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Selecting the Right Camera for Your Application

Apr 7, 2016
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Selecting the right camera for your next project can be a daunting challenge. There are now thousands of different cameras made by numerous companies worldwide. What are the important features that must be present in a camera so that it will be able to provide the images that you need? What else do you need to worry about in order to ensure success with your chosen camera? These questions can be answered by following a straightforward method to narrow the camera choices down to a select few candidates.

This webinar is intended to provide you with that method and the tools you’ll need in order to find the right camera for your application. A brief background on the fundamentals of imaging sensors will be presented along with a basic taxonomy of camera classifications and features. The presentation will focus on the specific decisions needed for selecting a camera regardless of which part of the spectrum will be used: x-ray, visible, near-infrared, IR or terahertz. A few case studies will be presented that will demonstrate the techniques presented. 

The webinar is presented by Dr. Rex A. Lee, a research professor at two major universities and an entrepreneur who has started four technology companies. He holds two patents related to high-density electronic packaging and has published over 50 scientific articles. Lee has more than 40 years of video experience, including 25 years in scientific and industrial applications. 

Lee is currently the CEO and president of Pyramid Imaging, Inc., established in 2001. Pyramid Imaging distributes and integrates machine vision products for hundreds of customers in a range of industries. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Automated Imaging Association, AIA, now a part of A3, the Association for Advancing Automation. Lee holds a Ph.D. in engineering science, a master's degree in biophysics and a bachelor's degree in physics.

Audience questions and the presenter’s responses are provided below.

1. The electrical output signal from image cameras differs strongly. Are some common trends of various manufacturers to get output electric signal with similar voltages, frequency, currents, etc.?
Most sensors output in LVDS; cameras convert for standards. Firewire is going away and will be difficult to acquire. USB3 is rapidly increasing. GBE is quite common. 10 Gig-E is "niche-y." CameraLink and COAxpress are still popular. Check in with AIA.

2. Any suggestions for a CCD camera, like the astronomical cameras, that has minimal/no interpixel deadspace of coatings? We are using an astronomy camera to image a laser beam scattering off air pollution at night and the intensity of the beam at each pixel is our signal. When the bright narrow beam crosses a pixel column we lose some signal. Thanks.
Maximum fill factor feature could enable full-frame sensors. Maximize area of sensor for all pixels; ICs take up space, where a frame could be hidden (frame transfer CCD); most cameras will need a mechanical (or electronically controlled) shutter. Pay attention to which wavelength you're looking to image.

3: Who makes the 80MP camera?
The 80MP camera is made by Phase 1.

4: What sensor has the best QE for 400 nm light?
There’s no quick answer to that. A lot of new sensors are coming out of the foundries, e.g., ON Semi, CMOSIS are active. Follow spectral response charts for various sensors.

5: If we are interested in the size of particles, what kind of camera and illumination are recommended?
To measure, use telecentric lighting and lenses; create a structured light in which all the rays of light are coming parallel to the camera, then the telecentric lens can capture and accurately map those rays onto the surface of the sensor.

6: Maybe there was a comment on vendor selection that I missed, but be wary when using leading edge sensor designs that the vendor can actually deliver, and not just make promises, or at the very least have a backup plan. (don't ask how I learned....)
If you're required to be on the leading edge with few suppliers, make sure you have a backup supplier to avoid lead-time problems.
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