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We consider optimal resource allocation for wireless video sensors (WVSs), including the image sensor subsystem into the system analysis. By assigning a power-rate-distortion (P- R-D) characteristic for the image sensor, we build a comprehensive P-R-D framework for WVS optimization. Within the scope of the developed framework, we solve the problem of how to allocate power among the image sensor, compression, and transmission modules of a WVS, to achieve the optimal reconstructed video quality under power and rate constraints. To demonstrate the optimization method, we further establish a P-R-D model for an image sensor based on pixel level sigma-delta (SigmaDelta) image sensor design. A P-R-D performance analysis for a WVS verifies that including the image sensor in the system optimization procedure can improve the overall video quality and prolong the life-time of the wireless video network.