The Automated Imaging Association (AIA) standard, commonly known as Camera Link, is a standard for high-speed transmission of digital video. AIA standard defines cable, connector and camera functionality between camera and frame grabber.

Speed. Camera Link offers very high performance in terms of speed. It usually has different bandwidth configurations available, e.g. 255 MB/s, 510 MB/s and 680 MB/s. The bandwidth determines the ratio between image resolution and frame rate: a typical basic-configuration camera can acquire 1 Mpixel image at 50 frames/s or more; a full-configuration camera can acquire 4 Mpixel at more than 100 frames/s. Camera Link HS is the newer standard that can reach 300 MB/s on a single line, and up to 6 GB/s on 20 lines.

Costs. Camera Link offers medium- to high-performance acquisition, thus usually requiring more expensive cameras. Also, this standard requires a frame grabber in order to manage the hefty data load, not needed with other standards.

Cables. Camera Link standard defines a maximum length of 10 m for the cables; one cable is needed for basic configuration, where two are needed for full configuration cameras.

Power over cable. Camera Link offers a PoCL module (Power over Camera Link) that provides power to the camera. Also, several grabbers work with this feature.

CPU usage. Since Camera Link uses frame grabbers, which transfer images to a computer as stand-alone modules, this standard does not consume a lot of the system CPU.

Next →