From Raspberry Pi V1/V2/HQ to Arducam Pivariety

Arducam Pivariety for raspberry pi

We’ve been developing MIPI camera modules since Raspberry Pi’s V1 camera module, we made embedded vision on Raspberry Pi more flexible than ever with so many image sensors, our Camarray series can even help you achieve stereo vision on standard Pi models with only one single CSI connector, and our IMX477 alternatives offer everything you need but can’t find with the official High Quality camera.

However, we do know that there’s one, and only one advantage the native cameras have over other third-party modules: hardware ISP control. Only the V1/V2/HQ and our OV5647/IMX219/IMX477 cameras were able to interface with the on-board Broadcom ISP, and being closed-source on everything makes this even harder. We tried to address the issue with our OBISP cameras featuring added ISP chips and managed to bring the 3As to unsupported sensors just as HQ camera & lenses hit the market.

Pivariety Brings the RPI Offical Camera Experience to More Sensors with Enhanced Performance

From this day on, the ISP tuning problem on 3rd party image sensors will be gone forever, because of Pivariety, our second-generation MIPI camera solution for Raspberry Pi, is here.

To put it in another way, you can stop expecting the god-knows-when-it-will-come Raspberry Pi camera module V3, V4, and so-ons, Arducam Pivariety takes you to the future.

One V4L2 Camera Driver for All Pivariety Cameras


In the Linux system, each camera requires a dedicated driver called ko file to accommodate all the camera private parameters and controls which is different from camera to camera. And except for the driver, users still need to edit /boot/config.txt to add camera DT overlay settings to make it work. All these changes have to be made every time you switch to a new camera. It is annoying and frustrating when a problem arises and makes troubleshooting even harder.

This is why the Pivariety solution is created, we want to eliminate all the problems. And only one camera driver for all of Pivariety cameras, and one-time installation required.

Arducam Pivariety is based on the Video4Linux AKA V4L2 kernel driver framework. So it is an application-friendly video node that works for common apps like Gstreamer, OpenCV, etc. Arducam provides a pre-compiled camera kernel driver or users can also use the driver source code to compile it by themselves to match with their own Kernel version.

5 Pivariety Camera Solutions & More to Come

3 isp camera solutions for Raspberry Pi

With native camera performance and ISP-tuning over 10+ image sensors, we currently prepared three different types of Pivariety cameras: the high resolutions series, the global shutter series, and the low light series. 

1. High-Resolution Camera Modules: Up to 21 Megapixels & Even Higher

For now, we have the Arducam 16MP IMX298 and 21MP IMX230, both offering higher specs than the RPI HQ camera, and it’s not just for crisper images/videos, camera modules with more pixels are great for:

  • Simplifying your application design from the hardware side to reduce overall costs, E.G. one 21MP camera instead of four 5MP cameras.
  • Capturing more details to help speed up the process and output more precise results in demanding industrial inspection systems.
  • Identifying even the smallest flaws in food & beverage product lines.
  • Building IoT applications like automated shelf inspection systems in supermarkets for better inventory control and sales estimation.
  • Creating computer vision applications like collision detection and road-sign recognition where accurate scene reproduction is required.
  • Designing display-based image systems such as rear-view, surround-view systems, and e-mirror where spectacular image quality is needed.
  • Building entrance-monitoring systems in parking lots, buildings, pay booths, and security gates where extracted ROI (region of interest) output is favored.

Products we are offering:

And we also made a comparison video with Pivariety & the Official cameras:

See unedited photos captured from Pivariety & official camera modules >

2. Global Shutter Camera Modules for High-Speed Machine Vision


The Raspberry Pi community has been longing for officially supported global shutter cameras, our Pivariety is here to do the foundation’s work, we will be porting more well tuned global shutter sensors to Raspberry Pi, including but not limited to: OV7251, OV9281, OV2311, OG02B10 & AR0234.

Benefits of Global Shutter Pivariety cameras:

  • Easily achieve higher frame rates with ultra-low latencies.
  • Ideal for capturing fast-moving objections without any blur, distortion, or Jello Effect.
  • Suitable for a broad range of high-speed imaging systems designed for quality control and factory automation.
  • Low total noise in the image output to ensure a high-integrity input for machine learning applications.
  • Low power during operation and standby to meet the typical challenges in a camera system where convection heat transfer is the norm.
  • Great for a variety of machine vision systems to enhance productivity and throughput in logistics, sorting, retail POS, and many other industrial sectors.
  • Highly adaptable for end products like Autonomous Mobile Robots, Autonomous Guide Vehicles/Drones, Video Doorbells, AR/VR/MR Headsets, Barcode Readers, etc.

3. Low Light Camera Modules w/ A High Degree of Sensitivity


What you will get from low light Pivareity cameras and why we think it’s important:

  • High-sensitivity performance (down to 0.01 Lux) in extremely low light, outdoor environments with minimal ambient light at night, perfect for surveillance camera applications and advanced home-defense systems where no extra lighting is allowed.
  • Being able to capture high-quality videos in badly illuminated scenes brings huge improvement over accuracy in intelligent video analytics applications.
  • Back-illuminated sensors from Sony are some of the best choices for building 24/7 surveillance systems.
  • All of our low light cameras are NIR-optimized, they are built for challenging light conditions and are a great fit for day/night traffic monitoring systems in rural areas, spectroscopy inspections in both agricultural & manufacturing industries, etc.

We are also making more ISP-tuning ready cameras featuring Sony STARVIS sensors like IMX290, IMX327, IMX462.

4. Stereoscopic Camera Module V2

Our stereo camera and Camarray series will be added to the Pivariety family too, with native ISP tuning support and a variable baseline, the V2 stereo version camera will be setting yet another record for Raspberry Pi.

5. Autofocus Camera Series

Arducam introduced autofocus cameras to Raspberry Pi, and we even provided the official Pi cameras with autofocusing support. So for the Pivariety project, we will also be combining RPI’s ISP tuning with our autofocus camera solutions.

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