Getting The Most Out Of Your HD Camera (Installment #1: Configuring A System)

Note: While part of the purpose of this blog post is to certainly promote Sentech HD cameras, the article also serves as a general educational tool for basic high definition camera system configuration, while also using examples of specific products we believe to be of high quality.

Sentech has recently introduced a new series of 1080p HD digital output cased cameras (models STC-HD203DV and STC-HD203SDI), which can be used in a variety of applications where high definition video is being used. These can include but are not limited to broadcast, medical, industrial, R&D, military, sports, film, and wildlife applications. This blog will discuss some of the particular product highlights for these cameras, as well as how they can be easily integrated with other products to help configure your complete HD camera system.

Sentech’s first CMOS (Sony IMX136 sensor) 1080p HD digital output cased C-Mount camera is ideal for applications requiring direct-connect monitor viewing with High Definition resolution.  This CMOS based camera outputs a true HD 1080p, 16×9 format image at 60 fps.  It also features the capability to program 28 individual DSP profiles, as well as having a programmable on-camera push-button for manual control or on-screen display menu via wired controller.

The STC-HD203DV and STC-HD203SDI have excellent dynamic range, sensitivity, and color reproduction.  These cameras also provide the ability to overlay both horizontal and vertical lines (with thickness and color control) to simulate crosshairs on your screen – a nice available feature.

The C-Mount interface allows for a practically endless variety of choices for fixed focal, vari-focal, and zoom type C-Mount megapixel rated (HD) lenses – from wide angle to telephoto.  An ultra-compact size of 40 (W) x 40 (H) x 51.1 (D) mm for these cased cameras allows for installation in tight areas. (Non-cased “board level” versions of Sentech HD cameras are also available.)

Two different output versions are available for the camera – DVI format (via HDMI connector) and HD-SDI format (via BNC connector).  If your camera and monitor (or PC) will have close proximity, then HDMI is a good choice (typically 5 meters as maximum cable length).  HD-SDI might be the preferred choice for longer distances between camera and monitor.   HD-SDI will allow for cable distance runs up to 100 meters, while also sometimes being able to use existing coax cable infrastructure.

Since the starting point for most applications is selection of the camera, then what is next?  You have decided which connection is best for outputting the HD video, but next steps depend on what you will be doing with this HD video?  For example, if you only wish to display the video (such as a visual monitoring application), then a simple direct connection from the HD camera to a high definition (HD) video monitor such as those offered by Orion Images is an easy solution, with many available choices offered for both HDMI and HD-SDI input models.

But perhaps you need to do more with the HD video than simple display on a monitor – such as video capture (possibly for image processing and/or image analysis) and even possibly HD video recording?  RMA Electronics, Inc. offers these complementary products to help take your Sentech 1080p HD camera to a complete system. The Euresys Picolo HD family of (PC-based) video capture boards support image capture of high definition video sources via HDMI, HD-SDI, and DVI inputs.  Various models offer capability for 1080p/60 video capture (Picolo HD 3G, model 1841), while Picolo HD One (model 1840) enables video acquisition from a single HD camera for 1080p/30 video capture via HD-SDI, HDMI, or DVI inputs.

For laptop environments for HD video capture, the Imperx VCE-HDEX02 (ExpressCard/34) and VCE-HDEX03 (ExpressCard/54) are available which provide HD video input via HD-SDI.   Imperx video capture cards also include their software developer’s kit (SDK).

Maybe once you are acquiring HD video, you also want to record the video?  Compatible with Euresys Picolo HD video capture boards is a very economical yet robust (and scalable) video recording software product called Blue Mango Video Recording Software which is capable of recording up to 64 cameras simultaneously for HD video.  There are a variety of choices for third-party software for video recording and image processing (including Euresys Open eVision).

Please check back soon to view Installment #2 of this blog which will discuss recommended optics (C-Mount lenses) for these Sentech 1080p HD cameras, using various applications as examples.  We also welcome any comments or feedback regarding any of the information detailed in this blog.

System Configurations:

Example #1 (Camera connection directly to HD monitor)


Example #2 (Camera to video capture board – for image processing and/or recording)



Summary of links for products mentioned:

Sentech cameras

Sentech STC-HD203DV

Sentech STC-HD203SDI

Megapixel (HD) C-Mount lenses

Orion Images HD monitors

Euresys Picolo HD video capture boards

Euresys Picolo HD 3G (model 1841)

Euresys Picolo HD One (model 1840)

Imperx video capture boards

Imperx VCE-HDEX02

Imperx VCE-HDEX03

Euresys Open eVision image processing software

Blue Mango Video Recording Software

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