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Tube Video Cameras

In older video cameras prior to the mid 1980s, a video camera tube or pickup tube was used instead of a CCD (charge-coupled device) for converting a video image into an electrical signal. Several types were in use from the 1930s to the 1980s. The most commercially successful of these tubes were various types of cathode ray tubes or “CRTs”. Video camera tubes typically had a maximum brightness tolerance and  if that limit were exceeded, such as by pointing the camera at the sun or extremely bright light sources, the tube detecting surface would instantly burn-out and the tube rendered useless. Some common camera tubes used in the 1980s were the Trinicon and the Saticon.

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The Trinicon Tube uses a vertically striped RGB color filter over the faceplate of an otherwise standard vidicon imaging tube to segment the scan into corresponding red, green and blue segments. Only one tube was used in the camera, instead of a tube for each color, as was standard for color cameras used in television broadcasting. It is used mostly in low-end consumer cameras and camcorders, though Sony also used it in some moderate cost professional cameras in the 1980s, such as the DXC-1800 and BVP-1 models.

The Saticon Tube was produced by Thomson and Sony. Its surface consists of Selenium Arsenic Tellurium (SeAsTe). The Saticon Tube is a photoconductive image pickup tube which consists of tin oxide and selenium doped with arsenic and tellurium, aka a glass semiconductor. The Saticon has high resolution, response characteristics comparable to those of conventional 1 inch pickup tubes, and has excellent features as an image pickup tube for use in color cameras such as small color TV cameras for broadcasting and industrial uses

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