Blog  /  PCB Camera- Board Camera Features and Specs

PCB Camera- Board Camera Features and Specs

A PCB Camera/ board camera is a popular electronic component, thanks to its simplicity and versatility. Also, it's a small footprint camera that you'll find on almost every cell phone and surveillance system. So what are some of the key features and capabilities of board cameras? Our article will explore all these areas at length while expounding further on its applications on cellular phones and optical recording devices.

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What is PCB Cameras?


Recording a Video on a mobile phone camera.

Recording a video on a mobile phone camera.

PCB cameras are digital cameras renowned for the following features:

  1. The camera's optical recording devices, such as image sensors, lens, and aperture, are mounted on a circuit board via a conventional I/O.
  2. Also, they adopt a space-saving design with their lens diameter measuring 1/3"
  3. Furthermore, although they don't have a specified function, they still have the functionalities of the typical video cameras.
  4. Fourthly, they lack analog controls. Thus the control of the camera's recording options is via the PCB I/O.
  5. Besides, you can enable their display functions via the PCB's I/O, usually through a handheld monitor.
  6. Lastly, they can function as a vision system if you connect them to a programmable logic controller.

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PCB Camera Quality




Camera Lens

Camera Lens


It is the quality of a camera's lens that fundamentally influences its image capture quality. Also, note that, as earlier asserted, PCB cameras are relatively small in stature. Hence, they feature simple pinhole designs and also use selective lens types. Let's explore each in detail.


  1. C and CS


They are the most uncommon lens in board cameras. Also, you require TPI threads to mount them on the PCB camera. Also, they sport flange-back distances of 12.5 millimeters and 17.5 millimeters and a diameter of one since. Therefore, you require an accompanying adapter/ connector to use these focal points.


  1. Pinhole cameras


A conventional pinhole camera

A conventional pinhole camera


Often, pinhole cameras lack a lens. Also, they are not easy to detect, thus making them ideal for surveillance applications.

Besides, the light will enter via the aperture to an image sensor in such cameras. Nonetheless, note that if the apertures are small, they give a sharp but relatively dimmer image. Lastly, you'll find CCD picture sensors in most of these cameras.

  1. Sized camera lenses

They are responsible for defining the image sensor's angle of focus. Note, the smaller the lenses, the wider the angle.

Some of the available sizes you'll encounter include the following:

Sensor Size Field of View
2.1 millimeters 150 degrees
2.8 millimeters 115 degrees
3.6 millimeters 92 degrees
6.0 millimeters 53 degrees
16 millimeters 20 degrees



A Professional Camera

A Professional Camera


Board cameras have a relatively poor resolution as compared to other superior camera types. Mobile devices with sophisticated board cameras will have a 700 TVL horizontal resolution which is quite outstanding.

Nonetheless, most mobile devices will have cameras with a 380 to 480 TVL, which is still quite significant.


Frame Rate


Most PCB cameras sport 30 frames per second frame rate, similar to television displays. Also, owing to the board camera's relatively small size, it's uncommon to find a 100 frames per second frame rate, but some exist.

Nonetheless, this deficiency doesn't count much as most board cameras are not valuable for motion analysis applications. Such uses usually demand outrageously high frame rates.


Shutter Speed/Exposure


An Illustration of a Camera Shutter

An Illustration of a Camera Shutter


Board cameras have digital image sensors. Hence they lack a photogenic film kind of shutter. Instead, they have an electronic shutter that is handy in enabling a unified picture recording.

Also noteworthy, pinhole cameras feature a preassigned exposure rate. Primarily, this is because you cannot alter their aperture. Nonetheless,  board cameras use the auto exposure feature.




The quality of a picture taken in a low-light scenario is the primary measure of a camera's sensitivity. Also called illuminance, the SI unit for sensitivity is Lux. Black and white PCB cameras are often relatively more sensitive than color board cameras.

Also, monochrome board cameras are sensitive to as low as .0003 lux levels, thus making them ideal for surveillance operations.


Video Output


A Video Camera Lens

A Video Camera Lens


A 75 Ohms composite output is often the standard video feed for almost all PCB cameras. Nonetheless, there are other outputs besides this. Also, there are board cameras capable of transmitting wireless feeds.




A Security Camera

A Security Camera


Camera Mounting: A PCB camera has a small form factor, and you can also mount it directly to any PCB. Thus, it presents you with a plethora of mounting options.

The following are some of the specifications for most video board cameras:




Saturation is common when a camera's sensor detects more light than its pixel's capability for electron emission. Consequently, the additional charge affects the adjacent pixels, thus inducing bright spots on the image.

This condition is called blooming. Some cameras have an anti-blooming control enabled by applying an anti-blooming gate. Nonetheless, anti-blooming lowers the sensitivity levels.




Most cameras also have an acrylic or polycarbonate protective dome to enhance accurate image capture.


Outdoor Rated


PCB outdoor cameras can withstand an extensive range of weather conditions.


Progressive Scan


It's a CCD design that allows simultaneous odd and even field acquisition. With progressive scan, high resolution is enabled without necessitating a mechanical shutter.


Gain Control


The automatic gain control (AGC) improves the video signals under low-light conditions via an electronic circuitry system. Nonetheless, the feature causes graininess and noise. Thus, you can turn it off when not in use.


Machine Vision Sensors


Wall-mounted Surveillance Cameras

Wall-mounted Surveillance Cameras

They are usually in smart cameras and have a link to a computer for control through USB, Ethernet connection, and FireWire.




The property is imperative in bringing distant objects to close contact. Often, digital zooms guarantee less resolution than optical zooms.




Some typical applications of PCB cameras include:

  1. In direct imaging applications.
  2. Also useful in incorporating video cameras into other devices.
  3. Thirdly, they are valuable in hidden camera applications and surveillance uses.
  4. Finally, they are common in cellular phones and common mobile devices.




An enormous number of the current imaging solutions rely on PCB cameras, as we’ve found out. Also, as we've elucidated, they have a small form factor and are easy to incorporate into other devices. That's all on this component but if you've got further queries, talk to us anytime.

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