Image Sensors vs. Cameras, how does camera technology make a better picture?

Posted by Gretchen Alper on Thu, Oct 20, 2011

OEM system developers typically consider industrial video cameras that contain a particular image sensor, and then base their final decision on baseline needs such as camera outline and unit price.  While the image sensor selection is important, the fact that several cameras use the same image sensor does not mean the cameras from different vendors will produce the same image, or even meet the requirements of specific vision applications.  But what parameters are determined by the camera and how can you determine the right fit for your system?  

 Camera vs Sensor comparing cameras

Camera manufactures have different strategies and focus which leads them to create different types of products.  To find a complete and optimized solution to an application’s needs, OEMs should carefully look at value-added capabilities and features that camera developers offer to enhance and augment the image sensor.  In addition, they should determine whether the camera builder has not distorted the image sensor signal but improved it.  This can greatly affect the accuracy, performance, and scalability of the system.

Choosing the right camera from the beginning can eliminate costly redesigns or upgrades in the future.  In order to compare cameras, go beyond the basic sensor performance.  Would functionality on the camera be beneficial, such as color processing to eliminate strains on resources elsewhere in the system or window of interest to eliminate processing irrelevant data?

It can help to think about the details in the resulting image (sharpness, contrast, etc. ) that are required.  In general, the more demanding the measurements are on the details, then the more critical the needs for uniformity and linearity through skilled implementation of functionality and processing on the camera.

The camera vendor should also be evaluated thoroughly to verify sophisticated manufacturing and alignment processes, well-matched strategies, and willingness to customize products for a more exact fit.

Ultimately the long-term ROI of the entire system is greatly influenced by the camera and camera supplier; examples are camera performance, requirements for upgrades and replacement, reliability, future roadmap alignment, and support.  Check out our latest e-paper to find out more about the range of features and capabilities high-performance camera developers are offering in addition to the commercially available image sensors on the market.

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Topics: Sensor Technology, Image Quality Improvements