Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

How to... Choose a Machine Vision Camera

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Selecting a camera for your machine vision application can be a daunting task. There are a large variety of camera types and choosing the best one for your application can be difficult.

Generally speaking, you should choose the lowest resolution that will meet your requirements. Most camera manufacturers produce a wide range of camera resolutions. For example, Prosilica produces cameras ranging from VGA to multi-megapixel resolution.

Where sensitivity is concerned, in almost all applications higher sensitivity is better. Higher sensitivity means that one can use shorter exposure times, lower gain settings, and lower-cost optics. Sensitivity can also be increased by using “binning” a camera function common on Prosilica cameras.

If you can live with monochrome, buy monochrome. The use of color adds a level of complexity that should be avoided unless your application truly needs color. Color cameras produce larger amounts of data and also negatively affect camera sensitivity and image resolution.

Another choice to make is which camera interface to use. All the newest machine vision cameras now feature Firewire or Gigabit Ethernet interfaces so there is very little reason to use a framegrabber-based camera.

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