The Weather-proof ADC

Ideal for Manned Aircraft


Note: This product is no longer in production.




Ground Resolution and Field of View

System Controls and Connections

Camera Triggering

System Contents

System Availability


System Features and Specifications

Additional Reference Information

Image Example





    Click on the Appropriate Icon Above to View Detailed Notes

    on that System.  Scroll down to View Notes on the ADC Air




The ADC Air is a ruggedized single sensor digital multi-spectral camera designed and optimized for capture of visible light wavelengths longer than 520nm and near-infrared wavelengths up to 920nm. Like the ADC, the primary use of this product is for frequencies of light reflected and absorbed by crop canopies and vegetation. When the ADC Air's output is fed into the accompanying PixelWrench2 image software, stress factors and the overall health of the photographed vegetation may be determined.

Unlike the ADC, the Air version is weather-tight and fully protected for harsh environments. All in-flight control is able to be accomplished through a single cable. Weather sealed doors and a screw-on lens hood allow full access to camera connectors, lens and CF card when out of the weather. This is the preferred camera for external mounting on manned aircraft. The ADC Air is also an ideal solution for long term vegetation studies in static ground-based installations.




ADC Air (with 8.0 mm Lens)

Ground Resolution & FOV Examples


The ADC Air'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 altitude 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!  Refer to our Multispectral Crop and Application Database or Selected Readings for descriptions of example applications.
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 (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 Connections and Controls

  ADC Air System Menus

The button atop the ADC Air acts as a shutter release triggering image capture when it is depressed.  User control of the ADC Air is accomplished through hierarchical system menus such as the one shown at left. These are accessible 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.  Check out the User Manual below for precise descriptions of the system menus and all other controls and connections in the ADC.


ADC  Air Connections

Power:  The ADC Air obtains its power from a 12 VDC external power supply provided with the unit.  This plugs into the 12V power input below a weather-sealed access cover on the side of the chassis.  

Trigger:  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 Air may also be triggered in a variety of other ways (see below).

RS232:  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. 

USB:  Below the RS232 connector, the USB connector provides a link to host computers. PixelWrench2 can process images accessed via this link.  In manned aircraft, Tetracam's optional SensorLink GPS waypoint triggering application enables camera triggering at pre-defined waypoints via the USB interface.

Video Out: The camera contains a Video Out connector that may be used to output system menus, the camera's current view or captured images to a remote receiver via a wire or telemetry.

Multi-I/O Connector:  The ADC Air also contains a Multi-I/O connector on the rear of the unit.  This provides a link to an optional ADC/MCA Controller Box.  The ADC/MCA Controller Box enables ADC Air users to remotely control the camera.

ADC/MCA Controller Box -The optional ADC/MCA Controller Box (shown at right) contains buttons that enable the user to manually scroll up and down through system menus, pick a selection or take a picture.  The box also contains an RS232 connector and Video Out connector that are linked to the camera through the Multi-I/O Connector.  These links simplify cabling when the ADC Air is used in a manned aircraft.  The ADC/MCA Box comes standard with a six foot (1.8288 m) Hirose cable but longer cables are available upon request.


Information on the ADC Air's Multi-IO Hirose circular connector and the cables that may be connected to it are shown on our web site here.

Standard System Contents


System Contents Includes:

System Includes:
ADC Air Camera
2GB Certified CF card
8.0 mm "C" mount lens
Rugged Pelican Carrying Case
12 VDC external power supply
External power cable (un-terminated on one end)
External Trigger Cable (un-terminated on one end)
USB Cable
White Teflon Calibration Plate (AKA Calibration tag or Software Calibration Tile)
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:  

  List of files on included CD:

Features and Specifications

  Features   Specifications  
  • High resolution and precise spectral accuracy

  • Simple operation and control
  • Weather-tight and fully protected for harsh environments

  • Recommended system for carrying aboard manned aircraft

  • 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

  • User interchangeable optics

  • The optional SensorLink GPS waypoint triggering
    application enables camera triggering at pre-defined

  • Uses standard Compact Flash Memory cards (standard = 2 GB Optional = up to 256 GB)
  • Multiple Camera Triggering Methods

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

    • Auto-Timer: The ADC Air 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.

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

    • 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.

    • Remote Shutter Release: The ADC Air's optional ADC/MCA Controller Box enables users to manually trigger the camera by pushing a button at the desired moment.     

    • RS-232 Triggering:  The camera may be commanded to trigger by receiving an <ESC> T command via its RS232 serial interface on the ADC Air's optional ADC/MCA Controller Box (see above).  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.

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

  • Superior Low Noise Image Sensor

  • 3.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor (2048 x 1536 pixels)

  • Green, Red and NIR sensitivity with bands approximately equal to TM2, TM3 and TM4.

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

  • Tough CNC machined aluminum housing.

  • Camera body CS lens mount system with C mount adapter is compatible with thousands of available lenses.

  • Camera supplied with a 8.0 mm lens
    Optional 4.5 - 12 mm varifocal lens also available.

  • USB interface

  • Multi-pin I/O connector for use with Tetracam ADC/MCA Controller Box

  • 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


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


  • Power Consumption
    Two watts nominal

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

  • Data Interface:
    USB 1.1

  • Environmental -  Note: the camera will operate outside of the recommended environmental range, however performance may be degraded.

    • Temperature
      0 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit) 

    • Humidity
      Less than 85% relative humidity, non-condensing    

  • Dimensions:
    5.4 in. x 3.5 in. x 3.2 in. (137 mm x 90 mm x 80 mm) with lens hood in place (see link below to drawings)

  • Weight
    22 oz. (630 gr.) without multi-I/O cable

  • Mount:
    Two 1/4-20 UNC X .28 sockets on bottom of camera; .650" from back of camera and 1.325" from each side


Additional ADC Air Reference Information


Note:  All data shown in the printed reference materials linked below are subject to obsolescence prior to posting of new printed materials.  If discrepancies exists between data shown in these reference materials or between data shown in these materials and data shown on our web site,  please send email to for clarification.


Download the ADC-Air Brochure (2.42MB)

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 Air CAD Drawings

ADC - Users Manual (1.04 MB - pdf)

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


Tetracam Warranty Card


Example ADC Air Multispectral Image



Aerial Crop Photo taken with ADC Air