Monday, March 16, 2009

The “hot” camera

That’s “hot” as in “hot hatch,” and not as in stolen, or overheated. And for those of you who missed the ‘80’s, a “hot hatch” was a regular little hatchback car with a high powered – often turbocharged – engine that gave the vehicle terrific performance, even if it was actually a little uncivilized.

And the relevance of this to machine vision? Well Basler have just announced a top-of-the-line A406k camera that seem to deserve the “hot hatch” moniker. The
A400 series (that's a picture of one above, lifted from the Basler web site,) is built around a sensor of 2352 x 1726 pixels – that’s 4 megapixels – that delivers 24fps in it’s most basic form. The A406k however, pumps out an astounding 209 frames per second. That’s 50 Gig of data per minute, (please correct me if my math is wrong,) which is far more performance than most of us can handle.

So that’s what’s “hot” about it. The “hatch” part stems from the fact that this staggering speed is delivered by a CMOS sensor. Now I know I might sound like a car snob, but for my money, CMOS still gives inferior quality to CCD. Yes, I know the gap is closing, and that in some areas CMOS might have advantages, but a VW GTI is never going to be a Ferrari 599.

And as for missing the 1980’s – I still miss ‘em.

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