HDR Camera with GigE Vision Interface
Jai announced the AD-081GE high dynamic range (HDR) camera, a new 2-CCD camera with a GigE Vision interface and a variety of advanced operating modes. The AD-081GE is a follow-up to the Camera Link model (AD-081CL) which was launched last year. Like the AD-081CL, the new camera features an innovative 2-CCD design with two standard ICX204AL 1/3" monochrome progressive scan sensors mounted to a custom-designed optical prism. The prism-based design enables the camera to simultaneously capture two channels of 30 fps video, with each channel having 1024 x 768 resolution, 8- or 10-bit pixel depth, and precise alignment to the same optical axis.
The shutter speed and/or gain for each channel of the AD-081CL can be calibrated independently, such that one CCD captures details in the brighter areas of a scene, and the second CCD captures the identical image, but with an emphasis on the details in the darker areas. The two images can then be analyzed separately or processed with an image fusion algorithm to produce a dynamic range nearly double the normal CCD response. This enables the AD-081GE to achieve dynamic range levels as high as 20-bits per pixel (~120 dB) in a linear fashion that avoids the noise, shutter, and compression issues found in comparable CMOS-based logarithmic or LinLo HDR cameras.
Jai has developed a precise manufacturing process to align the two prism-mounted sensors to within one-quarter pixel accuracy. This enables the AD-081GE's high dynamic range capability to be applied to inspection tasks regardless of whether or not the objects are in motion - something that can't be done using two separate cameras or multiple exposures with a single CCD. It also enables the camera to be priced considerably less than a two-camera solution, particularly when optics, illumination, image acquisition, and other related items are considered.
Typical HDR applications for the AD-081GE include inspection tasks where incident light or bright reflections are present, such as LED inspection, welding, and various types of lighting or glass inspections. The camera is also ideal for a wide range of automotive applications, microscopy, or high-end surveillance uses. The parameters of each CCD can be adjusted by the user to provide maximum dynamic range or maximum contrast/sensitivity within a narrower lighting range, depending on the application.
The standard GigE Vision/GenICam technology in the AD-081GE has enabled Jai to add several capabilities not offered with the original Camera Link model.
For example, the camera includes built-in image fusion routines that can automatically produce high dynamic range output without any external processing required. Alternatively, JAI has added a variety of specialized HDR functions and a sample application to its popular GigE Vision SDK and Control Tool software to let users easily offload HDR processing to a host computer and build customized applications to fit their unique requirements.
Another new feature is the high signal-to-noise (S/N) mode included in the AD-081GE. In this mode, the camera automatically averages the video information from the two CCDs to produce a single image with a significantly lower noise component than a typical single-CCD image.
Other modes include the ability to interleave the images from the two CCDs into a single output stream. This high-speed mode enables the camera to operate at an effective 60 fps without any increase in the clock frequency of the camera, thus keeping clock noise to an absolute minimum. Also included is an advanced PIV mode, which leverages the camera's two-channel operation to capture three closely-spaced images on a single trigger instead of the two captured by conventional PIV trigger modes. This allows 50% more data to be collected to better analyze ultra-fast events such as vortex forming in artificial heart chambers, combustion analysis in engines, and air flow studies in wind chambers, to name a few.
The AD-081GE is equipped with two configurable RJ-45 outputs providing users with a choice of single-cable or dual-cable operation depending on the mode used. Other features include partial scanning and vertical binning capabilities, as well as analog video output to support auto-iris lenses.