SP503U Beam Profiling Camera

SP503U Beam Profiling Camera

USB 2.0 Silicon CCD Stanard Resolution Camera with BeamMic

The SP503U camera accurately captures and analyzes wavelengths from 190nm - 1100nm. It features an ultra-thin profile, wide dynamic range, unparalleled signal to noise ratio, and built-in pre-triggering circuitry that makes it ideal for measuring CW and pulsed laser profiles.

  • 640x480 pixel resolution with a 9.9µm pixel pitch
  • Built in optical trigger synchronizes with even
SP503U Beam Profiling Camera


  • 190-1100nm
  • 99μm - 4.7mm
  • CW, Pulsed
  • Silicon CCD
  • USB 2.0
  • 4.7mm x 6.3mm
  • 640x480
  • 9.9µm
  • 64 dB
  • 30 fps
Need help finding the right beam profiler? Try our Beam Profiler Wizard

Software Editions

The SP503U USB 2.0 silicon CCD standard resolution camera is available with the following versions of software.

Learn more about the different versions of BeamGage

  • BM-USB-SP503


    BeamMic software, software license, ½” format 640x480 pixel camera with 4.5mm CCD recess. Comes with USB cable and 3 ND filters.

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Camera Image Quality – We frequently get asked about image quality as it relates to dead or bad pixels in the imager array. These questions most generally fall into one or more of these categories. Will my camera have any bad pixels? Do bad pixels affect my laser profile measurement? Can bad pixels be corrected? If I have some bad pixels what can I do about it? Will my camera performance change over time? All and more of these concerns are explained in our Camera Defects Policy document.

Camera Defects Policy
Ophir-Spiricon, LLC (OSL) is a supplier of laser beam analysis tools that employ commercial-industrial solid-state cameras. OSL attempts to supply cameras with as few pixel defects as possible. OSL tests for and corrects defective pixels that may have an adverse effect when used for its intended purpose. OSL does not guarantee that a supplied camera will be defect free, or that they will remain defect free during its normal lifetime and under normal use.

It is not uncommon for modern megapixel camera imagers to develop point defects as they age, even when not subjected to abuse. Imagers without windows often experience point defects at rates typically greater than imagers with their cover glass left in place. Point defects can also appear more frequently when operating at higher rather than lower ambient temperatures, and higher relative humidity. Such defects can occur even when the camera is in storage and not being used.

Cameras supplied by OSL will be certified for use in laser beam analyzer applications. When defects occur, the ability to make certain measurements under certain conditions may be compromised. However, depending upon the nature of the defect, most measurement can still be performed without loss of accuracy. In some instances the effects of defects can be eliminated or significantly reduced by adjusting the manner in which the camera is being employed.

Ophir-Spiricon, LLC offers a camera recertification service. This service can help to extend the useful life of your camera and correct some point defects that may show up over time. This service can not correct cameras with serious laser damage or imager degradation. Whenever possible OSL will restore the camera to our "as new" level of certification; and if not possible, we will indicate to the user how to avoid areas of the imager that may not perform to "as new" standards.

Defects, Solutions and Workarounds
The following list contains examples of typical camera point defects that may occur over time, and suggested methods of compensating for them if they are troublesome:

Defect type Description of the Problem Recommended Solution
See Note 1 below
Bright Pixel Pixels with this defect will indicate being illuminated even when no signal is present. These are the most troublesome when attempting to make accurate peak fluence and peak fluence location measurements because they represent a false signal. Most other measurements are not adversely affected by this type of defect. This type of defect is screened for during our regular camera inspection process. All pixels that exceed a set limit are corrected, if possible, before the camera ships. See Note 1 below. Our QA department will often reject cameras if the pixel can not be corrected and it exceeds our acceptance criteria.
  1. Ultracal/baseline correction will subtract out the defective pixel.
  2. Reposition the camera to remove the defective pixel from the measurement region and employ a manual aperture to isolate the pixel from the area of interest.
  3. Return the camera to OSL to have the bad pixel corrected and the camera re-certified.
Twinkling Pixel This is an intermittent version of the Bright Pixel defect. These often appear as the camera warms up. May disappear if the camera is run in cooler environments. Usually predicts a pixel that will soon be a permanently bright pixel defect.

These are the hardest to detect and as such may get past our camera inspection process.

Same as above.

If returned to OSL to be corrected please send a full frame data file showing the pixel as it is malfunctioning. This will aid in our ability to find and fix it.

Dark Pixel Dark pixels have low responses compared to the amount of illumination that they receive. Isolated instances of these types of defects do not pose a serious beam analysis problem and they are generally not in need of correcting. This type of defect will not significantly impact a beam measurement result unless the beam is very very small and the defect falls inside of the beam profile. Reposition the camera to remove the defective pixel from the measurement region.
Dead Pixel Dead pixels have no response at all and may output a raw pixel value of zero (0) counts. This type of defect is screened for during our regular camera inspection process. All pixels that exceed a set limit are corrected, if possible, before the camera ships. This type of pixel may create a warning message when performing Ultracal operations. Ignore the warning and proceed as in the Dark Pixel case described above.
Dark Clusters These dimmer than normal clusters involving about a dozen or fewer pixels are often caused by dust particles and can usually be removed by cleaning of the imager. Sometimes these can be very difficult to impossible to remove. In the latter case they are may be melted into imager

If this is the result of laser damage then imager replacement is the only solution.

These usually do not cause serious measurement problems and can be treated with the Dark Pixel workaround described above. They can sometimes be dislodged with very gentle puffs of dry air. If you return a camera to be re-certified we have a few special methods for cleaning these, but success is not 100% guaranteed.
Regions of non-uniform response When large areas of an imager yield reduced signal levels this usually indicates laser damage. Long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation or overexposure to high laser power or peak energies are common causes. This type of degradation is not repairable and either the camera or the camera imager must be replaced.

Note 1: The following camera models can be re-certified and can have bad pixels corrected:
GRAS20, SP620, L11058, L230, Pyrocam III, Xeva
Each of the above cameras will have a maximum number of pixels that can be corrected. Once this limit is exceeded the camera imager or the camera must be replaced in order to meet OSL "as new" certification standards. If a large cluster of defective pixels appear, then bad pixel correction may not be able to repair the defect. The following cameras do not have, or have very limited, bad pixel correction capabilities:
SCOR20, SP503, FX50, FX33, FX33HD 


Describe the design philosophy behind BeamGage, given that it's the first, from-the-ground-up system in 10 years.

Going forward, Ophir-Spiricon will be able to add new video analysis applications on top of the existing video backbone, allowing instant use of all camera technologies wired to the backbone. Any new cameras added to the system will immediately be available to all analyzers built on the backbone. This capability will lower the development and maintenance costs of analyzers and cameras, and open the door for more innovation on the analysis side of that backbone.


What is the advantage of having 10 or 12 bits in your digital camera over 8 bits?

10, 12 and 14 bit systems are useful with new, low noise digital cameras. These are especially useful for viewing and measuring low level beam structure.

10, 12 or 14 bits provide better signal-to-noise ratios. This is especially useful when there is significant low level structure in the wings of a laser beam. 8 bit cameras benefit when summing or averaging is required to bring the signal out of noise. 10, 12 or 14 bit digitizers divide the noise into finer increments for a better definition of the systems noise content thus offering a more accurate analysis of the performance of the laser under test.


What is the smallest beam diameter that can be measured with the LBA?

The smallest beam depends on the pixel pitch in the camera.

  • For 1/1.8" format cameras the pixel pitch is typically 4.4µm. At least 7 X 7 pixels should be illuminated on the camera. This means the beam should be at least 40µm to measure effectively.
  • For focused spots in the range of 10µm, a microscope objective or a re-collimation and refocus with a long focal length lens can be used. Then resolution of the camera can be effectively magnified by about a factor of 10, so that resolution less than 1µm is obtained. Thus a focused spot beam could be as small as 7µm, and an effective measurement could still be made.


Getting Started with BeamGage Getting Started with BeamGage
BeamGage Tutorial: Power/Energy Measurement Integrated BeamGage Tutorial: Power/Energy Measurement Integrated BeamGage Tutorial: Power/Energy Measurement Integrated

In this video, we demonstrate how to configure BeamGage to display power and energy measurements from an attached Ophir sensor.

If you can't see the video please click here
Measuring Laser Focus Spot Size in an industrial Medical Device Application Measuring Laser Focus Spot Size in an industrial Medical Device Application Measuring Laser Focus Spot Size in an industrial Medical Device Application

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to set up a camera-based beam profiling system on an industrial single-pulse laser welding system.
It will also demonstrate for you how to simultaneously analyze the laser's focused spot, measure the laser's energy per pulse, and measure its temporal pulse shape.

If you can't see the video please click here
BeamGage Automation BeamGage Automation BeamGage Automation

BeamGage Professional and BeamGage Enterprise allow programmers to access all the functionality of the graphical user interface through LabView, Visual Basic, C++ and C#. This video is a short introduction to automation with a LabView demonstration.

If you can't see the video please click here

Watch the BeamGage Tutuorial, including tips on handling your CCD camera, software install, introduction to the BeamGage user interface, the context-sensitive help system and user manual, customizing your reporting environment, and configuring BeamGage to display specific laser measurements.

Tutorials and Articles

Apples to Apples: Which Camera Technologies Work Best for Beam Profiling Applications, Part 1

In 1997, Dr. Carlos Roundy, founder and president of Spiricon Inc., presented a paper at the 4th International Workshop on Lasers and Optics Characterization in Munich Germany. This paper was based on work that was carried out at Spiricon in the mid 90’s. At the time new insights were being presented on how to characterize a laser beam. Previous definitions were somewhat simplistic and most often were driven by customers telling us how they wanted the beam measured. Read more...

What’s That Blue Light Coming Out of Your Mouth?

By Chuck Reagan, Southeast Sales Engineer, Ophir-Spiricon

Modifying Laser Beams – No Way Around It, So Here’s How

By Allen M. Cary and John McCauley, Ophir Photonics Read more...

Why is Test Equipment Always Suspect?

By Dick Rieley, Mid-Atlantic Regional Sales Manager, Ophir-Spiricon


Customers that purchase the above items also consider the following items. Ophir-Spiricon meters and sensors include a standard manufacturers warranty for one year. Add a one year Extended Warranty to your meter or sensor, which includes one recalibration.
  • Optical Trigger for SP Cameras


    Optical trigger assembly which can be mounted on camera or separately to sense laser pulses and synchronize SP cameras with pulses. Comes with a BNC cable to for mounting on camera and a stand for mounting separately.

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