High Speed Imaging System MiCAM03-N256

MiCAM03-N256 is a high-speed imaging system that captures and visualizes small changes in fluorescence intensity from biological samples stained with fluorescent probes, such as voltage sensitive dyes and calcium dyes.

MiCAM03-N256 is designed to be the upgraded version of the previous MiCAM02 model, which has been used by neuroscience and cardiac research labs internationally, and which has been cited in many scientific research journals.

While inheriting the basic performance features of the MiCAM02 system, such as high-speed imaging, high S/N ratios, and intuitive operation, new features have been added in the MiCAM03-N256 system. New features include higher spatial resolution using a newly developed CMOS camera head, and long-term recording ability using high speed data transfer.


  • High speed membrane potential imaging using voltage-sensitive dyes
  • High speed calcium imaging
  • Intrinsic optical signal (IOS) imaging based on flavoproteins and hemoglobin
  • Imaging FRET, GCaMP, and various fluorescent proteins such as GEVI
  • Ratiometric fluorescence imaging with multiple camera heads
  • 3D or panoramic imaging with multiple camera heads
  • Detection of small changes in light intensity at high speeds

N256 Camera HeadN256 Camera Head

N256 Camera Head

N256 camera head is equipped with a new CMOS image sensor designed and developed by Brainvision.

Large Sensor and Large Pixel

N256 Image Sensor Active Area size: 17.6mmx17.6mm
Pixel size:69μmx69μm

Applications such as membrane potential imaging require both very high speed, and the ability to detect small changes in fluorescence, such as 0.5-1%. In order to optimize S/N ratios, it is important to increase the amount of light captured by one pixel. It is easy to collect light and capture small changes using a sensor having large pixels.

High Spatial Resolution, High Frame Rates, and High S/N Ratios

Number of Pixels: 256×256 pixels
Maximum Frame Rate: 1,000 fps (at 256×256 pixels)
Dynamic range: 71dB

The overall performance has been improved in a balanced manner. This includes maximum frame rate, spatial resolution, and S/N ratios, all of which are important factors for high-speed membrane potential imaging.

Wide Dynamic Range Mode or High Sensitivity Mode by Adjustable Well Depth

Wide dynamic range mode (D-mode): 3,000,000 electrons
High sensitivity mode (S-mode):    600,000 electrons

It is now possible to easily switch the full well capacity of the camera in the acquisition software. Two modes are available: wide dynamic range mode (D-mode), and high sensitivity mode (S-mode). D-mode is used for tissue samples with high fluorescence light intensity, and S-mode is used for cultured cell monolayers, or preps with low fluorescence light intensity. This adjustable well depth makes it possible to image a variety of biological samples using a single camera.

ROI Readout for Higher Frame Rates (Optional)

Preset partial readout setting and multiple ROI setting can be selected, and as a result it is possible to achieve higher frame rates. For example, ultra high frame rates such 20,000 fps @ 32×32 pixels is possible.

   All pixels readout (256×256 pixels)         Multiple ROI readout (32×32 pixels x 9 area)

Direct Data Saving and Long-Term Data Acquisition with USB3.0 High-Speed Data Transfer

New USB3.0 interface allows for significantly faster data transfer from processor to PC. It is now possible to save data directly to HDD or SSD, and long-term recording of several minutes up to a few hours can be achieved, regardless of the RAM capacity (Note that sampling rate, number of pixels, number of cameras used, and PC specifications, will affect the total recording time).

Approximate number of recordable frames and recordable time
(Acquisition with single camera using long term recording mode)
Disk Capacity Pixels Frame Rate
Number of
recordable frames
Recordable time
SSD 1TB 256×256 500 6,840,000 228.0
1,000 6,840,000 114.0
1,818 6,840,000 62.7
128×128 500 27,360,000 912.0
1,000 27,360,000 456.0
5,263 27,360,000 86.6
(*Approximate number of recordable frames and recordable time shown above are averaged values that were measured using the PC configuration which is included with MiCAM03. There is no guarantee that the results will be the same in all circumstances.)

Up to two cameras can easily be connected and used in a completely synchronized dual-camera system

MiCAM03 processor has two camera ports, and can be adapted as a dual-camera system using an optional second camera, which enables synchronized recordings. This allows for simultaneous imaging of multiple fluorescent wavelengths, as well as three-dimensional imaging from different angles.

Camera Port

Various I/O Connectors, and Improved Compatibility with External Devices

MiCAM03 has multiple input and output connections available. These universally standard I/O connections can be synchronized with image acquisition and external devices.


Synchronous Lighting Control of LED Light Source for Multi-Wavelength Excitation Imaging

In the case of imaging using multiple fluorescent probes with different excitation wavelengths or imaging using a two-wavelength excitation/single-wavelength fluorescent probe, it is necessary to synchronize the frame timing of the camera and the lighting timing of the light source.

This function is to output the lighting signal synchronized with each frame timing from MiCAM03 to two LED light sources. This makes it possible to easily synchronize the frame acquisition with MiCAM03 and LED lighting.

There are up to 2 channels of output. Preset patterns, in which signals are output alternately from each channel, are available. There is no need to set the lighting pattern using a commercially available pulse generator.

Moreover, since the pulse delay time and pulse width can be specified by software, it is possible to make detailed settings in accordance with the rise and fall times of the LED used.

two-wavelength excitation modetwo-wavelength excitation mode

Turnkey System Ready for Immediate Use

The system consists of hardware/software specifically designed for high-speed fluorescence imaging, and the PC and monitor are included as standard equipment. Before use, calibration/setting/tuning is not necessary. The hardware connection is straightforward between components using cables, making it possible to acquire data immediately after setup.


Pre/Post Trigger Mode

MiCAM03 can record activity which occurs before and after a trigger signal is generated. When an external trigger occurs, such as a spontaneous biological signal, or a trigger pulse from an external stimulator, a specified amount of “pre-trigger” data can be saved. The “post-trigger” data is also collected in the same recording. As a result, both pre-trigger data and post-trigger data can be saved within one acquisition period.

Time Lapse Imaging (optional)

MiCAM03 can capture phenomenon that changes in a few minutes up to several hours, intermittently. Because illumination light is turned on only at the time of image acquisition, phototoxic effects to sample is minimized, and a stable baseline can be acquired.
Time LapseExample of Time-lapse imaging

High Resolution Camera Control Function (Optional)

It is possible to control a high resolution camera having 1920×1200 pixels (BV-XB1 camera). High resolution imaging can be applied to various applications, including detection of intracellular Ca 2+ dynamics, flavoprotein fluorescence, FRET imaging, and also imaging of animal behaviors. High resolution imaging with BV-XB1 can also be synchronized with MiCAM03 high-speed imaging.

High resolution camera    Example of flavoprotein imagingBV-XB                                    Example of flavoprotein imaging

Acquisition/Analysis Software (BV Workbench)

BV Workbench is the image acquisition software that controls MiCAM03-N256 imaging system. In addition to image acquisition and control of inputs and outputs of the imaging system, analysis functions including movie playback, wave display, filter functions, etc…are also included. BV Workbench has an intuitive user interface that is easily operated with the use of a mouse.

BV Workbench

Name High Speed Imaging System
High Speed Imaging System
Model MC03-N256 MC03-HR
Standard System
Camera Head (1-2), Processor, PC, Monitor, Acquisition software, Analysis Software
Supported OS Windows 7/10 64bit
Camera Head
Name N256 camera HR camera
Model MC-N256CAM 02HRCM
Image Sensor Original CMOS Sony CCD
Active Pixels (H x V) 256 x 256 380 x 244
Active Image Area (H x V) 17.6mm x 17.6mm 6.4mm x 4.8mm
Pixels Size (H x V) 69μm x 69μm 16.8μm x 19.6μm
Shutter Mode Global Global
Maximum Frame Rate and
Pixels (for 1 camera)
1,000fps (256x256px)
1,000fps (128x128px)
(Optional for 1,000fps and more)
143fps (380x244px)
270fps (188x120px)
455fps (92x60px)
Quantum Efficiency 55%@550nm / 50%@600nm 75%@550nm / 50%@700nm
Well-Depth 3,000,000e- / 600,000e-
100,000e- (180x120px) /
12,000e- (180x120px, H-bin)
Dark noise 500e- / 130e- 60e- (3.7ms,180x120px) /
20e- (3.7ms,180x120px,H-bin)
Dynamic range 71dB 64dB
Lens mount Original M42 mount
(flange back: 14.5mm)
(Option: C or F mount)
C mount
Interface Special Cable Special Cable
Dimension (WxHxD) 80mm x 80mm x 50mm 62mm x 52mm x 46mm
Weight 474g 100g
Name MiCAM03 processor MiCAM03 processor (analog I/F)
Model MC03-PRC MC03-PRC-A
Camera Interface 1
Camera Port 2
Slot for Optional Unit
Buffer Memory
Inside Processor
Analog Inputs for
synchronous recording
Output for Stimulation Pulse 1ch
Input for external trigger signal 1ch
Output for Lighting Control 1ch
Input/Output for Frame Timing 1ch
Output for Real Time
Light Intensity Monitor
Output for Light Intensity Control
Current Output
Output for Acquisition Status
Output for Trigger Wait Status
Digital I/O port 1 (6 pins)
Trigger Mode Software, TTL External Input,
Analog External Input
Data Transfer Mode USB3.0
Recording Mode Temporary storage to PC RAM /
Direct data saving to PC drive (SSD/HDD)
Maximum Recordable
Frame Number
Dependent on camera used and image acquisition settings
Power Supply AC100V-230V、50Hz/60Hz 150W
Fuse T2A L 250V
Dimension 300mm (W) x 260mm(D) x 60mm(H)
Weight 2.6kg
Default/Optional Function
Single Trial Acquisition Default
Long Term Acquisition
(direct saving to disk)
Option (sold separately)
Averaging Acquisition Default
Multiple ROI Readout for
Higher Frame Rate
Option (sold separately)
Time-Lapse Acquisition Option (sold separately)
High Resolution Camera
Option (sold separately)
Acquisition software Default
Analysis software Option (sold separately)
(for Visual C# .NET and MatLab)
Option (sold separately)

Selectable Number of Pixels and Maximum Frame Rate (1 camera)
Number of Pixels
Maximum Frame Rate (fps)
Default Multiple ROI Readout for Higher Frame Rate
(optional function)
2 Times Ave
NR Mode ON
4 Times Ave
256×256 Full Resolution 1,000 1,818 1,923 1,031
192×192 Square ROI 2,941 3,125 1,695
128×128 1,000 5,263 5,556 3,333
64×64 12,500 12,500 8,333
256×128 Horizontally Long
Rectangle ROI
3,333 3,448 1,887
256×64 5,882 5,555 3,226
256×32 9,091 8,333 5,000
128×256 Vertically Long
Rectangle ROI
3,030 3,333 1,852
64×256 4,348 5,000 3,125
32×256 5,556 7,143 4,762
32×32 16 blocks 2,381 2,632 1,724
15 blocks 2,500 2,778 1,818
14 blocks 2,703 2,941 1,961
13 blocks 2,857 3,125 2,083
12 blocks 3,125 3,448 2,273
11 blocks 3,333 3,704 2,439
10 blocks 3,704 4,000 2,703
 9 blocks 4,000 4,348 2,941
 8 blocks 4,545 5,000 3,226
 7 blocks 5,000 5,556 3,704
 6 blocks 5,556 6,250 4,167
 5 blocks 6,667 7,143 5,000
 4 blocks 7,692 8,333 5,882
 3 blocks 10,000 11,111 7,692
 2 blocks 12,500 14,286 10,000
 1 block 20,000 20,000 16,667

Selectable Number of Pixels and Maximum Frame Rate (2 camera)
Number of Pixels
Maximum Frame Rate (fps)
Default Multiple ROI Readout for Higher Frame Rate
(optional function)
2 Times Ave
NR Mode ON
4 Times Ave
256×256 Full Resolution 1,000 1,087 1,064 1,031
192×192 Square ROI 1,818 1,754 1,695
128×128 1,000 3,704 3,571 3,333
64×64 9,091 8,333 8,333
256×128 Horizontally Long
Rectangle ROI
2,041 1,961 1,887
256×64 3,571 3,226 3,125
256×32 5,882 5,000 5,000
128×256 Vertically Long
Rectangle ROI
2,000 1,961 1,852
64×256 3,571 3,448 3,125
32×256 5,556 5,556 4,762
32×32 16 blocks 1,887 1,613 1,613
15 blocks 2,041 1,724 1,724
14 blocks 2,174 1,852 1,852
13 blocks 2,326 1,961 1,961
12 blocks 2,500 2,128 2,128
11 blocks 2,703 2,326 2,326
10 blocks 2,941 2,500 2,500
 9 blocks 3,226 2,778 2,778
 8 blocks 3,571 3,125 3,125
 7 blocks 4,000 3,448 3,448
 6 blocks 4,762 4,000 4,000
 5 blocks 5,556 4,762 4,762
 4 blocks 6,667 5,556 5,556
 3 blocks 8,333 7,143 7,143
 2 blocks 11,111 10,000 10,000
 1 block 16,667 16,667 16,667