There are many cameras in the market ranging from digi cams to high profile DSLRs. But we require cameras that can capture NIR images of the plants which contains the required data for crop analysis. There are many cameras in the market which provides the capability to capture NIR images. I am going to show you the difference between these cameras and how much do they cost in the commercial market.
1) RedEdge by Micasense
It is really a good camera. It has five spectral bands which helps to create a tailored indices of customized images. It has a variety of interface options ranging from serial to Ethernet and Wi-Fi, which makes it easy to connect to any device and transfer information. It captures images in the 5 spectral bands chronologically states as: Blue, Green, Red, RedEdge, Near Infrared.Global Shutter creates distortion free images. It comes with a cloud based data analytics software named ATLAS, with which you can access your data anytime, anywhere. It comes with a 8 megapixel lens equipped with a 12-bit sensor for a dynamic wide range imagery. This makes the camera even more efficient and clear. With a 12-bit sensor the image captured will be of a wide range, which will further aid in mosaicing a very large farm. This will cost you around $5900.
For more information on RedEdge click here.
2) Sequoia by Parrot
It is another multi-spectral camera made by Micasense in collaboration with Parrot. It is a 4 band multi-spectral camera. It collects data in four discrete spectral bands : Green , Red, Red Edge, and Near Infrared. It has a powerful sensor and is a 16 MP RGB imager. The irradiance sensor and the integrated GPS just makes it a perfect package for Precision Agriculture. The most important feature of Sequoia is that it comes with a sunshine sensor, which measures the infrared light in the atmosphere and hence adjust the values accordingly. By doing so, the amount of the light captured in sunny or overcast conditions becomes redundant and it doesn’t affect the NDVI map of the farm for the farmers. It also comes with the ATLAS software, which is managed by Micasense for omnipresent data access. As it is a smaller version of the previous version of RedEdge, it costs comparatively less. The Sequoia comes around $3500.
For more information on Sequoia click here.
3)RGB +3 by Tetracam
RGB +3 comes with 4 cameras with one of them equipped to take RGB images. The other three cameras are to capture narrow band images: NDVI Red, Red Edge, NDVI NIR. RGB +3 comes with an integrated GPS unit which helps in geo tagging the images clicked, which can be latter helpful while formulating an orthomosaic. It had a USB serial for fast data transfer. It comes with an HDMI port, which helps in live video streaming and a multi IO connector helps in remote camera trigger while in flight. It comes with its own software named PixelWrench2 by Tetracam. RGB+3 is priced around $7499.
For more information on RGB+3 click here.
4) Micro MCA by Tetracam
The Micro MCA comes in three versions. These are Mini MCA, Micro MCA and Micro MCA Snap. Different versions have different number of cameras having a range of spectral bands. The Mini MCA has 12 cameras which is shown in the right image. It has a RGB camera with 11 other narrow band filters which captures images in RedEdge, near Infrared, Red, Green, Monochromatic etc bandwidths. All the cameras are precisely synchronized to the exact same scene into image through different spectral bandwidths with sub-pixel level accuracy. The different number of spectral images are used to generate a variety of ENDVI maps, GNDVI maps, Orthogonal Maps etc which gives more insight information on the plant health. The Micro MCA and Micro MCA Snap are equipped with 6 and 4 cameras respectively. All the cameras have 3 card slots for SD Card extending the memory capacity to 16 GB. The horizontal angle of the camera is 38.26 degrees and the vertical angle is 30.97 degrees. The angle goes on increasing as the UAV rises in height. At around 400 feet, an image can cover upto one and half acres of land. The wide vision helps cover a larger area in short time.
Micro MCA6 – $12,995; Micro MCA12 – $25,999; Micro MCA4 Snap – $9,995
For more information click here.
5) GEMS Precision Agriculture Sensor Payload
The GEMS Precision Agriculture Sensor is a very light set of two cameras. One camera shoots visible bandwidth images or in other words RGB images. The other camera to shoot near IR images. The two cameras have been calibrated properly to take images of the same scene at same time without any time lags. It has been subjected to sub-pixel level precision. It also has a GPS embedded right into it which helps geotag the images while being clicked which helps keypoint extraction and path estimation while building an orthomosaic map of the farm. It comes with an already equipped GEMS software tool, which creates an orthomosaic map from the images taken automatically, it can calculate NDVI index and generate the map which can be helped for crop analysis. It would cost around $6990.
For more information click here.
The best of the all cameras would undoubtedly be the Red Edge and Sequoia finishing second to it. All the cameras are incredible cameras. But with Red Edge and Sequoia, there is an additional advantage of sunshine sensor. The sunshine plays a vital role in obtaining the right images and the near IR images captured need to have ample amount of IR rays in the atmosphere. Without that estimation, the images captured may become redundant and of no use. But with Red Edge and Sequoia, the sunshine sensor will automatically detect the amount of sunshine in the atmosphere predicting it as a sunny day or overcast and will adjust the NDVI values accordingly which gives a perfect sync between the NDVI map and the IR images captured. In this way, the farmer doesn’t have to worry, if the sunlight is right, or which time of the day shall be appropriate etc etc.