UV QE spec of this camera in range between 200 to 300nm. I am interested especially in range 270-249nm. Do You have any of Your camera working in such spectral range. Do You have imaging objective on working in such spectral range. Thank You Best Regards, dr Pawel Czuma, Eng Task Manager PolFEL
YLohia  (posted 2020-04-10 02:32:47.0)
Hello Pawel, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. We recommend our UV-enhanced 340UV-USB camera for that wavelength range. Our line of UV objectives can be found here : https://www.thorlabs.com/newgrouppage9.cfm?objectgroup_id=3271. I have reached out to you to discuss your application in more detail.

Thorlabs offers four families of scientific cameras: Zelux™, Kiralux®, Quantalux®, and Scientific CCD. Zelux cameras are designed for general-purpose imaging and provide high imaging performance while maintaining a small footprint. Kiralux cameras have CMOS sensors in compact, passively cooled housings and are available with monochrome, color, NIR-enhanced, or polarization-sensitive sensors. The polarization-sensitive Kiralux camera incorporates an integrated micropolarizer array that, when used with our ThorCam™ software package, captures images that illustrate degree of linear polarization, azimuth, and intensity at the pixel level. Our Quantalux monochrome sCMOS cameras feature high dynamic range combined with extremely low read noise for low-light applications. They are available in either a compact passively cooled housing or a hermetically sealed TE-cooled housing. We also offer scientific CCD cameras with a variety of features, including versions optimized for operation at UV, visible, or NIR wavelengths; fast-frame-rate cameras; TE-cooled or non-cooled housings; and versions with the sensor face plate removed. The tables below provide a summary of our camera offerings.

Compact Scientific Cameras
Camera Type Zelux™ CMOS Kiralux® CMOS Quantalux® sCMOS
1.6 MP 1.3 MP 2.3 MP 5 MP 8.9 MP 12.3 MP 2.1 MP
Item # Monochrome: CS165MUa
Color: CS165CUa
Mono.: CS135MU
Color: CS135CU
NIR-Enhanced
Mono.: CS135MUN
Mono.: CS235MU
Color: CS235CU
Mono.: CS505MU
Color: CS505CU
Polarization:
CS505MUP
Mono.:
CS895MU
Color:
CS895CU
Mono.:
CS126MU
Color:
CS126CU
Monochrome,
Passive Cooling: CS2100M-USB
Active Cooling: CC215MU
Product Photos
(Click to Enlarge)
Quantaluc Cameras
Electronic Shutter Global Shutter Global Shutter Rolling Shutterb
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS sCMOS
Number of Pixels (H x V) 1440 x 1080 1280 x 1024 1920 x 1200 2448 x 2048 4096 x 2160 4096 x 3000 1920 x 1080
Pixel Size 3.45 µm x 3.45 µm 4.8 µm x 4.8 µm 5.86 µm x 5.86 µm 3.45 µm x 3.45 µm 5.04 µm x 5.04 µm
Optical Format 1/2.9"
(6.2 mm Diag.)
1/2"
(7.76 mm Diag.)
1/1.2"
(13.4 mm Diag.)
2/3"
(11 mm Diag.)
1"
(16 mm Diag.)
1.1"
(17.5 mm Diag.)
2/3"
(11 mm Diag.)
Peak Quantum
Efficiency

(Click for Plot)
Monochrome:
69% at 575 nm

Color:
Click for Plot

Monochrome:
59% at 550 nm

Color:
Click for Plot

NIR:
60% at 600 nm
Monochrome:
78% at 500 nm

Color:
Click for Plot
Monochrome & Polarization:
72%
(525 to 580 nm)

Color:
Click for Plot
Monochrome:
72%
(525 to
580 nm)

Color:
Click for Plot
Monochrome:
72%
(525 to
580 nm)

Color:
Click for Plot
Monochrome:
61% (at 600 nm)
Max Frame Rate
(Full Sensor)
34.8 fps 92.3 fps 39.7 fps 35 fps 20.8 fps 14.6 fps 50 fps
Read Noise <4.0 e- RMS <7.0 e- RMS <7.0 e- RMS <2.5 e- RMS <1 e- Median RMS; <1.5 e- RMS
Digital Output
10 Bit (Max) 10 Bit (Max) 12 Bit (Max) 16 Bit (Max)
PC Interface USB 3.0
Available
Fanless Cooling
Passive Thermal Management 0 °C at 20 °C Ambient
Housing Size
(Click for Details)
0.59" x 1.72" x 1.86"
(15.0 x 43.7 x 47.2 mm3)
2.77" x 2.38" x 1.88"
(70.4 mm x 60.3 mm x 47.6 mm)
Passively Cooled sCMOS Camera
TE-Cooled sCMOS Camera
Typical
Applications
General Purpose Imaging,
Brightfield Microscopy,
Machine Vision & Robotics,
UAV, Drone, & Handheld Imaging,
Inspection,
Monitoring
VIS/NIR Imaging,
Electrophysiology/Brain Slice Imaging,
Materials Inspection,
Multispectral Imaging,
Ophthalmology/Retinal Imaging,
Vascular Imaging,
Laser Speckle Imaging,
Semiconductor Inspection,
Fluorescence Microscopy,
Brightfield Microscopy
Fluorescence Microscopy,
Immunohistochemistry,
Machine Vision,
Inspection,
General Purpose Imaging
Mono. & Color:
Fluorescence Microscopy,
Immunohistochemistry,
Machine Vision & Inspection,

Polarization:
Machine Vision & Inspection,
Transparent Material Detection,
Surface Reflection Reduction
Fluorescence Microscopy,
Immunohistochemistry,
Large FOV Slide Imaging,
Machine Vision,
Inspection
Fluorescence Microscopy,
VIS/NIR Imaging,
Quantum Dots,
Autofluorescence,
Materials Inspection,
Multispectral Imaging
  • These item numbers are representative of the Zelux family. These cameras are available with or without external hardware triggers.
  • Rolling Shutter with Equal Exposure Pulse (EEP) Mode for Synchronizing the Camera and Light Sources for Even Illumination
Scientific CCD Cameras
Camera Type Fast Frame Rate
VGA CCD
1.4 MP CCD 4 MP CCD 8 MP CCD
Item # Prefix Monochrome:
340M
UV-Enhanced
Monochrome:
340UV
Monochrome: 1501M
Color: 1501C
Monochrome: 4070M
Color: 4070C
Monochrome: 8051M
Color: 8051C
Monochrome,
No Sensor Face Plate: S805MU
Product Photo
(Click to Enlarge)
Electronic Shutter Global Shutter
Sensor Type CCD
Number of Pixels
(H x V)
640 x 480 1392 x 1040 2048 x 2048 3296 x 2472
Pixel Size 7.4 µm x 7.4 µm 6.45 µm x 6.45 µm 7.4 µm x 7.4 µm 5.5 µm x 5.5 µm
Optical Format 1/3" (5.92 mm Diagonal) 2/3" (11 mm Diagonal) 4/3" (21.4 mm Diagonal) 4/3" (22 mm Diagonal)
Peak QE
(Click for Plot)
55%
at 500 nm
10%
at 485 nm
Monochrome: 60% at 500 nm
Color: Click for Plot
Monochrome: 52% at 500 nm
Color: Click for Plot
Monochrome: 51% at 460 nm
Color: Click for Plot
51% at 460 nm
Max Frame Rate
(Full Sensor)
200.7 fps (at 40 MHz
Dual-Tap Readout)
23 fps (at 40 MHz
Single-Tap Readout)
25.8 fps (at 40 MHz
Quad-Tap Readout)a
17.1 fps (at 40 MHz
Quad-Tap Readout)b
17.1 fps (at 40 MHz
Quad-Tap Readout)
Read Noise <15 e- at 20 MHz <7 e- at 20 MHz (Standard Models)
<6 e- at 20 MHz (-TE Models)
<12 e- at 20 MHz <10 e- at 20 MHz
Digital Output (Max) 14 Bitc 14 Bit 14 Bitc 14 Bit
Available
Fanless Cooling
Passive Thermal Management -20 °C at 20 °C Ambient Temperature -10 °C at 20 °C Ambient Passive Thermal Management
Available PC
Interfaces
USB 3.0 or Gigabit Ethernet USB 3.0
Housing
Dimensions

(Click for Details)
Non-Cooled Scientific
CCD Camera
Cooled Scientific CCD Camera
Non-Cooled Scientific CCD Camera
No Face Plate Scientific
CCD Camera
Typical Applications Ca++ Ion Imaging,
Particle Tracking,
Flow Cytometry,
SEM/EBSD,
UV Inspection
Fluorescence Microscopy,
VIS/NIR Imaging,
Quantum Dots,
Multispectral Imaging,
Immunohistochemistry (IHC),
Retinal Imaging
Fluorescence Microscopy,
Transmitted Light Micrsoscopy,
Whole-Slide Microscopy,
Electron Microscopy (TEM/SEM),
Inspection,
Material Sciences
Fluorescence Microscopy,
Whole-Slide Microscopy,
Large FOV Slide Imaging,
Histopathology,
Inspection,
Multispectral Imaging,
Immunohistochemistry (IHC)
Beam Profiling & Characterization,
Interferometry,
VCSEL Inspection,
Quantitative Phase-Contrast Microscopy,
Ptychography,
Digital Holographic Microscopy
  • Limited to 13 fps at 40 MHz dual-tap readout for Gigabit Ethernet cameras; quad-tap readout is unavailable for Gigabit Ethernet cameras.
  • Limited to 8.5 fps at 40 MHz dual-tap readout for Gigabit Ethernet cameras; quad-tap readout is unavailable for Gigabit Ethernet cameras.
  • Gigabit Ethernet cameras operating in dual-tap readout mode are limited to 12-bit digital output.

Zelux™ 1.6 MP Monochrome and Color CMOS Compact Scientific Digital Cameras

Key Specificationsa
Item # CS165MU(/M) CS165MU1(/M) CS165CU(/M) CS165CU1(/M)
Sensor Type Monochrome CMOS Color CMOS
Hardware Trigger/Strobe No Yes No Yes
Peak Quantum Efficiency
(Click for Graph)
69% at 575 nm 65% at 535 nm
Removable Optic AR-Coated Window,
Ravg < 0.5% per Surface (400 - 700 nm)
IR Blocking Filter
Mounting Features Imperial: Two 1/4"-20 Taps for Post Mounting, 30 mm Cage Compatible
Metric: Two M6 Taps for Post Mounting, 30 mm Cage Compatible
Taps are on Adjacent Sides of the Housing
  • For complete specifications, please see the Specs tab.
Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Imperial Price Available
CS165MU Support Documentation
CS165MUZelux™ 1.6 MP Monochrome CMOS Camera, 1/4"-20 Taps
$435.00
Today
CS165CU Support Documentation
CS165CUZelux™ 1.6 MP Color CMOS Camera, 1/4"-20 Taps
$435.00
Today
CS165MU1 Support Documentation
CS165MU1Zelux™ 1.6 MP Monochrome CMOS Camera, 1/4"-20 Taps, External Trigger
$535.00
Today
CS165CU1 Support Documentation
CS165CU1Zelux™ 1.6 MP Color CMOS Camera, 1/4"-20 Taps, External Trigger
$535.00
Today
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Metric Price Available
CS165MU/M Support Documentation
CS165MU/MZelux™ 1.6 MP Monochrome CMOS Camera, M6 Taps
$435.00
Today
CS165CU/M Support Documentation
CS165CU/MZelux™ 1.6 MP Color CMOS Camera, M6 Taps
$435.00
Lead Time
CS165MU1/M Support Documentation
CS165MU1/MZelux™ 1.6 MP Monochrome CMOS Camera, M6 Taps, External Trigger
$535.00
Lead Time
CS165CU1/M Support Documentation
CS165CU1/MZelux™ 1.6 MP Color CMOS Camera, M6 Taps, External Trigger
$535.00
5-8 Days

Optional Accessories for Zelux™ 1.6 MP CMOS Cameras

Each Zelux™ camera is shipped with a USB3-MBA-118 USB 3.0 Cable and a SM1EC2B snap-on lens cap. The CS165MU1(/M) and CS165CU1(/M) Zelux cameras, which have external connections for triggering, are also shipped with two CA3339 MMCX-to-BNC cables. Additional accessories are available below.

USB 3.0 Camera Accessories (USB3-MBA-118 and USB3-PCIE)
We offer a USB 3.0 A to Micro B cable for connecting our cameras to a PC (please note that one cable is included with each camera). The cable measures 118" long and features screws on either side of the Micro B connector that mate with tapped holes on the camera for securing the USB cable to the camera housing. When operating USB 3.0 cameras it is strongly recommended that the Thorlabs-supplied USB 3.0 cable be used, with the retention screws securely fastened. Due to the high data rates involved, users may experience problems when using generic USB 3.0 cables.

All Zelux cameras may be connected directly to the USB 3.0 port on a laptop or desktop computer. Host-side USB 3.0 ports are often blue in color, although they may also be black in color, and are typically marked "SS" for SuperSpeed. A USB 3.0 PCIe card is sold separately for computers without an integrated Intel USB 3.0 controller. Note that the use of a USB hub may impact performance. A dedicated connection to the PC is preferred.

Trigger and Strobe Cables (CA3339 and CA3439)
The CA3439 MMCX-to-SMA cable and the CA3339 MMC-to-BNC cable are both 1 m long RG-174 coaxial cables with male to male connectors. Both feature a DC to 6 GHz frequency range, 50 Ω impedance, and 170 V max voltage. Full details are provided at the full web presentation.

Adapter Compatibility with Zelux Cameras
Adapter Item # C-Mount Lenses CS-Mount Lenses
SM1A10 - YES!
SM1A10Z YES! -

Adapters for C- and CS-Mount Lenses (SM1A10 and SM1A10Z)
We also offer adapters for mounting C- and CS-Mount lenses to Zelux cameras. Our SM1A10 and SM1A10Z adapters have internal C-Mount (1.00"-32) threading and external SM1 (1.035"-40) threading for mounting to the SM1-threaded aperture of each Zelux camera. CS- and C-Mount standards both use 1.00"-32 threads, but C-Mount lenses have a flange focal distance (FFD) that is 5 mm longer than the FFD of CS-Mount lenses. When used with a Zelux camera, our SM1A10 adapter provides the correct FFD for CS-Mount lenses, while our SM1A10Z adapter provides the correct FFD for C-Mount lenses.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
USB3-MBA-118 Support Documentation
USB3-MBA-118USB 3.0 A to Micro B Cable, Length: 118" (3 m)
$38.69
Today
USB3-PCIE Support Documentation
USB3-PCIEUSB 3.0 PCI Express Expansion Card
$66.28
Today
CA3439 Support Documentation
CA3439RG-174 Coaxial Cable, MMCX Male to SMA Male, 1 m (39")
$28.00
Today
CA3339 Support Documentation
CA3339RG-174 Coaxial Cable, MMCX Male to BNC Male, 1 m (39")
$26.00
Today
SM1A10 Support Documentation
SM1A10Adapter with External SM1 Threads and Internal C-Mount Threads
$20.78
Today
SM1A10Z Support Documentation
SM1A10ZAdapter with External SM1 Threads and Internal C-Mount Threads, 9.1 mm Spacer
$24.00
Today
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