Thomson CSF 1542 camera head, 1990


The Thomson CSF 1542 camera is a CCD colour studio camera used by the BBC at Television Centre.

One camera head has no electronic cards, the other has a CCD fault, but they are complete with 6 volumes of Operations and Maintenance manuals.

A CCD (charge coupled device) is an integrated circuit used for the image sensor within the camera. Light is split into red, green and blue by a prism and CCD's are attached to the prism to ensure perfect registration of the 3 colours. If a CCD became detached it was impossible to replace it without very specialised equipment.

CCDs enable the production of smaller lightweight cameras that could perform as well as studio models. Larger studio cameras like this were produced for convenience in operation, for their ability to mount the largest zoom lenses (i.e. for sport), retain mechanical stability, and handle a large number of accessories such as talkback units.

Thomson CSF 1542s were installed at Television Centre studios TC1 and TC2 during refurbishments in 1991, and the following year in TC3 and TC4. The cameras were also used at BBC Elstree Centre from c.1994. The cameras shot in standard format with 700 lines resolution and were replaced by the move to widescreen from the late-1990s.


Object Number:
electronic components, glass, metal (unknown) and plastic (unidentified)
camera head
The BBC Collection