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Looking for a the right camera....

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I’m looking for an indoor USB webcamera that supports a manual lens.

 

I’ve yet to find such a webcam but machine vision cameras seem well built for such a task (and then some).

 

The machine vision cameras I'm most interested in (Point Grey Research's Firefly MV or Lumenera's Lw115) are USB based color (~30fps) cameras that should require very little human interaction to operate long-term (the way it needs to be). I.E. once the camera is mounted, the manual lens adjusted/locked down and the cables are setup between the cameras and the computer; the cameras should passively turn on and off as the computer does and allowing for a very efficient system.

 

The only issue is these cameras are expensive and designed to capture video that is far more accurately then is really necessary while being used as a webcam. Hence I refer back to my statement above, I need an indoor USB webcamera that supports a manual lens. A prefect product would be the equivalent to a high-end Logitech webcam with a CS-mount designed into it and hopefully costing around $150a piece for a VGA camera or $250 a piece for a 1.3 Megapixal camera (USD).

 

I don't think this prefect camera really exists but I would like some video experts to confirm or deny this fact and let me know where or not I’m making a good investment to use machine cameras as webcams.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Reactor89

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Some of the USB web cameras use M12 lenses, see http://www.webcaddy.com.au/astro/M12Cameras.htm.  You can partially disassemble these cameras and replace the lens with an M12 lens of your choice:

 

http://www.edmundoptics.com/onlinecatalog/displayproduct.cfm?productID=2589

http://www.edmundoptics.com/onlinecatalog/displayproduct.cfm?productID=2660

 

With a bit more effort, you can modify pretty much any USB camera to work with a C-Mount lens,

 

http://ghonis2.ho8.com/Pro9000a.html

http://www.david-laserscanner.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7805
Robert Eastlund
Graftek Imaging, Inc.
Phone: (512) 416-1099 x101
Email: eastlund@graftek.com
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Ah... It warms my heart to see unsuspecting webcams disassemble and turned into cameras they where never meant to be. 😄

Anyway thanks a bunch Robert, very interesting links. I not sure whether or not I will be building custom cameras for the project I'm currently working on but it's nice to have the option regardless.

Also if I was going to modify a webcam to support a lens, what would be the best way to determine the image sensor characteristics/spec so I can choose a proper lens.

I figure that the company that sells me the webcam won't tell me I and should have some knowledge on how to get this information myself.

Suggestions welcome.

Thanks again,

Reactor89
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There are consumer reviews posted for particular cameras.  I would use a search engine and type in the particular manufacturer or model number followed by the word review.  To get more technical information about a particular manufacturer or model number, type in the name followed by something specific like camera sensor size.  You should be able to locate specs like

 

http://reviews.cnet.com/webcams/logitech-quickcam-pro-3000/4540-6502_7-3126139-4.html?tag=rnav

 

Of the web pages that I visited, CNET seems to have the most information.  The specifications of the camera's sensor will tell you something about its performance.  I would look for a low density CCD sensor.  A 1/3" format CCD with 640 x 480 pixels will usually outperfom a 1/4" format CCD with the same number of pixels.  CCD sensors will tend to outperform CMOS sensors.

Robert Eastlund
Graftek Imaging, Inc.
Phone: (512) 416-1099 x101
Email: eastlund@graftek.com
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