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Raspberry Pi cameras jump to 8MP, keep $25 price

Apr 25, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,536 views

The v2 Raspberry Pi Camera and low-light PiNoIR Camera advance from 5- to 8-megapixels via a Sony IMX219PQ sensor with improved image quality.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has replaced its official 5-megapixel Raspberry Pi Camera and night-vision Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera with improved 8-megapixel models. Like the older cameras, which are almost out of stock, the new cameras are priced at $25. As before, the Raspberry Pi PiNoIR camera is almost identical to the visible light camera except that it removes the infrared (IR) filter for improved imaging in the dark. Dimensions of both camera models match those of the 35 x 25 x 9mm original.

The v2 Raspberry Pi Camera (left) and Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera
(click images to enlarge)

The new camera boards swap out the OmniVision OV5647 sensor, which was “end of lifed” in 2014, with a Sony IMX219PQ sensor. According to the blog announcement from Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton, the CMOS sensor is “a leap forward in image quality, colour fidelity and low-light performance,” in addition to offering higher 8-megapixel resolution.

Part of Sony’s Exmor R family of sensors, the IMX219PQ is a two-year old sensor that supports 3280 x 2464-pixel stills, 1080p video at 30fps, and 720p at 60fps. Sony touts the sensor for its high speed video imaging function, which supports 2-megapixel video with full field of view at 120fps, or 1280 x 720 with 16:9 aspect ratio at 180fps.

According to Upton, the sensor has been optimized for the Raspberry Pi’s Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU image sensor pipeline (ISP). The process involved adjustments to lens shading and AWB (auto white balance) tuning.

The new cameras include 15cm ribbon cables that connect to the Pi’s CSI interface. Supported models include the Raspberry Pi 3 and RPi 2, as well as the B+ and A+. Developers can access either camera via the Multi-Media Abstraction Layer (MMAL), the Video for Linux (V4L) APIs, or libraries such as Picamera Python.

Further information

The v2 versions of the Raspberry Pi Camera and Raspberry Pi PiNoIR Camera are each available for $25 at Element14 in the U.S., or £18.99 at RS Components in the UK. More information may be found in this Raspberry Pi Blog announcement.

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