What is a High Performance Camera?

Posted by Gretchen Alper on Tue, Dec 14, 2010

high performanceMany industrial camera providers describe their products as high performance, but what does this mean?

Say you are looking for a laptop to use in an office, you could have a wide selection of options that would meet your needs.  Now let’s say you need to use this laptop at 5000 feet with gloves on, then it becomes harder to determine the exact product specifications that you need and which manufacturers can truly offer you the right solution.  This is the difference between general purpose and high performance solutions.

Many camera manufactures utilize the exact same image sensors.  A general purpose camera would simply have electronics to transfer the signal off the sensor.  It is not optimized for any specific application, but is acceptable for a wide range of uses where there is a constant temperature, controlled lighting conditions, and the quality of the image does not alter the accuracy of the measurement.  A general purpose camera can be suitable when the information required is to determine whether an object is present or not.  A high performance camera would be needed when you want to determine the size of the object and the object is moving at extremely fast rates.

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Real high performance cameras would have some or all of the following qualities:

  • Full performance over the temperature range of at least -10 to 40 degrees C
  • Functionality optimized for specific applications
  • Frame rates that do not limit the performance of the OEM equipment
  • High sensitivity in low light conditions

Adimec offers a full selection of high performance cameras optimized for machine vision applications where the quality of the image is critical to the accuracy of the measurement and performance of the machines.  For instance, the Adimec Q-4A180 offers the following high performance parameters:

  • Up to 69 dB dynamic range (compared to 60 dB sensor specification)
  • 180 full (i.e. 4 MPx) frames per second (sensor limitation) even on Camera Link cables.
  • Flat field correction to compensate for sensor non-uniformity
  • In camera pre-processing capabilities to improve image quality but also to obtain the highest possible specifications in existing OEM implementations (e.g. burst mode and programmable calibrations of the optical system)


Unlike machine vision applications, outdoor imaging systems need to manage variable lighting conditions, unpredictable appearance and moving of “parts”, long distances to the processing system, and changing weather conditions.  Consequently, general purpose machine vision cameras are especially not ideal for this use.  Adimec’s outdoor imaging cameras include the following high performance qualities:

  • Full performance over the temperature range -25°C to +55°C
  • Automatic functionality to adjust for fluctuating daylight conditions,
  • Ruggedized to withstand extreme environmental conditions

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License Plate Recognition System with an Adimec Camera

Despite higher initial camera costs, high performance cameras can often reduce overall system costs compared to general purpose cameras.  For example, Adimec’s high performance cameras reduce costs in several ways:

  • Optimized functionality for the application reduces design complexities
  • Camera-to-camera consistency reduces tool set-up time and system calibration
  • High uniformity over a large FOV results in fewer overall cameras per system
  • True Accurate ImagingTM eliminates the need for image processing
  • 100% factory test to all specifications eliminates any incoming inspection
  • Robust design and reliable operation minimizes service costs and downtime
If the performance of your OEM equipment is limited by the quality and/or speed of the image then you should consider a high performance camera rather than a general purpose camera. Contact Adimec today to find out if a higher performance camera could make the difference in your system and increase your competitiveness in your industry.

Topics: Vision System Optimization

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