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GenICam 3.0 - Updates and backwards compatibility

16 June 2015 – SVCam Products
GenICam 3.0 - Updates and backwards compatibility

Back in November 2014, at the VISION 2014 in Stuttgart, the first early test applications using GenICam 3.0 were demonstrated. Our third party software partners have since made acquaintance with the combination of our SVCams and GenICam and shared their experiences and results with us.

increased functionality, decreases size

GenICam 3.0 is leaner that previous releases. The partially redundant overhead was trimmed down, thereby simplifying communication with, or within, integrated processor structures (e.g ARM architectures). Also the Transport Layer (GenTL), used in the virtual interface, coupling software and cameras, has also been completely overhauled. Many new features have been introduced, including that of pixel formatting specifically for 3D applications.

GenICam - The virtual camera interface

The functional elements of the GenICam standard reside between the camera interface driver (Ethernet, USB, CL or CXP) and the application software. This standard facilitates communication between the application software and the manufacturer’s SDK, or that of a 3rd party manufacturer.
The commands for controlling pre-defined features or interpretation of the camera’s data streams are thereby harmonized for all software providers, such as NI or MVTec.

What’s new in GenICam 3.0?

Bearing in mind that the basis for the standard was established already in 2004, it is evident that the industrial vision market has since undergone great change.
The primary target platform at that time was PC based applications. Equally, the 3D imaging use case didn’t have any influence on the basic GenICam structure until the previous version (2.4 released early 2014).

GenICam in its parts and changes

SFNC and GenApi

Both of these acronyms represent core elements of the GenICam standard and comprise descriptions and specifications (GenApi) as well as the Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC), a list of standard camera features supported by GenICam

As has been the case for all previous GenICam updates, version 3.0 also comes with an increased number of supported features. In 2006, the count was just below 8000, to be compared with the current version’s notable 18000 supported camera features.


The Pixel Format Naming Convention now encompasses a broader range of pixel interpretation standards. In addition to the simple definitions and conventions for RGB, other color spaces are now also supported, and definitions for pixel location and positioning have been added.


The elements of the standard controlling the Transport Layer were given a complete overhaul. EMVA has herewith reacted to feedback from embedded system developers. Their platforms are lean and commonly designed as fixed structures, based on ARM architecture and Linux, and depend on fast transmission of the camera configuration file (XML) and associated feature commands with minimum overhead. The amount of data required to execute these data transfers was more than halved.

Validation of SVCam GigE XML files

SVS-VISTEK experienced problems related to this topic with GenTL. Although version 3.0 warrants backwards compatibility, the GenICam parser caused data to be corrupted when connecting to and identifying a GigE Vision SVCam. The task of the parser is to read and catalogue the received XML files. It turned out that filler bytes used in the XML files were responsible for the glitches. Incidentally, filler bytes were permitted in previous GenICam versions and didn’t cause any problems.

Working closely with our counterparts at NI we were able to quickly identify the cause and come up with solutions for a wide variety of cases for our customers.

  • All camera are now being delivered with GenICam 3.0 conforming XML files
  • A new firmware update tool has been released (this tool automatically removes redundant filler bytes from the XML files)
  • In addition, an SVCam GigE-Validation-Tool was released. It facilitates XML file adaptation without the need for uploading new firmware, thereby eliminating any risk of accidentally altering stored camera settings


The SVCam GigE-Validation-Tool can be found in the download section of the GigE SVCam website documentation.

Don’t hesitate contacting us should you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic.

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