Inspecting the inspection camera

Yesterday, i have shown you a small part of this Sony DXC-3000A i recently bought, the optical filter block that sits in front of the color divider, composed of an IR cut filter and an optical low-pass, and some third thing i don't know.

Today, i wanted to have a look at the CCD block's capacitors because this old Sony stuff is full of ELNA capacitors and i was already impressed that those on the other boards don't leak. Sometimes i guess Sony bought non-leaking ELNA capacitors but got leaking Nichicon caps while all the others got the rest :)

So i didn't find any issues inside the camera but took some photos to show you how this beauty looks inside. This camera is extremely maintainable, a very clean construction, nearly as nice as the JVC KY-17 i recently took apart. I forgot some important photos for the KY-17 so no teardown post of it yet. Back to the DXC-3000A, which not even is a broadcast camera, it was more targeted to the prosumer and industry, just look at that ridiculous built-in microphone, this is so totally consumer-style :) But at least from the construction and quality of the guts, i don't see a difference to comparable Sony cameras around that time. The DXC-327, which is slightly newer, even has much more problems with leaking capacitors. On the other hand, i think the whole DXC series was more for semiprofessional use, the broadcast video stuff was more the BV* line.

You can take the camera apart in a matter of minutes and you don't need much longer to put it back together. The connectors to the backplane are labeled, nothing can go wrong here, the board order is printed on the backplane as well as on an aluminum tab next to the battery compartment (which sits on top of the card cage), the whole CCD block can be easily removed by undoing 4 screws and pulling some connectors from the backplane.

On the electronics side, this camera already is microprocessor controlled (they were since a while), but has fully analog video processing. There is an on screen display in the viewfinder, the settings are stored using a supercap for a couple of hours, so no leaking battery for this. I think there are some more permanent settings that can be stored, maybe in an EEPROM, i didn't inspect it that deep yet. And then there are some internal switches for basic configuration like switching the output between Y/C and CVBS.

All in all a nice camera. I don't have a complete "normal" version, i bought it because i was curious about some PCBs that were mounted where the shoulder pad usually sits. Well, nothing spectacular, but the idea of having zoom presets was some inspiration for my soldering microscope, which i still have in the queue. And having a CCU connector is never wrong - i could convert one of my DXC-M3s to a camcorder by adding a Raspberry Pi now :)

So this camera was built into a machine or whatever to inspect something. I have no idea where exactly it was installed, but the changes/additions i found are:

- No carrying handle, no viewfinder, no shoulder pad, no battery pack holder
- The lens connector (carrying control and feedback signals between camera and lens) is removed
- The lens is modified, all the electronics are removed and the motors are directly interfaced to a connector which within the machine likely goes to the 2 additional PCBs
- An additional sensing device is installed in the lens, likely sensing the teeth of the zoom gear for feedback of the current zoom position
- An additional motor to control focus is added
- An achromatic lens and color filter has been added for a magnified view. The color filter is the same as the daylight filter you can dial in on the camera, i have no idea why they always add those filters, maybe they are of better quality than the internal ones. You get natural colors with the 3200K pre-set white balance of the camera, the filter wheel set to 3200K, this color filter in front of the achromatic lens and a cold light source like flourescent lamp - or for today, LED.
- 2 PCBs are added, connecting to the VIDEO OUT and CCU connectors, plus having several other connectors, likely going to the lens and the host system. Besides this "Zoom preset" board, there is nothing spectacular about them, the second board just seems to be an interface

I found a brand name for this conversion within the lens handle, but i already forgot it again. But i googled a bit and they still produce gear for QA purposes like inspection cameras and much more.

Not sure what i will do with this camera, but at least it fits into my collection of professional video cameras around the time when there was a switch from tubes to CCD sensors. This one was made in 1989, i think.

The last 3 photos are the view through the whole chain, the image quality is pretty impressive for a 30 year old camera with a new sensor technology back then, especially through a CVBS output. It might even get a bit better using the Y/C or even RGB outputs.
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