Vidicon and Plumbicon Tubes








The introduction of the Vidicon tube by RCA in the early fifties greatly helped in the reduction of the size and weight of the studio TV cameras in general, as well as in the development of color TV by making possible the use in one camera of three different tubes, one for each of the three basic colors, red, green and blue. Dedicated Vidicons for color television had their glass front plate of the appropriate color, and were accordingly marked with one of the letters R, G or B following their model number. Other advantages of the Vidicon tubes compared to the Image Orthicon were their relatively simple design, easier manufacture, and lower cost.


Originally Vidicon tubes had antimony trisulfate targets. Variants of the original Vidicon, by different manufacturers, used alternate materials some of which improved the image quality. But the real leap forward was the introduction by Philips in the early sixties of the Plumbicon tube, very close in design to the Vidicon, with a lead oxide target, giving an image of high definition with an improved signal to noise ratio, low lag and less trailing artifacts from bright spots in the picture.


Vidicon tubes had a 1, 2/3 or 1/2 image input, but the most common was the 2/3. The Plumbicons had 1 or 2/3 inputs. In the x-ray picture above, the two upper tubes are Plumbicons, and the lower a Vidicon.


Vidicons and Plumbicons have been progressively and largely dethroned by the advent, in the late seventies, of the CCD (charge-coupled device) image captors.


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