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How do I know what lens mount is best to use for my imaging or vision system?

The best lens mount for an imaging system is dependent on the application requirements, the use environment, and any other predefined limitations.

Each lens mount provides a certain set of benefits and disadvantages over others.

  • For stability and to resist performance loss due to shock and vibration, always try to use a threaded type mount (e.g. C-Mount, S-Mount, or TFL-Mount) over a non-threaded mount type (e.g. bayonet).
  • For maximized use of the full size of the image sensor, pair the machine vision camera to an imaging lens with an appropriately sized mount. This ensures that as little of the image circle is wasted as possible, that the image is not clipped at corners, and that the optical components used in the imaging lens have been optimized over the full field of the sensor, ultimately optimizing the cost-to-performance ratio. For more information on sensor sizes, see Sensors.
    • S-Mount: Up to 1/2”
    • C-Mount: ½” to 4/3”
    • TFL-Mount: 4/3” to APS-C
    • TFL-II or F-Mount: APS-C up to full frame (35mm)
    • For sensors greater than full frame, custom or non-standard mount types may be required.
  • Certain machine vision cameras require the use of lenses with specific back flange distances. The most common back flange distance in machine vision is approximately 17.5mm and is the back flange distance associated with the C-Mount, TFL-Mount, and TFL-II Mount. A notable exception is the CS-Mount which is identical to the C-Mount but is used with cameras that require approximately a 12.5mm flange distance. Another exception is the F-Mount requires a back flange distance of 46.5mm.

For more information on imaging lens mount types, read about Lens Mounts.

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