Microfluidics systems with Opto Imaging Modules

Microfluidics includes the control and manipulation of fluids at sub-millimeter scale, with a wide and growing range of industrial and medical applications. Opto now offers microfluids systems solutions via the Opto digital inverse microsope profile M.

With a pressure-based system to move fluids into the droplet micro-nozzle, the dosing nozzle (to add active substances to a droplet), and through the tubing, the Opto Inverse Microsope Profile M revolutionizes the ease of creating a microfluids system.

Five key benefits of the Opto microfluidics system:

  • Integrates camera sensor, lens, and lighting into one module
  • Provides lens magnification choices to match application requirements
  • Light source frequency and color options are available
  • Parameterized software permits droplet size monitoring and control with user-friendly controls and display (see image below)
  • Droplets may be sequentially identified and logged for export and data mining
Microfluidics droplet tracking

The microfluidics systems offering described above is in turn based upon Opto’s innovative Imaging Modules.  These modules each contain an integrated camera sensor, lens and lighting in an “all in one” housing.  A range of imaging modules are available, each configured to optimize component alignment and operations. The end-user may quickly deploy a new system, benefiting from the standardized systems, economies of scale, and expertise of the module builder.

Coming soon are soon are modules to track, count and analyze fast objects, particles and droplets, at more than 150 FPS. So the approach is also suitable for high-speed biomedical and microfluidics applications.

Key takeaway: Imaging modules relieve the systems builder of the challenges in building an imaging system from scratch, such that the imaging system is a building-block available for integration into (often as the controlling “engine” of) a larger system. The integrator or system builder can focus more at the systems level, connecting the imaging module rather than having to integrate a lens, sensor, and lighting into a custom solution.

In short, it’s buy vs. build – for certain applications areas, Opto’s integrated modules make a compelling value proposition in favor of “buy” – for the imaging features – allowing the integrator or systems builder to add his or her expertise in other aspects of the system build.

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

New compact IDS XCP and XLE cameras

IDS offers new compact budget-friendly industrial cameras in XCP and XLE families. These versatile cameras are GenICam compliant, and easily programmed with SDK IDS peak – or with third-party software.

IDS XCP and XLE industrial cameras

Designed for price-sensitive and high-volume applications, these cameras can easily be integrated into a wide variety of image processing systems.

The uEye XCP is the smallest industrial camera with housing and C-mount, members of this family measure only  29 x 29 x 17 mm (W/H/L). With zinc die-cast full housing and screw-type USB Micro-B connector, their C-mount adapter makes it possible to choose among a wide range of lenses.

For embedded applications, the uEye XLE family offers single-board cameras with or without C-/CS-Mount or S-Mount and USB Type-C interface.

In both the  uEye XCP and XLE series, you can currently choose between the 2.3 MP global shutter sensor AR0234 and the 5 MP rolling shutter sensor AR0521 from Onsemi. In addition, the 8.46 MP sensor from the Sony Starvis series will soon be available.

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

We have stock! USB3 machine vision cameras

While “we have stock” might not have been a compelling opening line prior to COVID and supply-chain challenges, in the current context it’s an attention-grabbing headline.

USB3 cameras

It’s widely known through the machine vision industry, and many other electronics-dependent sectors, that supply chain shortages of key components like FPGAs have led to months- or years- long backlogs in delivering products that were once continuously stocked – or at least available with short lead times.

Some camera manufacturers use their own ASIC and components not plagued by component shortages. So many of the most popular models are in stock here at 1stVision. And others are available with short lead times.

We currently have ~ 50 different USB3 industrial camera models in stock,  with resolutions ranging from WVGA to 20.2MP. Image sensor manufacturers include ON Semi and Sony, with frame rates up to 281fps.  Our latest stock update has good quantities of popular sensor models such as ONSEMI AR0521, Sony IMX273, IMX183, IMX265 to name a few.  In many cases,  1stVision has cameras in various housed and board-level formats and we restock on a regularly. 

A subset of the many cameras in stock at 1stVision

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

IDS uEye XC: Webcam alternative for industrial applications

While traditional webcams are notoriously easy to bring online, they are typically only consumer-grade in robustness, and the images they deliver haven’t been standards compliant – meaning machine vision software hasn’t been able to process the data.

Enter IDS uEye XC, a game changing USB3 auto-focus camera from the Vision Standard-compliant uEYE+ product line. With integrated auto-focus, images – both stills and videos – remain sharp even as working distance varies. Application possibilities include kiosk systems, logistics, and robotics.

With a lightweight magnesium housing, dimensions of just 32 x 61 x 19mm (W x H x D), the 13 MP OnSemi sensor delivers 20 fps. BSI (Backside lllumination) provides significant improvements in low light signal-to-noise ratio, visible light sensitivity and infrared performance.

The IDS uEye XC camera utilizes industrial-grade components and IDS provides a long planned lifecycle, so that customers can confidently do design-ins knowing they can source more cameras for many years to come. Additional features include 24x digital zoom, auto white balance and color correction.

Designed for plug-and-play installation, IDS’ peak SDK makes it easy to configure the camera for optimal performance in your application, in case you want to modify parameter settings.

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

Fujinon HF-XA-1F lenses with unique anti-shock and vibration performance

While conventional machine vision camera lenses exhibit problematic degradation of resolution when the shooting distance or aperture is changed, the Fujinon HF-XA-1F lenses  feature high performance “4D HR” to minimize such degradation.  The new lenses maintain a highly consistent image sharpness from the center to the edges, while mitigating degradation of resolution caused by changes in the working distance or aperture. This enables consistent delivery of high-resolution images under a wide variety of installation and shooting conditions.

4DHR: With vs. without

Designed for “4DHR” (4D High Resolution) and compatible with IMX250 high performance CMOS image sensor (2/3″, 5 megapixels, 3.45µm pixel pitch).  With five family members, at focal lengths 8, 12, 16, 25, and 35, each model can be used for optical formats from 1/3” up through all 2/3”, and even to some 1/1.2″ sensors.

Fujinon HF-XA-1F Series

Adjusting the focus is demonstrated in the video below: one ring adjusts focus while the operator monitors the image, and another ring locks in the adjustment:

In addition, the lenses’ unique mechanical design realizes anti-shock and vibration-resistant performance, further contributing to image quality. The lenses are compliant with standard IEC60068-2-6, key test parameters being:

  • Vibration frequency of 10-60Hz (amplitude of 0.75mm), 60-500Hz (acceleration of 100m/S2)
  • Sweep frequency of 50 cycles

Unlike what most are familiar with in lens designs, for this family iris parts having different F numbers are included with package! These parts enable the user to adjust the F.no. depending on the situation of the installation and the user’s application. Please refer to the video below for for how to replace the iris parts & attach to the camera. 

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss lensing and camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist you.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

What is the difference between an Area Scan and a Line Scan Camera?

Examples of area scan and line scan applications

While the differences between the applications for an area scan machine vision camera vs. a line scan camera may often appear to be subtle, the differences in their technologies and the ways to optimize them in specific use cases is clear. By optimizing we include relative costs as well as imaging outcomes.  This brief overview provides a foundational overview. For additional application engineering assistance please contact one of our industrial imaging technical consultants and get the support you need.

Definition of an Area Scan Camera:

Area scan cameras are generally considered to be the all-purpose imaging solution as they use a straight-forward matrix of pixels to capture an image of an object, event, or scene. In comparison to line scan cameras, they offer easier setup and alignment. For stationary or slow moving objects, suitable lighting together with a moderate shutter speed can produce excellent images.

Even moving objects can become “stationary” from the perspective of an area scan camera through appropriate strobe lighting and/or a fast shutter speed, so just because something is motion does not necessarily disqualify an area scan solution.

Among the key features of an area scan camera include that the camera, when matched with a suitable lens, provide a fixed resolution. This allows for easy set up in imaging system applications where the cameras will not move after installation. Area scan cameras are also extremely flexible, as a single frame can be segmented into multiple regions-of-interest (ROI) to look for specific objects rather than having to process the entire image.

Additionally, some models of area scan cameras are optimized to be sensitive to infrared light, in portions of the spectrum not visible to the human eye. This allow for thermal imaging as well as feature identification applications that can be innovative and cost-effective, opening new opportunities for machine vision.

NIR imaging detects flaws in photovoltaic modules

Definition of a Line Scan Camera:

In contrast to an area scan camera, in a line scan camera a single row of pixels is used to capture data very quickly. As the object moves past the camera, the complete image is pieced together in the software line-by-line and pixel-by-pixel.

Line scan camera systems are the recognized standard for high-speed processing of fast-moving “continuous”objects such as in web inspection of paper, plastic film, and related applications.. Among the key factors impacting their adoption in these systems is that the single row of pixels produced by line scanning allows the imaging processing system to build continuous images unlimited by a specific vertical resolution. This results in superior, high resolution images. Unlike area scan cameras, a line scan camera can also expose a new image while the previous image is still transferring its data. (Because the pixel readout is faster than the camera exposure.) When building a composite image, the line scan camera can either move over an object or have moving objects presented to it. Coordination of production/camera motion and image acquisition timing are critical for line scan cameras but, unlike area scan cameras, lighting is relatively simple.

What if you need to image a medical tube, or round object, such as a steel ball bearing?

In certain applications, line scan cameras have other specific advantages over area scan cameras. Consider this application scenario: You need to inspect several round or cylindrical parts and your typical system experience is with area scan cameras, so you set about to use multiple cameras to cover the entire part surface. It’s doable, but a better solution would be to rotate the part in front of a single line scan camera to capture the entire surface and allow the processor to “unwrap” the image pixel-by-pixel. Line scan cameras are also typically smaller than area scan. As a result, they sneak into tight spaces such as in a spot where they might have to peek through rollers on a conveyor to view a key angle of a part for quality assurance.

Not sure which area scan or line scan camera is right for you?

There are a host of options and tradeoffs to consider even after you’ve made your decision on the technology that’s likely best for you. 1st Vision is the US distributor you need. Our industrial imaging consultants are available to help you navigate the various camera models and brands from industry-leading manufacturers Teledyne DALSA, IDS, and Allied Vision.

Contact us to learn more.

1stVision has cameras in stock!

IDS, Allied Vision, and DALSA cameras

Are you having problems with your machine vision camera deliveries?  Due to component shortages in the global marketplace, many camera manufacturers’ lead times are 3 to 6 months and some pushing more than 9 months.

We have good news.  As a stocking distributor, 1stVision has over 300 cameras in stock!

IDS Imaging, Allied Vision, and Teledyne DALSA cameras
Lights and lenses for machine vision

We may be a distributor, but our technical knowledge is second to none with our sales engineers having an average of 25 years of experience in the industry.  We can solve your problems and make recommendations. We’re the stocking distributor that’s big enough to stock the best cameras, and small enough to care about every image.

We’re also committed to customer education – we maintain online resources such as a Knowledge Base and a Machine Vision Blog, regularly updated to keep you informed of new technologies and product releases.  Machine vision and optics are evolving fields, with new technologies constantly emerging – it pays to stay informed.

Contact us at 1stVision to speak with us about cameras in stock now.

New AVT Alvium 1800 VSWIR cameras

Visible to SWIR sensors that cover both the visible and short wave infrared spectrum, are now available, affordable, and well-suited for a range of imaging applications.  Previously one might have needed two different sensors – and cameras – but Allied Vision’s Alvium 1800 U/C-030 and Alvium 1800 U/C-130 take advantage of Sony’s innovative InGaAs SenSWIR sensor technology to provide coverage across the visible to SWIR spectrum with the Sony IMX991.

Alvium VSWIR with MIPI CSI-2 and USB3 Vision interfaces

These Alvium 1800 VSWIR cameras can be used from 400 nm to 1700 nm, and are the smallest industrial-grade, uncooled SWIR core modules on the market.  With their compact design, low power consumption, and light weight, they are the ideal solution for compact OEM systems used in embedded and machine vision applications. 

The 030 models use a ¼”sensor with framerates to 223 fps, while the 130 models use a ½” sensor with framerates to 119 fps.  Both are available with USB3 Vision or MIPI CSI-2 interfaces, in housed, open, or board-level configurations. 

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

How machine vision filters create contrast in machine vision applications

Before and after applying filters

Imaging outcomes depend crucially on contrast. It is only by making a feature “pop” relative to the larger image field in which the feature lies, that the feature can be optimally identified by machine vision software.

While sensor choice, lensing, and lighting are important aspects in building machine vision solutions with effective contrast creation, effective selection and application of filters can provide additional leverage for many applications. Often overlooked or misunderstood, here we provide a first-look at machine vision filter concepts and benefits.

Before and after applying filters

In the 4 image pairs above, each left-half image was generated with the same sensor, lighting, and exposure duration as the corresponding right-half images. But the right-half images have had filters applied to reduce glare or scratch-induced scatter, separate or block certain wavelengths, for example. If your brain finds the left-half images to be difficult to discern, image processing software wouldn’t be “happy” with the left-half either!

While there are also filtering benefits in color and SWIR imaging, it is worth noting that we started above with examples shown in monochrome. Surprising to many, it can often be both more effective and less expensive to create machine vision solutions in the monochrome space – often with filters – than in color. This may seem counter-intuitive, since most humans enjoy color vision, and use if effectively when driving, judging produce quality, choosing clothing that matches our skin tone, etc. But compared to using single-sensor color cameras, monochrome single sensor cameras paired with appropriate filters:

  • can offer higher contrast and better resolution
  • provide better signal-to-noise ratio
  • can be narrowed to sensitivity in near-ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared spectrums

These features give monochrome cameras a significant advantage when it comes to optical character recognition and verification, barcode reading, scratch or crack detection, wavelength separation and more. Depending on your application, monochrome cameras can be three times more efficient than color cameras.

Identify red vs. blue items

Color cameras may be the first thought when separating items by color, but it can be more efficient and effective to use a monochrome camera with a color bandpass filter. As shown above, to brighten or highlight an item that is predominantly red, using a red filter to transmit only the red portion of the spectrum can be used, blocking the rest of the transmitted light. The reverse can also work, using a blue filter to pass blue wavelengths while blocking red and other wavelengths.

Here we have touched on just a few examples, to whet the appetite. We anticipate developing a Tech Brief with a more in depth treatment of filters and their applications. We partner with Midwest Optical to offer you a wide range of filters for diverse application solutions.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

Three new AVT Alvium 1800 USB3 cameras

AVT Alvium housed, board-level, and open options

1stVision is pleased to announce that Allied Vision has released three fourth-generation Sony IMX sensors with Pregius S global shutter technology to its Alvium 1800 U camera series. With the new models Alvium 1800 U-511 (Sony IMX547), Alvium 1800 U-811 (Sony IMX546) and Alvium 1800 U-1242 (Sony IMX545), the Alvium camera series with USB3 interface now comprises 19 models. All cameras are available in different housing variants (closed housing, open housing, bareboard), as monochrome or color cameras, and with different lens mount options. The USB port can be located either on the back of the camera or on the left side (as seen from the sensor).

AVT Alvium 1800 U housing option
AVT Alvium housed, bareboard, and open variants

To highlight just one key point about each new camera:

  • Alvium U-511: First 5.1 Mpix global shutter Sony sensor for S-mount lens 
  • Alvium U-811: Square 8 Mpix sensor ideal for round or square objects, and microscopy
  • Alvium U-1242: Same resolution with smaller sensor as 2nd gen IMX304
ModelAlvium 1800 U-511 Alvium 1800 U-811Alvium 1800 U-1242
SensorSony IMX547Sony IMX546Sony IMX545
Sensor typeCMOS Global shutterCMOS Global shutterCMOS Global shutter
Sensor sizeType 1/1.8Type 2/3Type 1/1.1
Pixel size2.74 μm × 2.74 μm2.74 μm × 2.74 μm2.74 μm × 2.74 μm
Resolution5.1 MP
2464 × 2064  
8.1 MP
2848 × 2848
12.4 MP
4128 × 3008
Frame rate78 fps (@450MB/s)51 fps(@450MB/s) 33 fps(@450MB/s)
Key attributes at a glance

All cameras are available with different housing variants (closed housing, open housing, bareboard) as well as different lens mount options, according to your application’s requirements.

Contact us at 1stVision with a brief idea of your application, and we will contact you to discuss camera options. support and / or pricing.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

New IDS uEye XLE camera family

IDS XLE

The IDS uEye XLE family is now available to 1stVision customers.  These versatile cameras are designed for high-volume price-sensitive projects needing basic functions without special features.  Suitable applications include but are not limited to manufacturing, metrology, traffic, and agriculture.

IDS Imaging XLE camera
IDS uEye XLE board-level and housed options

Thanks to different housing variants, extremely compact dimensions and modern USB3 Vision interface, uEye XLE cameras can be easily integrated into any image processing system.  Housing variants include housed and board-level, with different lens mount options.

Currently there are 10 family members, each available with monochrome or color CMOS sensors, from 2 – 5MPixel.  Cameras have excellent low-light performance, thanks to BSI “Back Side Illumination” pixel technology.

With a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface, all XLE models communicate via the USB3 Vision protocol, and are 100 percent GenICam-compliant.  So you may easily operate and program the cameras with the IDS peak SDK, as well as other industry-standard software.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

11 and 86Mpixel Teledyne DALSA Falcon 4 cameras

Falcon4 cameras

Teledyne DALSA’s Falcon4-CLHS cameras are now available to 1stVision customers.  The state-of-the-art in the Falcon series, there are both 11Mpixel and 86Mpixel models, each using CLHS to achieve stunning frame rates.  This can enable new applications not previously possible, or next-gen solutions with a single camera, where previously two or more were needed – greatly simplifying implementation.

This 11MPixel camera, available in two monochrome variants, offers a global shutter sensor, a wide field of view to 4480 pixels wide, and up to 609fps at full resolution. 

Teledyne Dalsa Falcon 4
Teledyne DALSA Falcon4 cameras

Popular applications for the 11Mpixel models include:

  • Machine Vision
  • Robotics
  • Factory Automation Inspection
  • Motion Tracking and Analysis
  • Electronic Inspection
  • High Speed 3D imaging

If your application requires even more resolution, Teledyne DALSA’s Falcon 4-CLHS 86M also uses a global shutter 86Mpixel CMOS sensor, and up to 16fps.  Also a monochrome sensor, it shows good responsivity into the NIR spectrum.

Falcon 4- CLHS 86MP
Aerial imaging

Applications for the 86Mpixel camera include:

  • Aerial Imaging
  • Reconnaissance
  • Security and Surveillance
  • 3D Metrology
  • Flat Panel Display Inspection
Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

Spatial resolution is an essential machine vision concept

Spatial resolution is determined by the number of pixels in a CMOS or CCD sensor array.  While generally speaking “more is better”, what really matters is slightly more complex than that.  One needs to know enough about the dimensions and characteristics of the real-world scene at which a camera is directed; and one must know about the smallest feature(s) to be detected.

Choosing the right sensor requires understanding spatial resolution

The sensor-coverage fit of a lens is also relevant.  As is the optical quality of the lensLighting also impacts the quality of the image. Yada yada.

But independent of lens and lighting, a key guideline is that each minimal real-world feature to be detected should appear in a 3×3 pixel grid in the image.  So if the real-world scene is X by Y meters, and the smallest feature to be detected is A by B centimeters, assuming the lens is matched to the sensor and the scene, it’s just a math problem to determine the number of pixels required on the sensor.

There is a comprehensive treatment how to calculate resolution in this short article, including a link there to a resolution calculator. Understanding these concepts will help you to design an imaging system that has enough capacity to solve your application, while not over-engineering a solution – enough is enough.

Finally, the above guideline is for monochrome imaging, which to the surprise of newcomers to the field of machine vision, is often more better than color, for effective and cost-efficient outcomes.  Certainly some applications are dependent upon color.  The guideline for color imaging is that the minimal feature should occupy a 6×6 pixel grid.

If you’d like someone to double-check your calculations, or to prepare the calculations for you, and to recommend sensor, camera and optics, and/or software, the sales engineers at 1stVision have the expertise to support you. Give us some brief idea of your application and we will contact you to discuss camera options.

Contact us

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

About Us | 1stVision

1st Vision is the most experienced distributor in the U.S. of machine vision cameras, lenses, frame grabbers, cables, lighting, and software in the industry.

What can multifield linescan imaging do for me?

Multifield imaging is a new imaging technology that enables capturing multiple images simultaneously at various lighting conditions e.g. brightfield, darkfield, and backlight in a single scan. It’s a variation on the concept of sequence modes. Teledyne Dalsa Linea HS is the industry’s first TDI camera capable of capturing up to three images using light sources at different wavelengths.

OK, cool.  How does that help me?  How does it differ from other imaging methods?  What applications can it solve that couldn’t be tackled before?

Backlight, Darkfield, and Brightfield images of same target

Perhaps a quick review of area scan imaging and conventional linescan imaging will help set the stage:

Area scan cameras are most intuitive, creating in one exposure a rectangular array of pixels corresponding to an entire scene or field of view.T hat’s ideal for many types of machine vision imaging, if the target fits wholly in the field of view, and if the lighting, lens, and image processing can best achieve the desired outcome at an optimal price point.

But linescan imaging is sometimes a better choice, especially for continuous-flow applications, where there is no discrete start and end point, in one dimension.  Linescan systems can capture an image “slice” that is enough pixels wide to make effective imaging computations, and, where required, to archive those images, using fewer active pixels and reducing sensor costs compared to area scan.  Other benefits include high sensitivity and the ability to image fast moving materials without the need for expensive strobe lighting.

Understanding line scan applications: concepts still relevant!

… so much for the review session.  So, what can multifield linescan imaging do for me?  Multifield capable linescan cameras bring all the benefits of conventional linescan imaging, but additionally deliver the perspectives of monochrome, HDR, color/multispectral (NIR), and polarization views.   This can enable machine vision solutions not previously possible, or solutions at more attractive price points, for a diverse range of applications.

Multifield imaging is a new imaging technology that enables capturing multiple images simultaneously at various lighting conditions e.g. brightfield, darkfield, and backlight in a single scan.

Consider OLED display inspection, for example. Traditionally an automated inspection system would have required multiple passes, one each with backlight, darkfield, and brightfield lighting conditions. With a multifield solution, all three image types may be acquired in a single pass, greatly improving throughput and productivity.

Flat panel glass is inspected at every stage of manufacturing

So how is multifield imaging achieved? In this blog we’re more focused on applications. For those new to Time Delay and Integration (TDI), it is the  concept of accumulating multiple exposures of the same (moving) object, effectively increasing the integration time available to collect incident light. The key technology for a multifield linescan camera is the sensor uses advanced wafer-level coated dichroic filters with minimum spectral crosstalk to spectrally isolate three images captured by separate TDI arrays, i.e. wavelength division multifield imaging.

Multifield images on one sensor using filters to isolate wavelengths

This new technology significantly boosts system throughput as it eliminates the need of multiple scans. It also improves detectability as multiple images at different lighting conditions are captured simultaneously with minimum impact from mechanical vibration.

1stVision is pleased to offer our customers a multifield linescan camera from Teledyne Dalsa, the HL-HF-16K13T: https://www.1stvision.com/cameras/models/Teledyne-DALSA/HL-HF-16K13T

Contact 1stVision for support and / or pricing.

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Give us some brief idea of your application and we will contact you to discuss camera options.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Computar ViSWIR Visible + SWIR lenses

1stVision is pleased to make available two new lens series from Computar: both the ViSWIR HYPER / APO Lens Series, and the VISWIR Lite Series. Traditionally, applications landed in either the visible or the SWIR range, so components tended to be optimized for one or the other. The new lens series are designed to perform well with for both visible and SWIR, enabling cost-effective and performant imaging systems for a range of applications.

ViSWIR Hyper / Multi-Spectral Lens Series were created for the latest Vis-SWIR imaging sensors, the IMX990/IMX991 SenSWIR, currently found in the new Allied Vision Goldeye G-130. The series was recognized as a Gold Honoree by Vision Systems Design in 2021:

With fully corrected focus shift in visible and SWIR range (400nm-1,700nm), spectral imaging is achievable with a single sensor camera by simply syncing the lighting. Per Sony, “the IMX990/IMX991 top indium-phosphorus (InP*2) layer inevitably absorbs some visible light, but applying Sony SWIR sensor technology makes this layer thinner, so that more light reaches the underlying InGaAs layer. The sensors have high quantum efficiency even in visible wavelengths. This enables broad imaging of wavelengths from 0.4 μm to 1.7 μm. A single camera equipped with the sensor can now cover both visible light and the SWIR spectrum, which previously required separate cameras. This results in lower system costs. Image processing is also less intensive, which accelerates inspection.”

With ViSWIR HYPER-APO, it is unnecessary to adjust focus for different wavelengths or to keep the high resolution from short to long working distances. The focus shift is reduced at any wavelength and any working distance, making the series ideal for multiple applications, including machine vision, UAV, and remote sensing.

Computar ViSWIR HYPER-APO lens series

Since diverse substances respond to differing wavelengths, one can use such characteristics as the basis for machine vision applications for materials identification, sorting, packing, quality control, etc. To understand the value of these lenses, see below for an example of conventional lenses that cannot retain focus across different wavelengths:

Conventional lenses only focus in specific wavelengths

Now see images across a wide range of wavelengths, with the award winning Computar lens, that retain focus:

Diverse materials under diverse lighting – in focus at each wavelength.
The same lens may be used effectively in diverse applications.

Also new from Computar is the VisSWIR Lite series, providing:

— High transmission from Visible to SWIR (400-1700nm) range
— Reasonable cost performance for narrow band imaging
— Compact design
Key features of Computar VisSWIR Lite seriesComputer

Computer ViSWIR Lite lens series

Which to select? APO or Lite series?

Contact 1stVision for support and / or pricing.

Contact us to talk to an expert!Give us some brief idea of your application and we will contact you to discuss.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Allied Vision G-130 TEC1 SWIR Camera

1stVision is pleased to announce that we can obtain Allied Vision’s new G-130 TEC1 SWIR camera for our customers. Utilizing Sony’s innovative IMX990 sensor, based on their SenSWIR technology, the camera is responsive in both the visible as well as the short-wave infrared range, spanning from 400 – 1700nm.

AVT G-130 TEC1 SWIR camera

While there are a number of cameras that cover short-wave infrared (SWIR) alone, from 900 – 1700nm, this sensor’s responsivity down to 400nm in the visible range opens up applications possibilities not previously possible with a single sensor camera.

Besides the wide spectral range, the sensor uses small 5µm pixels, with high quantum efficiency, offering precise detection of details.

The Goldeye 130 with IMX990 1.3MP SXGA sensor can deliver 110fps with Camera Link interface, or 94fps with GigEVision interface. The camera is fan-less, using thermoelectric sensor cooling (TEC1), yielding a robust and compact design.

Contact 1stVision for support and / or pricing.

Click to contact
Give us some brief idea of your application and we will contact you to discuss camera options.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Allied Vision Alvium with Sony Pregius Gen 4 Sensors

Allied Vision Alvium camera image

1st Vision is pleased to relay that Allied Vision has introduced new Alvium machine vision camera models featuring 4th gen IMX Sony Pregius S global shutter sensors. The sensors feature an improved back side illuminated pixel architecture that can capture light more effectively. This leads to improved quantum efficiency (QE) compared to 2nd and 3rd generation IMX sensors. Because of the decreased pixel size of 2.74µm, higher pixel densities and resolutions for the same optical format are possible.

Allied Vision Alvium

The IMX542 sensor in the 1800 U-1620 models has a 16:9 wide screen format similar to the IMX265 (2nd gen.). It is practically the same size but has almost twice the resolution. So, the FOV is nearly the same but at a much higher resolution. This sensor is especially suited for ITS applications.

The IMX540 sensor in the 1800 C/U-2460 models has an almost square format. Even though it is not much wider than the IMX304 (2nd gen.), it is considerably higher. It is a solid, lower priced alternative to the OnSemi Python 25k sensor, which has a similar resolution and aspect ratio, but is much larger.

The IMX541 sensor in the 1800 U-2040 models has a square format which was only available in the larger IMX367, but is now available as a C-mount camera in a sugar cube housing. This makes it especially suited for microscopy applications.

A summary of the new Alvium USB3 camera is as follows:

CameraSensorResolutionFormatFrames / Sec
1800 U-1620Sony IMX54216.2 MP5328×304022
1800 U-2040Sony IMX54120.4 MP4512×451217
1800 U-2460Sony INX54024.6 MP5328×460814
New Alvium cameras with Sony 4th Gen Pregius sensors

Contact 1stVision for support and / or pricing.

Click to contact
Give us some brief idea of your application and we will contact you to discuss camera options.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Opto Imaging Modules Provide a Turn-Key Solution

Demanding imaging applications require particular combinations of image sensor, lens, and lighting in order to achieve an optimal image.  It can be challenging to choose the right components and configure them in a compact space. An attractive solution for many is to use “Imaging Modules” which contain an integrated camera sensor, lens and lighting in an “all in one” housing.  A range of imaging modules are available, each configured to optimize component alignment and operations. The end-user may quickly deploy a new system, benefiting from the standardized systems, economies of scale, and expertise of the module builder.

Simplified example of imaging module key components

Opto Imaging GmbH offers imaging modules based on their more than 40 years experience in imaging.  Early leaders in imaging software, they also led with products and systems for stereo microscopy imaging, fluorescence imaging, metrology, surface imaging, and bioimaging.  They now offer Opto Imaging Modules, a collection of “plug-n-play” imaging systems for rapid deployment in diverse situations.

Here are 5 key benefits derived from using Opto Imaging Modules :

One unitCompact integrated sensor, lens, and lighting, optimally calibrated and tested
One wireUSB-C provides power, control signals, and images, and image data on a single cable
Plug and playRapid turn-key deployment into your environment, with minimal configuration, and confidence to achieve reliable results, thanks to pre-configuration by the manufacturer
Free viewer https://www.opto.de/en/software/opto-viewer/
SDK includedOr use any standard SDK you may prefer
Five key benefits of Opto Imaging Modules

Application areas include but are not limited to:

Machine vision microscopy: Hardness testing, bond inspection, scratch analysis, automated measurements and documentation, metrology, and more.

Industry 4.0 production micro imaging: With a measurement resolution of 1.8 micrometers per pixel, it enables the analysis of the smallest details.

Surface inspection: For example, of highly-reflective metal surfaces: https://www.opto.de/media/solino-slider.gif

Macro imaging: Traditional machine vision of scenes or objects larger than 20mmx20mm. Options include megapixel sensors and/or telecentric optics.

Watch this short video captured with an Opto Imaging module, capturing blood cells in a biomedical application: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4Uy00rzejI 

Demonstrations are available: virtual demos are available by appointment, and demo loaners are available to try in your own environment.

Click to contact
Give us some brief idea of your application and we will contact you to discuss camera options.
Opto Imaging Modules offer varied sub-components pre-configured and calibrated to work together

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Teledyne DALSA launch “Linea Lite” line scan cameras

Linea Lite and Linea sizes compared

The “Linea Lite” 2k and 4k line scan cameras provide industry-leading performance in a compact package. Built for a wide-range of machine vision applications, the new Linea Lite cameras feature a 45% smaller footprint than the original Linea and are based on a brand new, proprietary CMOS image sensor designed by Teledyne Imaging. This expands on the success of the Linea series of low cost, high value line scan cameras.

Designed to suit many applications, the Linea Lite offers customers a choice between high full well mode or high responsivity mode, via easy to configure gain settings.

Linea Lite (left) vs. original Linea (right – with lens) (Note: original Linea series also available)
Linea Lite 4k – Linea 4k

The cameras are available in 2k and 4k resolutions, in monochrome and bilinear color. Linea Lite has all the essential line scan features, including multiple regions of interest, programmable coefficient sets, precision time protocol (PTP), and TurboDrive™. With GigE interface and power over Ethernet (PoE), Linea Lite is an excellent fit for applications such as secondary battery inspection, optical sorting, printed materials inspection, packaging inspection, and many more.

Linea Lite Specifications

Download full specifications here.

KeyFeatures:

– 7µm or 14µm pixels

– 2k and 4k resolutions

– Configurable full well

– Precision time protocol

– Selectable 8 or 12-bit output

Contact us for a quote

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Types of 3D imaging systems – and benefits of Time of Flight (ToF)

Time Of Flight Gets Precise: Whitepaper

2D imaging is long-proven for diverse applications from bar code reading to surface inspection, presence-absence detection, etc.  If you can solve your application goal in 2D, congratulations!

But some imaging applications are only well-solved in three dimensions.  Examples include robotic pick and place, palletization, drones, security applications, and patient monitoring, to name a few.

For such applications, one must select or construct a system that creates a 3D model of the object(s).  Time of Flight (ToF) cameras from Lucid Vision Labs is one way to achieve cost-effective 3D imaging for many situations.

ToF systems setup
ToF systems have a light source and a sensor.

ToF is not about objects flying around in space! It’s about using the time of flight of light, to ascertain differences in object depth based upon measurable variances from light projected onto an object and the light reflected back to a sensor from that object.  With sufficiently precise orientation to object features, a 3D “point cloud” of x,y,z coordinates can be generated, a digital representation of real-world objects.  The point cloud is the essential data set enabling automated image processing, decisions, and actions.

In this latest whitepaper we go into depth to learn:
1. Types of 3D imaging systems
2. Passive stereo systems
3. Structured light systems
4. Time of Flight systems
Whitepaper table of contents
Download

Let’s briefly put ToF in context with other 3D imaging approaches:

Passive Stereo: Systems with cameras at a fixed distance apart, can triangulate, by matching features in both images, calculating the disparity from the midpoint.  Or a robot-mounted single camera can take multiple images, as long as positional accuracy is sufficient to calibrate effectively.

Challenges limiting passive stereo approaches include:

Occlusion: when part of the object(s) cannot be seen by one of the cameras, features cannot be matched and depth cannot be calculated.

ToF diagram
Occlusion occurs when a part of an object cannot be imaged by one of the cameras.

Few/faint features: If an object has few identifiable features, no matching correspondence pairs may be generated, also limiting essential depth calculations.

Structured Light: A clever response to the few/faint features challenge can be to project structured light patterns onto the surface.  There are both active stereo systems and calibrated projector systems.

Active stereo systems are like two-camera passive stereo systems, enhanced by the (active) projection of optical patterns, such as laser speckles or grids, onto the otherwise feature-poor surfaces.

ToF diagram
Active stereo example using laser speckle pattern to create texture on object.

Calibrated projector systems use a single camera, together with calibrated projection patterns, to triangulate from the vertex at the projector lens.  A laser line scanner is an example of such a system.

Besides custom systems, there are also pre-calibrated structured light systems available, which can provide low cost, highly accurate solutions.

Time of Flight (ToF): While structured light can provide surface height resolutions better than 10μm, they are limited to short working distances. ToF can be ideal for or applications such as people monitoring, obstacle avoidance, and materials handling, operating at working distances of 0.5m – 5m and beyond, with depth resolution requirements to 1 – 5mm.

ToF systems measure the time it takes for light emitted from the device to reflect off objects in the scene and return to the sensor for each point of the image.  Some ToF systems use pulse-modulation (Direct ToF).  Others use continuous wave (CW) modulation, exploiting phase shift between emitted and reflected light waves to calculate distance.

The new Helios ToF 3D camera from LUCID Vision Labs, uses Sony Semiconductor’s DepthSense 3D technology. Download the whitepaper to learn of 4 key benefits of this camera, example applications, as well as its operating range and accuracy,

Download whitepaper
Download whitepaper
Time Of Flight Gets Precise: Whitepaper
Download Time of Flight Whitepaper

Have questions? Tell us more about your application and our sales engineer will contact you.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

Keys to Choosing the Best Image Sensor

Keys to Choosing the Best Image Sensor

Image sensors are the key component of any camera and vision system.  This blog summarizes the key concepts of a tech brief addressing concepts essential to sensor performance relative to imaging applications. For a comprehensive analysis of the parameters, you may read the full tech brief.

Download Tech Brief - Choosing the Best Image Sensor

While there are many aspects to consider, here we outline 6 key parameters:

  1. Physical parameters


    Resolution: The amount of information per frame (image) is the product of horizontal pixel count x by vertical pixel count y.  While consumer cameras boast of resolution like car manufacturers tout horsepower, in machine vision one just needs enough resolution to solve the problem – but not more.  Too much resolution leads to more sensor than you need, more bandwidth than you need, and more cost than you need.  Takeaway: Match sensor resolution to optical resolution relative to the object(s) you must image.

    Aspect ratio: Whether 1:1, 3:2, or some other ratio, the optimal arrangement should correspond to the layout of your target’s field of view, so as not to buy more resolution than is needed for your application.



    Frame rate: If your target is moving quickly, you’ll need enough images per second to “freeze” the motion and to keep up with the physical space you are imaging.  But as with resolution, one needs just enough speed to solve the problem, and no more, or you would over specify for a faster computer, cabling, etc.

    Optical format: One could write a thesis on this topic, but the key takeaway is to match the lens’ projection of focused light onto the sensor’s array of pixels, to cover the sensor (and make use of its resolution).  Sensor sizes and lens sizes often have legacy names left over from TV standards now decades old, so we’ll skip the details in this blog but invite the reader to read the linked tech brief or speak with a sales engineer, to insure the best fit.

  2. Quantum Efficiency and Dynamic Range:


    Quantum Efficiency (QE): Sensors vary in their efficiency at converting photons to electrons, by sensor quality and at varying wavelengths of light, so some sensors are better for certain applications than others.

    Typical QE response curve

    Dynamic Range (DR): Factors such as Full Well Capacity and Read Noise determine DR, which is the ratio of maximum signal to the minimum.  The greater the DR, the better the sensor can capture the range of bright to dark gradations from the application scene.

  3. Optical parameters

    While some seemingly-color applications can in fact be solved more easily and cost-effectively with monochrome, in either case each silicon-based pixel converts light (photons) into charge (electrons).  Each pixel well has a maximum volume of charge it can handle before saturating.  After each exposure, the degree of charge in a given pixel correlates to the amount of light that impinged on that pixel.

  4. Rolling vs. Global shutter

    Most current sensors support global shutter, where all pixel rows are exposed at once, eliminating motion-induced blur.  But the on-sensor electronics to achieve global shutter have certain costs associated, so for some applications it can still make sense to use rolling shutter sensors.

  5. Pixel Size

    Just as a wide-mouth bucket will catch more raindrops than a coffee cup, a larger physical pixel will admit more photons than a small one.  Generally speaking, large pixels are preferred.  But that requires the expense of more silicon to support the resolution for a desired x by y array.  Sensor manufacturers work to optimize this tradeoff with each new generation of sensors.

  6. Output modes

    While each sensor typically has a “standard” intended output, at full resolution, many sensors offer additional switchable outputs modes like Region of Interest (ROI), binning, or decimation.  Such modes typically read out a defined subset of the pixels, at a higher frame rate, which can allow the same sensor and camera to serve two or more purposes.  Example of binning would be a microscopy application whereby a binned image at high speed would be used to locate a target blob in a large field, then switch to full-resolution for a high-quality detail image.

For a more in depth review of these concepts, including helpful images and diagrams, please download the tech brief.

Download tech brief - Choosing the Best Image Sensor

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.

1stVision Announces New Logo, Refreshed Website, and Continued Investment in Customer Support

1stVision

We are excited to be shining the spotlight on ourselves today as we introduce for the first time our new logo and website user interface (UI) design . Our new logo signifies our continuous high-level commitment to all your machine vision needs and captures the new foundation laid by a capital investment by and strategic partner relationship with Next Imaging.

On February 7, 2020, we announced that 1st Vision had been acquired by Next Imaging but would continue doing business as 1st Vision, Inc. We are keeping our well-known identity and presence in the North American Market and looking to excel even further at becoming your 1st choice for all your imaging requirements.

Check out our new website!

1st Vision’s sales engineers have an average of 20 years experience to assist in your camera selection.  Representing the largest portfolio of industry leading brands in imaging components, we can help you design the optimal vision solution for your application.