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There are new versions (v2.1) of both the standard and NoIR camera modules on sale as of this morning (see http://raspi.tv/2016/new-8-megapixel-raspberry-pi-camera-2-1-launches for some brief coverage). The new modules use the Sony IMX219 sensor (also used as the front-facing camera in the Xiaomi Mi4 phone), rather than the Omnivision 5647 in the old modules.

What (if any) are the major differences between the new and old sensors? Is one better than the other for low light images, for example? Are there any power consumption changes? Are there any capabilities on the new board which were not previously available (or vice versa)?

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The best information I've found so far is from the RPi Camera Module page on elinux.org. They have some specs for both units side by side:

Sensor type: OmniVision OV5647 Color CMOS QSXGA (5-megapixel)

Sensor size: 3.67 x 2.74 mm (1/4" format)

Pixel Count: 2592 x 1944

Pixel Size: 1.4 x 1.4 um

Lens: f=3.6 mm, f/2.9

Angle of View: 54 x 41 degrees

Field of View: 2.0 x 1.33 m at 2 m

Full-frame SLR lens equivalent: 35 mm

Fixed Focus: 1 m to infinity

Video: 1080p at 30 fps with codec H.264 (AVC)

Up to 90 fps Video at VGA

Board size: 25 x 24 mm (not including flex cable)


Sensor type: Sony IMX219PQ[5] Color CMOS 8-megapixel

Sensor size: 3.674 x 2.760 mm (1/4" format)

Pixel Count: 3280 (H) x 2464 (V) (active pixels)

Pixel Size: 1.12 x 1.12 um

Lens: f=3.04 mm, f/2.0

Angle of View: 62.2 x 48.8 degrees

Full-frame SLR lens equivalent: 29 mm

Video: 1280x720 binned and cropped up to 60fps

1080P cropped up to 30fps

1640x1232 full FOV binned mode, up to 30fps

3280x2464 full FOV, allegedly 0.1fps to 15fps

1280x720 binned(? may be skipping) and cropped, at 60-120 fps (?)

Board size: 25 x 23.86 x 9mm

So the new module has more pixels, smaller pixels, greater angle of view, potentially greater recording resolution and frame rates (just because the sensor has the pixels doesn't mean H.264 can keep up!). It also lacks an activity LED.

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