Info on stereo cameras and OF

Hello community,
I am thinking of developing something using a stereo cam. I know there is a lot of support for Kinect 1.

I was wondering if someone had experience with other kinds of stereo cams and could give a sort of overall feedback on the pro and cons of using systems other than Kinect (ZED, Kinect 2, Xtion or other than I might not know yet…)

I will most likely develop on OSX and I will probably use only features like position detection, trajectories, and 3d depth - no skeletons or similar)

Thank you!


  • Kinect 1 is the good device to start experimenting with depth.
  • Kinect 2 is a device of next generation - it gives much better depth and point clouds, also it has wider view. But, it consumes more CPU and GPU resources. Also, I found some problems with using Syphon with Kinect 2.
  • Xtion, PrimeSense are devices similar to Kinect 1, but has less weight and not require power supply. For my experience, it requires much effort to get it working on OSX / USB3.0 (by updating firmware and using OpenNI instead ofxKinect, and it seems not always secceed). We use Xtions on a separate Windows PC, and send data to OSX by network. On modern Windows PCs, it is possible to use up to 4 and more Xtions connected to a single machine!
  • ZED is an “another” camera. It is passive stereo camera, so it could work on sunlight (Kinects can’t!), and measures up to 20 meters (Kinects 1 measures up to 5 meters, Kinect 2 measures to 8 meters). But, resulting depth map has not-so-good quality, comparing with Kinects.

All cameras allow to get depth map and 3D point cloud. (Except one Xtion model without built-in RGB-camera).

Details on ZED:
Our addon for using ZED in openFrameworks:

that’s brilliant @perevalovds !
thank you very much for your detailed reply.

  • Tara Stereo Camera - its supports much better depth measurement, point clouds and disparity maps.
  • DUO mini lx - The Dense3D SDK provides a basic depth map via a C interface, but no higher-level tracking of hands, faces, or skeletons.