What is a Camera File and Do I Need to Generate One to Work With NI Vision Software

Updated May 14, 2024



  • Frame Grabber Device


  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)
  • LabVIEW


  • Vision Acquisition Software

  • I am trying to connect to my camera in Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) and snap or grab an image, but I am not able to do so or am getting an incorrect wrong looking image back.  I see that I can select a camera file from my frame grabber interface, but what is a camera file?  
  • I do not see my camera listed when I right-click on it in MAX and navigate through the list to try and find a camera file for it.  How can I obtain a camera file?
  • I get Error: 0xbff60092 or Error: 0xBFF60022 when I try to snap or grab from a camera in NI MAX.
  • I have a frame grabber for my Camera Link camera and my camera shows up and is usable in the software provided by the camera manufacturer.  However, I need the camera to show up in NI MAX and work in LabVIEW and other NI vision software.

A camera file is a file that allows MAX and NI software to interpret the information it receives from your camera. Depending on the type of camera you are using, the camera file may also include commands to control the operation of your camera. Camera files are also called Interface Control Documents and have .icd as their file extension. The .icd file is an NI file extension but each camera has its own settings file that can be used to build the .icd file for use with NI software.

Below are a few options of how you can obtain a camera file (ordered from least effort to most effort):

Install Vision Acquisition Software (VAS) Driver

NI includes a variety of camera files with the NI-IMAQdx driver that is included in the VAS driver, including the generic camera files for CCIR, NTSC, PAL, and RS170 cameras. You can select from these files by right-clicking your camera in NI MAX under your IMAQ frame grabber and selecting Camera then navigate to your camera model.

Note: Previously, NI provided camera files for supported cameras through the NI Camera Network. NI has since deprecated the NI Camera Network and our FTP downloads for these files.

Generate a camera file using the NI Camera File Generator

NI does not provide a camera file for every camera available. For Camera Link and parallel digital cameras that NI has not provided a camera file, a custom camera file will need to be generated in order to configure the frame grabber to communicate with the camera.

The NI Camera File Generator is a menu-driven, configuration environment for generating new camera files to equip cameras for which NI does not have files or adding features to existing NI camera files. The NI Camera File Generator is a free, stand-alone piece of software, which you can download by going to NI Camera File Generator, selecting the Resources tab which will lead you to an FTP site where you can download the software.

Possible Timeout Errors

A timeout (Error: 0xBFF60022) may still occur even after you have uploaded the proper camera file. If any other computer resources are accessing the file when you are trying to acquire an image, you may still get this error. Make sure no other software or drivers are actively accessing the camera before acquiring an image in NI-MAX. 

Additional Information

Analog cameras generally do not let you change the camera attributes programmatically and hence use generic camera files based on the analog standard that they use, viz. CCIR, NTSC, PAL or RS-170.

Parallel Digital and Camera Link cameras have parameters that can be changed programmatically by writing commands to the camera. Since these commands are camera specific, these cameras need very specific camera files. Typically, these camera files have the same name as the camera (this name includes manufacturer and model number).

Firewire (IEEE 1394) and GigE cameras usually store all camera specific information on the camera itself and hence do not need manually specified camera files to work with NI software.