Digital cameras have been around for forty years or so, and the first ones were built around CCDs. These were two-dimensional CCDs, and if you’ve ever looked inside a copier, scanner, or one of those weird handheld scanners from the 90s, you’ll find something entirely unlike what you’d see in a digital camera. Linear CCDs are exactly what they sound like — a single line of pixels. It’s great if you’re into spectroscopy, but these linear CCDs also have the advantage of having some crazy resolutions. A four-inch wide linear CCD will have thousands of pixels, and if you could somehow drag a linear CCD across an image, you would have a fantastic camera.
Many have tried, few have succeeded, and [heye.everts]’ linear CCD camera is the best attempt at making a linear CCD camera yet. It took a fuzzy picture of a tree, which is good enough for a proof of concept.
The linear CCD used in this project works something like an analog shift register. With a differential clock, you simply push values out of the CCD and feed them into an ADC. The driver board for this CCD uses a lot of current and the timings are a bit tricky but it does work with a Teensy 3.6. But that’s only one line of an image, you need to move that CCD too. For that, this project uses something resembling a homebrew CD drive. There’s a tiny stepper motor and a leadscrew dragging the CCD across the image plane. All of this is attached to the back of a Mamiya RZ67 camera body.
Does it work? Yes. Surprisingly yes. After a lot of work, an image of a tree was captured. This is an RGB CCD, and at the moment it’s only using one color channel, but it does work. It’s a proof of concept rendered in a 2000 x 3000 grayscale bitmap. The eventual goal is to build a 37.5 Megapixel medium format camera around this CCD, and the progress is looking great.