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Block cameras

Block cameras are primarily used in environments where optical zoom is required to avoid loss of resolution. Applications of block cameras are plural, and found in -without being exhaustive- transport industry (drones, airplain, hoists), robotics (pipe inspection robots), metrology, but also medical applications are plural, such as microscopy, low vision or visually impaired, dental, operating room.

To provide all relevant markets and application a suitable solution, skoopia offers two lines of block cameras (click here for direct transfer to an overview of block cameras skoopia provides).

 

The first line of block cameras is based on Eyenix DSP. This product line focused on providing plural video output integrated in the product. Target applications are primarily found in industrial applications. This product line starts with 20Z for the block cameras with 1/3" panasonic sensor, and 22Z / 60Z for the block cameras with 1/1.8" Sony Starvis Exmor R sensors (IMX385). 

The second line of block cameras is based on Micro DSP. These products make use of superior optics with lower aberration and customizable firmware for applications requiring specific zoom/focus behavior. These products have seen successful implementations in numerous medical applications, but also some industrial applications and specialty applications (broadcast, video conferencing) make use of this product. The product line starts with 21Z for block cameras with 1/2.8" Sony Starvis Exmor R sensors (IMX3X7) and 23Z / 80Z for block cameras with 1/1.8" Sony Starvis Exmor R Sensor (IMX385 / IMX334).

10x optical zoom bloc
10x block camera
10x AHD block camera

Why two block camera series?

* Each series offers different solutions. Although sometimes there is overlap in basic functions, such as video output and optical zoom of different block cameras (e.g. 20Z30L and 21Z30S), the main reason to keep two series is in the electonics integration.

Customers integrating block camera series 1 (20Z series) will have identical DSP and therefore nearly all steering commands in VISCA and Pelco will be identical accross the series.

The same is true for customers integrating block camera series 2 (21Z / 23Z / 85Z series). Nearly all steering commands in VISCA and Pelco will be identical accross the series.

Although the resemblance in steering commands is already significant, the engineering effort implementing a single series for multiple video outputs and/or optical zoom factors is further minimized.

Block camera | LVDS block camera  

Block cameras have been provding LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signal) output ever since Sony introduced the VISCA command for direct steering of camera commands, instead of using an OSD (On Screen Display) for chosing functions. 

 

The VISCA command allowed for an external micro-controller to optimize the productivity of the user of the system, providing the ability to have "direct function buttons". 

Today, LVDS has become the "de facto" standard for all types of applications that require external image analysis by e.g. FPGA. Applications that make use of counting algorithms (e.g. in pharmaceutical analysis - counting the amount of bacteria, in transport industry - counting the amount of people entering a train station, but also straightforward implementations to a "smart board" providing IP output are LVDS based. Here, the lack of block cameras with direct IP output and requirement for PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom), for which the block camera only supports zoom, have widened adoption. Block cameras with LVDS output play an important, if not dominant role role in applications requiring optical zoom. 

Future outlook

skoopia markets several block cameras that provide LVDS output. However, bandwidth of LVDS is limited. It only allows video transfer up to 1440p30 or 1080p60. 

Recent introductions of 4K block cameras show 2160p with direct HDMI output, and major discussions take place which standard will be required to replace LVDS. MIPI-CSI2 seems a likely candidate for integration in any setting for additional smart functions are required.

skoopia also believes that EX-SDI could have a role as new output standard,  particularly if longer and easier cabling is required between block camera and processing unit (grabber card, DVR, FPGA). Here, EX-SDI could be a direct replacement for HDMI 4K block cameras.

Both MIPI CSI-2 and EX-SDI solutions for 4K block cameras can be expected in the near future from skoopia. 

In 2021, skoopia has introduced a video server that converts SDI to IP. Key reason to choose for SDI and not LVDS is the robustness and increased length SDI provides over LVDS. Moreover, it allows full integration of commands (VISCA (Rx/Tx) and powering over easier cabling (9 pin FFC). If the 9 pin FFC is direct connected between the video server and the block camera, full integration of functions including powering of the SDI block camera is available. 

 

Finally, skoopia is also offering IP based block cameras. These block cameras find there base in the second line of block cameras, but required different DSP, coming from HiSilicon. Here, you see synergy between the IP platform and the block camera platform, where the sensor board is also offered as a single 42mm x 42mm board and API valid for the entire IP portfolio is also applicable for the IP block cameras. 

As all block cameras are described in detail in the different video output sections (Industrial AHD camera, SDI camera, CVBS camera or industrial IP camera, this web page will only contain full descriptions of the LVDS block cameras and 4K HDMI block camera, but links to the relevant sections are present. The sections here are grouped on required optical zoom and video resolution of the block cameras.

 

                                                                                                 (click here for direct transfer to block cameras skoopia provides)    

Block camera overview

 

Block camera | Industrial block camera | Medical block camera 

Underneath you find skoopia's portfolio of industrial block cameras as well as medical block cameras. In the next sections we will discuss individual block cameras. For generic information on block cameras click here

Block cameras

Block camera         Dimensions                Sensor                                             Zoom       True DOL

skoopia name           l x b x h                     name          Video output              opt/dig         WDR

block camera

10x (1080p / Full HD)

20Z10S-NF3         43mm x 44mm x 60mm     IMX462   EX/HD-SDI, AHD, CVBS  10x/32x        yes        

21Z10H                 43mm x 44mm x 60mm     IMX307   HDMI, CVBS                    10x/12x        yes 

21Z10S                 45mm x 44mm x 67mm     IMX307   HD-SDI, LVDS, CVBS      10x/12x        yes

18x (2160p / 4K / Quad Full HD)

85Z18H               50mm x 60mm x 97mm      IMX334       HDMI                               18x/12x       yes        

20x (1080p / Full HD)

20Z20A               50mm x 60mm x 93mm      MN34420    AHD, CVBS                      20x/32x      yes *

21Z20L               50mm x 60mm x 87mm       IMX307       HD-SDI, LVDS, CVBS      20x/12x      yes ***

30x (1080p / Full HD) 
20Z30A               50mm x 60mm x 93mm      MN34420    AHD, CVBS                     30x/32x        yes 

21Z30H               50mm x 60mm x 97mm       IMX327      HDMI, HD-SDI, CVBS     30x/12x        yes **

21Z30S               50mm x 60mm x 97mm       IMX327      HD-SDI, LVDS, CVBS     30x/12x         yes **

36x (1080p / Full HD) 

21Z36S              52mm x 54mm x 119mm     IMX385      LVDS, HD-SDI                  36x/12x         yes

23Z36IP5-LL      52mm x 54mm x 119mm     IMX385      H.265, H.264, MJPEG      36x/12x         yes

*    discontinued

*** only available in large volumes after sampling
 

**  the 21Z30S comes in two flavors. The first version has the MMCX connector. The second version comes with a u-fl connector.

  • Key advantage of having the u-fl connector is the ability to have all wires within the casing of the block camera. 

  • Key advantage of having the MMCX connector is the more robust connect and disconnect the MMCX provides. MMCX is recommended if you require plural connect disconnect of the SDI cabling. 

10x optical zoom

Block Camera | 10x optical Full HD | 20Z10S-NF3, 21Z10H, 21Z10S

skoopia has three different block cameras in its portfolio, being the 20Z10S-NF, the 21Z10H and the 21Z10S. 20Z10S-NF3 and 21Z10S are already fully described in the AHD camera respectively SDI camera section. More indepth details can be found by clicking the name of the camera. Key differences can already be observed in the table above. 

20Z10L

This is the description of the skoopia 21Z10H HDMI block camera. 

 

Key features of the block camera 21Z10H:

* 10x optical zoom

* Full HD HDMI output (1080p60/50/30/25 and 1080i60/50/30/25 and 720p60/50/30/25 and 720i 60/50/30/25)

* Sensor size : 1/2.8" (Sony Starvis Exmor R IMX307)

* Control: RS-485 & UART / VISCA & PELCO-D 
* Voltage Input : DC 9V - 15V 
* Power: 3 W

* Dimensions: 45mm x 44mm x 67mm   
* Fully Sony VISCA compatible and special commands and functions available / possible 

* 9 pin FFC (Sony block camera compatible), 30pin KEL (Sony block camera compatible), MMCX SDI connector (optional).

STEP file to ease mechanical integration as well as full VISCA/PELCO command set for easy electric integration available upon request. 

Fully customizable firmware. Dedicated solutions available for pipe inspection industry and visually impaired / low vision market. 

Upgrade connection unit available to ease customer specific firmware development

Dedicated integration board with  KEL connector to camera,  HDMI type A (for video output), USB (for Rx/TX) Joystick (for direct menu access, zoom, focus) and DC jack (for powering) is available upon request for sampling, but also for larger quantities.

20x zoom

Block Camera | 20x optical Full HD | 20Z20A, 21Z20L

Only two versions of block cameras with 20x optical zoom are present in skoopia's portfolio, being the 20Z20A and the 21Z20L. Both block cameras 20Z20A and 21Z20L are already fully described in the AHD camera respectively SDI camera section. More in depth details can be found by clicking the name of the camera. Key differences can already be observed in the table above. Demand for 20x optical zoom cameras is such that only minimal production runs can be accepted as order (MOQ = 300). 

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30x opical zoom

Block Camera | 30x optical Full HD | 20Z30A, 21Z30S

To completely cover all types of customer requirements, skoopia provides three types of block cameras with 30x optical zoom to the market, being the 20Z30A, the 21Z30H and the 21Z30S. Except for the 20Z30H block cameras, the block cameras are already fully described in the AHD, respectively SDI camera section. More in depth details can be found by clicking the name of the camera in the table or underneath. Key differences can already be observed in the table above. 

20Z30L

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Block Camera | 30x optical Full HD SDI | 21Z30H

36x optical zoom

This is the description of the skoopia 21Z10H HDMI block camera. 

 

Key features of the block camera 21Z10H:

* 10x optical zoom

* Full HD HDMI and SDI output (1080p60/50/30/25 and 1080i60/50/30/25 and 720p60/50/30/25 and 720i 60/50/30/25)

* CVBS output (PAL/NTSC)

* Sensor size : 1/2.8" (Sony Starvis Exmor R IMX327)

* Control: RS-485 & UART / VISCA & PELCO-D 
* Voltage Input : DC 9V - 15V 
* Power: 3 W

* Dimensions: 50mm x 60mm x 97mm   
* Fully Sony VISCA compatible and special commands and functions available / possible 

* 9 pin FFC (Sony block camera compatible), 30pin KEL (different pinning), MMCX SDI connector (optional).

STEP file to ease mechanical integration as well as full VISCA/PELCO command set for easy electric integration available upon request. 

Fully customizable firmware. Dedicated solutions available for pipe inspection industry and visually impaired / low vision market. 

Upgrade connection unit available to ease customer specific firmware development

Dedicated integration board with  KEL connector to camera,  HDMI type A (for video output), USB (for Rx/TX) Joystick (for direct menu access, zoom, focus) and DC jack (for powering) is available upon request for sampling, but also for larger quantities.

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Block camera | 36x optical zoom Full HD | 21Z36S

skoopia has two super sensitive (Sony Starvis Exmor R) IMX385 Full HD block cameras with 36x optical zoom in her portfolio, being the 21Z36S  and 23Z36IP5-LL. The block cameras are already fully described in the SDI camera, respectively industrial IP camera section. More in depth details can be found by clicking the name of the camera. Key differences can already be observed in the table above. 

85Z18H

Block camera | 18x optical zoom 4K (2160p) | 85Z18H

The block camera 85Z18H is a Quad Full HD or 4K  block camera with 18x optical zoom and super senstive sensor (IMX334) having HDMI output.

It directly competes with Sony 4K block cameras FCB-ER8550. Earlier introduced Sony 4K block camera FCB-ER8300 is considered a previous generation product and is currently surpassed by the Sony 4K block camera FCB-ER8550. Although the Sony 4K block camera FCB-ER8550 is considered a good product, the skoopia 4K block camera 85Z18H provides additional benefits. 

The skoopia 4K block camera provides in comparison tot the Sony 4K block camera FCB-ER8550 the following benefits: 

a) Superior sensitivity (skoopia 4K block camera has a larger and more sensitive sensor)

b) Application specific firmware (skoopia 4K block camera offers customization of firmware to establish application special focus and zoom behavior)

c) Significantly larger VISCA command set (strangly enough Sony as founder of VISCA protocol has only a limited set of function implemented). 

d) More video outputs supported (particularly for the broadcasting market

Key features of the block camera:

* 18x optical zoom

* 4K (Quad Full HD, Quad HD, Full HD and HD output in HDMI in plural flavours: 

  • 2160p30/29.97/25/24/23.98

  • 1080p60/59,94/50/30/29,97/25/24/23,98

  • 1080i60/59,94/50

  • 720pp60/59,94/50/30/29,97/25/24/23,98

* Sensor size : 1/1.8" Sony Starvis Exmor R (IMX334) 

* Control: VISCA & PELCO-D 
* Voltage Input : DC 7V - 15V 
* Power: 6 W
* Dimensions: 50mm x 60mm x 97 mm 

* 30 pin KEL cable (Sony 4K block camera compatible pinning)

STEP file to ease mechanical integration as well as full VISCA/PELCO command set for easy electric integration available upon request. 

Test board with joystick available for initial test on focus zoom having an onboard HDMI connector as well as USB connector for easy direct VISCA command check (USB to TTL converter included in test board.  

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skoopia hereby declares that all zoom block camera modules are compliant with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Section 889, and these cameras do not contain chipsets or components from the list of banned suppliers under this law.

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