small, precise, smart… in motion

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M3-FS and M3-F Focus Modules

Tiny, precision focus modules enable smaller instruments

M3-FS focus modules add high-resolution lens motion, with excellent dynamic stability, to the smallest embedded optical systems in handheld and portable instruments. Each module is a complete closed-loop motion solution - including embedded controller - and requires no more space than a typical fixed lens mount. Very low power is needed to move the lens and zero power is needed to hold the lens in any position, making the M3-FS ideal for battery-powered devices.



Improve performance of high-resolution cameras in miniaturized systems including handheld, portable and mobile instruments.  Applications include in-vitro diagnostics, robotic inspection, miniature microscopes, surveillance, remote sensing,  biometric identification,  imaging arrays, process control, machine vision,  guidance, targeting and UAVs.

All-in-one module, simple integration  

All M3 smart modules have embedded closed-loop control. No external control board is needed. They take simple high-level motion commands directly from the camera processor, making system integration fast, simple and cost-effective.

Precise lens position control (0.5 µm resolution) and best-in-class bi-directional repeatability enable you to capture the sharpest images in the shortest time. Designed for long life with high performance, M3 modules are not susceptible to temperature or power variations.

New aluminum construction with ball bearings for improved dynamic stability and precision

The new M3-FS focus module is a drop-in replacement for the original M3-F focus module. The aluminum structure and innovative ball bearing guide mechanism deliver a 3x improvement in tilt and accuracy. The new M3-FS features superior dynamic stability, minimizing pixel shift with changing camera orientation. This makes it ideal for miniature handheld, portable and mobile systems. Maximum lens diameter is M16.

The original M3-F focus module, with molded polymer construction and a pin-bushing guide, remains an economical choice for lower precision requirements or fixed camera positions. Maximum lens diameter is M12. 

Developer's Kits

The developer's kit includes an M3-FS or M3-F focus module that you can control from your PC using our New Scale Pathway™ Software. This provides a simple and powerful platform for easy evaluation of the module as well as for your system development. You can interface directly to the module via its serial interface for prototyping. 

The M3 modules in the developer's kits can accept a broad range of lenses and accommodate image sensors up to 17 x 17 mm including 1/2" and 1/1.8" formats.  (The lens and image sensor are NOT included in the kit.) For lens recommendations and guidelines for determining your image sensor and lens compatibility, please read the design note “Checking Optical and Imager Geometry”. 


Download data sheet with drawings (183K PDF)

Download CAD files and programming guide (registration required)

Model Original M3-F New M3-FS
Lens type (lens not included) M12x0.5mm
Accepts smaller lenses (to M8x0.35) with adapter by special order
Accepts M12x0.5mm with standard adapter. Other sizes by special order
Lens weight (note 1) < 5 grams < 5 grams (all orientations)
Travel range up to 1.5 mm up to 1.5 mm
Housing dimensions 20 x 22 x 16 mm
including controller
20 x 23 x 16 mm
including controller
Max image sensor area 
(image sensor not included)
17 x 17 mm 
(see drawing)
17 x 17 mm 
(see drawing)
Max. speed 5 mm/s 5 mm/s
Resolution 0.5 μm 0.5 μm
Repeatability Uni-directional: +/- 8 μm 
Bi-directional: +/- 20 μm
Uni-directional: +/- 2.5 μm 
Bi-directional: +/- 5 μm
Linear accuracy +/- 30 μm +/- 12 μm
Static tilt <  +/- 1 degree <  +/- 0.7 degree
Dynamic tilt <  +/- 0.15 degree <  +/- 0.05 degree
Static concentricity <  +/- 0.25 mm <  +/- 0.25 mm
Dynamic concentricity <  +/- 0.02 mm <  +/- 0.002 mm typical
Digital interface I2C or SPI I2C or SPI
Input voltage  3.1 to 3.6 VDC  3.1 to 3.6 VDC
Input power (note 2) < 1 Watt (5mm/s with 5g mass)
< 0.13 Watts quiescent
< 1 Watt (5mm/s with 5g mass)
< 0.13 Watts quiescent
Temperature and humidity (note 3) 5°C to 70°C (lower possible)  
<70% relative humidity non-condensing
5°C to 70°C (lower possible)  
<70% relative humidity non-condensing
Lifetime(note 4) >2 million cycles (fixed orientation) or 500,000 cycles (random orientation) >10 million random moves while not exceeding 1.2 km total travel (See note 4)
Weight of module (without lens) 5.8 grams 8 grams
Compliance CE, RoHS CE, RoHS
Control interface Via USB adapter from PC, 
or directly via I2C or SPI 
Via USB adapter from PC, 
or directly via I2C or SPI 
Controller embedded embedded

Note 1: Fixed orientation may allow for heavier lens operation. Please consult the factory.
Note 2: Power depends on input voltage, speed & load.
Note 3: Consult the factory for lower temperature requirements.
Note 4: M3-FS specification corresponds to 10 million moves with average random move of 120 µm. Lifetime depends on application and use case. Please consult factory to discuss your specific system design.


Ordering Information

New M3-FS high-performance focus module



Buying options


New M3-FS Developer’s Kit including M3-FS-1.8-1.5-M16 focus module with ball bearing guide. USB adapter, M16 to M12 lens adapter, cables, instructions and New Scale Pathway™ software. (lens not included)

Watch the video (3:36)

Buy online (via ams)
 - Digi-Key
 - Mouser

Find a local rep
 - See listing


New M3-FS Smart Focus Module with ball bearing guide
For M16x1 threaded lens (lens not included)

Contact us


New M3-FS Smart Focus Module with ball bearing guide
With adapter for M12x0.5 threaded lens (lens not included)

Contact us

Kit, M3-FS-M16 to M12 adapter

Converts M16x1 threaded bore to M12x0.5

Contact us

Contact us for custom or high-volume requirements.


Original M3-F focus module

Model Description Buying options
DK-M3F-1.8-TRK-1.5-S Original M3-F Developer's kit includes M3-F module with pin-bushing guide, USB adapter (SPI), cables, instructions and New Scale Pathway software. (lens not included)

Buy online (via ams)
 - Digi-Key
 - Mouser

Find a local rep
 - See listing

M3-F Original M3-F Smart Focus Module with pin-bushing guide
For M12x0.5 threaded lens (lens not included)
Contact us

 Contact us for custom or high-volume requirements.



No external controller is needed. M3 modules accept simple high-level motion commands directly from the camera processor, making system integration fast, simple and cost-effective. The application note M3 focus modules in camera system design describes the use of the M3-FS and M3-F module in camera systems. It includes module details, comparison to other focus techniques, block diagrams and integration information, and discussion of bi-directional vs. uni-directional repeatability and other performance considerations.

Lens installation and alignment

Install your lens using the threaded inside diameter of the M3 module. The M3-FS accepts a maximum M16 diameter lens, or an M12 lenses with a standard adapter. Smaller lenses may be feasible depending on the optical design. The M3-F accepts a maximum M12 lens directly.  

For typical camera integration, “active alignment” is required to align the optical centerline of the lens orthogonal to the image sensor by moving the M3 module and lens as a single assembly.

After alignment, the base of the module is typically secured to the image sensor board using shims, adhesive and screws.  The lens back focal distance is then set by rotating the lens in the threads and securing it with a small amount of adhesive in the threads.

Customize your M3-F module

We can quickly create customized focus modules to meet your exact OEM specifications including longer travel, custom lens interface, mounting requirements and unique environmental considerations. Send us your specifications for a customized M3 focus module.

You may also consider our other imaging solutions including UTAF modules for phone camera applications, and our custom system development capabilities.

Or contact us today to discuss your focus requirements.