How to run Dual Camera Acquisition for sCMOS Cameras
Sometimes you may want to run a multi-camera imaging setup. Most common would be a dual camera acquisition setup. There are a number of ways that this can be done – and it can be done quite easily.
- micro-manager in one instance of the software. For example run using a TuCam and then use merge functions in e.g. image J to analyse data.
- Fusion dual camera simultaneous acquisition as part of a Dragonfly system.
- NIS-elements – yes under “Dual Andor Sona/Neo/Zyla”. Refer to the NIS-Elements manual for Sona. Frame rates comparable between single and dual camera for given ROIs.
- CellSens – possible in cellSens Dimension software for Andor sCMOS
- MetaMorph- also possible as described here:
Solis and iQ requires two instances of software
Simultaneous Imaging with two cameras using Andor Solis (version 4.21.300006 onwards) and Andor iQ (version 2.6). This is described as follows:
- In order to set up the cameras to acquire simultaneously and synchronously in either Solis (or iQ), two instances of the software are required to be open, one for each camera.
- Each software is capable of synchronizing the cameras under a ‘Master and Slave’ arrangement or alternatively a simultaneous external trigger can be provided to both cameras.
For a Master and Slave set-up: camera 1 (Master) will trigger camera 2 (Slave) to acquire images
- Set the trigger of camera 1 to be internal
- Set the trigger of camera 2 to be external
- Using the trigger cables supplied with the camera, attach the Aux Out 1 ‘Fire’ cable of camera 1 (master) to the ‘External Trigger’ cable of camera 2 (slave) via a BNC connector.
- In this mode camera 2 will wait in a state of readiness for camera 1 to "trigger it" to capture images. The exposure of camera 1 needs to be set marginally longer than the exposure of camera 2. If the exposure for camera 1 is too short there won’t be sufficient pulses available to trigger camera 2 to acquire all of the images in a kinetic series. A general rule of thumb is to set the exposure of camera 1 to be the same or longer than the read-out of the sensor.
- In order to achieve the fastest possible acquisition speed from both cameras, set the exposure of camera 1 to be the same as the readout, otherwise set the exposure to be longer.
- In the ‘Master - Slave’ mode, the exposure for camera 2 does not need to be set as it will trigger off of the pulses from camera 1. The exposure setting for camera 2 should be zero. This is because it is effectively the delay between camera 1 acquiring its internal trigger and sending a pulse to camera 2 to acquire. This ensures synchronous acquisition.
- Once the settings are ready click for camera 2 so it is ready to pick up the trigger from camera 1.
- To start the acquisition click for camera 1.
- The cameras will now acquire simultaneous images as per the protocol entered.
For simultaneous External Trigger Dual Camera Operation
- Connect both cameras to the external trigger using a BNC T-piece.
- Both camera 1 and 2 should be set in External Trigger mode.
- Enter the same acquisition parameters for each camera.
- Click for both cameras so that both cameras are ready for the external trigger
- Once external trigger fires acquisition will proceed for both cameras simultaneously.</li
- Note that each camera should be on it's own card, although it is possible to run both off of a single card this would need to be tested for the specific setup.
- With this set-up both cameras will run simultaneously with the same frame rate in both Solis and iQ and should be very close to that of a single camera.
- Check the Hardware guide for the details of each mode as well as the SDK3 manual.