Tetracam's Micro-Miniature

Multiple Camera Array System


PixelWrench2 & MCAs 

Micro-MCA System Versions 

Sensors and Filters 

Recommendations for Band Pass Filter Selection


Ground Resolution and Field of View 

System Controls and Connections

Micro-MCA Image Memories

Micro-MCA Native Image File Formats

Micro-MCA micro SD Image Memory Card Locations

Camera Triggering

System Contents

System Options

System Availability

System Features and Specifications

Additional Reference Information

Mechanical Drawings and Photos

Firmware Updates


Macaw Macaw Thermal Auk Hawk ILS ADC Micro ADC Snap Single Band/UV -MCA RGB+3


    Click on the Appropriate Icon Above to View Detailed Notes

    on that System.  Scroll down to View Notes on the Micro-MCA






The Micro-MCA is the latest incarnation of Tetracam's two decade old line of MCA (Multiple Camera Array) multi-spectral imaging systems.   Throughout the years, Tetracam's MCA systems have been a consistent choice among remote sensing professionals around the world.  This is due to the user-configurable bands of radiation they are able to sense and the high-resolution multi-spectral images they are able to deliver.  Today's Micro-MCA is lighter, more compact and faster than the company's market-leading Mini-MCA that immediately preceded the current system. 

The Micro-MCA is available in two versions, an economically-priced standard Micro-MCA system and a Micro-MCA Snap system.  The latter comes with cameras equipped with lightning-quick global snap sensors, specifically designed for gathering distinct, distortion-free, stop-action imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles flying low and fast over forests or farmland.

Both the standard Micro-MCA and Micro-MCA Snap systems are provided with 16 GB micro SD memories rather than the 2GB compact flash memories supplied with Mini-MCAs.  The larger memories enable users to collect up to 12,000 images from each camera in the array during any single remote sensing mission.   

Both systems are also delivered with an enhanced USB 2.0 interface.  This provides the principal conduit for moving images out of the system's cameras for processing.  The USB 2.0 interface supplied with the Micro-MCA and Micro-MCA Snap provides data transfer rates that are ten times faster than the USB interface supplied with the Mini-MCA. 




Like the Mini-MCA, the Micro-MCA and Micro-MCA Snap systems are available in three models, one with an array of four cameras, one with six and one with twelve separate cameras.  Each down-facing camera in the array is precisely synchronized with the other cameras so that each is able to capture the exact same scene at the exact same instant in time.  Each camera is registered with the other cameras in the array with sub-pixel accuracy so all of the images are in perfect alignment.

Each of the system's cameras contain a customer-specified narrow-band filter that is inserted between the lens and sensor.  With each exposure, 4, 6, or 12 separate bands of visible or near-infrared radiation move through each lens and filter to form a separate monochromatic image on each sensor.  The images are simultaneously transferred from each sensor to each camera's image memory for later processing by the user.






PixelWrench2 & MCAs

PixelWrench2, the software included with each system, manages the transfer of images from the system's cameras to the host computer via the included GPS Log Distiller utility.  The software itself provides standard image editing features; it allows precise geo-tagging of each image with GPS coordinates; as well, it manages conversion of the camera's native file formats into more common formats such as BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc.  

When used to process images captured by Tetracam's MCA systems, PixelWrench2 helps users interpret vegetation properties revealed by the captured images. For example, PixelWrench2 is able to extract vegetation indices such as NDVI and SAVI from captured bands of radiation and graphically represent the result using user-defined colors (see examples at right).  This simplifies the process of interpreting the properties revealed by each index.

The software also enables users to save multiple TIF image files as a single page multi-layered TIF image of any bit depth (usable by GIS applications).  Mousing over any pixel in the multi-layer TIF image enables users to view a graph that shows the luminance level from each band at that pixel location.  This enables users to differentiate plant species or recognize other plant, soil or chemical conditions that are, in each case, able to be identified by their unique spectral signature (see example below). 


PixelWrench2 Enables Users to Spot Unique Spectral Signatures





PixelWrench2 Graphically Represents Vegetation Indices

The three pictures above show a 150 hectare wheat field. The left-most picture is a composite image made using filters with center wavelength values of 810nm, 740nm and 690nm.  The middle image shows Biomass based on NDVI.  The right-most image shows nitrogen content based on the TCARI/OSAVI index, an advanced vegetation index using filters with center wavelength values of 550nm, 660nm, 740nm and 810nm.


                                                             - Photos courtesy of Aurea Imaging - Argentina












System Versions


Micro-MCA systems are available in two versions, a standard Micro-MCA system and a Micro-MCA Snap system. Both versions are available in arrays of 4, 6 or 12 cameras.  Micro-MCA systems are identified respectively as the Micro-MCA4, Micro-MCA6 and the Micro-MCA12. Micro-MCA Snap systems are identified respectively as the Micro-MCA4 Snap, Micro-MCA6 Snap and the Micro-MCA12 Snap. Physically, the two versions are essentially identical.  Each model with a comparable camera count looks the same as the other. Each shares the same type of interfacing and same basic modes of operation.  However, the two systems differ in the type of sensors they employ.  

Micro-MCA cameras use rolling shutter sensors. When a standard Micro-MCA system receives a request to capture an image, the sensors in each camera scan the image, line-by-line, top to bottom. Rolling shutter sensors are less expensive and suitable for fixed installations or applications where motion is modest such as aboard a manned fixed wing aircraft at altitudes greater than 2,500 feet AGL, or on a slow, very stable UAV platform.

Micro-MCA Snap system sensors expose the entire image at the same instant in time. This allows images to be captured free of motion blur and other distortions. Micro-MCA Snap systems enable pictures to be taken at lower altitudes and/or higher speeds than those captured by standard Micro-MCA systems. Micro-MCA Snap system are preferred for use where reducing motion artifacts is essential such as in manned aircraft at altitudes lower than about 2,500 feet, or for use in faster and less stable UAV platforms. Because the two models are physically and in most functional ways identical, all references to the Micro-MCA  shown on this web page and in the Micro-MCA user manual refer to both the Standard and Snap systems unless otherwise noted.







Micro-MCA Sensors and Filters

The cameras in both the Micro-MCA and Micro-MCA Snap system arrays represent optical channels that gather multi-spectral information on a pixel-by-pixel basis for later processing by system software.  Each camera consists of a lens, filter, and sensor.  Users select the filters that they insert between the lens and the sensor in order to restrict the radiation that contacts the sensor to a narrow band of wavelengths. The combination of filters selected by the user enables the system to sense a unique spectral signature that identifies one or more plants, plant conditions or other compounds.  Also, because Micro-MCA filters may be replaced by users in the field, these systems may be re-purposed again and again to detect different wavelengths at different times for different purposes.  

The sensors in both the Micro-MCA and Micro-MCA Snap systems are 1.3 mega-pixel CMOS sensors.  These provide images made up of 1280 X 1024 pixels.  Images may be configured via the system menu to sub-sample the image at smaller sizes (1024 x 768 or 640 x 512) in order to reduce the time interval required by the camera to capture successive images.

The Micro-MCA image sensor's output is optimized for receipt of wavelengths at approximately 800nm dropping in a smooth curve to 20% peak output at 450 nm in the visible spectrum and 1000 nm in the near-infrared at the limits of its range.  A graph of the sensitivity of the camera's image sensor to impinging radiation is shown below. 

The Snap image sensor's output is optimized for receipt of wavelengths at approximately 650 nm.  It has a high output response at 400 nm at the low end of the visible spectrum and provides good response into the near-infrared at the limits of its range.  A graph of the sensitivity of the Snap image sensor is shown below. 

By choosing a specific narrow band optical filter that is within the sensor's range to place in front of each channel's sensor, the radiation that is able to reach each sensor may be restricted to a specific narrow band of wavelengths.  In this way, specific filter combinations may be selected that allow the Micro-MCA to expose a variety of plant conditions identifiable by their unique spectral signature.  For example, if the spectral response of various plants are known in the region of the spectrum monitored by the Micro-MCA, filters may be selected that will help differentiate one species from another (see graphic below).  This requires the user to know which filters to select in advance in order to expose the sought-after differences.  Note:  For an excellent resource on spectral signatures of vegetation, reference "Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation" by Dr. Prasad Thenkabail, et al. available from Tetracam.  Other references may be found on our web site in our Multispectral Crop and Application Database.

Alternatively, the Micro-MCA may be set up to monitor specific bands of wavelengths from which vegetation indices may be extracted.  These provide information needed for extraction of NDVI, SAVI and other indices as well as information that is able to be deduced from these The band pass filters provided with the unit are customer designated at the time of order. These may be easily changed in the field in order to re-configure the system to look for different spectra to expose different conditions.  Standard filters (shown below) are included in the price of each system.  Alternative special or custom band pass filters are available upon request with prices provided via a quotation.  Additional information regarding band pass filter selection is available here.


Micro-MCA Lenses


Micro-MCA cameras use fixed 9.6 mm x-mount lenses.  Due to the physical constraints inside each camera, these are not interchangeable with lenses that have different focal lengths.  Micro-MCA lenses are set up at the factory to be in focus from approximately ten feet (3 meters) to infinity. Tetracam supplies an MCA alignment file with each Micro-MCA. This provides registration alignment information which the Micro-MCA uses to align its cameras. The factory sets this up based on perfect registration at infinity (which occurs at some hundreds of meters). 


PixelWrench2 contains a Field of View or FOV utility. In this, users enter the distance between the camera and the target. When processing images, PixelWrench2 can be instructed to pick up the target distance based on the entries in the FOV utility. This supplies new values to the MCA alignment file which the Micro-MCA uses to correct the registration for the exact FOV-supplied distance.  


Tetracam Micro-MCA lenses have a maximum 2% barrel/pincushion distortion.  We offer a Camera Calibration Service that identifies lens distortions and provides a detailed report that photogrammatic aerial mapping software such as Icaros OneButton or Pix4Dmapper can use for optimizing the accuracy of its imagery.




Micro-MCA Ground Resolution and Field of View

The Micro-MCA's field of view (FOV) is laid out in a 4:3 format.  The horizontal angle of view for each Micro-MCA camera is 38.26 degrees.  The vertical angle of view is 30.97 degrees.  When carried in a manned or unmanned aircraft, the field of view of each camera increases as the system's above ground level (AGL) altitude increases. As the altitude increases, each camera's ability to resolve individual details on the ground decreases.   When flown at altitude of 400 feet above ground level, each Micro-MCA channel creates an image large enough to capture nearly one and one-half acres at a resolution of approximately two and a half inches per pixel in a single shot.    See chart below for example ground resolution and FOV when the camera array is flown at various altitudes.  PixelWrench2 contains a FOV Optical Calculator for determining FOV and ground resolution at any altitude.


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 all Micro-MCA cameras) using the current values for the Micro-MCA camera shown below: 

Sensor Dimensions (mm):  6.66 x 5.32

Pixel Size (microns): 5.2

Camera Lens Focal Length (mm):  9.6

122 m (~ 400 ft)


84 x 67

213.4 m (~ 700 ft)


148 x 118

365.8 m (~ 1200 ft)


254 x 203

915 m (~ 3000 ft)


635 x 508

Note: In order to view a larger composite image of an area of interest, users may purchase third party software that stitches multi-spectral images of adjacent areas captured by a Tetracam system together into a larger image mosaic.  For information on such software, please send us email.


Micro-MCA System Controls and Connections


System Control Panel

The Micro-MCA system hardware is housed within a rugged sheet metal assembly.  The Micro-MCA is designed for use in aerial manned and unmanned aerial photographic missions. The unit weighs 20% less than the earlier Mini-MCA. Its interface is optimized to accommodate aerial missions.  In the air, system operation is generally performed by remote commands but the unit contains System Control Buttons for testing and configuration on the ground.  








System Control Buttons - The System Control Buttons are readily accessible on a raised plate located on top of the system opposite its down-facing cameras.  From right to left, the first button enables the user to manually take a picture.  The next three buttons to the left enable users to move up or down through menu selections or to select an entry in the System Menu.  The System Menu may be viewed by monitoring the video signal on the unit's Video Out port (see below). 



System Menu - User control of the Micro-MCA is accomplished through hierarchical system menus such as the one shown at left.  The system menus may also be accessed via the system software (PixelWrench2) running on a Windows computer connected to the Micro-MCA through its USB 2.0 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 (viewable via the link below) for precise descriptions of the system menus.


System Connectors - To the right of the System Control Buttons are discrete connectors and a Multi-function I/O connector.  All of the signals on the discrete connectors, including power, are available on the multifunction connector. In the discussion of interconnection signals that follows, the signals may be found on the multifunction connector, and also on the separate connectors.

Status LED - The Status LED indicates whether the system is ready or not ready to take a new picture.  When the Status LED is green, the system is ready to take a new picture.  When the Status LED is red, the camera is busy capturing and saving images. After saving images, this LED returns to green indicating the camera is ready to capture a new picture.


Power - The right-most of the system connectors is the Micro-MCA power supply input. The Micro-MCA contains a switching power supply so it is able to handle a variety of voltage input levels. The unit runs nominally on +12 VDC external power but can handle input voltages between +9.0 VDC and +16.5 VDC. The power connectors are center positive

Serial Port To the immediate left of the Power input is the RS232 Serial port.  This is used for connecting an optional GPS receiver or for sending serial commands to the camera from auxiliary devices such as a BlueTooth transmitter/receiver. The connector is a 3.5mm stereo phone with plug tip, ring and sleeve carrying camera receive, camera transmit, and ground, respectively.

Video Out To the left of the Serial Port is the video signal output.  Video on this port is configurable.  The Video Out Port is able to act as the Master camera's viewfinder, displaying the image in the view by the Master camera, or it is able to display the System Menu.  Video is presented in NTSC format at 30 fps.

Multi-function I/O This 16-pin circular connector carries signals to enable viewing video, navigating the menu, taking pictures, and connecting GPS.  The 15-pin functions of the Multi I/O Connector are as follows:

1. Power                                                                                               

2, 3, 4 & 5. MENU/SELECT, UP, DOWN, and TAKE PIC buttons, respectively. Momentarily short to ground for button activation.          

6. power switch / external event trigger                                             

7. RS-232 Transmit (GPS)                                                                 

8. RS-232 Receive (GPS)                                                                  

9. Red LED: logic high when camera is busy                                  

10. Green LED: logic high when camera is on / idle                        

11. (NC)                                                                                          

12, 13. NTSC video signal and ground, respectively            

14. 3.3 V (logic high)                                                                        

15. Ground                                                                                        

16. (NC)     



USB Connector The USB 2.0 data connector is located on the right side of the unit (to the right of the Power connector).  This connector provides the path that is used to transfer images between the camera and a Windows-based host computer following completion of imaging missions. 


Able to transfer data at a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbps or 60 Megabytes per second, the system's enhanced USB 2.0 interface is ten faster than the USB interface offered with previous versions of MCA systems.  Image memories may be removed from their sockets which are accessible to the right of the USB Connector.





Six Pack micro SD Memory Reader (Micro-MCA System Accessory) In order to further speed image transfer during remote sensing missions, the Micro-MCA is available with a Six Pack micro SD Memory Reader.  This system accessory enables users to physically transfer the 16 GB micro SD image memories from a Micro-MCA system over to the Six Pack.  In this way, a new aerial mission need not be delayed while images are processed by PixelWrench2 in the host computer. The Six Pack has an extension socket for "Daisy Chaining" another Six Pack. This is necessary when using two Six Packs with a Micro-MCA12 system. 


e-ILS Connector (Micro-MCA System Accessory) The connector at the rear of the Micro-MCA enables the system to be connected to an electronic Incident Light Sensor via an umbilical cable.  The cable may be up to 7 meters in length.  This carries power, ground and a serial trigger signal between the system and the e-ILS.  The e-ILS captures down-welling radiation at the same wavelengths as those reflected up to the Micro-MCA.  This enables PixelWrench2 to represent each pixel in every image in terms of its reflectance value (i.e., the fraction of incident radiation reflected back to each camera from the ground).

Micro-MCA Image Memories


The Micro-MCA employs one 16 GB Micro-SD Card for each one of its optical channels. The image memory stores images in the system's native image file formats as they are acquired during imaging missions. When images are transferred from each sensor to each image memory, the system's Status LED turns from green to red signaling that the system is busy and unable to capture additional images. The image memory also stores GPS coordinates that are streamed to the system from an optional external GPS receiver. Upon completion of each mission, the content of each image memory is transferred to the host computer for processing by PixelWrench2. The unit's power should always be turned off when the system's image memory cards are removed or replaced.


Micro-MCA Native Image File Formats


The native image that is captured on each Micro-MCA sensor and stored in each camera's micro SD image memory is made up of 1280 x 1024 pixels (1.3 MPel).  Each pixel contains 8 or 10 bits of data depending upon the file format selected by the user.

In total, with each exposure the Micro-MCA4 captures 5.2 Megapixels (4 X 1.3 MPel) of image data on four separate sensors and passes this to four separate image memory cards. Each card stores a separate band of radiation.  The Micro-MCA6 captures 7.8 Megapixels   (6 X 1.3 MPel) of image data and passes this to six separate image memory cards.   The Micro-MCA12 captures 15.6 Megapixels  (12 X 1.3 MPel) of image data and passes this to twelve separate image memory cards. 

Since each image is stored with metadata that identifies ancillary information such as the GPS coordinates where the image was captured, the Micro-MCA's four, six or twelve 16 GB micro SD memory cards are able to store up to 12000 images per channel.  Higher image counts are possible when larger image memory cards are inserted into the Micro-MCA in place of the standard 16 GB micro SD cards included with the system.  The Micro-MCA and Micro-MCA Snap systems save images in the following native image formats selectable via the system menu. 

The Micro-MCA's native file formats are:

  • 10-Bit .RAW file format
  • 8-Bit .RAW file format
  • DCM Compressed file format

The Micro-MCA Snap can save files in the same formats as the standard system plus one additional native file formats:

  • 10-Bit .RWS file format

The 10-Bit RAW file format provides the highest rate of capture, at about one picture per second. The speed depends in part on the features of the micro SD card. For users who want to use less storage, the 8 bit RAW format is the next fastest. The RAW files are quite large - 6 megabytes for the10 bit format and 3 megabytes for the 8 bit format. Compression (DCM format) cuts the size of the files in half, but takes longer to capture. Besides the smaller file size, another advantage of the DCM format is that the files contain previews that speed up the image access speed using PW2. 

Micro-MCA Snap system users can choose to save files in two additional native formats that enhance image quality and eliminate noise.  .RWS is the Micro-MCA Snap variant of the .RAW files saved by the Micro-MCA.  Due to the additional processing that occurs, saving images in the .RWS native format extends the interval required between successive exposures.  Once processed, all native image file formats may be translated via PixelWrench2 into other common image file types such as BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc.



Micro-MCA micro SD Image Memory Card Locations

Access to the micro SD image memory cards is provided on the left and right sides of the system. Each micro SD card stores images captured from one camera in the array. The system's Master micro SD card and the micro SD card for Slave #1 are located on upper-most circuit card assembly. Also accessible here are circuit card assemblies below the Master. These hold the balance of odd-numbered slave micro SD Cards. These are numbered from top to bottom: Slave # 3 (for all systems); Slave # 5 (for the pictured Micro-MCA6 and Micro-MCA12) and Slave #'s 7, 9 and 11 (for the Micro-MCA12). On the left side of the unit (not pictured), access is provided to the system's even-numbered slave micro SD Cards. These are numbered from top to bottom; Slave # 2 (for all systems); Slave # 4 (for the Micro--MCA6 and Micro--MCA12), and Slave #'s 6, 8 and 10 (for the Micro-MCA12). These store captured images for each of the system's 4, 6 or 12 optical channels.  



Micro-MCA Camera Triggering

One of the cameras in each Micro-MCA system array is designated as the Master camera.  The balance are designated as slave cameras.  The Master camera sets the base exposure time for all of the other cameras.  The Master outputs its video to the Micro-MCA video output port.  And, it is the Master that signals all of the other cameras in the array to began exposing their sensors to incoming radiation in response to any one of four different input camera triggers.  

Micro-MCA Camera Triggering may be accomplished by any one of the following methods:

Manual Triggering - Images may be captured manually by depressing the Take Picture button (fourth to the right) on the System Control Panel.

Auto-Timer - Images may be automatically captured at intervals specified via the system menu. Press the Take Picture button or trigger the system via one of the methods below to begin continuously capturing images.  The system stops automatically capturing images when the Take Picture button is again depressed or system receives another remote or serial port trigger command.

Remote Shutter (External Trigger) - If the system contains an autopilot that has a programmable port, then the aircraft's autopilot may be set up with the waypoints where you want the system to capture images. The camera may be triggered at each waypoint by programming the autopilot's port to momentarily output a low logic level (ground) as it reaches each waypoint. Connect the autopilot's port to Pin 5 (TAKE PIC) on the Multi-I/O Control Cable. At each waypoint, the grounded TAKE PIC signal line will trigger the system to capture images.

In order to record the GPS locations where images are captured an external GPS system such as Tetracam's 'plug and play' FirePoint' GPS Navigation System may be connected to the Micro-MCA by using the Multi-I/O Control Cable. Connect the GPS system's RS232 Transmit signal line to the RS232 Receive Pin (Pin 8). Connect the GPS system's RS232 Receive signal line to the RS232 Transmit Pin (Pin 7).  Consult the GPS Option Installation instructions in the User Manual regarding GPS configuration if further information is required.

Triggering via the Serial Port - The Micro-MCA system may alternatively be triggered at specific locations by sending an <ESC> T command to the system via Pins 7 and 8 (RS232 Transmit and Receive) using the Multi-I/O Control Cable (Consult the section entitled Tetracam RS232 Serial Control Commands  in the User Manual). This is the method that is employed by the Tetracam Wireless Camera Interface. In this, an Android tablet or cell phone is inserted into the aircraft. The Android uses the free Tetracam S-Link App to calculate waypoints and the Android's own BlueTooth interface to trigger the camera at each waypoint.

Micro-MCA System Contents


The Micro-MCA4 System Includes:

4 channel Micro MCA camera
4 ea. 16 GB Micro SD Memory Cards
4 ea. 9.6 mm lenses

4 ea. 1.3 MB image sensors (5.2 MB total)


4 ea. Standard Bandpass Filter Set 
- 490FS10-25
- 550FS10-25
- 680FS10-25
- 800FS10-25






Plus one each of the following:

12 VDC external power supply
System CD with PixelWrench2 software (PW2)
4.3" LCD video monitor with a power supply and 6' video cable
Rugged Pelican Carrying Case
USB Cable
Power Cord (un-terminated on one end)
White Teflon Calibration Plate (AKA Calibration tag or Software Calibration Tile)



The Micro-MCA6 System Includes:

6 channel Micro MCA camera
6 ea. 16 GB Micro SD Memory Cards
6 ea. 9.6 mm lenses
6 ea. 1.3 MB image sensors (7.8 MB total)

6 ea. Standard Bandpass Filter Set
- 490FS10-25
- 550FS10-25
- 680FS10-25
- 720FS10-25
- 800FS10-25
- 900FS20-25




Plus one each of the following:

12 VDC external power supply
System CD with PixelWrench2 software (PW2)
4.3" LCD video monitor with a power supply and 6' video cable
Rugged Pelican Carrying Case
USB Cable
Power Cord (un-terminated on one end)
White Teflon Calibration Plate (AKA Calibration tag or Software Calibration Tile)


  The Micro-MCA12 System Includes:

12 channel Micro MCA camera
12 ea. 16 GB Micro SD Memory Cards
12 ea. 9.6 mm lenses
12 ea. 1.3 MB image sensors (15.6 MB total)

12 ea. Bandpass Filter Set
- 490FS10-25
- 520FS10-25
- 550FS10-25

- 570FS10-25

- 671FS10-25
- 680FS10-25
- 700FS10-25

- 720FS10-25
- 800FS10-25
- 840FS10-25
- 900FS20-25
- 950FS40-25



Plus one each of the following:

12 VDC external power supply
System CD with PixelWrench2 software (PW2)
4.3" LCD video monitor with a power supply and 6' video cable
Rugged Pelican Carrying Case
USB Cable
Power Cord (un-terminated on one end)
White Teflon Calibration Plate (AKA Calibration tag or Software Calibration Tile)



Alternative Band Pass Filters

Alternative band pass filters available upon request with quotation.  Additional information regarding band pass filter selection is available here. Thermal bands for Micro-MCA Snap systems are also available here.

Alternative Image Memories

Systems are provided with 16 GB Micro SD image memories (larger storage is available via quotation).

Other Options

 Other Options Commonly Purchased with this Product





Typical Availability: 4 to 6 weeks - Faster turn-around times are often possible so please contact us to confirm availability or to obtain more information regarding configuration options and pricing.


Summary of Micro-MCA System Features and Specifications










System Overview


5.2 to 15.6 MPel Configurable Camera Array of 4, 6 or 12 Multispectral channels (~450 to ~ 1000 nm) for Manned and Unmanned Aircraft








Micro-MCA System

Part Numbers


Micro-MCA 4: 

Micro-MCA 6:  









  4 multi-spectral Channels 

  6 multi-spectral Channels  

12 multi-spectral Channels



Micro-MCA Snap System

Part Numbers


Micro-MCA 4 Snap: 

Micro-MCA 6 Snap:  

Micro-MCA12 Snap:










  4 multi-spectral Snap Channels 

  6 multi-spectral Snap Channels  

12 multi-spectral Snap Channels



Default Ports:


USB 2.0 data connection, RS232 Serial, Video (NTSC or Pal), Remote Shutter (External Trigger)






Image Triggering


On-Camera Control Button, Auto-Timer,  Remote Shutter (External Trigger), , RS232 Serial Trigger








 Voltage Input


+ 9 VDC to + 16.5 VDC Center Positive




 Typical Current Draw


Micro-MCA4 -   520 milliamps

Micro-MCA6 -   820 milliamps

Micro-MCA12 - 1650 milliamps

Micro-MCA4 Snap -   520 milliamps

Micro-MCA6 Snap -   820 milliamps

Micro-MCA12 Snap - 1650 milliamps
























1.3 mega-pixel CMOS sensor (1280 X 1024 pixels)


 Micro-MCA - Rolling shutter sensor

Micro-MCA Snap -   Global shutter sensor




6.66 mm x 5.32 mm

  Quantity per system


4, 6 or 12 per system




~450 nm to ~ 1000 nm






6.66 mm x 5.32 mm


  Pixel Size


Standard: 5.2 microns (0.0052 mm)
Snap: 4.8 microns (0.0048 mm)








Each system holds 4, 6, or 12 user-selectable field-changeable 25 mm standard narrowband spectrometer filters (1 per channel in bandwidth increments > 1 nm).  Typical bandwidth increments equal 10 nm.


Micro-MCA filters are customer designated at the time of order.  These filters may be replaced by the user in the field with standard 25mm spectrometer filters in order to re-task the system with the following limitations.  Since wavelength impacts focus, a replacement filter should only replace a filter that is near the wavelength of the filter originally installed in the system in that channel position.  In the visible spectrum, replacing a filter with a new one that is within 50 nm of the original is acceptable.  Beyond 700 nm, replacement filters should be within 25 nm of the original.  Replacement of filters beyond this range requires factory re-focusing of the unit.   Consult the MCA User Manual linked below for further details on filter replacement.  Additional information on filter selection is available here.

















  Focal Length


9.6 mm fixed lens



















Horizontal Angle of View


38.26 degrees


Consult FOV calculator in PixelWrench2 - See also FOV Android APP



Vertical Angle of View


30.97 degrees


Consult FOV calculator in PixelWrench2 - See also FOV Android APP



Default Depth of Field


~2 m to infinity


Consult FOV calculator in PixelWrench2 - See also FOV Android APP



Image Exposure time


Auto or menu-selectable in ms





Default Image Dimensions


1280 x 1024 pixels (1.3 MPel)


Micro-MCA image size may be adjusted to alternate image size (1024 x 768) via menu selection




Default Image Storage


Images with metadata are stored on 16 GB micro SF memories (1 per channel) 



The Micro-MCA stores all images and image logs on standard micro SD memory cards (16 GB storage per channel is included with the system)

Image File Formats Images are initially saved in Tetracam native file formats.

The Micro-MCA's native file formats are:

  • 10-Bit .RAW file format
  • 8-Bit .RAW file format
  • 10-Bit .DCM Compressed file format

The Micro-MCA Snap's native file formats are:

  • 10-Bit .RWS file format
  • 8-Bit .RWS file format
  • 10-Bit .DCS Compressed file format

All of these formats are translatable via PixelWrench2 into standard image file types such as BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc.

  Typical Number of Images Captured Per Mission   Approximately 12000 images depending upon selected file type 


  Higher numbers of images may be captured per mission by substituting an optional larger micro SD memory card for the 16 GB card included with the equipment's standard contents.  


Image Capture Interval


Approximately 0.5 to 5.0 Seconds between consecutive images depending upon image format and resolution selected - 



For greater detail on this specification, See Interval Tables

Maximum Image Data Transfer Rate Via USB 2.0:  480 megabits per second (mbps) or 60 megabytes per second (MBps).


Included Software


PixelWrench2 is included with each purchase of any Micro-MCA


PixelWrench2 enables users to convert images captured in Tetracam native file formats to file types commonly used with other software such as multi-page TIFFS.  Users may mouse over each pixel in the image stack to view a spectral graph showing reflected radiation v. wavelength for each location on the ground.  The software also enables users to convert any three captured bands into red, green and blue enabling their presentation as a false color image and  extraction of vegetation indices such as NDVI from these.   See PixelWrench Product Web Page and the Help menu in the software for further details.





Micro-MCA4:   1.09 lbs.  (497  g)
Micro-MCA6:   1.16 lbs.  (530  g)
Micro-MCA12: 2.20 lbs. (1000 g)





Dimensions (mm)


Micro-MCA4:   115.6 x 80.3 x 68.1
Micro-MCA6:   115.6 x 80.3 x 68.1
Micro-MCA12: 115.6 x 155 x 68.1







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    




Additional Micro-MCA 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 sales@tetracam.com  for clarification.



Download the Micro-MCA Users Manual in PDF format (2.5 MB)


Download the Micro-MCA Users Manual in DOC format (4.6 MB)


Download the Micro-MCA6 Envelope Drawing in PDF format (117 KB)


Download the Micro-MCA6 CAD File in IGS format (7.6 MB)


Download the Micro-MCA CAD File in SolidWorks format - Not Available at this time


Download the Micro-MCA12 CAD File in IGS format (8.5 MB)


Download the Micro-MCA New Product Announcement


Download the Micro MCA FAQ


Tetracam Warranty Card




Micro-MCA Mechanical Drawings and Photos



Mechanical Drawings


Only the envelope drawing for the Micro-MCA6 is available at this time.  However, the width and height dimensions for each of the Micro-MCA systems are the same as those dimensions for Mini-MCAs.  Only the Z-axis dimension (from the top of the system to the bottom) has changed.  Since the Z-axis dimension is smaller and since the mounting holes for each system are located in the same front and back locations as Mini-MCA systems,  mounts designed for Mini-MCA systems should accommodate Micro-MCA systems without alteration.  The mechanical drawings for Mini-MCA systems are provided below for reference.




Low Resolution Examples of Mini-MCA6 Terrain Images (see Gallery for Originals)




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.