Rolling shutter readout vs Global shutter readout of scientific camera

We have been developing many scientific cameras not with “global shutter” readout, but with “rolling shutter” readout for low light imaging. A scientific camera with “rolling shutter” has higher quantum efficiency and lower readout noise than that with “global shutter” in the same price range. There are, however, some cases a customer become uneasy after hearing the unfamiliar term “rolling shutter” and viewing greatly distorted images of a rotating fan that were captured in rolling shutter mode.

Figure * shows graphs of sCMOS camera pixel row positions and exposure timings. In global shutter mode, exposure of all pixel rows starts simultaneously as shown in Figure 2 (a). In rolling shutter mode, on the other hand, the start of exposure time is slightly delayed along the pixel row positions from the center to the outer side as shown in Figure 2 (b). From the perspective, there are some reports pointing out “negative points” of the rolling shutter such as the (1) spatial distortion and (2) time difference occurring due to the difference in exposure timing.

Fig 1. Exposure timing by pixel row position

In the global shutter (a) shown on the left, exposure of all pixel rows starts simultaneously. In the rolling shutter (b) shown on the right, the exposure start time is slightly delayed along the pixel row positions from the center to the outer side.

Then what kind of imaging conditions will create a “distorted image” in rolling shutter mode? We know that usually the faster the camera target moves or the shorter the camera exposure time, the more likely that distortion will occur. Under the condition the distortion does not occur in rolling shutter, the users can enjoy excellent signal-to-noise image quality by high quantum efficiency and low readout noise characteristics of sCMOS camera with rolling shutter.


We deeply investigated the distortion of “rolling shutter” in live-cell imaging.

Please refer to the below link of the technical note if you are interested in. 

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