The PiNoIR Raspberry Pi camera without infra-red filter is about to hit the streets. It looks like the first purchased units have shipped already. Matt “Raspberry Pi Spy” Hawkins has got one he bought from RS. I’m not quite sure what happened there, since the product isn’t officially launched yet. But no doubt others will have them soon enough.
Needless to say, before it even officially hits the streets, people are arguing about what it is, what it isn’t and how the Raspberry Pi Foundation should and shouldn’t be referring to it. (What a pedantic, picky bunch we computer types are!)
In her original announcement about the Pi NoIR camera module, Liz Upton wrote…
“Sunny, who make the sensor, filter and lens package that’s at the heart of our camera board, did not offer a package without the filter at all. Removing it would mean an extra production line would have to be set up just for us – and they had other worries when we started to talk to them about adding an infrared camera option. They told us they were particularly concerned that users would try to use a camera board without a filter for regular daytime photography, and be would be upset at the image quality.“
It’s not for regular daylight photography
To show you why, here’s two screen shots from a comparison video I shot yesterday with both original RasPiCam and Pi NoIR simultaneously…
I made them small so you can compare them side by side. Click either shot to enlarge to full 1920×1080 size. It was a dull, cloudy day. There’s a larger version below…
Here’s what Pi NoIR IS for
- camera effects e.g. black and white IR photos
- low-light photography with IR lighting
- wildlife photography (nocturnal with IR lighting)
- specialist archaeological applications
- specialist botanical applications
And of course, a lot of us will get one to experiment with. I have in mind a project involving either a servo or solenoid and a light sensor to control the position of an IR cut filter for a 24-hour surveillance camera.
I hope this helps you decide whether the PiNoIR is for you or not. I haven’t yet sorted out an IR source, so can’t show anything useful as regards night-time shots.