The Raspberry Pi camera module has been used for many things such as a security camera,
for time lapse photography and even sent high up into the atmosphere on a weather balloon.
With the wide range of project Raspberry Pi's are being used for, some users were finding that the camera was no good when it was being used in low light with an Infrared light source. Unfortunately for them the Raspberry Pi camera module has a Infrared filter built in which makes it unusable for their project. In response the Raspberry Pi foundation has come up with a camera module just for these type of projects called the Pi NoIR camera. It is the same as the standard camera module but without an IR filter.
Raspberry Pi camera modules PI NoIR (left) Standard (right)
Without the Infrared filter the camera can be used for night time photography, night time security or for any project where the scene will be lit by an IR light. Without a filter the camera sensor can see short wavelength IR light around 800nm which is the IR wavelengths not generated with heat but just beyond the visible red light in the spectrum.
The camera has the same specifications as the standard camera module but has a black circuit board so it can be told apart from the standard green camera board.
The Raspberry Pi NoIR camera module can't be used for normal colour photography as the extra colour range affects how the sensor sees the world. This image was taken with a camera without an IR filter (Not a Raspberry Pi camera). As you can see the grass and tree's are not the usual green but nearly white and the blue sky is darker. (Image by Ashley Pomeroy)
Supplied with the Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera module is blue square filter. This is used to filter out all colours except for the near IR wavelengths and has been supplied for checking the health of your plants. So if your not into chatting with your plants to find out how they are, you can take a pictures of them instead. Not such a mad idea as it first seems. By taking a photo of your plants with the Blue filter you can get involved with a project at www.infragram.org looking at the health of plants by uploading your infrablue images. These can then be analysed to measure the amount of IR light being rerflected by the foliage which can be used to analyse their health.
Many photographers use digital cameras without IR filters to create interesting photo's.
The Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera
The camera module has the same specifications as the standard camera module. So it can take images up to 5 mega pixels with a resolution of 2592 pixels by 1944 pixels and video up to HD quality of 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames per second.
The Raspbian operating system comes with three programs to control the camera; Raspistill for still images, Raspivid for video and raspiyuv for raw still images.
For details on how to install the camera module and use the camera utilities see this article on how to use the standard camera module.