GigE Vision – A Technology Who’s Time has Come?

Most if not all industrial camera manufacturers have GigE Vision interfaces in their camera product range. Usually just a derivation of the camera that is in many cases also available with USB or Firewire, as legacy devices.

Most of our camera partners manufacture GigE cameras, with one notable exception being that of Unibrain who have firmly nailed their flag to the firewire mast. There are pros and cons to both technologies of course and one of the significant benefits of firewire is the extended bandwidth that is available with a 1394b network. There is also significant stability that comes with a mature technology. Sometimes we revert ‘back’ to firewire when we have our fingers burnt!

But it has to be said that – bandwidth issues aside, GigE Vision cameras are most definitely the camera of choice in many standard machine vision systems where area scan cameras are used. For higher bandwidth, Camera Link is also an obvious alternative to Firewire.

Our camera principles who have fully developed GigE Vision cameras, that is Sony, PixeLINK and The Imaging Source all implement

the interface technology in slightly different ways. My most recent experience with Sony cameras was interesting. It took a while to

The Sony XCG Camera

understand how it worked, but when it did it was rock solid. This was because they have improved on the standards that have gone before. The problem is that you think you know how something works, but then you find out that you don’t! So the lesson for me has been to approach these things with an open mind and don’t make the assumption that because you know about networks, it’ll be easy to set up….

The Imaging Source (TIS) have a reputation for good software and drivers. This has been reinforced with their latest range of Power over Ethernet cameras that are not based on previous legacy models and which now extends to 10 models (5 colour and 5 monochrome). They are small and light and can be powered directly over a 100 metre cable from the computer or a powered switch.

Installing a TIS GigE camera is simple, connect it. Run the GigE config software. Then run Image Capture, the viewing software.

Chances are, the camera will be detected and run like any USB or firewire camera that has gone before. But with long cables lengths and powered interfaces, it’s streets ahead of USB and of course doesn’t have the cable length limitations that USB or firewire  have. The cameras are DirectShow compatible which means of course that they work with Scorpion Vision Software.

So their time has come, and in various forms:


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