3 Essentials For Proper CCD/CMOS Camera & Lens Compatibility

Before you jump on the ladder to start installing your new security system, let’s rewind back to the design and specification requirements stage to be sure the components spec’ed in are compatible. Even more specifically, back to when you were thinking about your imaging device and power requirements.

Did you make sure to consider:

  1. CCD/CMOS sensor size
  2. Lens format /type
  3. Proper power supply

These are the 3 essential items you will need to consider to maximize the efficiency between your imaging components for optimal resolution quality. This article is designed to help you understand hardware compatibility as it relates to CCD/CMOS cameras and identify what goes, with what..

We are not going through the thousands of cameras, lenses and power supply units on the market, because we all know Watec makes the only ones you’ll ever need.. (a little humor..) 🙂 Back to it! Let’s just take a look at what you need to consider that’ll make the 3 essentials, all play nicely together.

  1. Camera Sensor Size: Once you’ve decided which video platform (digital or analog, color, b/w or d/n) is best for your application, you have to pay attention to the CCD or CMOS size.
    1. Most common CCD & CMOS Sizes: 1/2″, 1/2.8″, 1/2.7″ 1/3″ or 1/4″

  2. Lens Format Size Compatibility: It is paramount that you match the lens optic format size to the camera sensor: i.e. 1/2″ formatted sensor with 1/2″ formatted lens, 1/3″ with a 1/3″ and so on. Now that’s not to say you can’t use a larger formatted lens with a smaller formatted sensor, which you most definitely can do without certain areas of the image being lost, bent or blurred out. But be aware that your angle of view (AOV) and field of view (FOV) are going to change with the smaller formatted sensors. Where you start to lose image quality is when you take a 1/3″ formatted lens and pair it with a 1/2″ formatted sensor; what you get is vignetting. (pronounced: vin-yetting)
    1. Lens Mount: There are 3 main lens mount options:
      • CS Mount: Most standard CCD/CMOS cameras are either C or CS mount style. Your camera will identify the required lens type. Good news is, a CS mount style camera can be made adapted to accept both C or CS mount style lenses. If CS is the standard mount on your camera, by using a CS to C mount adaptor (34CMA-R mount) you can use your C-mount lenses on your CS mount camera. Furthermore and in some cases, like that found in most Watec cameras, you can even adapt the smaller S-mount lenses to your full body camera with the easy removal of the CS-mount and insertion of a miniature lens mount adapter.
      • C-Mount: If you have a C-mount formatted camera, you must use C-mount formatted lenses ONLY
      • S-Mount: These are typically M12 (diameter of the threading on the lens) by 0.5mm pitch and this is the thread pitch of the threads that are used to screw into the front of the camera mount. Most common in board level cameras.
    2. Iris Types: there are 3 most common types
      • DC Auto Iris Lenses: Most common type and most affordable. This type plugs into the camera from the lens and automatically adjusts the iris leafs to accommodate for the differences in lighting. In this case, you will need to turn off any shutter setting preferences on the camera so the lens can function at maximum efficiency. Uses the DC signal
      • Video Auto Iris Lenses: Not so common anymore, little more expensive, but “cleanest” in terms of video image reproduction quality. This type plugs into the camera from the lens  and automatically adjusts the iris leafs to accommodate for the differences in lighting. Just like with the DC iris type, you should turn off any shutter setting preferences on the camera so the lens can function at maximum efficiency. Uses the video signal to operate.
      • Manual Iris Lenses: Any C or CS mount camera will accept this type and it does not require a plugin to the camera. You adjust the iris leafs manually to compensate for lighting environment.

  3. Power Supply: There are 4 typical power voltages and 2 current types to consider, but will be determined by the camera and then application. You need to know distance from power supply to the camera as voltage drops over distance, required voltage specified by the camera maker and draw (milliamps mA or amps). Most security cameras work in the mA world which keeps you in the low voltage side of life.
    1. AC or DC
      • AC: most common 24VAC
      • DC
        • 6VDC
        • 9VDC
        • 12VDC
        • Some cameras will accept a range from 5-16volts, but make sure this is case when spec’ing your power supply.

A Little More On The Topic:

I’d like to add that if you’re going to invest in a quality camera, do the same for your optics. More often then not, customers invest deeply into their cameras and look to cut spending to a 1/4 of the price (or more!) for their optics.. Then blame the poor image quality on the camera… come’on.. REALLY..? Yipper! It happens AAAALLLLL the time. $2000 on an HD camera and $125 on an SD lens made with REAL plastic optics.. Yup that’s right, plastic not glass. I’m not knocking the plastic optics, but not with a 2 or 3 megapixel camera. If you’re looking to put the money into the camera, I’d like to respectfully suggest you do the same when choosing your lens. Last but not least, be sure to check with the camera manufacturer as to their warranty requirements regarding power supplies as most camera makers have approved power units that have been qualified for use with their product. Anything used other than the approved units, may void warranty.

That’s all I have for ya this time. Thanks for reading and looking forward to any comments on the article!

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