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TetraCam Micro MCA 6SNAP Camara Digital Multi Spectral



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. 

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). 

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 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









System Overview


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









Micro-MCA System

Part Numbers


µ-MCA 4: 

µ-MCA 6:  









  4 multi-spectral Channels 

  6 multi-spectral Channels  

12 multi-spectral Channels



Micro-MCA Snap System

Part Numbers


µ-MCA 4 Snap: 

µ-MCA 6 Snap:  

µ-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


5.2 microns








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    



This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 19 June, 2016.
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