As we showed in our recent live broadcast, the latest update to our Infinity software now includes a colour binning mode. This allows you to bin the data from an OSC camera – CMOS or CCD – and maintain the colour information. It’s available now as part of our Core Software Download, and is compatible with the Infinity camera, Atik Horizon and 4-Series models.
Traditionally, when you bin a colour camera, you lose the colour data and a monochrome image is be returned. This is due to the bayer matrix on colour cameras, which is essentially a grid of red, green and blue filters that each cover one pixel. It then follows that when you combine these pixels, you are also combining different colour filters and it’s no longer possible to extract the colour data.
So how are we doing it?
It’s first worth noting that CCD and CMOS cameras bin differently. We have an article that explains it more in depth here, but as a recap, CCD binning happens in the analogue domain, on the chip, while CMOS binning happens in software after the image is read out.
Colour binning happens in software after the unbinned image has been read out for both CCD and CMOS cameras. Once the unbinned image has been read and debayered, the individual colour channels are binned, resulting in the final colour binned image you see. You won’t get the same level of increase in signal to noise ratio when using CCD as you would using on-chip binning and losing the colour (you can read more about the maths behind that here) but it can still provide some great results.