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Compared to standard interline CCD chips (typical ICX285 or ER-150 chip), the ORCA-Flash2.8’s FL-280 CMOS chip offers 2X the pixels, 4X the speed, and 1/2 the noise—all at a lower price. The ORCA-Flash2.8 has 2.8 megapixels, about twice the resolution of standard 1.3-megapixel cameras. In addition, it is capable of 45 fps readout at full resolution and up to 1,273 fps for a small region of interest. This fast frame rate comes with very low noise (3 electrons rms).

For even better, unprecedented sensitivity as well as high dynamic range, blazing fast speeds, large field of view, and excellent resolution check out the ORCA-Flash4.0

The ORCA-Flash2.8 is suitable for various applications including brightfield imaging, low-light fluorescence imaging, and high-speed imaging. For brightfield applications, this camera offers excellent dynamic range and high resolution. For fluorescence and NIR DIC applications, it has sensitivity combined with speed and dynamic range. The camera’s frame rate is ideal for high-speed imaging such as in-vivo imaging, patch clamping, and other dynamic biological events.

Quick guide to ORCA-Flash2.8 camera

To help you determine if the ORCA-Flash2.8 is suitable for your imaging needs, wavelength sensitivity and other important parameters are summarized in the table below.

Parameter ORCA-Flash2.8 camera
Image sensor type 2.8 megapixel scientific CMOS
Wavelength sensitivity Visible
Intensity of signal Low light
Frame rate at full resolution 45 frames per second
Exposure time 20 microseconds to 10 seconds
Spatial resolution (pixel size) 3.63 microns

The main features and benefits of the ORCA-Flash2.8 camera are summarized below. For more info, download datasheet and the technical note, or contact us by completing the form.

Features Benefits
2.8 megapixel scientific CMOS image sensor with 3.63 microns square pixels Large field of view, high spatial resolution, and high dynamic range (4500:1)
3 electrons rms readout noise (at analog gain 8x) High sensitivity for dim signals
45 frames per second at full resolution High-speed imaging with low noise
Multiple external trigger and timing output functions Synchronization with peripheral equipment

Special features

High-speed readout with low readout noise

In traditional image sensors, high readout speed results in high readout noise. But the FL-280 scientific CMOS image sensor is different. Through innovation in design and the manufacturing process, the FL-280 achieves high readout speeds at a low noise level. The readout noise is typically only 3 electrons rms at 8x analog gain.

The table to the
left shows the
readout speed
range at full
resolution and


High sensitivity and high resolution

The ORCA-Flash2.8 has sensitivity in the visible wavelengths, with 67% peak quantum efficiency (QE) at 450-525 nm. With 2.8 megapixels and 3.63 µm pixel size, the ORCA-Flash2.8 produces sharp images with a wide field of view. In addition, it has excellent dynamic range (4500:1) and 18,000 electrons full well capacity.  

Analog gain

The ORCA-Flash2.8’s on-chip gain control capability can multiply the analog signal prior to converting it into a digital signal. This reduces the quantization error in the A/D converter, and the readout noise can be lowered to 3 electrons rms. Increasing the analog gain is especially useful when imaging short exposures and the output signal level is only a few to a few dozen ADU.

Real-time correction features

The ORCA-Flash2.8 is designed to perform dark correction, shading correction, and defective pixel correction on each pixel in real time. This minimizes the effects of shading caused by illumination or optics, and slightly higher readout noise in some pixels.

Synchronization with peripheral equipment

In addition to edge trigger and level trigger functions, which are normally available in most digital cameras, ORCA-Flash2.8 has several unique external trigger functions and timing output functions to manage the exposure timing of the camera and peripheral equipment. This helps achieve the best imaging in a wide variety of applications.


The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera is suited for many imaging applications in the visible wavelength range that requires high resolution, high speed, and an exposure time between 20 µs and 10 seconds. Example applications are listed below.

  • DIC, phase-contrast, brightfield, and low magnification imaging: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera produces exceptionally sharp images with excellent dynamic range.
  • Chemiluminescence, immunofluorescence, and fluorescent protein imaging: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera offers versatility, high speed, low noise, and high dynamic range for quantitative images.
  • Spinning disk confocal and structured illumination microscopy: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera is adaptable for optimum images in a wide range of configurations.
  • Plate reading and molecular bar codes: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera offers small pixels and high speed for high throughput.
  • TIRF microscopy: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera offers high speed for live cell imaging.
  • Ratio imaging: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera can be used for full-frame, high-speed imaging with a single camera or precisely matched dual camera configuration (option) for simultaneous imaging at two wavelengths.
  • Super-resolution microscopy (STED): The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera offers small pixel size for precise centroid localization, as well as high frame rates for fast data collection.
  • Dynamic imaging: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera features a programmable or fully flexible triggered electronic shutter from 10 microseconds to 10 seconds.
  • SHG and THG microscopy: The ORCA-Flash2.8 camera’s large number of pixels (2.8 megapixels) produces sharp, wide field images.
  • High-speed Ca2+ imaging
  • Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • Live cells expressing GFP
  • Micromorphological observation
  • Failure analysis
  • Semiconductor inspection
  • X-ray scintillator readout

Sample images

orca flash series

Super Resolution and Localization Microscopy

Complete figure explanations are available for this set of images. Clockwise from top left: Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4.

Figure 1. The capability of the Flash 2.8 sCMOS camera in localization microscopy.

Figure 2. Histograms of the height of peak pixel after background subtraction.

Figure 3. Original TIRF image frames in the green box were used to build a movie.

Figure 4. Dependence of spatial resolution and the number of image frames in localization microscopy.

flash speed sample

High-speed imaging

  • Top figure: Observation image
  • Left graph: Temporal (Ca2+) dynamics (4 ROI)
  • Sample: spontaneous (Ca2+) change of Fluo-4-loaded Ins-1 cells
  • Acquisition setting: 45 fps (exposure time: 22 ms)
flash resolution sample

Comparison of resolution

  • Bright field observation
  • Sample: diatom test plate
  • Objective lens: Plan Apo 40x
flash field of view sample

Comparison of field of view

  • Fluorescence observation
  • Sample: FluoCell prepared slide #2 (BODIPY)
  • Objective lens: Plan APO 40x
flash color sample

High sensitivity, high resolution imaging

  • Superimposed trichrome stain
  • Sample: FluoCells prepared slide #2

Information kindly supplied by Hamamatsu Photonics

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