Ultra-Uniform lighting provides enhanced contrast for machine vision

The old saying of a chain is only as strong as its weakest link stands true in machine vision applications. A machine vision hardware solution typically consists of a camera, lens, and light to obtain an image for processing. If anyone of these components are improperly selected, its the weakest. Lighting is a key component to produce features and contrast for image processing. Uniformity, brightness, wavelength and specific geometries used in conjunction with each other are key elements to a good lighting component. In this blog, we introduce Phlox machine vision lighting, which is unsurpassed in uniformity and has many key advantages.

Phlox lighting provided much more than just lighting, regardless of the application. Below are 5 main attributes making Phlox unique


1 – Better uniformity: A precise mathematical model and the micro prisms (< 30 µ) enable us to reach up to +/- 5 % uniformity for the backlight surface.


2 – Higher luminance: Up to 80% of the light injected is emitted onto the target surface, up to twice as much as light pipes using diffusion.


3 – More compact design: Phlox technology is well suited to the manufacture of very thin pipes (1 mm). This feature enables Phlox to create very low profile (very thin) products in response to the need to reduce bulk for various applications.

4 – Long life cycle: The combination of Phlox technology and the quality of the designs ensures constant control of temperature and provides an exceptional life cycle.


5 – Faster response: Fast delivery of a standard products and five (5) weeks on average to design and delivery of a prototype or custom-made product.

How do Phlox back lights compare to the competition?

The following are application examples showing the increased contrast generated by Phlox back lights:

Less stray light & better contrasts
Phlox image comparison
Gear profile is prominent
Phlox backlights emit more direct light

In conjunction with the unparalleled uniformity, Phlox lighting can be configured with a variety of wavelengths optimizing contrast as seen in the examples below.

color to create contrast
color to enhance contrast
solve any application with the right wavelength

Phlox uses exclusive technology, providing many key advantages along with a 2-year warranty

Phlox technology
Watch this short video detailing the engraving process

1stVision is the exclusive distributor in North America for Phlox product. Contact us to discuss your application with our experienced technical advisors – CLICK HERE

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.

InfraRed (LWIR) Imaging used for fever screening

Teledyne Dalsa Calibir LWIR camera

Long Wave Infra Red (LWIR) cameras have been used for industrial applications to detect infrared light in the 8-14um wavelength region. This infrared light is invisible radiant energy that we experience as heat but can not see.   Applications for LWIR cameras continues to expand past industrial applications now entering into medical markets such as fever screening.

Teledyne Dalsa has expanded the Calibir LWIR camera series introducing the latest Calibir GXM model now with radiometric capabilities. With outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Covid 19, LWIR cameras can be used for fever screening by detecting elevated skin temperatures. Using optics, the cameras provide the ability to take the temperature of individuals keeping save distances between patients and medical practitioners.

Click HERE for a quote on the Calibir GXM LWIR camera

All cameras are factory-calibrated for reliable radiometric performance, have outstanding dynamic range and allow the best possible NETD over a vast range of temperature (>600C). . Coupled with many features such as multiple ROI, color maps, LUTs and the ability to sync and trigger multiple cameras, makes the Calbir GXM a good solution for many thermal imaging applications.

Image threshold
Example: Thresholding with Look Up Table (LUT) allows the Calibir GXM to mark certain temperatures with color while leaving the rest in monochrome.

Download the full Application note from Teledyne Dalsa HERE: “Thermal Imaging technology for fever screening”

Full specifications on Teledyne Dalsa LWIR cameras can be found HERE

Watch this 1 minute overview video

Need a full turnkey “Fever Detection System”? Contact our partners at Integro Technology. Click here to learn more

1st Vision’s sales engineers have over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera selection.  With a large portfolio of lenses, cables, NIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!

Previous related blogs:

Learn about Thermal Imaging – Problems solved with Dalsa’s new LWIR Calibir camera!

Why shouldn’t I buy a $69 webcam for my machine vision application?

IDS uEeye camera

This is a question we get asked frequently: “Why should we pay $200 plus for your board level machine vision camera when we can just get a webcam for $69?”

A great question and maybe you can, but what ARE the differences?

Basically, there are just a few questions you need to answer to see if you should use a webcam for you machine vision application which are as follows:

  1. Do you need to program to integrate the video into an application with processing or control?
  2. Do you need consistent image quality?
  3. Are you doing computer vision (the computer is making decisions based on the images) or are you just viewing the images visually?
  4. Do you care if the camera specifications change over your product’s life cycle?
  5. Is the object under inspection moving?
  6. Do you need to control when you take the picture or interface to a trigger or strobe?
  7. Do you need to be able to choose what lens you will need?

If the answer to any of the above are YES, then a webcam will NOT work well or at all for your application. If the answers are NO, then by all means, you might be able to save money and just use a webcam. (You can stop reading here if you want, or continue for more details below).

Machine Vision Camera Software

Webcams do NOT come with a SDK as they are made to show video only. They normally provide a universal video driver, and also an application for viewing video.

Industrial cameras come with a SDK programmable in C/C++/C#/etc. It allows you to programmatically control the camera for both data acquisition and control of the camera’s parameters. (Example HERE to show extensive support of various operating systems and download)

Moving objects

Webcams have rolling shutter sensors which mean they cannot acquire images of moving objects without ‘smearing’ them. Industrial machine vision cameras use sensors with global shutters providing the ability to freeze the image to produce non smeared images of moving objects.

Example: Without adequate shutter speed with a global shutter, image will be blurry with motion

Trigger and Strobe Control

Webcams only have an interface to the USB data, whereas industrial machine vision cameras have hardware and software inputs and outputs. These allow for exact timing for a trigger to take a picture and a strobe to illuminate the object.

Example: External trigger control is tightly timed with IO including light flash. Courtesy of IDS Imaging

Camera Specs Changing over time

Webcams just need to show you video! In turn the manufacturers are not concerned if the sensors inside the camera change every six months. Whether the sensitivity changes by 10% makes no difference when you are just video conferencing with Grandma.

Industrial machine vision cameras are made with image sensors that don’t go obsolete every 6 months, but rather companies hope for 10 year life spans. It makes a huge difference if you are doing a computer vision algorithm that you have 5 man years of software development and the sensor’s sensitivity changes by even 1%.

Furthermore, the form factor of webcams change frequently as well. This doesn’t make a difference when it is just on your desk. It makes a huge difference when your camera and lens is fixtured in a machine that has 500 hours of CAD work to design, much less build. Moving the camera and lens 10cm might not be possible!

Do you need to choose your lens?

Webcams come with an integrated lens that is suitable for general viewing, and this lens is integrated with the camera and not changeable. Industrial machine vision cameras come with no lenses as not only do lenses come in a variety of focal lengths for different magnification, but also lenses coming in a variety of resolutions. Choosing a lens requires you to know the size of the sensor, your working distance, your field of view, and the pixel size. (See related educational blogs on lenses at end of this post)

What are your options for a low cost camera solution?

If you need industrial machine vision camera solutions with a solid SDK, long life cycles, at a low price, there several solutions to consider. Rolling shutter imagers are always lower price which are always a place to start along with USB2 interfaces. Read our previous blog HERE which outlines some specific models which are low cost. There is also a great new platform coming providing 5 Megapixel resolution with a rolling shutter imager, but with great performance for $280! Contact us for more details.

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 over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera selection.  With a large portfolio of lenses, cables, NIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!

Ph:  978-474-0044  /  info@1stvision.com  / www.1stvision.com

Related Posts

Everything you need to know about 10GigE Vision cameras! – White Paper

10 GigE Vision compliant cameras are easy to integrate enabling more machine vision applications and image processing. Camera image sensors have continued to increase in resolution which requires higher bandwidth interfaces to achieve high frame rates. 10 GigE cameras are a great solution as implementation is less costly and complex versus camera link and CoaxPress.

Baumer has a comprehensive white paper outlining application benefits for 10GigE Vision and gives recommendations on system architecture – Downloaded HERE

Aside from the features of 10GiGE Vision, the Baumer VLXT series cameras are extremely feature rich and cost competitive making them an excellent choice for 10GigE Vision cameras.

11 Key Features are listed below with many being unique, solving more vision applications in 10 GigE Vision cameras


1 – True 10GigE bandwidth! –
2 – Liquid lens & Canon EF mount control
3 – Exposure times down to 1uS with Sony Sensors
4 – Power outputs (4x) for direct driving LED lights eliminating a lighting controller.
5 – IP67 Ratings and extended temperatures for harsh environments
6 – IEEE 1588 Precision Timing protocols for synchronized timing with multiple devices.
7 – Long cable lengths up to 55 meters (Cat 6) and 70+ meters with Cat 6a / 7 and longer with optional fiber optic interface.
8 – Standard low cost 10GigE NIC’s can be used opposed to some manufacturers requiring special NICs
9 – Fully GigE Vision compliant for easy implementation with the benefits of high bandwidths. Allows support of third party software libraries.
10 – RS232 support
11 – On board JPEG compression available

Full specifications on the Baumer VLXT cameras which range from 3 megapixels to 12 megepixels can be found HERE

1st Vision’s sales engineers have over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera selection.  With a large portfolio of lenses, cables, NIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!

Ph:  978-474-0044  /  info@1stvision.com  / www.1stvision.com