Low Light Camera

I am looking for a Camera Module like the OVM7251 that would allow me to take a VGA (or better) Black and White picture in the lowest light possible. I can use IR lighting if necessary.


What I’d consider a “camera module” might be something like the 1528-1401-ND or 1613-1369-ND, that includes some optics, processing & support bits that allow one to hitch the thing to a microcontroller of choice and start sucking in image data without a lot of further development. If you’re interested in -using a camera- this route is the (much) shorter one.

Something like the OVM7251 is more along the lines of what I’d call an “image sensor” in the sense that it does a light-to-electrons conversion and not a terribly great deal more; adding the optics, clocking, power management, interface, and other bits needed to get data out of the thing is a small project unto itself. If you’re interested in -designing a camera- then this is the place to start.

As for the low light part, your optics and desired frame rate will influence how much incident light is needed. If you’ve got a tiny little pinhole lens, you’d have to bounce a lot more light off your subject in order for some of it to actually hit that tiny lens than you would given a 2-meter diameter Photon Hoover of an optical system. Similarly, if you’re taking still shots of fruit baskets in the dark, you wouldn’t need as much light as if you were trying to get decent images of objects in motion.

Hi Rick,

Thanks for your reply. I see what you mean, I have done a design for a camera cube already and looking to move to the OVM7251. I need the super compact size with lense offered by this. The sensitivity looks very impressive with the sensor used. Now I need to find a way to go from the MIPI CSI-2 output to my microcontroller. I am trying to get hold of their demo board to see how they did it. I see a few bridge modules CSI2 to Parallel but they look like overkill for sure. Any ideas along these lines?

The LF-C2P-EVN may be obsolete, but it provides an example of a MIPI CSI-2 to parallel interface function. Else, moving to a processor with hardware support for the interface in question might simplify things…

Forgive me if that’s not entirely helpful, but I’m missing a great deal of context here–I don’t know the details of your application or even have a real datasheet for the '7251 at hand at this point. Would you mind explaining your goals/constraints in more detail?