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Sony introduces full range of CameraLink-compatible video cameras

Variety of resolutions and speeds at market-leading price, and small form factor

Sony New Camera Link CamerasSony Europe's Image Sensing Solutions Division today announced a range of digital cameras conforming to the CameraLink interface standard, including ultra-compact, lightweight VGA and XGA versions, and high-resolution variants for use in applications such as microscopy, medical imaging and education. The new devices combine the proven technologies that made Sony a pioneer in the field of machine vision, with the popular CamerLink interface.

Featuring progressive scanning, frame rates from 15 to 60 frames per second (fps) and resolutions of up to 2Mpixel, the Sony XCL range of cameras allow systems integrators and OEMs to choose a Sony CameraLink-compatible camera for any application. The new devices are particularly suitable for users who wish to use the CameraLink interface to retain a traditional frame-grabber architecture to pre-process images.

All of Sony's XCL models include a partial scan mode which increases effective frame rate by reading out only selected portions of the target image, enhancing performance in high-speed applications. In monochrome models, a binning function groups adjacent pixels of the sensor together vertically, to increase frame rate even further.

Mathieu Forget, Product Marketing Manager Europe, from Sony Image Sensing Solutions, said, "The introduction of this strong lineup of cameras marks Sony's entrance into the CameraLink market. It builds on the company's longstanding pioneering approach in digital interfacing and continuing commitment to IEEE 1394, with strong loyalty to the machine vision marketplace. These CameraLink approved units are very strong, reliable, have among the smallest form factor and provide excellent picture quality, as one would expect from the Sony stable."

The entry-level XCL-V500 and X700 are VGA and XGA versions respectively, giving systems designers access to a combination of features unrivalled in comparably-priced competing products. Unlike most CameraLink-compatible devices, they have an extremely small form factor of just 29 x 29 x 30mm and weight of only 55g, allowing them to be used in applications where space is at a premium. Both the V500 and X700 ultra compact models include a choice of internal and external sync, binning and partial scanning, and use a 1/3-type progressive scan (PS) interline transfer (IT) CCD.

For higher resolution applications such as microscopy, the XCL-U1000 monochrome and XCL-U1000C colour cameras use 1/1.8-type PS IT CCDs to offer 2Mpixel resolution at 15fps. The analogue PC monitor interface allows these devices to be used as part of "slimmed-down" display solutions without an external PC - for instance by connecting the camera directly to a PC monitor. Their high resolution and frame rate make them especially suited to mainstream machine vision applications such as automated inspection and process control, where the ability to catch fine details can significantly enhance the productivity of the overall system. Both models include partial scanning, while the U1000 also offers binning for further enhancement of effective frame rates.

All four devices will be available from November 2004