Systems integrators, developers, and end users needing to select an industrial camera for their machine-vision system or image-processing applications are faced with a myriad of choices. Different camera interfaces, including Camera Link, FireWire (IEEE 1394), Universal Serial Bus (USB), and Gigabit Ethernet, are now available for infrared, visible, or x-ray imaging. Add to this the large number of high-speed vision sensors and Ethernet-based smart cameras now available, and the number of options increases dramatically.
To cut through the clutter and confusion of choosing industrial cameras, Vision Systems Design presents the first-ever "Worldwide Industrial Camera Directory," a comprehensive information bank that lists more than 100 camera companies, more than 500 cameras, and numerous operating specifications (follows p. 26). Based on this information, our readers will become better informed and will be able to specify the proper camera for their image-capture application.
In addition, this directory includes four technical articles on the major camera interfaces—Camera Link, FireWire (IEEE 1394), Universal Serial Bus (USB), and Gigabit Ethernet standards. They explain and promote the importance and impact of these standards on industrial markets. Written by leading industry experts, each article describes and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of an interface standard and how it can ease camera-to-frame-grabber-to-computer connectivity.
In "Gigabit Ethernet offers blazing speed," John Vieth, director of research and development in the digital cinema unit of Dalsa Corp. (Waterloo, ON, Canada), examines the benefits of adding Gigabit Ethernet as an interface for high-performance digital cameras. Then, in "FireWire provides high-speed serial networking," Jerry Fife, senior product manager at Sony Electronics (Park Ridge, NJ, USA), takes a look at the benefits of adding bus-based cameras to PC-based systems. Now ranked as the most popular high-speed machine-vision interface, Camera Link is examined in an article by Jason Mulliner, vision product marketing manager at National Instruments (Austin, TX, USA). And, in "USB advantages offset other interfaces," Joseph Sgro, chief executive officer of Alacron (Nashua, NH, USA), looks at how the USB bus will impact the other interfaces.
In an overview, George Chamberlain, president of Pleora Technologies (Kanata, ON, Canada), sees a clear winner in the camera-interface competition. After analyzing all four major camera interfaces and their individual strengths, he declares that one of these standards "delivers a unique combination of distance, bandwidth, networking flexibility, and ease-of-use that—with its low cost—makes it the champion." You can find his selection on p. D16.
The camera-interface-standard competition is well underway. As is the case for all industrial technologies and products, the machine-vision and image-processing market will eventually determine the leader. We welcome your comments.
The "Worldwide Industrial Camera Directory" will be available on our Web site, www.vision-systems.com, in October 2003.
Editor in Chief