What are area-scan cameras used for?

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What are area-scan cameras used for?

What are area-scan cameras used for?


Area scan cameras and line scan cameras are often used in the industrial line and it is easy to get the two of them confused. This article thus seeks to differentiate between them by explaining what area scan cameras are used for.

An area scan camera is able to capture an entire object in a 4:3 frame, and they are mainly used in various industrial lines such as security monitoring, product inspection, traffic inspection, etc. They are able to capture a 2D image in one exposure cycle. These cameras are stationed to capture a single image which can be broken down into multiple segments where one can easily look for specific objects within a single take.

In contrast, a line scan camera is used when a continuous high resolution is needed to capture continuously moving scenes and objects, such as the inspection of round and cylindrical parts

There are two types of area scan cameras – progressive and interlaced scan:

  • A progressive scan camera is able to expose an entire image at once and create an output of the entire image as well.
  • An interlaced scan camera is more suitable for manual use than for machine-vision systems. An image captured by this type of camera will consist of the odd and even field; the odd field being the odd-numbered lines and the even field, even-numbered lines. The sequence was originally used to reduce transmission bandwidth and provide a smoother experience in the displays.


Before deciding on using an area scan camera, you should ask yourself this: what is it that I need to capture and view? Here are some things to take note of if you are deciding whether or not to use an area scan camera:

  • An area scan camera is most suitable when you just need to capture an entire image at once within a single trigger.
  • You have to ensure that your process allows for a single image to be processed one line at a time.
  • The output from an area scan camera should be viewed directly from a monitor.
  • The objects to be captured are moving slowly or are mainly in a stationary position.
  • Longer exposures are desired.
  • The moving object is brightened up with a light to stop its motion.
  • An area scan camera makes for an easier setup.