Skip to Main Content
In the field of machine vision, camera calibration refers to the experimental determination of a set of parameters that describe the image formation process for a given analytical model of the machine vision system. Researchers working with low-cost digital cameras and off-the-shelf lenses generally favor camera calibration techniques that do not rely on specialized optical equipment, modifications to the hardware, or an a priori knowledge of the vision system. Most of the commonly used calibration techniques are based on the observation of a single 3-D target or multiple planar (2-D) targets with a large number of control points. This paper presents a novel calibration technique that offers improved accuracy, robustness, and efficiency over a wide range of lens distortion. This technique operates by minimizing the error between the reconstructed image points and their experimentally determined counterparts in “distortion free” space. This facilitates the incorporation of the exact lens distortion model. In addition, expressing spatial orientation in terms of unit quaternions greatly enhances the proposed calibration solution by formulating a minimally redundant system of equations that is free of singularities. Extensive performance benchmarking consisting of both computer simulation and experiments confirmed higher accuracy in calibration regardless of the amount of lens distortion present in the optics of the camera. This paper also experimentally confirmed that a comprehensive lens distortion model including higher order radial and tangential distortion terms improves calibration accuracy.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2012