Capture Picture from WIA using C#

After much searching, I was almost frustrated as there was no simple solution to what I wanted to accomplish.

Make a simple C#/.Net/Desktop application that will:
1. Connect to a webcam
2. Show the video being "seen" by the webcam
3. Take a snapshot of the video and save it as an image.
The WIA (Windows Image Acquisition) worked wonders with the flatbed scanner. So I wanted to extend its use for video. 
Fortunately there is WIAVideo.dll that does exactly what I need to do.
Basically the steps are:
1. Detect the video input devices you have
2. get the device ID
3. Use WiaVideo to take a snapshot.
No screenshots this time.. but this is what I have
1. Create a form with two buttons and a picturebox
2. Download the WIA dlls and add references to them (WIA and WIAVideoLib)
3. Drop this code on your code-behind file
private void button2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
            CommonDialogClass cdcMine = new CommonDialogClass();
            Device d = cdcMine.ShowSelectDevice(WiaDeviceType.UnspecifiedDeviceType, true, false);
            if (d != null)
                //get the devide ID
                this.DeviceID = d.DeviceID;
                //no scanner chosen
            CommonDialogClass WiaCommonDialog = new CommonDialogClass();
            DeviceManager manager = new DeviceManagerClass();
            Device WiaDev = null;
            foreach (WIA.DeviceInfo info in manager.DeviceInfos)
                if (info.DeviceID == this.DeviceID)
                    WIA.Properties infoprop = null;
                    infoprop = info.Properties;
                    //connect to scanner
                    WiaDev = info.Connect();
                    //not very good coding practice. exit the IF when connected
            mVid.ImagesDirectory = imageDirectory;
            mVid.CreateVideoByWiaDevID(this.DeviceID, pictureBox1.Handle, 1, 1);  
mVid is a WiaVideo object that you declare on form load as WiaVideo mVid = new WiaVideo();
The important part here is the imageDirectory variable, which is a string variable that was also instantiated and assigned during form load. If you do not provide a destination directory, it probably won’t run. :p
Then to take a picture
private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
            mVid.TakePicture(out imageDirectory);
Couldn’t be any simpler than that. This part is where you will understand why mVid and imageDirectory were declared during load.
Also, don’t forget to call
before closing the form!
that’s it! any questions, post them as comments here.
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15 Responses to Capture Picture from WIA using C#

  1. bob dreyer says:

    Does this work for C# 2010 express?
    Can I download the project/solution from somewhere?
    Thanks for recognizing the problem and giving a solution.

    • ezlorenzo says:

      hi Bob,

      I can’t see why it won’t work with express. With the proper DLLs in place, it should. Sad to say there is no sample project/solution for this but all the code I have here is all that is needed, really. I will deeply appreciate if you try it out and if there are missing parts, I’ll keep an eye out at this post so I can help. 🙂

  2. Pablo says:


    I’ve been looking like crazy for a sample code that simply takes a picture from any webcam plugged to my computer and store it where I want it. Yours seems to work fine and manage the situation quite simple, but I have an error in “this.DeviceID”. Do you have any idea why I have this error? I’m working on Visual Studio 2008, if that helps in anything.


  3. @Pablo: You have to declare DeviceID!

    @ezlorenzo: looks great. Unfortunately it doesn’ work (Windows 7, Visual Studio 2008)
    Error occurs here:
    mVid.CreateVideoByWiaDevID(this.DeviceID, pictureBox1.Handle, 1, 1);

    Argument cannot be convertet from “System.IntPtr” to “ref WIAVIDEOLib._RemotableHandle”

    Would be so happy if you knew a solution for that.

    • ezlorenzo says:

      Oh my, this is over a year old.

      I will do my best to recreate your error johann. When I posted the original entry I was running on XP (I think) but am now on W7. Will update as soon as I can.

  4. Terry says:

    Waiting for your response whether it successfully runs on windows 7. I dont wish to use directshow. Pls help, your example is by far the easier to understand. 😛

  5. Dan says:

    nicce job
    this snipets help me
    Thank u

  6. dvkch says:

    WIAVIDEOLib._RemotableHandle is a native int, if it can help.

  7. Kartheeswaran Jeyakumar says:

    Thanks for your sample code…It really Help me to in the right direction…But it could not Recognized the Webcam(PC 6009(CIF))
    .it shows the Following Exception: Exception from HRESULT: 0x80210015
    I used Windows Xp OS WIA 2.0

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