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Raspberry Pi launches new camera modules

Jan 9, 2023 — by Giorgio Mendoza 737 views

Raspberry Pi just launched four variants of camera modules based on the Sony IMX708 12MP sensor with HDR and autofocus. The new Camera Module 3 is also available in Wide and NoIR variants to target different applications.

According to the product brief, all these modules feature a back-illuminated and stacked CMOS 12MP Sony IMX708 sensor. The following features are available for all Camera Module 3 variants: 

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  • High signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) 
  • Built-in 2D Dynamic Defect Pixel Correction (DPC)
  • Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) for rapid autofocus 
  • QBC Re-mosaic function
  • HDR mode (up to 3 megapixel output) 
  • CSI-2 serial data output 
  • 2-wire serial communication (supports I2C fast mode and fast-mode plus) 
  • 2-wire serial control of focus mechanism

 
Hardware specification table
(click image to enlarge)

The product announcement mentions that the camera module “uses the Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) capabilities of the IMX708 sensor, falling back to our own Contrast Detection Autofocus (CDAF) algorithm if a high-confidence PDAF result is not available.”

 
CM3 Standard & Wide (left) and CM3 NoIR Standard & Wide (right)
(click images to enlarge)

The PDAF feature also allows the camera to continuously run the autofocus algorithm during video recording to keep the camera’s focus even if the objects move. See the short demo below for reference.

Autofocus demo

The Camera Module 3 also includes a high dynamic range feature to optimize and correct scenes with both bright and dark regions as shown below.  

   
HDR example (left) and HQ Camera w/ M12-mount & C/CS-mount (right)
(click images to enlarge)

Lastly, Raspberry Pi introduced a new version of their High Quality Camera compatible with a native M12 mount to support a larger selection of lenses.

Further information

The announcement also specified that these new modules are only supported by the libcamera and Picamera2 instead of the legacy camera stack. See the libcamera page for additional documentation.

The Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 and the NoIR variant are available for ~$25.00 on online stores such as CanaKit and PiShop.US. The “Wide” version of these modules are listed for $35.00. Refer to the end of the product page to see additional distributors in the U.S and the rest of the world. The HQ camera with M12 mount will be available for ~$50.00.

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