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Upgrading Camera

I am developing a drone that is capable of autonomously tracking and following a target drone. I have purchased a CMUcam5 to be mounted on the drone as the key component in the data gathering for the tracking process.

The CMUcam5 is to identify a brightly colored and 130mm target drone. I haven’t begun flying yet, however, I have begun interfacing with the CMUcam5. My biggest current concern is if the target drone goes out of focus, and the CMUcam5 is unable to locate the target drone. This poses a major controls concern.

The chance of this can presumably be partially mitigated with the acquisition of a better lens. Deeper depth of field (higher F-stop) and perhaps larger focal length.

The following post lists the subsequent specs (All points other than F-stop are also found in the FAQ for the Amazon listing
: http://www.cmucam.org/boards/8/topics/4279

  • M12
  • 2.8mm focal length
  • f2.0
  • 1/4" sensor

The post also claims that : “Everything at 3 inches and further from the lens is in focus, although you can focus on closer objects by adjusting the focus”.

How can that possibly be the case with an f-stop of 2.0? Focus doesn’t seem awful with at present, but even with bright green objects I wouldn’t trust the object tracking capabilities from more than 20 or more feet away, but I figured getting an F2.8ish lens should give the CMUcam5 the ability to parse and track from an extra 20 or so feet. Upgrading the lens is well within the budget, however given I will likely need to add an IR cut filter myself, it’s not something I want to do for no reason XD.

Lastly, I can’t seem to pin down whether a ‘Mega Pixel Lens’ as found at m12lenses.com would work with the CMUcam5. Does anybody have experience with this? I can’t understand why they have the distinction between these lenses and the other board lenses.

Hello Oliver,
Regarding the f number and focus, bear in mind that this is a small-sensor camera. The sensor is 1/4" on the diagonal. It is true that all objects farther than 3 inches are in focus, so the depth of field is fairly huge with the lens that comes with Pixy.

Anyhow, it sounds like you want a narrower field of view so you can track objects that are farther away, yes?

There have been discussions on this board of longer focal length lenses. The IR cut filter is needed if you want good color response.

Hope this helps!


hey Oliver,
I am working on a similar project of yours, And I would like to know what is the last updates u had ?!