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GenICam (Generic Interface for Cameras): A Generic Software Interface

Standard for generic camera interfaces

Cameras currently used in machine vision are all configurable in more or less the same way – by reading and writing parameters in registers. Protocols, formats, and register locations, however, tend to differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Why GenICam?

GenICam offers a universally valid software interface. It provides an end-to-end configuration interface for a broad spectrum of standard interfaces, including GigE Vision, USB3 Vision, Camera Link® and IEEE 1394, covering all camera types and image formats. This approach makes it easy to connect cameras compliant with the GenICam standard without the need for camera-specific configuration.

How does GenICam work?

The core of GenICam is a description of the camera's properties in an XML Descriptor File. Using this file, a translator from XML to C++ directly generates an application programming interface called GenAPI or the elements of a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This lets the user easily access the features, e.g. gain, exposure time etc., and functions available on the camera. The GigE Vision and USB3 Vision standards require that cameras with a GigE or a USB 3.0 interface provide the XML Descriptor File.

Benefits of GenICam

  • Software that complies with the standard and cameras that comply with the standard will always be compatible
  • Forward-looking investment, as expansion or integration of the next generation of products is ensured low integration costs thanks to standardized components that harmonize with one another and low upkeep costs for the system when components are discontinued and must be replaced
  • The standard also allows for manufacturer-specific features to drive innovation

Who is GenICam?

The GenICam standard was developed by the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA). A group of major camera, framegrabber and programming library creators continues working together with Basler on the active development of this standard. For more information on GenICam, please visit
For more information about GenICam, please read our Application Note "Compatibility of Basler Cameras with Third-Party Software Libraries."

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