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Raspberry Pi's new 12-megapixel camera modules provide powered autofocus

Module 3 variants include standard and wide angle FOVs in both visible and IR light.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has launched the Camera Module 3 with big improvements, including higher resolution, infrared, HDR, autofocus, a wide angle FOV and more, the company announced. Not counting the interchangeable lens model introduced in 2020, it's the company's first new camera module in six years.

The previous Module 2 cameras used a Sony IMX219 8-megapixel sensor. However, the new models carry Sony's new 12-megapixel IMX708 chip, which is not only larger but has more resolution. That translates to sharper images and also better low-light sensitivity. It also has a 16:9 aspect ratio, so HD video up to 1080p50 can be captured using the entire sensor area.

Better still, where the previous module had fixed autofocus, Module 3 has built-in powered autofocus capability. That makes them a bit thicker (up to 12.4mm compared to 9mm) but more versatile, letting you focus on objects ranging in distance from 5cm (2 inches) to infinity.

The standard field-of-view (FoV) variants provide a 66 degree horizontal field of view, roughly equivalent to a 28mm full-frame lens. The wide angle version, however, bumps that to 102 degrees horizontal (a 14mm full-frame lens). With a "more expensive and complex optical stack," the wide-angle version is a bit thicker, 12.4 compared to 11.5mm, according to Raspberry Pi.

It also offers HDR capability, taking multiple simultaneous exposures with different exposure times. That lets you capture interior shots, for instance, with the correct exposure on both interior and exterior details. And finally, the NoIR (no infrared filter) sensors, first introduced with the Module 2, can effectively convert your Raspberry Pi into a night-vision camera.

The launch includes no less than four modules, including standard and wide angle models, both in visible light and NoIR infrared versions. Both the normal models start at $25, while the wide angle versions cost $35. They're now available at Raspberry Pi's store .