Despite the company name name, the Arducam 5 MP Motorized Focus camera plugs into a Raspberry Pi’s camera connector and lives on a PCB the same size as ordinary RPi cameras:
That’s a focus test setup to get some idea of how the control values match up against actual distances.
It powers up focused at infinity (or maybe a bit beyond):
In practice, it’s a usable, if a bit soft, at any distance beyond a couple of meters.
The closest focus is around 40 mm, depending on where you set the ruler’s zero point:
That’s the back side of the RPi V1 camera PCB most recently seen atop the mystery microscope objective illuminator.
Pondering the sample code shows the camera focus setting involves writing two bytes to an I²C address through the video controller’s I²C bus. Enable that bus with a line in
If you’re planning to capture 1280×720 or larger still images, reserve enough memory in the GPU:
I don’t know how to determine the correct value.
And, if user
pi isn’t in group
i2c, make it so, then reboot.
The camera must be running before you can focus it, so run raspivid and watch the picture. I think you must do that in order to focus a (higher-res) still picture, perhaps starting a video preroll (not that kind) in a different thread while you fire off a (predetermined?) focus value, allow time for the lens to settle, then acquire a still picture with the video still running.
The focus value is number between 0 and 1023, in two bytes divided, written in big-endian order to address
0x0c on bus 0:
i2cset -y 0 0x0c 0x3f 0xff
You can, of course, use decimal numbers:
i2cset -y 0 0x0c 63 255
I think hex values are easier to tweak by hand.
Some tinkering gives this rough correlation:
|Focus value (hex)||Focus distance (mm)|
Beyond a meter, the somewhat gritty camera resolution gets in the way of precise focusing, particularly in low indoor lighting.
A successful write produces a return code of 0. Sometimes the write will inexplicably fail with an
Error: Write failed message, a return code of 1, and no focus change, so it’s Good Practice to retry until it works.
This obviously calls for a knob and a persistent value!
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