The Ultimate Guideline to Customize a Camera Module

16 Mar.,2022

A Camera Module or Compact Camera Module is a high-end image sensor integrated with the electronics control Unit, lens, digital signal processor, and the Interface such as USB or CSI.

 

interactive whiteboardsIntroduction

In the modern world, digital cameras become highly common with new technology at the lowest price range. One of the important drivers behind the introduction of new technology is the CMOS image sensors. The CMOS camera module has been less expensive for manufacturing when compared to others. With new features that have been introduced in the modern cameras with the Cmos sensors, taking crystal clear pictures is prominent. The top camera module manufacturer has been coming with an embedded camera with increased performance and a higher rate of capturing images. CMOS sensors ensure to read out the circuitry with the photosensitive feature. Pixel architecture in the modern-day also changed radically and helped to capture the images in excellent quality range. Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor image sensors convert light into electrons, so in modern devices, the USB camera module has been introduced for its high-end features.

 

What is A Camera Module?

A Camera Module or Compact Camera Module is a high-end image sensor integrated with the electronics control Unit, lens, digital signal processor, and the Interface such as USB or CSI. Camera Module has been widely used across various applications that include:

  • Industrial inspection
  • Traffic & Security
  • Retail & Finance
  • Home & Entertainment
  • Health & Nutrition

With the development of the technology and internet facilities, the network speed has been greatly improved and coupled with the introduction of new photographic imaging devices. Camera Module has been widely used in the Smartphone, Tablet, PC, Robots, Drones, Medical device, Electronic device, and many others. The boom in the photographic imaging technology has paved a way for the introduction of the 5 Megapixels, 8 Megapixels, 13 Megapixels, 20 Megapixel, 24 Megapixel and more.

Camera module contains the following components such as
  • Image sensor
  • Lens
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Infrared filter
  • Flexible printed circuit or Printed circuit board
  • Connector

Lens:

The critical part of any camera is the lens and it plays an important role in the quality of the light that incidents on the image sensor and thereby decides the quality of the output image. Choosing the right lens for your application is a science, and to be precise it is more of optics. There are a number of parameters from the optical perspective to be considered for choosing the lens to meet the application requirements, which influence the selection of the lens, like the lens composition, construction of lens whether plastic or glass lens, effective focal length, F.No, Field of View, Depth of Field, TV distortion, Relative Illumination, MTF etc.

Image Sensor

An image sensor is a sensor that detects and conveys information used to make an image. Sensor is the key to the Camera Module to determine the quality of the image. Whether it is a Smartphone camera or digital camera, Sensors play an important role. Right now, CMOS sensor is more popular and much less expensive to manufacture than CCD sensor.

Type of sensor- CCD vs CMOS

CCD sensor - The advantages of CCD are high sensitivity, low noise, and large signal-to-noise ratio. But the production process is complicated, high cost and power consumption.
CMOS sensor – The advantage of CMOS is its high integration (integrating AADC with a signal processor, it can be greatly reduced Small size), low power consumption and low cost. But the noise is relatively large, low sensitivity and high requirements on the light source.

DSP:

The digital image signal parameters are also optimized with the help of a series of complex mathematical algorithms. Most important, signals are transmitted to the storage, or it can be transmitted to the display components.

DSP structure framework includes
  • ISP
  • JPEG encoder
  • USB device controller

 

The difference between USB camera module and sensor camera module/CMOS camera module

USB 2.0 Camera Module:

The USB 2.0 camera module integrates the camera unit and the video capture unit directly, and then connects to the HOST SYSTEM through the USB interface. Now the digital camera module on the CAMERA market is basically based on the new data transmission USB2.0 interface. Computer and other mobile devices are connected directly through the USB interface simply plug and play. These UVC complaint USB2.0 camera modules are compatible with Windows (DirectShow) and Linux (V4L2) software and do not require drivers.

  • USB Video Class (UVC) Standard
  • The maximum transmission bandwidth of USB2.0 is 480Mbps (ie 60MB/s)
  • Simple and cost-effective
  • Plug and play
  • High compatibility and stable
  • Higher dynamic range

After being processed by the software on the standard Operating system compatible with UVC standards, the digital signal is output to the displayer.

USB 3.0 Camera Module:

Compare to USB 2.0 camera module, USB 3.0 camera enable to transmit in higher speed, and USB 3.0 is fully compatible with USB2.0 interface

  • The maximum transmission bandwidth of USB3.0 is up to 5.0Gbps (640MB/s)
  • 9 pins definition compare to USB2.0 4 pins
  • Fully compatible with USB 2.0
  • SuperSpeed connectivity

Cmos Camera Module (CCM)

CCM or Coms Camera Module is also called the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor Camera Module having its core device useful for various applications such as portable camera equipment. When compared with traditional camera systems, CCM has lots of features that include

  • Miniaturization
  • Low power consumption
  • High image
  • Low cost

 

1080P Camera Module

 

USB Camera module working principle

The optical image generated by the scene through the lens (LENS) is projected onto the surface of the image sensor (SENSOR), and then converted into an electrical signal, which is converted into a digital image signal after A/D (Analog/Digital) conversion. It is sent to the digital processing chip (DSP) for processing, and then transmitted to the computer through the I/O interface for processing, and then the image can be seen through the display (DISPLAY).

 

How to test USB cameras and CCM(CMOS camera module)?

USB Camera: (Amcap software for example)

Step 1: Connect the camera with a USB camera.

Step 2: Connect the USB cable with PC or Mobile phone through OTG adaptor.

Amcap:

Open AMCap and Select your camera module:

Choose the resolution on Option>> Video Capture Pin

Adjust the camera futures like Brightness, Contract. White Balance.. on Option>> Video Capture Filter

 

Amcap enables you to capture the image and video.

CCM:

CCM is more complicated as the interface is MIPI or DVP and DSP is separated with the module, Using a Dothinkey adapter board and daughter-board to test is common in production:

Dothinkey adapter board:

connect the camera module with daughter board(pic-2).

Open the testing software

 

Camera module customized process insight

With hundreds of thousands of camera module application, the standard OEM camera modules can't meet each specific requirement, so customization process comes with necessity and popularity, the hardware and firmware modification, including module dimension, lens view angle, auto/fixed focus type and Lens filter, to empower the innovation.

Non-recurring engineering completely covers the research, development, design for producing a new product; this also includes up-front costs. Most importantly, the NRE is a one-time cost that can be associated with the design, manufacture of a new design, or equipment. This also includes different for a new process. If the customer agrees on the NRE, then the supplier will send the drawing for confirmation after the payment.

Customized requirements flow

  1. You can provide drawings or samples, as well as request documentation and developed by our engineering staff.
  2. Communication
  3. We will communicate with you in detail to determine somewhat product you need and try to set the most suitable product for you according to your needs.
  4. Sample Development
  5. Determine the details of the development sample and the delivery time. Communicate at any time to ensure smooth progress.
  6. Sample Testing
  7. Test and age on your application, feedback test results, no need to modify, mass production.

 

Questions you should ask before customized a camera module

What are the requirements?

The USB camera module must have the following requirements. They are the most important components which add photo clarity and good working principle. The components are well specified by connecting via CMOS and CCD integrated circuit. It must work according to user requirements and acts as a user-friendly camera option. It will connect with lots of things that add a perfect solution for camera requirements for USB connection.

  • Lens
  • sensor
  • DSP
  • PCB

What resolution do you want from a USB Camera?

Resolution is a parameter used to measure the amount of data in a bitmap image, usually expressed as dpi (dot per inch). Simply put, the resolution of the camera refers to the ability of the camera to analyze the image, that is, the number of pixels of the image sensor of the camera. The highest resolution is the size of the camera's ability to resolve images at the highest, the highest number of pixels in the camera. The current 30W pixel CMOS resolution is 640×480, and the resolution of 50W-pixel CMOS is 800×600. The two numbers of resolution represent the units of the number of points in the length and width of a picture. The aspect ratio of a digital picture is usually 4:3.

In practical applications, if the camera is used for web chat or video conferencing, the higher the resolution, the greater the network bandwidth required. Therefore, consumers should pay attention to this aspect, should choose a pixel suitable for their own products according to their needs.

The Field of view angle (FOV)?

The FOV angle refers to the range that the lens can cover. (The object will not be covered by the lens when it exceeds this angle.) A camera lens can cover a wide range of scenes, usually expressed by angle. This angle is called the lens FOV. The area covered by the subject through the lens on the focal plane to form a visible image is the field of view of the lens. The FOV should be decided by the application environment, The larger the lens Angle, the wider the field of view, and vice versa.

Camera Dimension for your application

The major parameters that have been calculated with the camera module are the dimension, which varies the most for different requirements

depending on size and optical format. It has a field of view and focal length for accessing with object dimension calculation. It involves back focal length and includes a perfect lens for format. The optical size of the lens must fit your application and depend on a conventional one. Diameter varies as per larger sensors and implements with lens covers. It depends on the form of vignetting or dark on the corner of the images.

With hundreds of thousands of camera module applications, module dimensions represent the factor that varies the most. Our engineers have the power to develop the exact dimensions which will work best for your specific project. 

The EAU of the products

The cost of the price product depends on the specification. The USB camera with small EAU is not suggesting as a customized one. with Constantly demand and personalization requirements like Lens, size, sensor, a customized camera module is your best option.

 

GC1024 720P Camera ModuleChoosing the right camera module

In general, most of the customers will be concentrated on the right camera module that one will never know what kind of lens required to use here. There an enormous number of theory has been used here to make aware of the people to pick the perfect lens and to choose the perfect camera module. The lens you are going to choose will be completely dependent on the process that you are going to make use of. Due to the different solutions of the sensor and DSP, and lens different lenses, and the imaging effects of the camera module are also very different. Some cameras can be used in different applications, but some can only be used in some specific applications to get the best imaging results. Some star-level cameras can capture images in low-light environments, but at a relatively high price.

Effective impacts:

In case you have been installed the camera module or camera in your office or small bedroom, then only 2.8mm focal length will be enough at that point in time. In case you want to install the camera module or camera in your backyard means then sure it must require 4mm to 6mm focal length. The focal length is increased since space is bigger. You will require the 8mm or 12mm focal length then you can use this in your factory or street since space will be very much high.

When you want to choose the camera module for the NIR light then the spectral response of the camera module will be majorly defined by the lens material or sensor material. The sensors will be completely silicon-based and it will show the effective response to the NIR light in a most extraordinary manner. Compared to visible light or 850nm, the sensitivity will be very much smaller for the 940nm. Even though you get this still you can able to get the image very effectively. The most important concept involved in this process will create enough light for the camera for the purpose of detection. You will never know perfectly when the camera can able to be triggered and can grab the perfect timing will be very much different. So at that time, the signal will be sent to a particular extent and one can able to choose the right camera module.

 

Conclusion

From the above discussion, the USB camera module has overall functions and assembles with an automatic zoom module. The fixed focus of the USB camera module has a lens, mirror base, photosensitive integrated circuit, and so on. Users must find the difference between USB and MIPI camera modules. 

A customized camera module is more suitable for the development of new applications. Because the customized camera module can be build base on the specified requirements. From the development trend of the camera we can learn:Firstly, higher pixel (13 million, 16 million), high-quality image sensor (CMOS), high transmission speed (USB2.0, USB3.0, and other fast interfaces) camera will be the future trend; Secondly customization and specialization (only used as a professional video input device), multi-functional (with other functions, such as the accompanying flash drive, the trend toward digital cameras, it is also conceivable that the camera can have the function of a scanner in the future), etc. Thirdly, user experience is crucial, more user-friendly, easier to use, and more practical application functions are the real needs of customers.