Image sensors with integrated, programmable signal processing execute computationally intensive processing steps during or immediately after image acquisition, thereby allowing for reducing output data to relevant features only. In contrast to conventional image processing systems, the tasks of image acquisition and actual image processing in such a “vision chip” cannot be viewed independently of each other. Both for validating the architecture and supporting programming in the course of application development, modeling on the system level has been performed as part of the design process of the vision-system-on-chip. Apart from the implementation of all essential components of the integrated control unit as well as digital and analog signal processing, special attention has been paid to the integration into the development environment. Being able to purposefully insert parameter deviations and/or defects at different points of the analog processing enables investigations with respect to their influence on image processing algorithms performed on the image sensor. Due to its high simulation speed and compatibility to the real system, especially regarding the to-be-executed programs, the resulting simulation model is very well suited for use in application development.