Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 launched with autofocus and HDR

Raspberry Pi Trading has launched the Camera Module 3, their first camera module supporting autofocus and HDR, designed to work with all Raspberry Pi boards that can take a camera, and offered with either a standard or wide field-of-view, and an optional infrared cut filter.

All four variants of the new camera module are equipped with a Sony IMX708 12MP sensor that supports high-dynamic range (HDR) and features phase detection autofocus. The Camera Module 3 has the same X/Y dimensions and mounting holes as the popular Camera Module 2 launched in 2016, but is several millimeters taller due to the improved optics.

Raspberry Pi Camera 3

Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 specifications:

  • 12MP Sony IMX708 back-illuminated and stacked CMOS image sensor
  • Sensor size – 7.4mm diagonal
  • Pixel size: 1.4μm x 1.4μm
  • Resolution  – 4608 x 2592 pixels
  • FoV – See comparison table between different models below
  • Common video modes: 1080p50, 720p100, 480p120
  • Autofocus system: Phase Detection Autofocus; focus range (see table below)
  • IR cut filter – Integrated in standard variants; not present in NoIR variants
  • HDR mode up to 3 MP
  • Output: RAW10
  • Host interfaces via 15-pin FPC connector
    • CSI-2 serial data output
    • 2-wire serial communication (supports I2C fast mode and fast-mode plus)
    • 2-wire serial control of focus mechanism
  • Dimensions – 25 x 24 x 11.5mm (12.4mm height for the Wide variants)
  • Compliance
    • FCC 47 CFR Part 15, Subpart B, Class B Digital Device
    • Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (EMC) 2014/30/EU
    • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive 2011/65/EU

Camera Module 3 products matrix

The camera modules ships with a 20cm Ribbon cable for connection with a Raspberry Pi SBC. The Camera Module 3 can be used to take full HD video and up to 12MP photos without HDR, and up to 3MP with HDR. The camera is fully supported by the Picamera2 library including the autofocus feature. Here’s an HDR sample taken with the Camera Module 3 Wide by the Raspberry Pi team in the UK with a mostly dark foreground (wall/road/car) and bright background.

Raspberry Pi Camera 3 HDR Sample
HDR sample taken with the Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 Wide – Click for original size.

I’m also expecting a few Raspberry Pi Camera Modules 3 for review tomorrow so I’ll be able to test all those new features myself, but we’ll see if I get them in time as those are currently being inspected by the local customs.

The standard Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 will sell for $25, while the wide-FoV variants will go for $35 due to its more complex and expensive optical stack. Regular readers may remember we’ve previously written about a $25 16MP Raspberry Pi autofocus camera by ArduCam which could potentially be a competitor to the new module, but it lacks HDR support. The official camera may also have a longer lifetime as Raspberry Pi Trading commits to keep the Camera Module 3 in production until at least January 2030. As a side note, the company also launched a new version of the Raspberry Pi HQ camera with an M12 mount that adds to the existing C- and CS-mount options.

More details may be found on the product page, and the new camera modules can be purchased from the usual distributors.

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