Topher Webb – LTUAE

Pi Camera Manual Settings

Resolution

The most common and useful Pi Camera resolutions (assuming a V2 camera module—V1 modules have different optimal resolutions) are listed below:

Size (width x height)AspectCommon name
3280 x 24644:3(max resolution)
1920 x 108016:91080p
1280 x 72016:9720p (2×2 binning)
640 x 4804:3480p (2×2 binning)

Binning allows the Pi to sample a grid of four pixels and downsample the average values to one pixel. This makes for a slightly more color-accurate and sharp picture at a lower resolution than if the Pi were to skip pixels when generating the image.

ISO

ISO is basically an indication of ‘light sensitivity’. Without getting too deep in the weeds, you should use lower ISO values (60 (V2 camera only), 100200) in bright situations, and higher ISO values (400800) in dark situations. There’s a lot more to it than that, and as you find out creative ways to use shutter speed and ISO together, those rules go out the window, but for starters, you can choose the following manual values to lock in a particular ISO on the Pi Camera:

  • 60 (not available on V1 camera module)
  • 100
  • 200
  • 400
  • 800

Shutter Speed

Most photographers are familiar with the fractional values for common shutter speeds (1s, 1/10s, 1/30s, 1/60s, etc.), so here’s a table to help convert some of the most common shutter speeds into microseconds (the value used in config.yml):

Fractional Shutter Speedµs
6 seconds (max)6000000
1 second1000000
1/8125000
1/1566666
1/3033333
1/6016666
1/1258000
1/2504000
1/5002000
1/5002000
1/10001000
1/2000500

White Balance

White balance values on the Raspberry Pi camera are set by adjusting the red and blue gain values—the green value is constant. You need to amplify red and blue certain amounts to set a specific color temperature, and here are some of the settings that worked in specific situations for my camera. Note that you might need to adjust/eyeball things a little better for your own camera, as some unit-to-unit variance is to be expected on such an inexpensive little camera!

White Balance SettingColor Temperature (approx)red_gainblue_gain
Clear blue sky8000K+1.51.5
Cloudy sky / overcast6500K1.51.2
Daylight5500K1.51.45
Fluorescent / ‘cool’4000K1.31.75
Incandescent / ‘warm’2700K1.251.9
Candle<2000KTODOTODO

Note: These values will be updated over time as I find more time to calibrate my Pi camera against a few DSLRs and other devices which are much more accurate! Please file an issue if you can help make these mappings better, or find a nicer way to adjust calibrations rather than a red_gain and blue_gain value.

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