Apologies in advance for the superficial knowledge. I'm doing some sleuthing to help a friend who's about to do a research project and I showed him research on UV photography to find invsibile identfying marks on individual speciemens.


While that should be enough for his purposes I'm interested in how learning realistic would it be to have a camera that has color channels corresponding to the 12 receptors of a mantis shrimp.

Mantis shrimp cone wavelength perception

I looked and found this question concerning how most cameras only have 3 color channels as discussed here.

Why don't cameras offer more than 3 colour channels? (Or do they?)

Of course, there would be the issue of storing this data in a digital format and need of a device capable of rendering this data that isnt based in RGB. For now assume that simply having the digital data is fine and the information extracted, i.e. individual wavelengths could be filtered, to see outlines in an RGB format else where.

The hope is that it could give some insight into biologically relevant signals invisible to the human eye but visible to marine fauna. Would either buying a camera with such unique color channels be possible or would it be realistic to make such a camera?

Any insight is appreciated.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd guess that building a 12 channel camera that sees from UV to visible would be a research project in itself. At the simplest it involves taking the same image through 12 different filters. Also this isn't the best site for that sort of question. Biology.SO might be a better place to start to see if you can find other people who have tried this sort of thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 15 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is probably off-topic for this Stack. I'm pretty sure this is going to start a discussion about sellers or suppliers, where to find multispectral imaging systems, which is definitely off-topic here. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Mar 15 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks guys. I started diving into your response @scottbb and have been to locate a couple of research papers on the topic. Much appreciated! I can definitely move this to another stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mike
    Commented Mar 16 at 3:05

1 Answer 1


Would either buying a camera with such unique color channels be possible or would it be realistic to make such a camera?

This is called multispectral imaging. Regular color photography is a form of multispectral imaging. Using different filters in front of a wideband-sensitive photo array allows you to image and record different filtered sections of the electromagnetic spectrum, including beyond the visual spectrum.

It's not a question of feasibility; multispectral imaging systems exist on the market, for a wide range of applications.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.