Global provider of industrial vision components

All FireWire cameras purchased from us are bundled with free ActiveDcam runtime licenses.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. I found a couple of other 1394 camera SDKs. How is ActiveDcam better than competition?
  2. I have a DCAM compatible 1394 camera, but I couldn't find it in your compatibility list. Will ActiveDcam work with my FireWire camera?
  3. I have a FireWire DV camcorder. Can I use ActiveDcam with it?
  4. Will ActiveDcam work with my DCAM compliant cameras out of the box?
  5. ActiveDcam reports 'No DCAM camera found' even though my 1394 camera is plugged and powered up. What is wrong?
  6. I cannot use ActiveDcam in Visual Studio 2008 under Windows Vista. What is wrong?
  7. I am getting a corrupted video stream. Image is broken in parts or jitters. Why?
  8. How do I use multiple cameras at the same time?
  9. What is the automatic bandwidth sharing?
  10. How do I connect multiple cameras to one 1394 card?
  11. Can I use two ActiveDcam controls to acquire two video streams from the same camera?
  12. My camera has a few proprietary features that are not part of DCAM protocol. Is there any way to control these features with ActiveDcam?
  13. I am trying to run your sample applications, and some of them don't work. Does this mean ActiveDcam is not compatible with my camera?
  14. ActiveDcam folder contains code samples in VB, C++, C#, HTML, Matlab but I am programming in Java. Can I still use your ActiveX control?
  15. I like the way ActiveDcam's property pages look and I want to use them to control the properties of my camera in runtime. How can open your property pages from my application?
  16. Will ActiveDcam preserve high-bit depth information while saving 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-bpp images into files?
  17. Can I display a live camera image in my PictureBox control?
  18. Can I use ActiveDcam as a plain C SDK? I don't want to deal with ActiveX visual objects and MFC, and I would like to display images and control a camera by myself.
  19. Is there any way to integrate ActiveDcam into my Sun Java runtime environment (JRE)?
  20. Can I combine ActiveDcam with Matrox Imaging Library? I tried to use MIL IEEE 1394 driver, but it is not compatible with my camera while ActiveDcam is
  21. Do I have to purchase the Image Acquisition Toolbox from Mathworks to use 1394 FireWire cameras in Matlab?
  22. What are the limitations of the Trial version?
  23. Can I purchase a run-time license and use it without development license?
  24. How many cameras are covered by one runtime license?
  25. I have read both the documentation and FAQ, and I still have a question. What should I do?

1. I found a couple of other 1394 camera SDKs. How is ActiveDcam better than competition? ActiveDcam is a truly universal SDK in terms of multiple camera brands and multiple programming environments it supports. It was heavily tested with dozens of camera lines in dozens of programming languages. It beats competitive products by performance and functionality, and it comes with an unlimited technical support. In addition to a standard viewing and camera control interface, ActiveDcam offers numerous extra features such as anti-tearing, automatic bandwidth sharing, real time image processing and built-in AVI recording. Due to its outstanding quality and performance, ActiveDcam has been selected for private-labeling by several leading camera manufacturers in Europe, Asia and US.

 
2. I have a DCAM compatible 1394 camera, but I couldn't find it in your compatibility list. Will ActiveDcam work with my FireWire camera? ActiveDcam control is designed to work with any 1394 camera that complies with IIDC Digital Camera Specification (DCAM) v 1.30 and v 1.31.

 
3. I have a FireWire DV camcorder. Can I use ActiveDcam with it? Almost definitely not. Most consumer FireWire camcorders and still cameras only have a physical 1394 connection and they are not compliant with IIDC-1394 Digital Camera Specifications.

 
4. Will ActiveDcam work with my DCAM compliant cameras out of the box? Yes it will, but only after you install the system 1394 driver for each camera connected to your 1394 board. The driver is located in ActiveDcam\Driver folder, and the installation instructions are provided in the documentation.

 
5. ActiveDcam reports 'No DCAM camera found' even though my 1394 camera is plugged and powered up. What is wrong? Most likely your forgot to install ActiveDcam's system driver for this camera. If the driver installation fails, then your camera is not DCAM-compliant.

 
6. I cannot use ActiveDcam in Visual Studio 2008 under Windows Vista. What is wrong? The DEP memory access protection is enabled on your system which prevents VS 2008 from interfacing with ActiveDcam. Run the Command Prompt (as Administrator) and execute the following command:

bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx AlwaysOff

Reboot your computer. The problem should be fixed.

 
7. I am getting a corrupted video stream. Image is broken in parts or jitters. Why? Your 1394 board is not compatible with your camera model, or your system has an extensive lattency in the C3 power state transition. See Trobleshooting section of ActiveDcam User Guide for possible solution.

 
8. How do I use multiple cameras at the same time? You should create two separate ActiveDcam objects and configure each for a different camera. Run our MultiDcam sample application to see video from multiple cameras

 
9. What is the automatic bandwidth sharing? When multiple 1394 cameras are connected to a single adapter, they have to share the same 1394 bus, so only a limited bandwidht is available for each camera. A typical 1394 camera software would require you to set a reduced image size and frame rate for each camera in order to use several cameras. The automatic bandwidth sharing implemented in ActiveDcam allows you to run multiple cameras on the same adapter without being bothered with tedious presets. If the total bandwidth of cameras exceeds the maximum 1394 bandwidth, the frame rate of cameras will be automatically reduced to accomodate the bus limit. This is especially useful in the video surveliance when multiple cameras can be connected/disconnected on the fly. See our PlugUnplug sample for the demonstration.

 
10. How do I connect multiple cameras to one 1394 card? If there is not enough inputs on the adapter, you will have to use a FireWire hub. Note that in order to run multiple cameras at full speed, you may still need to use several 1394 cards.

 
11. Can I use two ActiveDcam controls to acquire two video streams from the same camera? No, you can not. If you do this, you will create a conflict in the system 1394 driver and will have to reboot your system to unlock the driver. For the same reason, when configuring several ActiveDcam objects for multiple cameras, do not initiate acquisition until all the objects are set up for different cameras.

 
12. My camera has a few proprietary features that are not part of DCAM protocol. Is there any way to control these features with ActiveDcam? You can do it by using a direct access to 1394 registers. Non-standard features of your camera are typically associated with certain registers of the 1394 address space. The manufacturer should provide you with the specific information on the register address and data bit structure for each proprietary feature. Use ReadRegister and WriteRegister methods of ActiveDcam to control these features from your application.

 
13. I am trying to run your sample applications, and some of them don't work. Does this mean ActiveDcam is not compatible with my camera? No, it doesn't. Sample applications assume a presence of certain components (like .NET framework). If your system doesn't expose them, some sample executables might not work.

 
14. ActiveDcam folder contains code samples in VB, C++, C#, HTML, Matlab but I am programming in Java. Can I still use your ActiveX control? You can use ActiveDcam in any COM-aware environment. Our users successfully integrated ActiveDcam into Delphi, Java, Python and other applications. If you do not have any programming environment, you can simply insert ActiveDcam object into a Word or PowerPoint document and have live video from your camera embedded into your presentation.

 
15. I like the way ActiveDcam's property pages look and I want to use them to control the properties of my camera in runtime. How can open your property pages from my application? You can do it by calling ShowProperties method in runtime.

 
16. Will ActiveDcam preserve high-bit depth information while saving 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-bpp images into files? Yes it will, but you have to use the TIF format.

 
17. Can I display a live camera image in my PictureBox control? ActiveDcam offers the GetPicture method that allows you to display an acquired image in standard graphic controls.

 
18. Can I use ActiveDcam as a plain C SDK? I don't want to deal with ActiveX visual objects and MFC, and I would like to display images and control a camera by myself. Yes, you can. The sample code of DcamWin application demonstrates how to do it.

 
19. Is there any way to integrate ActiveDcam into my Sun Java runtime environment (JRE)? Yes there is. EZ JCom provides an easy bridge between Java and COM/ActiveX. Our customers also reported a succesfull integration using JACOB and JacoZoom.

 
20. Can I combine ActiveDcam with Matrox Imaging Library? I tried to use MIL IEEE 1394 driver, but it is not compatible with my camera while ActiveDcam is  ActiveDcam can be used in combination with any image processing SDK, such as MIL, Euresys, Sapera, OpenCV, Matlab. Just use one of ActiveDcam's image access methods (GetImageData, GetImagePointer) and use acquired frames as input data for MIL functions.

 
21. Do I have to purchase the Image Acquisition Toolbox from Mathworks to use 1394 FireWire cameras in Matlab? No, you don't. ActiveDcam provides a direct interface to Matlab environment for a share of the price of the Image Acquisition Toolbox.

 
22. What are the limitations of the Trial version? The trial version is fully functional for 21 days. It displays an embedded logo ActiveDcam Demo, which makes it consume more CPU power, but otherwise it supports all the functions of the commercial release.

 
23. Can I purchase a run-time license and use it without development license? No. You need a development license to develop your applications, and you need run-time licenses to run your applications. Our basic development license comes with two run-time licenses, allowing you to run your applications on a development machine and deploy them to another machine. If you do not intend to perform any development and only plan to use ActiveDcam drivers and sample applications, you still need to acquire our development license.

 
24. How many cameras are covered by one runtime license? One runtime license covers two cameras. You need one runtime for 1 or 2 cameras, two runtimes for 3 or 4 cameras and so on.

 
25. I have read both the documentation and FAQ, and I still have a question. What should I do? E-mail to us at support@ab-soft.com. We will make the best effort to answer your questions within a few hours.