353 in a nutshell

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This page should give a very brief overview about all aspects of what the Elphel 353 camera is about.

Dimensions & Weight

Example: NC353L-10369-HDD with 10369 IO board and internal 1.8" HDD installed:


Dimensions without HDD: 116mm х 45mm х 45mm

NC353L Weight: 150 - 215g (depending on installed internal hardware, excluding HDD)


Example: NC353L-10369-HDD with 10369 IO board and internal 1.8" HDD installed:


SATA: Can be used to connect any external SATA device that is supported under Linux

Ethernet: 100MBit Network with 48V DC power provided through spare pairs (4/6 and 7/8)

USB: USB 1.1 with 5V power supply

IDE: Used to connect internal HDD

Sync: Can be used to sync multiple cameras or trigger shooting images externally

RS232: Access to Console and debug output

Internal Hardware Modules

Strongly simplified the camera can be split up in 3 different hardware modules with their specific tasks:


Lens: The camera has a standard C-mount but ships with an adapter ring that allows to mount CS-lenses as well.

Sensor-Frontend: houses the actual sensor that delivers the digital image

  • Aptina 5MPix CMOS (video sensor)
  • Kodak 11MPix CCD (still image sensor)
  • Kodak 16MPix CCD (still image sensor)

FPGA: (Field Programmable Gate Array) processes the incoming image data (color manipulations, compression, etc) in realtime

  • Xilinx (R) Spartan3e 1200K gates

CPU: can direct the processed image stream (video) over a network or into a file (HDD or CF card), it can do all tasks a normal embedded computer can do (web server, peripherals, etc. )

  • Axis ETRAX FS (200Mhz CPU, 64MB SDRAM, 128MB system flash memory, 64MB image memory)


1/2.5" 5Mpix CMOS

There are 3 different modules that can be used as sensor front-ends:

Aptina 5MPix CMOS:

This cost efficient bayer-pattern sensor has a size of 1/2.5" (5.70mm x 4.28mm) and a resolution of 2592x1944. It allows a maximum frame rate of around 15 fps @ full resolution, 30fps @ Full HD (1920x1080) or 60 fps @ HD (1280x720). It features a 12 bit ADC and supports: region of interest, on-chip binning and decimation.

Optionally you can request a 5Mpix monochrome or 3Mpix sensor upon purchase.

Kodak 11MPix CCD:

This high grade (also high price) full-frame (36mm x 24mm) sensor requires the 10347 controller and 10342 interface board as well as a mechanical shutter. It can supply a maximum of 5 fps. This setup is actually called model 363 not 353 anymore.

Kodak 16MPix CCD:

As above, but requires the 10347 controller and 10344 interface board board and a mechanical shutter. It can supply a maximum of 3 fps. No turnkey solution available.

Power Supply

There are 3 hardware configurations available to provide power to the camera:

  • 48V DC power supply using the same cable as used for network connection.
  • 12-36V DC for mobile applications with best efficiency at around 15V. This also uses the standard network cable. This works with any type of battery pack that can supply a stable current between 12-36V.
  • single 3.3V source

Here are some results on power consumption test made in different configurations with Elphel 353 camera, 5MPix sensor, 10349 board, 1,8" HDD,....

2400 milliwattsjust booted
3000 milliwattsafter setting image parameters
3700 milliwattsstreamer on
3300 milliwattsstreamer off
3800 milliwattsstreamer on and somebody playing the stream
5000 milliwattswith streamer on and HD writing at full speed (dd)
5800 milliwattsstreamer on, HD and USB-flash writing at full speed
3300 milliwattsback to streamer off

Storage Media

Example: NC353L-10369-GEO with CF card and compass module installed

With 10369 interface board it is possible to connect any storage device using IDE or SATA that is supported by Linux. This also allows the connection of a hardware raid.

Elphel offers 2 hardware options for camera internal storage:

  • 2 CF card slots
  • 1.8" HDD.

Video can also be recorded over network (100MBit) on a host computer.

Video can be written/transferred in the following formats/containers:

  • Apple Quicktime(R)
  • OGM
  • JPEG Image Sequence
  • JP4 RAW Image Sequence
  • Ogg Theora
  • HDR

Additional Peripheral Devices

  • Soundcard (USB): adds the possibility to record/stream audio synced together with the video.
  • GPS receiver (USB) & compass module (USB): allows geotagged video/still image recording.
  • Micro Controller: Allow the micro controller to take full control over the camera. Arduino Example

Images and videos examples