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Industria cameras are sensors

The function of a camera is to take nice photos... This is at least true for photo cameras, video cameras and webcams. But actually, it does not hold true for an industrial camera. The purpose of an industrial camera is to convert optical signals into electrical ones as precisely as possible. This process results in a digital image. It is irrelevant whether a human being likes these digital images or not.

The selection of an industrial camera follows its own rules: The experience gained from using consumer cameras may not be applied when selecting a camera for an industrial application. This website helps to avoid this trap: On the left hand side you find information concerning the various types of industrial cameras. The right menu provides details concerning the main selection criteria.

Industrial cameras are blind

There is another basic difference between industrial USB cameras, FireWire cameras or GigE cameras and consumer cameras. We expect that consumer cameras have an integrated lens - otherwise the camera would not be able to "see"! Obviously, industrial cameras also need a lens but (apart from some exceptions) it is not an integral part of the camera.

Thus, the successful use of an industrial camera requires the selection of a suitable lens. Often, this decision is more difficult than the selection of the camera itself. The left menu provides information concerning the different lens variations. The menu at the right-hand side explains some basic technical terms.

Industrial cameras are stupid

"I am looking for a camera that rejects parts with incorrect drillholes." Everyday, manufacturers of industrial cameras receive such inquiries. Often prospective customers are surprised when they answer: "Sorry, but cameras can't do that."

But actually it is not surprising: the human eye cannot do that either. For the detection of an incorrect drillhole we need at least some illumination, an eye and a brain. The eye itself is "stupid".

Translated into the world of machine vision we therefore need an illumination, a camera (plus lens) and a computer (plus software). The successful realization of a machine vision system depends very much on how well these components work together.

At first glance the so-called "intelligent cameras", "smart cameras" or "vision sensors" seem to be an exception. Actually, they only integrate our basic components into one case.