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FAQs

Browse Frequently Asked Questions for a list of common answers.

General

  • I need some assistance selecting the right setup for my vision project, can you help?

    It would be our pleasure to do so, please contact us via our online chat, complete this form or call us on +44(0)1590 679333. Where are your ecommerce website Terms and Conditions? Please visit this page.

  • Can you supply cameras for evaluation?

    Yes we hold sample stock for evaluation purposes.If you wish to take advantage of our evaluation program, please get in touch with us to arrange this.


Industrial Cameras

  • Where can I find drivers for cameras?

    Please see our camera support page for all required information

  • Do you have a list of current image sensors?

    Yes we do, please look at this page.

  • What is the maximum operating length of USB3 and GigE cables?

    The maximum range is 100 metres for GigE and the maximum recommended length is 3 metres for USB3. These distances can be extended using adaptors and enhanced cable technology.

  • Are your camera modules IP rated?

    Camera modules typically do not have any environmental protection. Where IP protection is required, they should be placed in a suitable housing. Some cameras are IP30 rated, some special ones have higher IP rating such as IP67.
    These are our IP rated cameras: HIK Smart Cameras
    If you require an IP rated camera please get in touch with us.

  • How do I clean the sensor?

    The best way to remove dust or small particles from the sensor surface is to use compressed air. To avoid damage to the sensor direct the nozzle of the compressed air bottle towards the side and NOT directly onto the sensor.

  • Can you supply cameras for evaluation?

    Yes we hold sample stock for evaluation purposes.

    If you wish to take advantage of our evaluation program, we require you to make a purchase which we will provide for a 14 day period on a sale or return basis. Longer periods can be negotiated.

    If you return the sample in it's original condition, there will be no cost to you with the exception of delivery charges if they apply.

  • CMOS Sensors: What's the difference between global and rolling shutters?

    CMOS sensors - though immune to the blooming effects seen by CCD sensors - can be prone to other artefacts such as skew, wobble and smear. This is not always the case though as CMOS sensors can be equipped with something called a Global Shutter which can negate these effects.

    Firstly, we need to explain the concept of the 'Rolling Shutter' which is predominant on CMOS sensors. The rolling shutter works on a timing basis, exposing the image gradually - within 1/60 of a second but in imaging terms this can have an impact as the image below demonstrates.

In practical terms the rolling exposure is achieved by the sensor enabling sections to become light sensitive throughout the exposure period, but not simultaneously. The effect this has on an image may be negligible, but not if the camera or object moves during the exposure. Often the images clearly demonstrate a typical skew affect, the helicopter blades are patently not bent but in these images they appear to be very seriously distorted. This is because the parts of the sensor which are 'reading' the image of the blades are changing - rolling across the image field as the picture is taken. The result is dramatic.

A CMOS sensor equipped with Global Shutter would not have this affect. The full face of the sensor is light sensitive in one moment and any moving objects will be imaged accurately (providing the shutter speed is fast enough) and appear static in space. In this case, the helicopter blades would have appeared straight, as in real life.

If the helicopter itself is closer and is hovering and therefore the only part of the image that has any movement that is susceptible to the affects of the rolling shutter.

Consider this aspect of CMOS sensors when selecting a machine vision or microscope camera. With a rolling shutter, measurement of a moving object might produce very surprising results. The facts speak for themselves!

  • How can I remove dust on the camera sensor?

    If you have a received a new camera from us and during initial use you can see dust on the image which does not move when you rotate the lens, it is likely that dust has settled directly on the sensor. This is easy to fix by following these instructions:

    1) Compressed Air From Air-Blower
    Compressed air is usually sufficient to remove most foreign bodies from the surface of the sensor chip.
    We recommend using an air-blower, such as from Edmund Optics, and not compressed air from an aerosol. Compressed air from an aerosol may contain other chemicals (propellant, water, oil etc.) which could damage the surface of the sensor

    2) Hama Lenspen MiniPro II
    A company called Hama manufactures a product, which is ideally suited to the task: Lenspen MiniPro II. It is available online and from most well-stocked photography stores. One side of the pen has a brush on it, while the other, a small cleaning surface. The latter is suited to efficiently removing dirt and fingerprints.

    3) Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
    Although a microfiber cleaning cloth is a very viable option, it can be tricky to get the cloth onto the surface of the CCD chip through the camera’s mount opening. A cotton swab (UK: Q-Tip) can help here.

    4) Pure Alcohol (at least 90%)
    This can be purchased from most chemists. Never use Isopropanol, as it draws moisture from the air, which results in streaks on the surface of the sensor.

    5) Alcohol Substitute
    Instead of pure alcohol, Methanol or a liquid called Eclipse can be used (Eclipse is essentially Methanol). However, we do not recommend this approach, as Methanol is highly poisonous.

    6) Combination Of the Above
    Of course, all approaches can be used.

  • How do I choose a camera that is compatible with my chosen lens?

    To help you to choose a camera and lens that are compatible with each other please download our document on lens and camera compatibility:

    Lens and Sensor Compatibility Lens and Sensor Compatibility (889 KB)

  • Is there Linux support for industrial cameras?

    Yes, all our camera principles support Linux in one form or other.

    If you need help getting your camera working in Linux, please email support at Scorpion Vision.

  • What is an embedded camera?

    An embedded camera is typically defined as a board camera connected to a main board that contains the processor. So the sensor is mounted on a remote PCB, with the images passed to the main board where the images are processed.

    We provide two types of embedded cameras:
    1. NVIDIA Jetson TX1/TX2 compatible camera boards
    2. Arduino compatible camera boards offering a flexible range for use with Raspberry Pi

    Our embedded camera modules can be found here.

  • When selecting an industrial camera, what's best: CCD or CMOS sensor?

    Not so long ago (months in fact) this was an easy question to answer, as there were pros and cons for either sensor type.

    Now, with the latest sensors, CMOS seems to be moving ahead. Some manufacturers such as Sony, have plans to cease CCD manufacturing altogether.

    So the distinugishing features between CCD and CMOS are no longer obvious. It used to be that CMOS was less sensitive and noisier than CCD in lower light conditions and that CCD was the choice if you required a rolling shutter on higher resolution models. However, this can not be taken for granted any longer.

  • Which industrial camera should I buy?

    This very much depends on your application. There are a key number of considerations when choosing an industrial camera for your imaging or machine vision application. So before you look at a particular brand, there are certain aspects which will dictate the kind of sensor and interface you use.

    Please call us to discuss your application so that we can save you time and make the recommendation for you.


Cable & Interface FAQs

  • GigE Vision, Firewire, CameraLINK or USB?

    There is no straight answer to this question. Please call us for a discussion on your requirements. There are benefits in all interface types which can be set out in very basic terms thus:

    Gigabit Ethernet is good for managing multiple cameras and cable length is not as limited as with other camera interfaces in that they can extend to 100 metres.

    Firewire is a mature, robust interface technology. It could be argued that in a single or dual camera installation, Firewire might be the better option providing cable lengths are limited to 4.5 metres. In addtion, the camera can be powered by the data bus
    CameraLINK allows for high bandwidth between camera and computer, as much as 680 Mbytes per second (however this has been superceded by 1394b or Firewire 800)

    USB2 is the most ubiquitous interface as it exists on every PC. The current standard, USB2 does not perform as well with multiple camera connections (compared to firewire) but for low performance single camera installations it can be very convenient as well as low cost.

    USB3 or SuperSpeedUSB is the latest industrial camera technology and is rapidly gaining ground as a the main choice for many applications. It drammaticaly improves on USB2 in that it has a massive bandwidth - 10 times faster as 5GBPS. In multiple camera applications, USB2 was problematical in that it didn't enumerate the cameras very well resulting in camera drop outs. This all changes with USB3 Vision, both fast and reliable, it is a popular choice in multi-camera applications where long cable distances are not required (this remains the domain of GigEVision).

  • What is 1394a and 1394b?

    This is the official name for the two FireWire standards as agreed by the IEEE:

    1394a is FireWire 400 and is designed to run at 400 Mbits per second on a fully duplex basis.
    1394b is FireWire 800 and is designed to run at 800 Mbits per second on a fully duplex basis and is backward compatible to 1394a.

    1394a and 1394b devices can be used together but the cable connectors differ in that the 400 has a 4 or 6 pin connector and FireWire 800 uses a 9 pin connector. There are a range of cable converters and 9 pin to 6 pin cables available.
    The 1394a 4 pin connectors are designed for use with lower power devices such as laptops. The 2 missing conductors are due to the absence of a power supply, supplemented instead by using a powered hub or power directly to the camera.


Lenses

  • How do I calculate the focal length of a lens?

    - We have some online tools you can use.
    - You can ask us and we will help!
    - You can use one of the following formulas depending on the information you have at hand.

    f= hSS/(2x tan (afov/2))
    f=(hSS x WD)/hFOV

  • Why is it so important to find the right lens/sensor combination?

    To make the most of the sensor ‘real estate’. See this blog post for a great overview on why it is important to find the best lens and sensor match.

  • How do I choose a camera that is compatible with my chosen lens?

    To help you to choose a camera and lens that are compatible with each other please download our document on lens and camera compatibility: Lens and Sensor Compatibility Lens and Sensor Compatibility (889 KB)

  • Do you have a handy list of current M12 lenses?

    Believe it or not, we do! Please look at this page for a full list of available M12 lenses and their specifications.
    For a lot of lenses we offer different variants with regards to filters and apertures. If you need a different aperture or an integrated filter please contact us.

  • Do you have a list of current Computar lenses?

    Yes we do, please see this page. It is a comprehensive list but does not include all lenses. If you cannot find the lens you need on the list please get in touch with us.

  • Which lens manufacturers do you work with?

    We are distributors for several lens manufacturers including Computar, Azure, HIKvision. Some camera manufacturers also provide lenses, these are The Imaging Source, Pixelink and Arducam. We also supply their portfolio of imaging products.

  • How are optical groups/glasses mounted in your M12 lenses?

    Our SVL M12 lenses use clamping rings (=retainer rings) to fix the front and rear group in the housing.

  • How do I clean lenses?

    It is best to use 70% Ethanol or 70% Isopropanol. You can apply some on the lens surface and remove it with gentle pressure and a lint-free tissue or cotton swab. Do not rub the surface or use strong pressure. Acetone is not recommended. If you need to remove dust particles you can also use compressed air.

  • My cameras are 2.1MP, what happens if I buy a 3 or 5 MP rated lens?

    The MP rating is just a measurement of performance but doesn't stop the lens being used with sensors of any resolution. The one limiting factor with lenses is to ensure the lens is compatible with the sensor size - either the same size or larger. So you can use a 3 or 5MP lens with your 2.1MP camera.

  • Q: Can I use a lower cost M12 lens in C/CS mount camera?

    Yes, you can if our adapter that converts the C/CS aperture to an M12 thread fits your camera. Bear in mind though, sensor sizes and lens capability.

    M12 lenses typically cost less than their C and CS lens equivalents. The main reason being that they are made with fewer components and less glass. This can lead to other problems such as more distortion in the image. This can be removed using lens calibration software though. We can help with this, using the Scorpion Vision lens calibration module.

  • How do I choose a lens that is compatible with my camera?

    To help you to choose a camera and lens that are compatible with each other please download our document on lens and camera compatibility:

    Lens and Sensor Compatibility Lens and Sensor Compatibility (889 KB)

  • How do I work out what focal length is required?

    Fundamentally, you need the Width of the Object, the Height of the Object and the Sensor Size. Once these parameters are known, we can calculate the focal length using the object height and width. But we also need to know the size of the sensor height in order to represent an object completely on the sensor.

    The basic formula for working out what focal length is required for your application is as follows:
    Focal length of the width = Working Distance * CCD width
    Object Distance + CCD width

    Focal length of the height = Working Distance * CCD height
    Object height + CCD height
    Or, you could just use an online lens calculator.

  • My cameras are 2.1MP, what happens if I buy a 3 or 5 MP rated lens?

    The MP rating is just a measurement of performance but doesn't stop the lens being used with sensors of any resolution. The one limiting factor with lenses is to ensure the lens is compatible with the sensor size - either the same size or larger. So you can use a 3 or 5MP lens with your camera.

  • What is an M12 lens or S-Mount lens?

    M12 lenses are normally found on OEM style board cameras. These are miniature lenses that are usually very low cost, made with a plastic body and for small format (1/4" or 1/2") sensors.

    The official title is S-Mount, but they are commonly referred to as M-12 due to the fact that the mounting thread is usually M12 x0.5.

    To find more about M12 Lenses please download our M12 Lens Whitepaper:

    M12 Lens White Paper M12 Lens White Paper (1263 KB)

  • What's the difference between an M12 Lens and an S-Mount Lens?

    It's the same thing. Miniature board lenses, normally called S-Mount, commonly use an M12x0.5mm thread. They are often referred to as M12 lenses.


Scorpion Vision Software FAQ

  • Activating the Scorpion Vision Software License

    After Scorpion has been installed, there are two applications available:
    1.Scorpion XII Installer
    2.Scorpion Version XII (run time)



    During the installation, if a license has not been retrieved, this can be requested by running the installer again.




    Get to the license request form by selecting NEXT 9 times from the Home page



    If there is no license key available there will not be any text in the license key window (above).
    To request a new license, click on the icon to the bottom right of the dialogue box



    When you click on the license request icon, the demo license application form will appear.



    Insert your company name, Name and email address.Then select the following:
    Type: Premium
    Version: Scorpion 12
    Options: 3D

    When ready, click on ‘Request and Activate Demo License’
    This will apply the license immediately and you will also get an email containing the license details.



    Before you exit the installer, go to the Demo Profiles section and install some of the demos. There are a number of categories which can be accessed using the tabs.
    Once you have gone through the above steps, close the installer by clicking ‘Finish’
    Start Scorpion by clicking on ‘Scorpion Version XII’ which may be located on your desktop.


  • Apply the Scorpion License

    To apply the license, start Scorpion to get to the first dialogue box as below:




    Set Scorpion LicenseClick on the menu item on the top right hand side to bring up the sub-menu, as above.
    Look for the 'Set Scorpion System License' link and click on that to bring up the activation box.



    Insert the license key in the License String box, as above.
    Finally, click on Register to apply the license.


  • Can I experiment with Scorpion Vision Software without any commitment?

    You can download the full package and apply for a 30 day unrestricted software license from http://scorpionqa.wordpress.com/scorpion-vision-download-request/

  • Installing Scorpion Vision Software

    Scorpion Vision Software is a complex Windows application containing a large number of third party modules. This is managed automatically using the Scorpion Installer.

    To install Scorpion, browse to http://scorpion.tordivel.no

    Look for the most recent installer, highlighted here in yellow:



    When the installer is run, the initial system management page will appear containing the current version release. In the example below, the official release is 12.0.0.654. As Scorpion Vision Software is constantly being updated, the latest intermediate editions are also made available on this page. In this example, the next available release is 12.0.0.684.

    To get the most up to date version of Scorpion, the intermediate link should be selected. This in turn will lead to other more up to date intermediate installers. Always choose the most recent version.

    To start the installation, click NEXT and follow the installation prompts.



    During the installation process, the Installer will pull all the modules from the Scorpion installation server. Occasionally, due to local firewall issues there may be problems getting these files. Or, if the host PC is not connected to the Internet, then it is not possible to install Scorpion automatically. So a download link is available which will create a Local Installer Copy. This can be used on an alternative PC that is connected to the internet so that the Installer Copy folders can be saved on to a memory stick.

    See the ‘Create Installer Copy’ circled in blue in the image above.

    After Scorpion has been installed, there are two applications available:
    1. Scorpion XII Installer
    2. Scorpion Version XII (run time)



    The installer can be run again to download additional, optional modules and exmaple profiles.

  • What is Scorpion Vision Software?

    Scorpion Vision Software is a general purpose machine vision framework package with an extensive toolset for creating machine vision applications without the need to programme. In addition to the machine vision toolset, within Scorpion there is automation capability for 'ready to go' integration so machine vision applications can be easily made to communicate with external devices using a number of standard interface protocols.

    Scorpion Vision is very good for 2D non contact measurement tasks due to its inbuilt lens and camera calibration system that enables sub pixel measurements.

    Scorpion Vision 3D Stinger is a market leading 3D machine vision platform that has evolved from the 2D technology. Scorpion Vision is a system of components, hardware and software and are delivered ready to go, out of the box.

    Scorpion Vision Software can be downloaded via this external web page (registration required).


Illumination

  • Which kind of illumination are you offering?

    You can find a range of our illumination solutions here. Please get in touch with us if you cannot find a suitable solution in the listing as we can offer bespoke solutions.


Embedded and Board Cameras

  • What is an embedded camera?

    The definition of an embedded camera is typically a board level camera that connects directly to a processing board via a low cost interface or connector

  • What are camera breakout boards?

    These are camera modules that are designed for fast prototyping. So you don’t have to mess about with soldering or fine pitch flex cables, these modules have connectors on that can be used to attach the device to USB camera shields.

  • I only want to buy one camera board, how do I do that?

    You can buy online from our webshop, register first to do so.

  • What is MIPI?

    MIPI is an acronym for Mobile Industry Processor Interface which defines the industry standard for mobile device interfacing. It is a serial data communication layer that has a number of protocol variants, CSi, CSi-2 and CSi-3

  • What is CSi?

    CSi is the original Camera Serial Interface under the MIPI standard and defines the interface between camera and host processor. It offers one data pair.
    CSi-2 is a faster implementation of CSi and offers up to four data pairs
    CSI-3 is a high-speed, bidirectional protocol primarily intended for image and video transmission between cameras and hosts within a multi-layered, peer-to-peer, UniPro-based M-PHY device network.
    Cameras implementing a minimal MIPI CSI-3 configuration consisting of one forward and one reverse lane (four total wires) can transmit 12 BPP 4K video at about 40 FPS.

  • What is SPI?

    SPI stands for Serial Peripheral Interface. It is used for short distance communications most commonly used in embedded systems. Devices communicating via this interface work in a slave - master fashion. This interface is full duplex (can transmit data in both directions simultaneously) and can work at speeds of 10Mbps.

  • What is I2C?

    Inter-Intergrated Circuit is very popular because all microcontrollers can communicate with I2C devices, like the SPI it is used for short distances.. It uses two wires to transmit data. The two wires are called Serial Clock (SCL) and Serial Data (SDA). The SCL synchronizes the data transfer between devices on the I2C bus and is created from the master device. The other line SDA carries the data. There are different speed modes for the I2C: Standard at 100Kbps, Full Speed at 400Kbps and High Speed at 3.2 Mbps.

  • What is FPD-Link?

    FPD-Link is an abbreviation for Flat Panel Display Link and is an application of LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling. It was originally designed as a high speed digital interface used for connecting graphical (imaging) sources to a display panel. Latterly, faster implementations are used for fast video data transmission.


The Webshop

  • Who is this webshop intended for?

    We provide imaging components to engineering professionals who are building camera based applications.

  • How do I see pricing?

    Please register with some brief details to access product pricing. Note that for commercial reasons we will approve your account once it has been validated.

  • I have evaluated a product and now need volume pricing, how do I get this?

    We can offer volume pricing on all products. Please contact us with your requirements and remember to include timescales and quantities.

  • Why do I have to register in order to get pricing details?

    This is primarily a business to business web shop. As such, some product data and pricing is commercially sensitive.

  • How long can I expect to wait for delivery of my order?

    Some product groups such as Arducam camera boards and M12 lenses are usually held in stock and can be delivered by courier next day (UK and Eire) providing the order is made before 1400 hours (GMT). Other products generally have a lead time of 10 working days.

  • What is your refund policy?

    As this is a strictly business to business website, we may apply a restocking fee if an item has been ordered in error. Please see this page for further details on our policy and how to return an item.

  • Do you deliver outside the UK?

    Yes, we sell and ship globally and will provide dispatch information and a tracking number for your order.

  • I have not received my order, what should I do?

    Please contact us immediately and we will track down your order.

  • Where is your Privacy Policy?

    Please browse to this page for all our policy details and information on how we manage your personal information.


HIK Vision Industrial Cameras and Lenses

  • Is it possible to get the camera to work with the MATLAB image acquisition toolbox?

    Regarding Matlab - there are two choices. One is that you can directly use the MATLAB image acquisition toolbox; another is that you can load the dll files and use the HIK Vision API. There is no special driver required and the SDK supports Matlab.

  • Connecting Multiple Cameras to MVS

    The HIK Vision Camera application can be used with multiple cameras, viewing the live images simultaneously (bandwidth allowing).

    In this two camera example, firstly make sure that the two cameras are both connected. If you see the sign, it means that this camera has been connected.

    Then set Window Division to 4-Division:



    Finally, drag the camera model name under device list to display area using mouse.