Hitachi Discontinued Cameras
Hitachi HV-C20 Discontinued ?
In 1998 Hitachi Denshi America introduced the 3-CCD HV-C20 color camera to the medical and industrial vision community to rave reviews. It was one of the first 3-CCD cameras that provided the necessary image quality controls demanded by both the industrial vision integrators and the life science or medical community. Within a couple years the HV-C20 was integrated into a wide array of products sold throughout the world. Then abruptly Hitachi announced in 2005 that the model would be discontinued and replaced by the less than superior HV0-D30 camera.
Spectral Response for HV-C20 When the news hit that the Hitachi HV-C20 was going to be discontinued engineers everywhere scrambled to find a substitute. What made the HV-C20 special was it’s large 1/2-inch 3 CCD array. Newer models were using 1/3-inch and even 1/4-inch CCD array. And while that lowered the cost of the camera it also severely limited it’s performance in the areas most coveted by users of the HV-C20, among those; 1) great light collection and hence greater sensivitiy; 2) a large image field; and 3) low noise.
Those performance features made the camera ideal for low light microscopy for life sciences, low light performance of surveillance ( just when security was heating up at 9-11 ).
HV-C20 Control Interface In addition to its superior image quality, the HV-C20 had a boat load of features that made integrating into a product a snap. External triggering, synchronization, a huge array of color quality adjustments, and pixel mapping, and support for RGB, NTSC, and S-Video outputs, made this camera very easy to design into a demanding product. What’s more, all those features could be controlled via software with a simple serial interface.
The HV-C20 was also fairly rugged despite its size. It could be used in a food processing environment for machine vision assisted sorting, plugged into a security surveillance network, or added to a microscope to produce exceptional high quality images for recording or image capture.
Where Can It Be Purchased ?
So when Hitachi announced the the HV-C20 would no longer be manufactured, it left many many users in a lurch. Many had purchased specialized systems that relied on the HV-C20 for their imagery and simply plugging in a different camera with different control inputs was not going to work. They still need the HV-C20 for replacement parts and future maintenance.
Fortunately a hand full of small industrial vision suppliers continue to support the HV-C20 by purchasing excess inventory of new products, as well as refurbishing used cameras to be put back into service. At the end of this article I have provided a list in the links section of suppliers that may still provide the HV-C20 for those in need.
If you require support documentation such as user manuals, software protocols, or downloadable software visit Industrial Camera Sales & Service, they are the only website I’ve found that still offers these documents. Sadly even Hitachi Denshi has stopped making these resources available.