I'm looking an an electronic 'build it' style project using this camera:

MT9T112 MI-SOC3132 3.1Mp HD CMOS Camera Module /w Adapter Board

I'm a little confused about whether I need a lens and where I would even buy a lens for a camera this small. I understand 'do I need a lens' is basically going to be answered with 'it depends what you want to see' so let me add a little more detail.

I'm looking to get sharp images of the sky at night; stars the moon etc. but I would also like to use the same camera for other projects in the future, so I would probably need to be able to take images of closer things, anything from a few inches to a foot or so.

  • 1
    A camera without a lens is a pinhole camera. Pretty much anything more sophisticated than that and you need a lens of some kind. – a CVn Oct 20 '15 at 19:24
  • @MichaelKjörling that's right, and a lens can be used in a fairly broad sense, eg a telescope could act as a lens, as per @DrMoishe's answer below – laurencemadill Oct 21 '15 at 15:07

It appears that this "camera module" does not have a lens (though from the illustration it seems to have an IR-blocking filter). There are lenses for the module on the same page, though they do not appear to have diaphragm, mechanical shutter or electronic focus mechanism.

The Micron spec sheet indicates that it would be feasible for the module to control a lens with electronic focus mechanism. However, if your interest is astrophotography, the lens can be manually set to infinity.

With the f 2.8 lens, this module should easily take pictures of the moon with the 0.44 V/lux responsivity, but that might be a bit short of the responsivity needed to capture faint nebulae or dim stars. However, you might skip using a lens and simply place the module at the focal plane of an inexpensive reflecting telescope. You'll need a clock drive, too, unless you just want to capture star trails or the moon.

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