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Recommended HD camera

asked 2013-07-20 08:07:39 -0600

royshil gravatar image

Hello, I'm sure many of you faced the problem of choosing the right camera for a computer vision project. Can you recommend a camera you've used in a vision project that:

  • Has HD resolution (720 or 1080)
  • Good optics, minimal distortion or artifacts from optics
  • High frame rate (60 fps and up)
  • Allows changing lenses, or at least has a wide angle lens option
  • Relatively small

Perhaps this thread can serve as a reference for OpenCV users to pick a camera that suits their needs. Thank you!

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I would be interested as well.

Philipp Wagner gravatar imagePhilipp Wagner ( 2013-07-21 09:06:49 -0600 )edit

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answered 2013-07-24 08:48:20 -0600

updated 2013-07-24 08:49:42 -0600

If you are interested in scientific/professional cameras and it can cost a bit more than an expensive webcam, then I suggest to look at the cameras of Allied Vision Tech. They have a diverse range of camera's with different options.

I use both the guppy and the manta and they give very good results!

They even have an online setup to define the ideal camera for you!

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answered 2013-07-23 22:17:44 -0600

noviceCVer gravatar image


So my advice is coming from a photography/ filming standpoint, so not sure if this works with what you need.

But the best cameras are built by those that build cameras and have done for a long time. Of course right? The reason being is that a lot of your image quality comes form the glass that is in front of the ccd/cmos or in the old days film. Terrible glass, terrible image. Glass also has its resolution capabilities and I believe they call it lines pairs per mm. Maybe you;ve heard of Carl zeiis, Leica or Hasselblad? No doubt you've heard of Canon and Nikon. All these guys know how to make glass. In regards to video cameras, then canon have a great combination of glass knowledge and image processing knowledge.

The next thing to consider is your ccd/cmos. The world got all caught up in the megapixel race, and making cameras really small. Which meant ccd/cmos's got really small, and also they crammed a lot of pixels on them. That is a false economy in regards to your image quality. What we need, and again Canon has turn 180 on the industry for the better, at least for video where our TV's and output devices are only 1080, they have built bigger sensors with less but larger pixels, in fact just as many as we need 2 megapixels, 1920 x 1080. This means that an individual pixel is more sensitive to light, which means less noise, which means sharper images even as the light drops. Flash back to film. Film speed was based on the size of the silver particles in the film. 800 film had larger silver particles which react quicker and sooner to less light than did say 100 speed film which has small grains of silver in them.

So, if you have a budget and OpenCV works with them in terms of live uploads etc, then look at Canons new HFG range. Starting around 1k. Not sure if some of the lower models have the same sensor, I think they might? But here you get great glass, amazing and big cmos sensors, and also HDMI out. Guess they will be heavier than webcams and things like that so they may not suit for many robotic projects.

Otherwise certain things to look for.

Glass lenses not plastic. If the lens is designed by a well known lens manufacturer even better. The bigger the glass the more light is let in, which means better images Just enough pixels for the job. On bigger sized sensors. with bigger pixels (sometimes called pixel pitch measured in um).

Guess its all food for thought, not sure if its helpful at all.

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answered 2013-07-23 16:15:36 -0600

nayf9 gravatar image

We did a lot of our development stuff using the ubiquitous logitech quickcam 9000 pro. We got nice stable calibrations and good accuracy on our results. When we needed to upgrade to high speed, we went with Mightex cameras. Their USB 3 series cams can do the frame rates you want at HD resolutions (we use the SME-B050-U). They're not plug and play with openCV but the SDK wasn't that hard to figure out (and I'm a relative novice in c++). I haven't tried out a lot of other cameras, but these meet your requirements (size, frame rate, standard c-mount lens mount) and the Mightex folks have been willing to answer any questions we've had in our hardware/software development process.

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Did you encounter bad image quality when capturing with 640x480 pixels? That is what I observe, at least on windows and I guess it might be a problem of the driver. Once I increase the resolution quality is ok but the frame rate drops.

SR gravatar imageSR ( 2013-07-24 02:47:58 -0600 )edit

I'm assuming you're asking about the mightex cameras... we normally run at 1280x1024, and for a single camera we've had no problem getting frame rates of 50 fps or so (for USB3 with the camera in 8-bit mode, using the callback methods in their SDK). I've never noticed an image quality problem at lower resolutions. The USB3 throughput seems to be the bottleneck it that case, so I can see where it might be hardware intensive / hardware dependent to a certain extent.

nayf9 gravatar imagenayf9 ( 2013-08-05 19:54:18 -0600 )edit

Thanks, but actually I was asking about the Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000.

SR gravatar imageSR ( 2013-08-06 02:50:58 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2013-07-20 08:07:39 -0600

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Last updated: Jul 24 '13