Digital Cameras: It’s the software, stupid!
Analog Cameras: Seeing Video • Typically you had 2 choices to see your video from an analog camera • Plugs directly into a TV monitor • Connect to frame grabber with video displayed on computer’s monitor
Analog Cameras: Not seeing video • 2 most popular reasons for not seeing video from an analog camera • Camera had no power to it (someone forgot to plug it in) • Lens cap not taken off.
Digital Cameras: Seeing video • Digital cameras don’t output video, they output bits! • Something must convert this digital stream into video. This something is the Software for the camera. • If the SW works on your computer, you should see video!
Which Software? • Driver SW, Application SW • 3 types of digital outputs for cameras discussed in this presentation • Gigabit Ethernet (aka GigE) • Firewire (aka 1394) • USB2.0 • None of this software is the same between different outputs • None of the driver SW between manufacturers is the same • As we will see, only one of these outputs has true ‘standard’ SW.
Software from the camera manufacturer • Each digital camera should come with SW from the manufacturer • This needs to include a driver for the camera. It might also include a viewer, a SDK, and other proprietary software
Software Standards • Firewire has a standard for video called ‘DCAM’ aka IIDC • Any DCAM firewire camera will work with any DCAM firewire SW. It is register based. • USB2.0 does not have this standard • GigE has sort of a standard, GigEvision. Not the same as DCAM however
Software Standards II • Windows streaming video: if there is a WDM driver for the camera, it will interface to any windows app written for streaming video! • TWAIN. If the camera comes with a twain driver, it will interface to any windows app with a twain interface
Digital Cameras: Seeing Video II • To see video from your digital camera, the first thing you must do is install your SW! • If the SW isn’t installed or working correctly, you WILL NOT SEE VIDEO! • This is different from an analog camera! • Step 2, camera HW must interface to the SW, then you will see video! • IF you can install the SW, you should see video no problem!
Digital Cameras: SW Conundrum • In the past, most camera vendors left all the SW issues to the framegrabber companies that the cameras interfaced to! • General statement: Camera companies are expert in getting good video out of the sensor, not in writing a driver, control SW and SDK. • This does not mean that camera companies cannot produce quality software! It just means you as a customer need to ask the right questions!
Digital Cameras Companies' SW • Does company have ability to create quality SW? • Several GigE interfaces are built on the Pleora OEM IP. Pleora spent many years writing and testing the SW. GigE camera manufacturers using this IP get excellent SW out of the box without having to re invent it • Several frame grabber manufacturers are now creating digital cameras. • They are using the same SW that grabbers have been using for many years, and therefore, are of very high quality • $25M camera company has resources to create and test sophisticated SW, $2.5M company probably does not! • This does not mean the $2.5M company does not have good SW, it just means again that you need to check things thoroughly.
Digital Cameras SW: Conclusion • With a digital camera, the SW is potentially as important, if not more so, than the camera HW • Examine the SW offering, making sure that it has all the features you need • Decide if you need a SW standard • This presentation is too short to go into all the nuances of sw for digital cameras, please contact us. As an independent distributor, we can give you an objective opinion on which direction to take.