Overview of Depth Cameras

There are different types of 3D sensors, that can differ between different methods to acquire world data or how that data is processed in order to represent it in a convenient way.

These sensors can vary in many ways such as acquisition method, resolution, range, etc. This page entails a brief overview of the different 3D sensor types and a small survey of what sensors are currently available.

João Alves, Aivero

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Last updated: December 2, 2020

Microsoft Azure Kinect

The Aivero team and Azure Kinect

Stereo sensors

Stereo sensors try to mimic human vision by using two cameras facing the scene with some distance between them (baseline, see Figure 1). The images from these cameras are acquired and then used to perform visual feature (relevant visual in- formation) extraction and matching in order to obtain what is called a disparity map between the cameras’ views.

The disparity information is inversely propor- tional to depth, and can easily be used to obtain the depth map. This also means that some sensors of this type usually only work in feature rich environments and encounter problems in featureless environments (e.g. a white wall). However, this type of sensor, usually allows for greater depth image resolutions than other types of cameras.

These feature detection and matching computations are done on board the camera, which means that they usually require more processing power than other methods. Also, the stereo working distance is limited by the baseline between the cameras as the error increases quadratically with objects’ distance to the sensor. Usual applications entail both indoor or outdoor, feature-rich environments.

Figure 1: Stereo Vision

Time-of-Flight

Time of Flight (ToF) sensors flood the entire scene with light and calculate depth using the time it takes each photon to come back to the sensor. This means that each pixel relates to one beam of light projected by the device, which provides more data density, narrower shadows behind objects and easier calibration (no stereo matching).

Since they use light projection, these sensors are sensible to different types of surfaces, such as very reflective or very dark ones. In these cases, invalid data usually appears in the image. However they are much more robust to low lighting or dim conditions than stereo sensors which depend on the scene lighting. These sensors can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Structured Light

Structured light (SL) sensors, on the other hand, use a known pattern projected by the IF sensor onto the scene. The way the pattern deforms is then used in constructing the depth map.

This type of sensor does not require an external light source and is mainly used in indoor environments due to their low robustness to sunlight, since interference may occur with the projected light pattern.

Figure 2: Structured Light versus Time of Flight illustration

Light Detection Ranging

Similar to ToF but with scanning, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors are more accurate than ToF since they use multiple IR pulses whereas ToF sensors usually just use one light pulse to obtain their image. By mapping the environment point-per-point instead of a burst of points (as in ToF), the overall noise for each point is reduced, producing more accurate results. Furthermore, LiDAR can usually obtain measurements at a greater distance than traditional ToF or Stereo sensors.

However, LiDAR sensors are usually more expensive than other 3D sensors and, since they perform scanning, can be affected by highly dynamic environments (mo- tion blur).

Figure 3: LiDAR Sensor Operation

Zivid Two

Producer: Zivid

Type: Structured light

Price: appx. $ 12,000

Range: 0.3-1.5 m

Depth Resolutions:

  • 1944×1200

Color Resolutions:

  • 1944×1200

Observation:

  • IP65
  • Handles reflective objects

Size: 169*56*122 mm

Zivid Two

Zivid Two

Dynim Spark

Producer: Dynim Oy

Type: RGB Stereo

Price: $N/A

Range: 0.5-30m

Color Resolutions:

Depth Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Industrial grade device for demanding environments
  • Dust and waterproof
  • Onboard neural processing unit

Size: 321*78*69.3 mm

Note: Launching summer 2021

Dynim Spark

Dynim Spark

Azure Kinect

Producer: Microsoft

Type: Time of Flight

Price: $399

Range: 0.25-5.46m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Mature SDK
  • Widely used

Size: 103*39*126 mm

Available: GStreamer support for Azure Kinect

Azure Kinect Sensor

Ensenso N40 / N45

Producer: Ensenso

Type: RGB Stereo

Price:  N/A

Range: 0.33 – 3.0 m

Depth Resolutions:

  • 1280*1024

Color Resolutions:

  • 1280×1024

Observation:

  • IP65/67
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Housing: Plastic composite

Size: 193*52*60 mm

Ensenso N40 N45

Ensenso N30/N35

Ensenso N30 / N35

Producer: Ensenso

Type: RGB Stereo

Price:  N/A

Range: 0.27 – 3.0 m

Depth Resolutions:

  • 1280×1024

Color Resolutions:

  • 1280×1024

Observation:

  • IP65/67
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Housing: Aluminium

Size: 195*50*52 mm

Ensenso N30/N35

Ensenso N30/N35

Ensenso N10

Producer: Ensenso

Type: RGB Stereo

Price:  N/A

Range: 0.16 – 2.0 m

Depth Resolutions:

  • 752×480

Color Resolutions:

  • 752×480

Observation:

  • IP30
  • USB 2 connection
  • Housing: Aluminium

Size: 158*45*45 mm

Ensenso n10

Ensenso N10

Zivid One+

Producer: Zivid

Type: Structured light

Price: appx. $ 15,000

Range: 0.3-1.0 m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IP65
  • Handles reflective objects
  • Comes in three sizes (S, M & L)

Size: 226*165*86 mm

Zivid One+

Zivid One+

ZED Stereo Camera

Producer: Stereolabs

Type: RGB Stereo

Price: $349

Range: 0.3-25m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Needs feature rich environment
  • Long range

Size: 175*30*33 mm

ZED Stereo Camera

ZED 2 Stereo Camera

Producer: Stereolabs

Type: RGB Stereo

Price: $449

Range: 0.2-20m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Needs feature rich environment
  • SDK contains some MV services
  • Long range

Size: 175*30*33 mm

ZED 2 Stereo Camera

ZED Mini Camera

Producer: Stereolabs

Type: RGB Stereo

Price: $399

Range: 0.1-15m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Needs feature rich environment
  • Oriented to AR/VR market segment
  • Long range

Size: 124.5*30.5*26.5 mm

ZED Mini Camera

RealSense D415

Producer: Intel

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $149

Range: 0.3-10m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment
  • Mature SDK
  • Widely used

Size: 99*20*23 mm

RealSense D415 camera

RealSense D435

Producer: Intel

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $179

Range: 0.2-10m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment
  • Mature SDK
  • Widely used

Size: 90*25*25 mm

RealSense D435 camera

RealSense D455

Producer: Intel

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $239

Range: 0.4-20m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment
  • Global shutter for improving motion blur
  • Mature SDK
  • Widely used

Size: 125*26*29 mm

RealSense D455 camera

RealSense L515

Producer: Intel

Type: LiDAR

Price: $349

Range: 0.25-9m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • LiDAR technology
  • Most accurate from the RealSense family
  • Mature SDK

Size: (Diam.*H): 61*26 mm

Intel RealSense L515

RealSense L515

Astra Mini S

Producer: Orbbec

Type: Structured light

Price: $159.99

Range: 0.35-1m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Indoor environment
  • No case included
  • Small form factor

Size: 80*20*20 mm

Astra Mini S camera

Astra Pro

Producer: Orbbec

Type: Structured light

Price: $149.99

Range: 0.6-8m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

• Observation:

  • Indoor environment

Size: 165*30*40 mm

Astra Pro camera

Astra

Producer: Orbbec

Type: Structured light

Price: $149.99

Range: 0.6-8m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Indoor environment

Size: 165*30*40 mm

Astra camera

Astra S

Producer: Orbbec

Type: Structured light

Price: $149.99

Range: 0.2-2m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Indoor environment

Size: 165*30*40 mm

Astra S camera

Astra Stereo S U3

Producer: Orbbec

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $169.99

Range: 0.25-2.5m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Indoor environment

Size: 65.3*22.5*12.3 mm

Astra Stereo S U3 camera

Structure Core

Producer: Occipital

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $399

Range: 0.3-5m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment

Size: 109*18*24 mm

Occipital Structure Core

Mynt Eye S210

Producer: Mynt Eye

Type: RGB Stereo

Price: $199

Range: 0.5-7m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Needs feature rich environment
  • Global shutter for improving motion blur

Size: 125*47*26.6 mm

MYNT EYE S210

Mynt Eye S1030

Producer: Mynt Eye

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $249

Range: 0.5-18m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR stereo works in any environment

Size: 165*31*30 mm

MYNT EYE S1030 / Non-IR

Mynt Eye S1030 Non-ir

Producer: Mynt Eye

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $199

Range: 0.5-18m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • Needs feature rich environment

Size: 165*31*30 mm

MYNT EYE S1030 / Non-IR

Mynt Eye D1000 120 FOV

Producer: Mynt Eye

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $389

Range: 0.3-10m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment
  • Size: 165*30*30 mm

MYNT EYE D1000 120 FOV

Mynt Eye D1000 50 FOV

Producer: Mynt Eye

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $299

Range: 0.3-10m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions: 

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment

Size: 165*30*30 mm

MYNT EYE D1000 50 FOV

Mynt Eye P

Producer: Mynt Eye

Type: IR Stereo

Price: $399

Range: 0.2-4.2m

Depth Resolutions:

Color Resolutions:

Observation:

  • IR Stereo works in any environment
  • Global shutter for improving motion blur

Size: 124*33*33 mm

MYNT EYE P

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