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Arducam Announces Autofocus Raspberry Pi Camera Module

The Arducam 16MP autofocus camera module
(Image credit: Arducam)

Raspberry Pi camera aficionados looking for a few more of the features found on more modern cameras  - things like autofocus, for example - consider yourselves warned: one is coming. Arducam’s High Resolution Autofocus Camera packs a Sony IMX519 16MP sensor to rival the official Raspberry Pi HQ camera, begins crowdfunding at the end of November.

The Arducam 16MP autofocus camera module

(Image credit: Arducam)

Swiping the Sony IMX519 sensor out of the OnePlus 6 and 6T smartphones, we’re looking at 16MP (4656 x 3496 resolution image) on a stacked, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor with a 7.1mm diagonal. This should outclass the images produced by all current Raspberry Pi camera modules, including the Raspberry Pi HQ camera. But it’s the autofocusing lens that really tops things off nicely. For comparison, the Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2 squeezes 8MP into a sensor just 4.6mm on the diagonal. Arducam's new camera can record video at 1080p30 and 720p60, matching the V2 and HQ cameras from Raspberry Pi.

Arducam’s new module should work just like the existing cameras, plugging directly into the Raspberry Pi using a CSI ribbon cable. The ABS enclosure, which comes with an integrated tripod mount, is backward compatible with earlier modules, so it should be a simple task to replace one in a Raspberry Pi project.

What we don’t have right now is much information about the lens, apart from its aperture, f/1.75, and its field of view of 80° (roughly comparable to a 24mm lens on full frame). The libcamera documentation says that “Camera devices that include a focus lens shall implement auto focus,” but we don’t know if this will be achieved with phase or contrast detection, though the latter seems more likely. The closest focus distance is 10cm.

We’ll keep you updated with news on this exciting Raspberry Pi camera development, with pricing and a link to the Kickstarter page, as soon as they become available.