Note

General camera communication concepts are described on the corresponding page.

DCAM cameras interface

DCAM is the interface used in Hamamatsu cameras. It has been tested with Hamamatsu Orca Flash and ImagEM.

The code is located in pylablib.devices.DCAM, and the main camera class is pylablib.devices.DCAM.DCAMCamera.

Software requirements

These cameras require dcamapi.dll, which is installed with most of Hamamatsu software (such as HoKaWo or HiPic), as well as with the freely available DCAM API, which also includes all the necessary drivers. Keep in mind, that you also need to install the drivers for required corresponding camera type (USB, Ethernet, IEEE 1394). These drivers are in the same installer, but need to be installed separately. After installation, the DLL is automatically added to the System32 folder, where pylablib looks for it by default. If the DLL is located elsewhere, the path can be specified using the library parameter devices/dlls/dcamapi:

import pylablib as pll
pll.par["devices/dlls/dcamapi"] = "path/to/dlls"
from pylablib.devices import DCAM
cam = DCAM.DCAMCamera()

Connection

The cameras are identified by their index, starting from zero. To get the total number of cameras, you can run DCAM.get_cameras_number():

>> from pylablib.devices import DCAM
>> DCAM.get_cameras_number()
2
>> cam1 = DCAM.DCAMCamera(idx=0)
>> cam2 = DCAM.DCAMCamera(idx=1)
>> cam1.close()
>> cam2.close()

Operation

The operation of these cameras is relatively standard. They support all the standard methods for dealing with ROI and exposure, starting and stopping acquisition, and operating the frame reading loop. The SDK also provides a universal interface for getting and setting various camera attributes (called “properties” in the documentation) using their name. You can use DCAMCamera.get_attribute_value() and DCAMCamera.set_attribute_value() for that, as well as .cav attribute which gives a dictionary-like access:

>> cam = DCAM.DCAMCamera()
>> cam.get_attribute_value("BINNING")  # get the camera binning (no binning, by default)
1
>> cam.set_attribute_value("EXPOSURE TIME", 0.1)  # set the exposure to 100ms
>> cam.cav["EXPOSURE TIME"]  # get the exposure; could also use cam.get_attribute_value("EXPOSURE TIME")
0.1

To see all available attributes, you can call DCAMCamera.get_all_attributes() to get a dictionary with attribute objects, and DCAMCamera.get_all_attribute_values() to get the dictionary of attribute values, with an option of representing enum attributes either as text or as integer values. The attribute objects provide additional information: attribute range, step, and units:

>> cam = DCAM.DCAMCamera()
>> attr = cam.get_attribute("EXPOSURE TIME")
>> (attr.min, attr.max)
(0.001, 10.0)

Additionally, there’s a couple of differences from the standard libraries worth highlighting:

  • The library supports only symmetric binning, i.e., the binning factor is the same in both directions. For compatibility DCAMCamera.get_roi() and DCAMCamera.set_roi() still return and accept both binning parameters independently, but they are always the same when returned, and vbin is ignored when set.
  • By default, the SDK does not provide independent control of the frame period and the exposure. Hence, set_frame_period method is unavailable, and the frame rate is defined solely by the exposure.