Raspberry PI Camera vs. NoIR: Which is the Ultimate Camera?

Raspberry PI boards make excellent cameras. So, people compare the two popular variants: the Raspberry PI camera vs. NoIR. 

But which option is better? This article will highlight the difference between standard and NoIR Raspberry PI cameras. 

Table of Contents

What’s a Raspberry PI Camera Module?

Camera module

Camera module

The Raspberry PI camera is not a standalone package. Instead, it’s an add-on module for most Raspberry PI boards. However, a custom CSI interface must connect the camera to the PI board successfully.

Thankfully, the Raspberry PI comes equipped with the needed interface. So you don’t need to purchase any extra components. But as we hinted earlier, you can buy two types of Raspberry PI cameras: the standard and NoIR models.

Further, the fundamental distinction between these variants is an IR filter. While the standard camera provides this feature to block infrared light, the NoIR model lacks this function. Why is this important? 

Keep reading to find out.

Raspberry PI Standard vs. NoIR Cameras: What’s the Difference?

IR filters are essential for different reasons. First, blocking or allowing infrared light relates directly to the camera’s quality.

In other words, the intensity of infrared light entering a camera’s lens affects the colors and image, creating a less-than-perfect effect. However, it’s not all bad, as cameras without the IR filter can capture fantastic night-time pictures.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at the differences between the standard and NoIR Raspberry PI cameras.

Image Quality

Since Raspberry PI NoIR cameras don’t have an IR filter, it produces a washed-out and poor-quality image during the day. Also, you may experience some image tearing with this model.

Regardless, you can capture some incredible shots with the NoIR camera during the day, but it’s nothing compared to its standard counterpart. 

The standard variant camera is the go-to option for clear and normal pictures. And the IR filter blocks the infrared light from affecting quality. Hence, it creates images with intact colors.

However, the tables turn at night as the standard Raspberry PI camera only produces grainy or black images without infrared lights. As a result, the NoIR variant becomes the superior option–but with a twist.

The Raspberry PI NoIR camera can’t capture images in the dark on its own entirely. So, you’ll need an IR illuminator to create high-quality photos, especially in pitch-black conditions.

Nevertheless, the NoIR camera still offers incredible visibility in low-light environments, even without an IR illuminator.


We’ve established that both cameras offer benefits for specific periods. Hence, the standard Raspberry PI camera is the go-to for webcam servers and time-lapse applications requiring high image quality.

On the other hand, the NoIR’s primary application is for night filming or photos. Also, you can do creative photography or monitor the health of green plants with the NoIR.

Further, you can build surveillance systems and engage in nightlife watching with the Raspberry PI NoIR camera.

Can You Use Both Raspberry PI Cameras Interchangeably?

In truth, you can use some tricks to use these cameras interchangeably. For instance, since the NoIR camera only lacks an IR filter, you can buy an add-on IR-cut filter, allowing the device to work in daylight. 

Also, you can opt for IR filter switches to swap between daytime and nighttime use. What’s more? You can use this same trick with the standard model, but it’s easier to pull off with the NoIR camera.

Is an IR Illuminator Necessary for the NoIR Camera?

IR illuminators are devices that produce light on the infrared spectrum. Although invisible to the naked eye, the IR illuminator light is like a torch for night vision cameras.

Truly, the NoIR camera needs minimal infrared or ambient light to capture images. But most units can work with faint starlight or moonlight. However, if you have zero visible light at night, an IR illuminator will be handy. 

Final Words

Overall, the best option depends on your preference. The standard camera is your go-to for daytime capturing and any application that depends on high-quality shoots.

But NoIR is perfect for nighttime applications, offering impressive images in low-light conditions.

Do you have more questions on this topic? Please, feel free to reach us.