How do I sort through all the new industrial camera image sensors to make a decision? Download the sensor cheat sheet!

industrial camera decision

industrial imaging sensor decisionThe latest CMOS image sensor technology from Sony and ON-SEMI have continued to expand the industrial camera market.  Sony has now reached its 3rd Generation Pregius sensors in addition to adding the low light performer, Starvis sensor.  ON-SEMI has also continued with higher resolutions and has the next generation in the works.


Given all these new sensors, we are often asked, “What is the best image sensor and camera for my application”?  

Although there are many considerations in general on selecting a camera (i.e Interface, Size, Color vs Mono etc), its best to start with the characteristics of  image sensor and performance.  Knowing the answers to questions relating to amount of available light, dynamic range requirements, wavelengths involved, and the type of application, the right sensor can start to be identified.  From there, we can select a camera with the appropriate sensor fitting other requirements such as interface, frame rate, bit depths etc.

In order to help pick a sensor, its extremely important to have the image sensor data that can be found on the EMVA1288 data sheets.  We have continued compiling this data into a “cheat sheet” along with required lens recommendations and comments how how some sensors relate to each other and older CCD sensors for your download.

industrial camera image sensor cheat sheet

The data shows us that not all sensors are created equally!  Within the Sony Pregius sensors, there is 1st and 2nd Generation sensors both having unique characteristics.  The 1st Generation provided great pixel well depth and dynamic range with 5.86um pixels.  The 2nd generation came along with smaller 3.45um pixels,  improved sensitivity and lower noise, but less well depth.  The next generation will have the best of both worlds.. more to come on that front.

Using this data as an example, if we had an application with a “fixed” amount of light and wanted a relatively bright image (given a fixed aperture and just considering sensor characteristics), what sensor is best?   Answer:  We’d probably look at Model A with a smaller well depth as the pixel will start to saturate faster than Model C.  Or possibly we have a very small amount of light?  We’d start looking at absolute (abs) sensitivity which tells us the smaller # of photon’s, 1.1 in this case, starts to provide a useful signal.

Example comparisons: 
industrial imager comparison
Don’t let yourself get frustrated trying to figure this out on your own!    1st Vision’s engineers have combined experience in the machine vision and imaging market of over 100 years!   Our team can help explain the various technical terms mentioned in this post and help in selecting the best image sensor and camera for an application.

Contact 1st Vision

Related Blog posts

What are the attributes to consider when selecting a camera and its performance?

IMX174 vs Starvis IMX290 – Battle of the 2 Megapixel Image sensors – Sony Pregius IMX174 vs Starvis IMX290

IMX174 vs CMOSIS CMV2000 – CMOS battle between 2MP Sony Pregius and CMOSIS

IMX250 vs ICX 625 – 5MP’s sensor battle between Sony’s older CCD vs new CMOS model



Allied Vision’s high-resolution Prosilica GT now with 12, 16 and 25MP ON Semi PYTHON sensors

Allied Vision GT camera

Allied Vision Cameras

Allied Vision extends its Prosilica GT Large Format camera platform with three high-resolution ON Semi PYTHON image sensors (Python 12K, Python 16K & Python 25K)

Combined with robust thermal housing designed to operate in extended temperature ranges and fluctuating lighting conditions, the new Prosilica GT Large Format cameras are ideal for high-definition imaging applications with demanding requirements of robustness and design-in flexibility. They provide a great option for high-quality imaging for anyone looking to switch over from existing CCD cameras to CMOS cameras with similar resolutions and optical formats.

Features include:

  • Extended temperature range (-20 deg. C to + 50 deg. C)
  • NIR sensitivity up to 1100nm
  • Modular concept providing various lens mounts (M58, M42, and EF-mount)
  • Fixed Pattern noise correction,  Defect Pixel Correction, and Trigger over Ethernet.

Prosilica GT5120, Prosilica GT4096, and Prosilica GT4090 at a glance

AVT GT specifications

See full specification for the series below:  

Prosilica GT5120,  5120 x 5120, 25MP

Prosilica GT4096, 4096 x 4096, 16MP
This is a great replacement for the KAI-16000 CCD sensors!

Prosilica GT4090, 4096 x 3092, 12MP

Now that you have a great high resolution camera, what lens works best?Kowa F-mount lens

High resolution cameras with the ON Semi Python sensors are great, but only as good as the lenses you use!  It is imperative to have the sensor sizes matched with the lens formats.  Additionally, we need to make sure the lens resolution is adequate for the image sensor pixel size.

To aid in the lens selection, we have the following recommendation on lens series.  Recommendations as follows

Prosilica GT5120,  5120 x 5120, 25MP:  This camera has a  32.58mm diagonal image sensor, so a F-mount lens is required.  Two options are Kowa and Schneider
KOWA – F mount series
Schneider – F mount series

Prosilica GT4096, 4096 x 4096, 16MP:  This camera has a 26.06mm diagonal image sensor, also requiring a F-mount lens.
 KOWA – F mount series
Schneider – F mount series

Prosilica GT4090, 4096 x 3092, 12MP :  This camera has a 23.09mm diagonal image sensor which falls into a 4/3″ format.
KOWA 4/3″ lens series

As a note, as the pixel size is 4.5um, this is not as demanding on the lens resolution and will only require 111 line pairs/mm (lp/mm) making these adequate selections. 

Need more help in understanding lens terminology and format sizes?  Here are some related links

1stVision has experienced engineers to help you develop and further understand the best camera and lens combination for your application.

Contact us to talk to an expert!