1. Will this camera be parfocal with my microscope eyepiece?
BigCatch cameras are designed to be parfocal with the microscope eyepiece. Focus once with the eyepiece and there is no need to refocus when switching to the camera.
2. Field of View
Below are several example configurations, along with an estimate of the human eye field of view (FOV) for comparison.
|Model||Sensor Size||FOV @ 64x (16x4)||Objecteve @ 64x||FOV @ 160x (16x10)||Objective @ 160x|
|Human Eye||---||EST 3.3mm x 3.3mm||EST. 1.3mm x 1.3mm|
|EM-130||1/3||3.4mm x 2.6mm||90%||1.34mm x 1.06mm||92%|
|EM-310||1/2||2.77mm x 2.07mm||73%|
|EM-510||1/2.5||2.4mm x 1.8mm||63%||0.93mm x 0.69mm||62%|
|Model||Sensor Size||FOV @ 64x (16x4)||Objecteve @ 64x||FOV @ 160x (16x10)||Objective @ 160x|
|Human Eye||---||EST 3.3mm x 3.3mm|
|EM-130||1/3||2.9mm x 2.3mm||86%||---||---|
|EM-310||1/2||3.2mm x 2.4mm||92%||---||---|
|EM-510||1/2.5||2.0mm x 1.5mm||58%||---||---|
1. What camera should I select if I need long exposure?
For the best in long exposure select EMC-140M as this model has an extended exposure feature up to 10 minutes.
2. What camera should I select if I am observing moving specimen?
For the best in viewing moving objects select EMC-140M as the combination of this models progressive scan and resolution works best for providing clear & smooth live viewing.
3. Color is the most important factor, which models are best?
Select one of our models with lower resolution. When you have a lower resolution each pixel gets enough lighting to show bright, truer colors.
4. Should I purchase a CCD or CMOS camera?
Select the camera based on the type of microscope it will be used with. For high end microscopes, use a CCD camera to take best advantage of the quality optics. For mid range and low end model microscopes, a CMOS camera will be sufficient to achieve the same quality image as when viewed through the eyepiece.
5. How to select a camera for still images vs. video?
For a focus on video capture, select model EMC-140M as this model will help provide the highest quality smooth rendering video. For a focus on image capture, select model EMC-510M as this model will provide the very best in imaging results. Also good for imaging are models EM-1000M (10MP CMOS) and EM-1400M (14MP CMOS).
6. About CCD Sensors
Basic CCD Characteristics
A CCD chip is an array of light-sensitive elements and very small electronic capacitors. These capacitors are charged by the electrons generated by the light. Each light element (photon), that reaches the CCD array's atoms displaces some electrons. This displacement provides the current source. These current sources are localized in small delimited areas (the capacitors) called pixels. Common CCD chips are composed of thousands or millions of pixels.
A single Output
The capacitors are discharged in lines and control gates allow the transfer of one pixel line into the next one. The last line of the array is transferred into a horizontal shift register. This shift register allows the transfer of one pixel to the next one, and the last pixel of this horizontal register is connected to the output gate.
Taking a Picture
Clean the CCD array by reading the picture. Wait for a defined time ( the exposure time) to allow the light to charge the capacitors. The output gate of the CCD array can either be connected to an analogue or to a digital converter in order to digitize the picture, or it can provide a standard video signal if the clock's timing is according to the video norms. If the image is digitized, it will be easy to store it in a computer memory. So, its processing will be easy to perform.
7. About CMOS Sensors
Standard Fabrication Lowers Costs and Enables On-Chip Integration
CCD sensors rely on specialized fabrication that requires dedicated—and costly—manufacturing processes. In contrast, CMOS image sensors can be made at standard manufacturing facilities that produce 90% of all semiconductor chips, from powerful microprocessors to RAM and ROM memory chips. This standardization results in economies of scale and leads to ongoing process-line improvements. CMOS processes, moreover, enable very large scale integration (VLSI), and this is used by our “active-pixel” architectures to incorporate all necessary camera functions onto one chip. Such integration creates a compact camera system which is more reliable and removes the need for peripheral support chip packaging and assembly, further reducing the cost.
Low Power Usage Extends Battery Life
Active-pixel sensor architectures consume much less power—up to 100x less power—than their CCD counterparts. This is a great advantage in battery-dependent portable applications, such as laptop computers, hand-held scanners, and video cellphones. CCD systems, on the other hand, tend to be inherently power hungry. This is because CCDs are essentially capacitive devices, needing external control signals and large clock swings (5–15 volts) to achieve acceptable charge transfer efficiencies. Their off-chip support circuitry dissipates a significant amount of power. CCD systems require numerous power supplies and voltage regulators for operation, whereas active-pixel sensors use a single 5-volt (or 3.3-volt) supply, reducing power-supply inefficiency. A CCD system typically requires 2–5 watts (digital output), compared to 20–50 milliwatts for the same pixel throughput using an active-pixel system. For example, a CMOS digital camera system operating from a NiCd camcorder battery could operate for a week, while a CCD arrangement would drain the battery in a few hours.
Random Access to Pixel Regions of Interest Adds Flexibility
In CMOS active-pixel image sensors, both the photodetector and the readout amplifier are part of each pixel. This allows the integrated charge to be converted into a voltage inside the pixel, which can then be read out over X-Y wires (instead of using a charge domain shift register, as in CCDs). This column and row addressability, similar to common DRAM, allows for window-of-interest readout (windowing), which can be utilized for on-chip electronic pan, tilt, and zoom. Windowing provides much added flexibility in applications that need image compression, motion detection, or target tracking.
No Artifacts, Smear, or Blooming Means Higher-Quality Images
With our active-pixel architectures, the RMS input-referred noise is comparable to very high-end (and expensive) CCDs. Both technologies provide excellent imagery compared with other CMOS image sensors. Our active-pixel architectures use intra-pixel amplification in conjunction with both temporal and fixed-pattern noise suppression circuitry (i.e., correlated double sampling), which produces exceptional imagery in terms of dynamic range (a wide ~75 dB) and noise (a low ~15 e-RMS noise floor), with low fixed-pattern noise (<0.15% sat). Our active-pixel sensors achieve a quantum efficiency (sensitivity) that is comparable to high-end CCDs, but, unlike CCDs, they are not prone to column streaking due to blooming pixels. This is because CCDs rely on charge domain shift registers that can leak charge to adjacent pixels when the CCD register overflows, causing bright lights to “bloom,” leading to unwanted streaks in the image. In our active-pixel architectures, the signal charge is converted to a voltage inside the pixel and read out over the column bus, as in a DRAM. Our sensors have built-in anti-blooming protection in each pixel, so that there is no blooming. Smear, caused by charge transfer in a CCD under illumination, is also avoided.
Intra-Pixel Amplification and On-Chip ADC Produce Faster Frame Rates
CMOS active-pixel designs are inherently fast, which is a particular advantage in machine-vision and motion-analysis applications. Active pixels can drive an image array’s column buses at greater speeds than is possible on passive-pixel CMOS sensors or CCDs, and on-chip analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) it eases the driving of high-speed signals off-chip. A separate benefit of on-chip ADCs is the output signal’s low sensitivity to pick-up or crosstalk. This facilitates computer and digital-controller interfacing while adding to the system’s robustness.
On-Chip Integrated Circuitry Enables “Smart” Camera Functions
CMOS active-pixel architectures allow signal processing to be integrated on-chip. Beyond the standard camera functions—AGC, auto-exposure control, etc.—many higher-level DSP functions can be realized. These include anti-jitter (image stabilization) for camcorders, image compression (before and after readout), color encoding, computer database interface circuits, multi-resolution imaging, motion tracking for perimeter surveillance (“smart image sensing”), video conferencing, and wireless control.
1. Is there an SDK available for the BigCatch cameras?
BigCatch camera ToupView software comes with an SDK and code samples. You can find all of these in the install directory.
SDK: C:\Program Files\ToupTek\toupcam\inc
Samples: C:\Program Files\ToupTek\toupcam\sample
For normal application development, pure DirectShow programming is sufficient. For advanced application development (such as camera control GUI customization), interfaces in toupcam.h are available. A how-to-use C++ source code sample is shipped with the software as well. Microsoft also provides several directshow source code samples in its Windows SDK directories (%WindowsSDKDir%\Samples\Multimedia\DirectShow\Capture\AMCap, DVApp and PlayCap).
For more information about DirectShow, please see Microsoft's MSDN:
For more information about BigCatch cameras please contact:
2. What are the system requirements for my computer?
CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher
Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / 7 (32 & 64 bit)
Memory: 2GB or More
Hi-speed USB 2.0Port
16-bit color display monitor or higher
21″ display monitor or higher (Recommended)
3. How to improve the image color quality for best results?
One-push White Balance
Setup > Video Source Properties > One-push
To get the most precise and consistent white balance results, adjust the white balance rectangle to a background region (where the color temperature of the illumination is reflected) and then click the One Push button. The size of the rectangle does not matter, but the area contained within the rectangle must be white.
4. How do I adjust image brightness and other settings?
To adjust camera brightness within ToupView:
Select "Setup" > "Video Source Properties" > "Color"
5. Which image file format should I use?
JPEG: Results in a smaller file size. Ideal for email or web site use.
BMP/TIFF: Larger file size/better quality. Ideal for printing or publishing.
PSD/EPS: CMYK true color images. Necessary if CMYK true color is required for printing for photo editing.
6. How do I increase the frame rate (fps)? - Windows
Optimize Image Settings for Frame Rate
1. Setup > Video Source Property > Exposure > Un-check Auto Exposure
2. Setup > Video Source Property > Exposure > Set Exposure Time to the minimum value that still produces an image with sufficient light
3. Setup > Video Source Property > Misc > Set Frame Speed Level to High
Lower the Image Resolution
1. Setup > Video Stream Format > Select Lower Resolution
Increase the Frame Rate without Disabling Auto-Exposure
Sufficient illumination is needed to provide short exposure times. If the frame rate seems slow, trying increasing illumination, for example, by using a fiber optic illuminator.
1. How do I install the Eyepiece camera in a traditional microscope?
|How to Select and Setup BigCatch Microscope Camera|
|Arrangement:||Use this camera:||Installation:|
#1 Binocular Microscope
Camera replaces one microscope eyepiece
Step 1. Remove one eyepiece from ocular tube
Step 2. Attach the relay lens to the C-Mount camera
Step 3. Insert the camera into the ocular tube
#2 C-Mount 3rd Ocular
Camera connected to third ocular through relay lens
Step 1. Connect relay lens to C-Mount camera
Step 2. Insert the camera into the third ocular
#3 C-Mount Straight Photo Tube
Camera connected to straight photo tube with camera adaptor
Step 1. Connect the camera adaptor to the photo tube
Step 2. Connect the camera to the camera adaptor
2. Horizontal flicker lines moving up and down the image
Horizontal lines may appear on the image when using a CMOS camera under an AC powered light source. To correct this, either use a CCD camera or use a DC powered light source (such as LED lights).
3. Installs without error message but only shows a black screen
If the software opens properly but the live image display is all black, the computer likely does not have enough USB bandwidth to display the image. This occurs most often when a camera requiring a USB 2.0 connection is connected to a USB 1.1 port.
Connect the Camera to a USB 2.0 Port
To resolve this issue, connect the camera to a USB 2.0 port. On some older computers, the ports in the front are USB 1.1 and the ports in the back are USB 2.0. Modern computers no longer have USB 1.1 ports.
Lower the Image Capture Resolution
If using an older computer that only has USB 1.1, you may be able to get a live image display at a lower resolution. Select:
Setup > Video Stream Format > Choose the lowest resolution available.
4. Software is viewing a different camera
If the software is showing an image from the wrong camera, make sure the correct camera device is selected:
Acquire > Live Capture > Select Device
5. Captured images are blue
If the captured images are showing up blue, there may be an issue with the color pattern. To resolve this, in the Twain Acquire menu check or uncheck the "RGB/BGR" setting.
6. Cannot detect device
If the ToupView software opens without error, but the camera does not show up on the list of devices, please try the following solutions:
Ensure the proper device driver is installed
1. Visit our downloads page: http://www.bigcatchusa.com/downloads/drivers-and-software/
2. Download the driver matching your camera model
3. Install that driver
4. Disconnect and reconnect the camera
Try a different USB port
Sometimes a specific USB port may have problems. Try a different USB port, if possible on a different part of the computer (i.e. front vs back)
7. Maintenance and Cleaning
All eyepiece camera internal components are sealed within the housing and require only occasional cleaning outer to maintain their optical integrity. It is recommended that these instruments be used and stored in a clean, cool and dry environment and that care be taken to keep them free of dust and other contaminants.
Avoid exposing to fumes and extreme temperatures and never immerse or rinse in water. Also it is advised to use the plastic or other scope or eyepiece cover when not in use.
If cleaning is required then first attempt to gently blow off any dust or other contaminants with compressed air. If no compressed air is available then try to lightly brush off any lose debris with a fine brush (a makeup brush will work well). If it becomes necessary to clean the lens then we recommend using a standard optical lens cleaning solution. To make your own optical lens cleaning solution, mix one part alcohol (C2H5OH) with three parts ether ((C2H5)2O). Simply saturate a cotton swab and gently wipe the lens surface clean.
Avoid touching the surface of the lens with your finger tips. Never disassemble or open the scope or camera body. This will introduce dust and other contaminants and may cause permanent damage.