Advances in CCD and CMOS imaging sensor technology, coupled with the ability to leverage imaging technology needed to manufacture high-volume consumer products such as cell phones and flat panel displays (TVs & Computer Monitors), are driving development of Ultra-High Resolution (UHR) imaging cameras. These cameras offer the performance that today’s vision applications demand such as a larger field of view (FOV), greater accuracy, and faster throughput.
Adoption of UHR technology is being propelled by a wide variety of industries. Semiconductor and electronics manufacturers rely upon this technology to improve quality, reliability, and yield. The ever-increasing pixel densities of flat panel displays and PCBs demand greater sensitivity and resolution without compromising inspection speed. In fact, in many instances the inspection speed is increased with the larger FOV. The following two examples of a 155MP image showing sections that are zoomed in with detail uncompromised.
Ultra-High Resolution cameras help the fast-growing solar industry improve quality and lower costs by using visible light and near infrared (NIR) to detect microcracks in solar cells and panels.
Higher resolution sensors are also being developed to support new broadcast standards, and for use in ultra high definition (UHD) televisions and monitors.
Aerial and ground surveillance are other areas where Ultra-High Resolution cameras are often deployed. Digital aerial survey is an indispensable tool for military reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.
It is also becoming more widely used in commercial applications, including civil and environmental protection, land management, wildlife monitoring, agriculture, forestry, and humanitarian disaster relief.
High-resolution sensors can generate the level of detail required from an aerial image without having to stitch together multiple lower resolution images (see application shown below), which may adversely affect image quality.
An Ultra-High Resolution camera offers many operation and cost benefits to military and civilian applications since the aircraft can make fewer passes to cover the same terrain and/or fly at higher altitudes. It is especially important in covert military missions that the airborne system safely acquire as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Before deciding what ultra-high-resolution camera is the best fit for a given application, many factors must be evaluated. Each base technology has pro’s and con’s. As an example, artifacts such as smear seen in interline CCDs can be avoided using CMOS technology.
In addition to ensuring that basic requirements like resolution and frame rate are met, technology advances, budget, optics, lighting, and camera interfaces should also be looked at.
As CMOS sensors deliver performance improvements like faster frame rates, excellent image quality, and higher sensitivity, they are making Ultra-High Resolution cameras affordable for more and more machine vision applications.
UHR cameras require corresponding high-performance optic lenses to provide the image with the necessary brightness, contrast, and sharpness. As a camera’s resolution increases, any aberrations become much more obvious in a poor-quality lens. Lighting plays a key role in a machine vision system and UHR applications demand high-quality illumination tailored to the type of sensor technology used. Choosing what high-performance interface standard (Cameralink, HS-Cameralink, CoaXPress, GigE, 10GigE or USB3) works best with an ultra-high-resolution camera requires careful analysis of the application. Each standard offers a unique set of advantages and limitations in terms of bandwidth, ease of implementation and use, scalability, reach, robustness, and cost.
Resolution is a key consideration in selecting an industrial vision camera and it is one of the main factors affecting its cost. Given the vast choice available in ultra-high-resolution cameras, it may be helpful for vision system developers to discuss their application requirements with a camera supplier to ensure they purchase the camera that best meets their needs. Also, by choosing the correct camera initially, expensive and time-consuming redesigns can be avoided later.
Vision Systems Technology has the highest resolution and most advanced Ultra-High Resolution cameras available including:
- Vieworks VC-155MX-M15 (155MP 3.5u Pixel 12-bit 15 FPS CXP)
- SVS-Vistek HR120M-CL (120 MP 2.2u Pixel 12-bit 6.7 FPS CL)
- Vieworks VC-90MX-M26 (90MP 3.5u Pixel 12-bit 26 FPS CXP)
- Teledyne Dalsa Falcon4 (86MP 6u Pixel 12-bit 15 FPSD HS-CL)
- Vieworks VC-71MC (71MP 4.2u Pixel 12-bit 4 FPS CL)
- Vieworks VC-50MX (50MP 4.6u Pixel 31 FPS CXP)
- Emergent Vision HT-50000 (50MP 4.6u Pixel 10-bit 23 FPS 10GigE)
- SVS-Vistek SHR47051 (47MP 5.5u Pixel 12-bit 7 FPS CL)
- Indigo Imaging IDG-4500 (43MP sCMOS 2.8u Pixel 12-bit 1.45 e- Noise 10 FPS CL)