FAQ

Camera Questions

WHY DO I NEED HD?

Do you still watch TV in black and white? Have you now invested in a flat panel LCD/LED TV monitor? Welcome to the 21st century. Most cameras and monitors are now at least 1080p/i and they are very inexpensive. The video is sharp and the OR staff will not have to squint to see picture.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF OF CAMERA RESOLUTIONS (SUCH AS 1080P, 1080I, 720P, 4K, 2K)? WHAT SHOULD I CHOOSE?

First of all the difference between 1080p and 1080i is imperceptible to the human eye. Both are 1920 x 1080 pixels. The " p" stands for progressive" scan and the "i" interlaced scan. Both will record same and display the same.

Now that we got that out of the way, 720p is HD but a lower resolution at 1280 x 720 pixels. Most surgical microscope cameras are now 1080p/i. The newer cameras are that beginning to become available are the "4K" or 3820 x 2160 pixels. However, if you do not have a 4K recorder or 4K monitor, it will not benefit you. If you plan to upgrade your recorder and/or monitor to 4K in the future, make the investment now.

4K (2160) cameras will be more expensive the 2K (1080) cameras.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CCD AND CMOS IMAGE SENSORS IN A DIGITAL CAMERA?

CCDs (Charged-Couple Device) tend to be used in cameras that focus on high-quality images with lots of pixels and excellent light sensitivity. CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors traditionally have lower quality, lower resolution and lower sensitivity. CMOS sensors are just now improving to the point where they reach near parity with CCD devices in some applications. CMOS cameras are usually less expensive

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 1/2" CCD VS 1/3" CCD CAMERA?

In general, a bigger CCD size is better, because you can either put bigger pixels on it, or more of them, or both. So, a 1/2" CCD is generally better than a 1/3" CCD. The smaller the sensor, the more inherent magnification. The larger the camera sensor, the better the resolution will be with less magnification.

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERM "C-MOUNT"?

A surgical microscope c-mount adapter is used to connect a microscope camera to the surgical microscope side port. A c-mount adapter has a standard 1" (or 25mm) diameter male thread. This thread matches with the female thread on the camera. C-mount adapters are microscope specific in that the lenses are made to match up with your specific microscope. For example, if a camera that is specific for use with an endoscope is used on a surgical microscope, a c-mount spacer my be required because of the distance difference of the camera lens.

 

Video Adapter Questions

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MATCHING SPECIFICATIONS OF A VIDEO ADAPTER TO THE CAMERA?

First of all, the video adapter should be matched with the camera with respect to "chip" size. For example a 1/3" CMOS or CCD chip should always mount to a 1/3" c-mount video adapter. Another example is if a 1/2" camera is attached to a 1/3" video adapter, vignetting (shading) will occur around the image.

WHERE DO I ATTACH THE VIDEO ADAPTER TO THE MICROSCOPE?

Usually all surgical microscopes come with a side port or a beamsplitter with a side port that can be added. Each microscope manufacturer has different size side port openings and the video adapter must match up with the appropriate manufacturer. There are adapters available if one needs, for example, to convert a Leica style video adapter to a Haag-Streit microscope side port.

Some microscope manufacturers also have built in side video ports that do not take up a side port or need to add a beamsplitter.

ARE THEIR DIFFERENT TYPES OF VIDEO ADAPTERS?

Yes there are quite a few. 

  • Fixed focal length - no adjustments
  • Integrated into the light router or beamsplitter
  • Adapters that can change the zoom, focus and iris
Let us know what you need and we can recommend any type of adapter.

 

HD Video Recorder Selection

CAN VIDEO RECORDERS BE USED WITH ANY CAMERA SYSTEM?

In most instances, yes. However, make sure the camera control unit (CCU) of the camera system has the correct output ports that match to the input ports of the HD recorder. For example, if the CCU has only a DVI output type connection and the HD recorder has a HDMI type input connection, you may need an adapter to convert the DVI signal to HDMI. 

It's always best to research the CCU output type connections to make sure they match up with the HD recorder input type connections.

Here are the different types of input/output type connections: 

  • S-Video (non HD)
  • Composite (non HD)
  • DVI (HD)
  • HDMI (HD)
  • HD-SDI (HD) 

WHAT FEATURES SHOULD I CONSIDER?

First of all, you should consider the workflow in the OR room. All recorders need a human (that being the OR staff) to start, pause, stop, download, enter patient data. You will need to place the recorder in an accessible place for the OR staff plus be mindful of the cable connection from the CCU (which is usually located on the microscope floor stand).

Recorders with remote keyboards (bluetooth/wireless) plus on-screen menus on the room monitors will save you a lot of time and frustration with respect to the room's workflow.

The other things to consider are:

  • Amount of storage space
  • The type of input/output connections
  • Ability to download the data onto external media in real time
  • Type of external media it exports to
  • Programmable for each surgeon preference with respect to patient data, video format, etc.
  • Is it network (DICOM) compatible and do you need to purchase additional DICOM software (most recorders come with DICOM)

 

4K UHD and 3D Questions

WHY IS 3D VIEWING IN THE OR SO IMPORTANT?

First of all, the surgeon, viewing through a surgical microscope sees operative site in stereo. The assistant (PA, Resident, Fellow) viewing the procedure through a stereo side observer sees the operative site in 2D not stereoscopic. The only way for an assistant to have a stereopsis view the same as the surgeon's is a face to face set with the surgical microscope.

Therefore, all the clinicians have to view are 2D HD monitors. The Residents and Fellows in training will not operate with one eye, why should they train essentially with "one eye".

WHAT TYPE OF 3D CAMERAS ARE AVAILABLE AND HOW CAN THEY BE USED WITH OUR MICROSCOPE?

Just like you have two eyes that enables you to have stereoscopic vision, you will need two cameras, one for each microscope optical pathway.

Alignment of the two cameras is absolutely critical to achieve viewable 3D. You will need a two video adapters that will be 1) in the same focal plane, 2) be adjustable on the X and Y axis. These will be mounted on side ports on either side of the beamsplitter or light router. Some microscope manufacturers have integrated video adapters that are permanently aligned at the factory.

The other thing is that the CCU for each camera must be genlocked in order for both cameras to be in the same phase. Sony is the only company that has only one CCU for both cameras and does not have to be genlocked.

3D cameras are available in 1080 (2K) and 2160 (4K).

ARE THERE 3D MONITORS THAT CAN BE USED IN THE OPERATING ROOM?

In order to view 3D procedures in the OR, you have to have a monitor that is 3D capable. The best monitors are 55" LCD/LED and 3D glasses must be worn. 3D glasses come in two models: passive and active. The monitor dictates which model must be used (note that passive glasses are very inexpensive and active glasses require batteries).

Please also note that there are consumer retail type 3D monitors and medical grade 3D monitors that will work with any 3D camera manufacturer. Check with your local operating room to find out which type are allowed.