ADC Lite

Tetracam's Lightweight ADC

Ideal for Unmanned Aircraft


Call for Availability


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




Macaw ILS ADC Lite ADC Micro ADC Snap µ-MCA RGB+3 Single Band/UV Thermal IR


    Click on the Appropriate Icon Above to View Detailed Notes

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






The ADC Lite is a lightweight (7 ounce) version of our ADC Air Camera. This model's light weight qualifies it as an ideal solution for applications in which weight is a critical factor (such as on board small-payload-carrying unmanned aerial vehicles). The ADC Lite contains a single 3.2 megapixel sensor optimized for capture of visible light wavelengths longer than 520 nm and near-infrared wavelengths up to 920 nm.  

The camera and its accompanying software, PixelWrench2, are ideally suited for capturing and processing multi-spectral images of crops and forests and studying a variety of eco-systems.

PixelWrench2 provides color processing of Tetracam RAW and DCM files, complex batch processing tools, the ability to extract a variety of vegetation indices and a comprehensive suite of image editing tools.  Refer to our Multispectral Crop and Application Database or Selected Readings for descriptions of example applications.







ADC Lite (with 8.0 mm Lens)

Ground Resolution & FOV Examples

The ADC Lite'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! 

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 Controls and Connections

  ADC Lite Control

The ADC Lite is designed to maximize the endurance of small unmanned aircraft systems.  Consequently, the system omits the rear liquid crystal display and in-camera batteries of the ADC.  User control of the ADC Lite is accomplished through hierarchical system menus such as the one shown at left. These are accessible via the system software (PixelWrench2) running on a Windows computer connected to the camera through its USB interface. The system menus present users with a series of configuration choices.  Scrolling through and selecting these configures the camera.  The indented button atop the ADC Lite acts as a shutter release for the camera.

ADC Lite Connections

The ADC Lite's USB connector is located on the side of the unit.  To its left, the camera contains a Video Out connector. This may be used to output system menus, the camera's current view and status or captured images to a remote receiver via a wire or telemetry.  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 provided 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 Lite may also be triggered in a variety of other ways - see below.  In the lab, the ADC Lite obtains all of its power from an external 12VDC power supply supplied with the unit.  An un-terminated external power cable is also provided if power is to supplied from an unmanned aerial vehicle.  Unlike all of Tetracam's other camera models, only the ADC Lite lacks a Multi-IO connector (externally).  A Multi-IO jack is available inside the ADC Lite for custom applications.  Information on Tetracam Multi-IO connectors is shown on our web site here.    Check out the User Manual below for precise descriptions of all ADC Lite controls and connections.

Standard System Contents


System Contents Includes:

ADC Lite Camera
2GB CF memory 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:  


Features and 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

  • Ultra lightweight (7oz) composite housing ideal for UAV or    weight-critical applications

  • Remote power and display features for optimized
    placement on the remote vehicles

  • 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 waypoints

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

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

  • Multiple Camera Triggering Methods

    • Shutter Release:  A small button atop the ADC Lite may be depressed with a ball-point pen or similar device.  The button acts as a shutter release for the camera.

    • Auto-Timer: The ADC Lite  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. 

    • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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 lenses may be substituted

  • Only member of the ADC family lacking Multi-I/O connector

  • 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:
    4.5 in. x 3.0 in. x 0.87 in. (114 mm x 77 mm x 22 mm) without the 8.0 mm lens.
    4.5 in. x 3.0 in. x 2.38 in. (114 mm x 77 mm x 60.5 mm) with 8.0 mm lens.  (See link to drawings below)

  • Weight
    200 g. (7.0 oz.)

  • Mount:
    4 Shock mount attachment points


Additional ADC Lite 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-Lite Brochure (2.47 MB - pdf)

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 Lite CAD Drawings (pdf format)


Download the ADC Lite CAD Drawings (IGES format)


Download the ADC Lite CAD Drawings (Solidworks format)

ADC - Users Manual (1.04 MB - pdf)

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


Tetracam Warranty Card

Example ADC Lite Multispectral Image





Aerial Crop Photo taken with ADC Lite




Smart NDVI cameras are multispectral cameras for precision agriculture that can calculate vegetation indices and create false color NDVI images without the use of an image processing program accessory.

Precision Farming and Forestry need multispectral camera and NDVI camera images to create orthomosaic maps that allow interventions to be optimized. NDVI phenocameras that can perform time lapse photography are best for slow growing flora, while faster growing commercial harvests are best served by airborne NDVI mapping cameras.