Camera Link Machine Vision Interface ProtocolCamera Link is a robust vision communication protocol designed for machine vision applications. Camera Link uses a dedicated cable connection and a standardized communications protocol. Camera Link is a hardware specification that standardizes the connection between cameras and frame grabbers. It defines a complete interface which includes provisions for data transfer, camera timing, serial communications, and real time signaling to the camera.

Camera Link provides a new digital transmission method designed for the machine vision industry for an easy way to connect digital cameras to frame grabbers. Camera Link specification includes data transmission as well as camera control and asynchronous serial communications all on a single cable. Now, only two connections (power and Camera Link) are required to quickly interface to a multitude of frame grabbers and cameras.

Camera Link was built for real time, high bandwidth (maximum 6.1 Gbps) parallel communication. It is a well-established and proven industry standard, there are hundreds of Camera Link products on the market today. These compliant products are interoperable, providing users with the flexibility to choose the best product for their needs without worrying about compatibility between different manufacturers. Camera Link now has GenICam support for plug and play interoperability. Camera Link Version 2.0 is scheduled for release in late 2011 and consolidates Mini Camera Link connectors; Power over Camera Link (PoCL); PoCL Lite (a smaller minimized PoCL interface) and the Camera Link cable specification.

Camera Link Interface Benefits:

  • Standard Interface: Every Camera Link product will use the same cable and signaling. Cameras and frame grabbers can easily be interchanged using the same cable.
  • Simple Connection: Only two connections will be required to interface a camera and frame grabber: Power and Camera Link.
  • Lower Cost: Because Camera Link is an industry-wide standard, consumers will be able to take advantage of lower cable prices.
  • Smaller Connectors & Cables: The technology used in Camera Link reduces the number of wires required to transmit data over traditional LVDS or RS-422 parallel interfaces, allowing for smaller cables. Smaller cables are more robust and less prone to breakage.
  • Higher Data rates: The technology used in Camera Link has a maximum data rate of 2.3GB/s, for use in the most demanding high definition, high frame rate and line scan.
  • Real-time, high-speed: High bandwidth assures fast transfer of large files with no latency issues.
  • Easy product interoperability: Camera Link products use the same cable connection. Compliant cameras and frame grabbers can easily be interchanged using the same cable.
  • Lower Cable Prices: Because Camera Link is a widely adopted standard, cables are readily available and competitively priced. Mini Camera Link provides a very small footprint when space is an issue.
  • Single Cable Power: Power over Camera Link, PoCL®, allows the camera to be powered by the frame grabber through the single Camera Link cable, which saves space and money.
  • Camera Link Lite: Smaller connector supporting base configurations for low cost solutions.