Xiaomi Yi Camera is great value and produces some pretty decent image. However many units have focus problems, probably due to poor quality control. It’s not the end of the world and it’s fixable.
Check out our article on how to select an HD camera for racing drones.
This weekend I spent sometime to adjust my xiaomi yi camera lens focus. There are many ways of doing it, one of the popular ways is to plug the camera into a monitor or TV with a HDMI cable, and as you adjust the lens you can see how sharp the image is getting, so you know when to stop.
However for those who don’t have a HDMI cable, here is how I do it. You can take several high resolution pictures, each time with the lens rotated to a different position.
Check out this video for the original off-focus image, everything just look a bit blurry. Also how it looks like when the lens is adjusted.
Fixing Xiaomi Yi Camera Focus issue
I learnt this way from Shay A. on Multicopter International Group, I also found it’s more accurate, as you can really zoom in and check the detail of the image, even if your monitor is low resolution.
Here is how i did it:
- I took the front panel off (you can do it with your nails or anything sharp, but be very careful not to damage the plastic lockers), then I marked the 12:00 of the lens with a pencil (on top of the plastic), so I remember the original position of the lens, and use it as a reference point.
- There is hot glue on the side of the lens to stop it from moving, so you need to remove it first with a knife or something. The hot glues are located at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00.
- I cut a small piece of cardboard, and a half circle at one end of the card, similar size to the lens, and stick it to the lens.
- i Taped the card to the camera, so it doesn’t move. I marked 14 positions on the cardboard, around the lens, 7 being the middle and original position.
- I then went outside and took one full resolution picture at each of the marked positions.
- I compared all the pics and chose the 4 pictures with best focus.
- Finally I zoomed into all 4 pictures, to compare the detail, and pick one that performed the best.
Here are the first 12 pictures (last 2 positions performed really poor anyway, so not showing them), they are in numeric order, from left to right, top to bottom.
And I found position 4, 5 6, and 7 (default position, bottom right pic) were the best, so I zoomed in a bit more and check.
It’s surprising how bad the focus was with the preset lens position (bottom right), and how much better it became with just a little adjustment. Image produced at Position 5 looks really sharp, so I went for that one, and put the front panel back on.
I didn’t hot glue on the lens, I personally think it should be fine without.
Alternative way of adjusting focus
Thanks for EngineerX who shared a different way of Adjusting focus. You can also use a focus pattern placed at about 5m distance, which can be downloaded from www.ifpv.co.uk/focus_pattern.pdf
Some cameras have really bad audio. The problem is the rubber sleeve that helps secure the microphone in place. It’s very soft so when inserted into the camera frame, it shifts and covers the mic so audio pick up is terrible. You gotta remove 4 screws, remove case and get mic out, cut larger hole (longways from edge to edge) on sleeve and reinsert with larger slit-hole pointing in direction that it’s inserted, not sideways. That way if rubber sleeve still moves it won’t cover the mic opening. This is not a magic fix, the mic/audio is horrible in the Xiaomi, this only improves it if the rubber is covering it.
There’s a picture of the mic fix at end of video www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOQ5BqO54rQ
It worked and it’s so crispy now!
What kind of drone are you flying on this video? I am trying to find one that’s able to fly carrying a Xiaomi Yi without problem.
It’s just a 220mm size mini quad. For example this one I just built recently I mount a Xiaomi Yi on it as well.
This was an awesome way to refocus. In my opinion, better than using an HDMI cable and test pattern. My original focus point was at “8”, it was the sharpest at “7”, further into infinity(CW turn) than factory. Thanks for this write up.
my Yi always gets out of focus. I’m adjusting it everytime but after I put it in my bag and use it again, then it will get out of focus again. I don’t know how to fix it. Can you guys help me please??
put some hot glue to secure the lens maybe?
HI Oscar i just recived my xiaomi yi yesterday. my problem is when i want to play the video after i downloaded it from yi action app , it wont let me to view it. .it will say unsupported file or play audio only . how to fix it? please help me
Just received my Xiaomi Yi today Z23L model. I took it out and did a 1080P30fps movie, and about a dozen 12mp (16 x 9) pictures. Couldn’t tell much in the movie, but in the pictures, the Left side seemed to be in focus, while the Right side seemed way out of focus. Is the camera defective, or will trying the focus fix solve this problem? Thanks.
send your picture to the shop see what they say. Of course you can try my method of fixing lens focus but it will void your warranty.
I have just started to change the focus of my Xiaomi Yi. Probably not for the same reason as most of the people that try so, because I actually want to see if I can do macro photography with the Yi, and eventually replace the lens with some 35mm equivalent. The answer is yes, focussing on a subject one centimeter away with a wide angle lens was awesome ;) I am using a HDMI cable, so that is easier :)
Practical tip. I had many issues with removing the glue. I attempted acetone, soldering iron, didn’t work out for me. Then what started to work was cutting on the border of the hard plastic and the glue to make a straight line. With a little effort of a stanley sawing through the glue I managed to get a small space. This was enough to put a tiny screw drive in and get a bigger piece off. When two pieces are removed I was able to rotate the lens a bit.
By suggestion is if you are able to rotate it just get yourself more working space… turn turn turn so you can remove the other glue pieces entirely and then start to toy around.
hehe… macro photogrphy! interesting, have you have any videos of your work?
Thank you so much for this tuto again!
Worked perfectly and I had to move 2 steps clockwise to obtain a sharp pattern!. That’s huge
Hehe could’ve used this two weeks back! MY method was a bit more tedious.
It is a great camera for the money once you adjusted it though.
Adjusting focus by the picture method will get best results. You can also use a focus pattern placed at about 5m distance
If you don’t have the patience and want to do it faster and have a HDMI to mini-HDMI cable to view camera output on your TV, you can use this method (but it’s not as accurate as taking pics)
Battery draining after a couple of days even after full charge? First batch cameras suffer from this. The fix is not that difficult. Insert a small strip of shrink tubing or paper thin plastic.
Audio. Some cameras have really bad audio. The problem is the rubber sleeve that helps secure the microphone in place. It’s very soft so when inserted into the camera frame, it shifts and covers the mic so audio pick up is terrible. You gotta remove 4 screws, remove case and get mic out, cut larger hole (longways from edge to edge) on sleeve and reinsert with larger slit-hole pointing in direction that it’s inserted, not sideways. That way if rubber sleeve still moves it won’t cover the mic opening. This is not a magic fix, the mic/audio is horrible in the Xiaomi, this only improves it if the rubber is covering it.
There’s a picture of the mic fix at end of video
i will try the method you mentioned!
EngineerX, how do you fix battery draining?
Check this out for focusing cameras, http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2516950