Cameras Supported by National Instruments

Updated Aug 7, 2018

Reported In

Hardware

  • Area Scan Camera
  • Line Scan Camera
  • Frame Grabber Device
  • PXI Frame Grabber Module
  • PXI Ethernet Interface Module
  • PXI Firewire (IEEE 1394) Module
  • Camera

Driver

  • IMAQ Vision
  • Vision Acquisition Software
  • NI-IMAQdx
  • NI-IMAQ

Issue Details

  • I am looking to purchase a particular camera and want to know if it will work with National Instruments IMAQ products.
  • I have a camera and want to know if NI will provide support for use of this camera.
  • What NI driver or software do I need to interface with my camera of a particular protocol?
  • I just bought a new camera, can use it in NI MAX or LabVIEW using the IMAQ or IMAQdx drivers?

Solution

Camera compatibility is determined by a number of factors, but the first step to determining whether a particular camera is supported with National Instruments hardware and software is to determine the bus type. The bus type can be any of the following:
  • USB 3.0 Vision
  • GigE Vision
  • Camera Link
  • IEEE-1394 FireWire
  • USB 2.0
  • Parallel Digital
  • Ethernet IP
If you are still considering what camera to purchase and would like to make sure that you choose the right bus, Choosing the Right Camera Bus provides information about the important considerations, advantages, and disadvantages of each type of camera.
 

USB 3.0 Vision

Recommended for New Applications: Yes
Driver Used: NI-IMAQdx 4.2 or later
Frame Grabber: Images acquired over USB 3.0 bus built into computer/target or from NI Frame Grabber 

NI hardware and software supports any camera that complies with the AIA USB3 Vision Specification version 1.0 or later. There are cameras that communicate over USB 3.0 but are not USB 3.0 Vision compliant, so care should be taken to ensure that the manufacturer’s documentation indicates compliance. 

Here is a list of the companies that are currently certified for USB 3.0 Vision.

If you find that your camera is just a USB 3.0 camera and not USB 3.0 Vision compliant, you still may be able to use the camera's driver (if it is available) and call it using the Call Library Function Node.  You may then be able to bring in the images and camera information into LabVIEW and then use the Vision Analysis libraries available in Vision Development Module.  However, you would then need to talk with that company if issues with the driver came up.
 

GigE Vision

Recommended for New Applications: Yes
Driver Used: NI-IMAQdx
Frame Grabber: Images acquired over Ethernet port built into computer/target or on NI Frame Grabber

NI hardware and software supports any camera that complies with the AIA GigE Vision Specification version 1.0 or later. There are cameras that communicate over Ethernet but are not GigE Vision compliant, so care should be taken to ensure that the manufacturer’s documentation indicates compliance. 


Camera Link

Recommended for New Applications: Yes
Driver Used: NI-IMAQ
Frame Grabber: NI Frame Grabber

NI hardware and software supports Camera Link cameras that conform to the Camera Link standard (base, medium, full, and extended). In contrast to other standards however, Camera Link cameras require a camera file to tell the driver how the camera’s attributes are exposed, so not all Camera Link cameras are supported.

To verify if a specific camera is compatible, National Instruments recommends checking the Industrial Camera Advisor. If your camera is not found then National Instruments has not tested the camera and does not officially support it, but the following options are still possible:

  • Create a custom camera file using the NI Camera File Generator.
  • Check the Discussion Forums to see if another user has previously created a custom camera file.


IEEE-1394 FireWire

Recommended for New Applications: No
Driver Used: NI-IMAQdx or NI-IMAQ IEEE-1394
Framegrabber: NI Frame Grabber. Images are acquired over the FireWire bus.

National Instruments supports FireWire cameras that are fully IIDC (DCAM) compliant.

Firewire devices are now supported through IMAQdx. The NI-IMAQ IEEE-1394 driver is no longer recommended and is unsupported by National Instruments as it has been functionally replaced by NI-IMAQdx. 


USB 2.0

Recommended for New Applications: No
Driver Used: NI-IMAQdx 3.4 or later
Frame Grabber: None. Images are acquired with DirectShow over the USB 2.0 bus.

USB 2.0 cameras are not recommended for new applications, but NI hardware and software supports most USB 2.0 devices that are DirectShow compatible. Camera manufacturers will often create a LabVIEW API for their specific camera that supports additional features that DirectShow does not. It is recommended that you use the manufacturer's API when available.

USB 2.0 devices are now supported through the manufacturer's API or IMAQdx. 

Because USB 2.0 cameras use DirectShow for acquisition, the camera manufacturer’s driver must be installed and configured correctly for the camera to be supported when using IMAQdx.


Parallel Digital

Recommended for New Applications: No
Driver Used: NI-IMAQ
Frame Grabber: NI no longer sells Parallel Digital frame grabbers.

Parallel Digital has been functionally replaced by the Camera Link standard. Parallel Digital cameras require a camera file to tell the driver how the camera’s attributes are exposed, so not all Parallel Digital cameras are supported.

National Instruments supports a subset of Parallel Digital cameras that send data in the following formats:
  • TTL
  • RS-422
  • LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signal)
To verify if a camera is supported by National Instruments hardware and software use the Industrial Camera Advisor
If you are using a 3rd-party frame grabber you may want to look at the Knowledge Base article Can I Use My Third-Party Frame Grabber with the IMAQ VIs?


Ethernet IP

Recommended for New Applications: No
Driver Used: NI-IMAQdx 3.5 or later
Frame Grabber: None. Images are acquired over Ethernet.

Ethernet IP has been functionally replaced by GigE Vision, and National Instruments only supports Internet Protocol (IP) cameras manufactured by Basler and Axis. An IP camera typically sends a compressed image over an Ethernet connection, and the NI-IMAQdx driver only supports IP cameras that provide MJPEG images. 

Axis IP cameras must have firmware version 2.0 (or later) to be supported.

Additional Information

The NI-IMAQ and NI-IMAQdx drivers are included in NI Vision Acquisition Software.

NI Software supports National Instruments frame grabber hardware only and is not designed to be used with third-party frame grabbers.

 

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