FireWire camera are controlled by computers via the FireWire bus. In the case of digital image processing, two types of computers dominate:
- Computers with a standard operating system as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc
- Proprietary image processing systems of various manufacturers.
The communication between the computer and the FireWire cameras is based on protocols. The majority of FireWire cameras uses the standard protocol DCAM. It was specified by the working group IIDC of the 1394 Trade Association and is being constantly refined. IIDC stands for "Instrumentation & Industrial Digital Camera".
DCAM defines the structure of image data stream as well as the camera's parametrization (for instance brightness, shutter, white balance, etc.). In this context, we have two typical tasks - namely:
- how the camera "tells us" which parameters it is equipped with (for instance not every camera offers automatic gain control) and
- how the parameters provided are adjusted.
All FireWire cameras manufactured by The Imaging Source support the DCAM / IIDC protocol: