Camera board – first demo of the final hardware!

Pete Wood at RS sent me this video yesterday. He’s been at Electronica 2012 in Germany with Rob Bishop, where RS have been demoing the Raspberry Pi (the large wall-slapping game you can see being played in the video is driven by a Pi) and, most interestingly for you guys, the camera board.

The camera has a 5 megapixel sensor, and can record 1080p H.264 video at 30 frames per second. This board will plug into the currently unused CSI pins on the Pi, using I²C for control. We’re also working on a display board, which will come to market after the camera board.

Pete has, in the tradition of makers and hackers everywhere, employed sellotape and what appears to be a broom handle in his demo. We’ll be making a little mount for the production camera, so sellotape will not be necessary. Broom handles, however, are almost always useful for something or other.

This camera board is a prototype of the production model; we’ve a (very) little way to go before we’re able to send it out to manufacture. We’ve got some testing chamber time booked in December; we need to be sure that that big ribbon cable doesn’t emit any forbidden electromagnetic radiation. We’re hoping to get these ready for sale in the new year, all being well at a price of $25. Keep watching this space!

Do you have plans for the camera add-on? Let us know what they are in the comments.


Dave Akerman avatar

Yes, I have a plan :-). It doesn’t involve sellotape or a broom stick, but may involve duct tape, balsa wood and foam polystyrene :)

liz avatar

I have a funny feeling I know what that plan is…

JamesH avatar

I think I saw that CSI episode.

Roger Taylor avatar

I’ve built an auto cat feeder:

I just need a camera to make sure he’s eating his dinner! This will then email a date stamped photo to tell me everything is ok. It’s all “done before type stuff” but I just thought I’d share :)


liz avatar

Mooncake (the Raspberry Pi cat) also has a robot that feeds her; it’s a production thing from the petshop that predates Raspberry Pi and is there because she’s a manipulative little monster who can make humans overfeed her just by looking soulfully at them. This way we know she’s getting the right amount and isn’t *really* starving to death.

Wombat avatar

Liz, over feeding the cat stops her from eating those mouses on your desk.

Jez avatar

Predates as in eats?!

jason avatar

that’s how I read it – robots eating raspi’s

XTL avatar

I take it you don’t have two, one of which will eat for two if not watched and another which will eat for two faster and then go raid the other one’s bowl for more. I’ve been planning a robot, but I’m not sure how to make balancing happen.

MattPurland avatar

I hate to be the one to ask this, but is there any chance of some information regarding the up-and-coming display board? Eg. screen size? Cheers!

roland684 avatar

As we’re now asking for question we already know the answer to, could you also ask for the release date of the model A?

But in regards to the current newspost, I’d be more interested in the specifics of the camera.
Is it something constructed specifically for the Pi? Or will (some) standard CSI camera’s work too? What are our chances of getting a CSI camera salvaged from a mobile phone to work on the Pi?
1080p, 30fps h264 is awesome for video recording, but not much else. You won’t be able to do live face recognition of the person ringing your doorbell on a 10 Mbit H264 stream. What is the CPU load while recording 1080P? What else can it do? Can it take 5MP stills? How sensitive is it, can it do night vision? Could we do (in software) live motion detection on a 320×240 image and when motion is detected switch to 1080p recording before the burglar has left? Can it capture images while recording h264 or are we sort of blind while recording? Is a video overlay possible? It would be nice to be able to stream live video from camera to HDMI output and be able to draw a user interface on top of the video. You know, draw a square around the faces it detected like modern photo camera’s do.

Given the price I expect it to be a CMOS chip, not a CCD chip, although the foundation has surprised us before with great value for money hardware. How bad is the video wobble / rolling shutter effect?
I can’t wait to see some sample videos

JamesH avatar

The PCB has a connector on it specific to the camera, so you won’t be able to change it – also the driver on the GPU is specific to the camera.

Not sure what you are saying about face recognition. You have a compressed video stream (up to 25Mbit/s,perhaps 30) – do with it what you want. CPU load will be pretty low, just handling the data transfer as all encoding and camera handling is on the GPU. It can take 5MP stills, spec as follows:

OmniVision OV5647
720p/60 and 1080p/30 video
1.4 micron pixels, backside-illuminated
8/10 bit raw RGB data output
active array size: 2592 x 1944
image area: 3.6736 x 2.7384 mm
lens size: 1/4″

The Videocore GPU itself can capture a full frame during video record but usually you drop one or more frames, however, this particular sensor may not support it. Video overlay of preview is possible – used all the time in camera phones – check out the spec of the Nokia N8 or 808 for information on what the GPU can actually do. Face detection is possible, but may need a licence.

As to the rest of your questions – who knows?

Problemchild avatar

Out of interest will the Driver be a binary blob or will you be able to get the source code. Just wondering here since a lot of the GPU stuff is/was NDA’d ?

JamesH avatar

It’s on the GPU, so part of the blob.

Problemchild avatar

I suppose it’s a bit early but are you going to be releasing a new blob or new blob with new distro attached Raspian or what ever.
Obviously that would require prior release to distro maintainers!?!

Hiro avatar

Not very knowledgeable about video encoding and wondered what size video stream 1080 video is. What i am getting at is, do you think the Pi might be able to write a 1080 video stream to an external USB HD in real time?

dom avatar


JamesO avatar

Most Image Processing techniques use an uncompressed stream as their input. So, reading JamesH’s notes, it seems two options will be available:
i) decompress the H.264 stream and process this
ii) repeatedly request still images – who knows what rate that would be available, perhaps slightly faster in a lower resolution. Assuming said still images are uncompressed
(then there is iii) do the image processing in the compressed domain)

Spongman avatar

Yeah, will it be possible to get to the raw frames before compression so we can do our own processing on them (scaling, quantization, edge detection, etc…) preferably on the gpu?

Heh avatar

Seems the same manufacturer makes several 5MPx sensors. Any chance the driver works with the other sensors made by same company?

There are several to choose from in the 5MPx category and some of them have double the pixel area-> better low light images.

Hiro avatar

Cheers for that info Dom. That means another addition to my already overloaded Xmas wish list!

roland684 avatar

“The PCB has a connector on it specific to the camera, so you won’t be able to change it”
But CSI is a standard. I don’t know how much the standard says about the connector, but I would expect any CSI compatible camera with the same connector to work to some extend, just as with USB (which also has different connectors). The electrical connection
and protocols are part of the standard, although that might only get you to identify the connected device in the same way as that an usb host will always be able to identify a connected usb device, which doesn’t mean it knows what to do with it next. For CSI I would expect some basics to be standard, like capturing a still image, others to require specific knowledge of the device (a driver).

On the subject of face recognition: I don’t expect I can recognize faces (or some other image processing), paste clown faces over them (or some other image manipulation) and have that as the h264 live stream, can I? It would be great though and in principle the Pi hardware is capable to do the job, the question is how much does the binary software blob allow us to do?
Face recognition on the h264 video would be silly. It would require decoding of the stream, while the video already was raw before encoding. The question is. Can we do anything on the video image before it is encoded?

If I would compare it to a mobile phone, it would be rather disappointing. Yes, a phone can capture h264 video, and on the display it can over overlay a ui, but I don’t know of any phone who can encode that ui into the stream. And indeed, why would you on a phone?

But on the Pi I might want to encode the UI into a h264 live stream. I doubt it’s the camera that does the actual video encoding, so if the broadcom chip can encode raw video from the camera, it could encode the hdmi-output into h264 video just as well. (again, if the binary software blob allows us to) This would enable us to see the video output over a network connection as a remote desktop, or to give a live powerpoint presentation over the internet and all other kinds of fun/unexpected things a mobile phone would never need.

JamesH avatar

I’m afraid CSI JUST specifies the electrical connections and some low level signal stuff. No protocol, no connectors. So all camera are different in some way. There is a protocol definition used by Nokia and some others, called SMIA, but even that doesn’t do a great job. Different modules implement in enough different ways to make it ALMOST work, but not quite.

No you cannot do anything on the camera image prior to encode – the captures and encode takes place on the GPU, with no Arm interference. There is face detection code but that might need a licence – but that just puts a box around the face – doesn’t recognise.

You can superimpose a bitmap/draw over the top of the stream, certainly from the GPU. Not sure how from the Arm, but pretty sure could be done with a bit of code somewhere.

Hope that helps.

jay avatar

Does 1/4″ lens size come with the standard M12 thread?

And will smaller video formats be catered for?
720p/60fps is great, but how about qqvga, qvga, svga and vga?

To process the images in real-time, smaller formats are useful.

JamesH avatar

No, there is no threaded lens, its a standard camera phone module.

Yes, you will be able to use smaller video at higher frame rates.

Dave avatar

What are you expecting from this? A hardware plug-in that will do all the work for you? Or maybe a Charge Coupled Device that isn’t a CCD and just CMOS?

Zack avatar

Would be nice to know what screen res and size you guys are aiming for.

Ashley Basil avatar

Got to get one for Mooncakes floor waxer.

liz avatar


Jan Dübbers avatar

Oooh, I’d like to try some image processing experiments with the RPi… I wonder if its processing power will be enough… :-)

Rob Bishop avatar

Hey – that’s no broom handle! It’s a masterpiece of English design and Bravarian engineering!

We used an extending monopod with a standard camera mount for the boom and then drilled/tapped a mounting hole in the Raspberry Pi case. The camera module itself was then attached to the case using sellotape with a slit cut into the case to allow the ribbon cable to reach the Pi.

The whole rig was built in about an hour at 8pm the night before Electronica opened hence the fact it looks like something from Scrapheap Challenge…

liz avatar

Oh, a BOOM handle. I see. :P

KlaasH avatar

Ah a MacGyver approach!

Andre avatar

I’ll be adding the cam to a RasPi that acts as an climate controller for greenhouse applications.
So I can not only monitor and controll lights, fans, heating etc. on the go via smartphone/tablet/notebook + webinterface, but also take an actual look, to SEE if everything is alright.
Unfortunately thats all still theory. If only I had more time. Or money-without-a-job. Lack of spare time is actually my No.1 reason for not doing more with the Pi. But the forum will be of great help and speed things up, I guess.

Later I might also build a WiFi indoor surveillance cam for my flat (no, I don’t own a tinfoil hat). But I guess I’ll skip the night vision infrared LEDs, the motors for swiveling and the microphone+speaker. At least in the first version. Movement detection that triggers recording and alarm mails would be nice though.

It would also be useful as a “doorbell cam” to see who’s at the door via TV or smartphone/tablet/notebook. But I don’t know where to put (read: hide) it, and how to connect it to a raspi on the other side of the door. I wouldn’t want to put the cam AND a raspi visibly in the hallway and then also connect it to a (non-existing?) power outlet there. It’s a rented flat, not my own house.

It would also be cool for a smartphone controlled toy car or even a quadcopter/drone like the Parrot AR.Drone. But I’d never design that myself. I’d only buy a complete DIY parts kit with step-by-step building instructions. Kickstarter project anyone?

Kevin avatar

Joined :) (has same goals)

Craig avatar

Wow, you are ambitious! Do you have a blog so I could follow your progress?
Loving the idea for a greenhouse monitor project, I hope you persevere with it!

Mikey Dee avatar

I want to send one of these to space :P

David Lang avatar

very seriously, I’m in the middle of specing out camera equipment for the liftport team. this isn’t quite sending it to space, but it is going to be going up a couple of miles.

Is there any possibility of having more than one camera and switching between them?

Gordon77 avatar

Autoguiding/image capture for a telescope

Dave avatar

Been thinking about guiding a telescope with a couple of steppers using the Pi.
Not sure you could attach the camera directly to the scope without ripping it’s lens off but sound idea and fairly straightforward.

Chris Mtichell avatar

Getting married in May 2014 and we want a photobooth. Not gonna rent one for £1k, so hoping the camera add-on will aid my development :-)
How big will the display screen be?

Ravenous avatar

It’s just a camera, there won’t be a screen provided, if that’s what you mean.

Problemchild avatar

Excellent news Liz nice to see the final camera choice.
Do you have dimensions yet for cases etc?

liz avatar

Not yet – we may have to make changes after EM testing, so we’re not releasing dimensions until the board’s released.

Problemchild avatar

Problem here is of course that a long flexible connector is good for positioning but ho so very bad for the EMC and noise getting in on the cable . Roughly howlong is it now 5-6 cm max??

Gert van Loo avatar

151 mm.

Paul Jurczak avatar

Any chance of having a shorter length cable option for a compact enclosure with camera inside?

uday avatar

wow its really amazing to see a camera module for raspberry pi……..
when i heard about the raspberry pi i thought that i can replace my pc ( which i am using for image processing) now it is very happy to see this module working perfectly i am really really eager to get this module please please put it in market as fast as possible…………………

Rob V avatar

not as fast as possible. Do it right first time. If it takes a little longer so be it. Then forever and a day there will be only one camera

nightstar2012 avatar


Tnks for the “Dreams of Future Fun!”

PeteWood-RS avatar

All the best demo’s involve Duck Tape and shonky wiring… I like to call it the “Doc Brown approach” No Pi’s or Engineers were harmed in the making of this movie… :0) Thanks again for your help Rob

Adrian avatar

I want to use it as a security camera, but ai need a house for it. Also a flexible cable would be good for it.

juha avatar

Can it be used as ip-camera? In other words, can the video be forwarded to the ethernet and viewed in another network computer?

dom avatar

Yep. The software we provide will produce buffers of H264 video data on the ARM. It requires fairly little processing to stream that over a network, so should be straightforward.

CH avatar

Are we going to be able to switch to 720p/60?

I would rather have the higher speed than higher resolution, so that would be a nice ability.


CH avatar

Just to clarify my question, since the camera supports 720p/60 by binning 2X2 pixels, will the firmware allow us to do that?

dom avatar

There should be a crop/resize stage available, so you should be able to get arbitrary sizes out.

Santa77 avatar

which sensor will be used? can we see some datasheet with possibilities of that sensor? I am interested in implementation of AWB, backlight compensation, blacksun reduction, possibility o attach driven optics (autofocus, varifocal objective) and so…

CH avatar

As per JamesH previous comment, it is a OmniVision OV5647.

Searching for that, you can find the datasheet. I can’t post the link, but it was the first result in my search.

theuberchad avatar

This is the final step needed for my headset targeting system. Can’t wait for this camera to come out so I can get past the USB bottleneck and use that wonderful GPU. Any word if you can pre order?

liz avatar

Not yet, I’m afraid.

theuberchad avatar

No worries! I eagerly await when I can purchase, so close to having my project working. Already wearable just need better FPS and I will be golden. Thanks so much for the Pi love everything about them!

Dave avatar

This sounds great if not a little scary ;)

theuberchad avatar

If scared of nerf ammunition then yes, of course only meant for the purposes of good….ok office warfare ;)

Angel Genchev avatar

Not so sure the USB is a bottleneck, since the video over usb is compressed by the onboard chip (inside the usb cam). They often use MJPEG (older used YUV for 320×240). The bitrate can reach ~10..20 mbps, which is bearable for the 400mbit/s usb. Sure the Pi Cam is better, but you get v.short cable len. If your CPU load is over 80%, then it`s the bottleneck. If you need to display the USB video in, Rpi needs to decompress it (usually in the USB cam drv., on cpu, slow) then to pass to the videocore via slow(no DMA?) framebuffer interface (no accel./OpenGL in raspbian).
If you need to stream USB video, the USB drv will decompress, then your streaming app will re-compress. It may utilize BCMvideocoreIV or not (more likely) which wil cause Rpi to choke.

theuberchad avatar

Wow! Thanks for the information! I am getting very high CPU usage when the program is running. That does give me a good direction to look at to optimize the code.

Angel Genchev avatar

Just for streaming usb cam -> Rpi -> ethernet, I`ve found that mjpg-streamer ( with certain cameras is able to re-pack the mjpeg stream without recompressing it, thus leaving the CPU free. Hope it helps.

Angel Genchev avatar

Forgot to mention: the downside is that w/o recompression, one won`t be able to utilize better compression scheme (like h.264) to save some network bandwidth. But someone might be able to patch mjpg-streamer to use the Rpi`s GPU to decompress/compress ….

Dave avatar

A really, really cheap HD video camera, Sony had better start sweating :)

Jay avatar

Axis will be sweating before Sony.

Helgi avatar

I’d love to know how it handles low light for a baby cam project…

Paul Freeman avatar

I’m planning to use it as a microscope eyepiece. I’ll need to remove the lens though, I think. That’s what I had to do on the old low res webcam I currently use. I’ll also try it in a telescope.

And I’ll buy another one or two and set them up as always-on garage-interior and garden watching cameras. Not for security, just for fun… That might mean I need to buy another couple of Pi’s though…

Simon Jacobs avatar

@ Paul Freeman
How did you go with the microscope?

Markus avatar

Well, i try to mount the cam on a telescope and take some pictures from other planets :-) To get high quality pics you have to take several pictures and combine them to one.

James avatar

What exactly will the “display board” do?

mahjongg avatar

Its what together with the optical system and the chip makes a camera module.

vasi avatar


Gert avatar

It allows the Pi to talk to a display using it’s DSI interface.
Most displays have LCD or LVDS interface. So the board will have a CSI to LVDS or CSI to LCD chip on it. Big issue: There is no standard connector for displays. We are still thinking about that as we can’t put a dozen plugs on it…

James avatar


Richard Kimber avatar

Can’t wait to get my hands on of these. I want to see if I can add it along with a Pi into a remote controlled buggy to do some proper wifi roaming. Rich

LKO avatar

I’ve been thinking of building up a couple gps-enabled, dash-cam type cameras for the car. The commercial setups are hundreds of dollars, but a little Raspberry Pi and some MacGuyvering puts this idea definitely in the small budget realm! Anyone have an idea what the degrees field-of-view is? Most cameras seem to be around 70 degrees. Actually, it doesn’t matter; it’s just the fact that $60 gets you a very workable, small camera-recorder. Take my money!!!!!!

jason how avatar

Thats the same thing I was thinking I really want a dashboard camera, but none of the solutions out there offer all the requirements I am looking for, good quality video + reliability + a little customization .. (GPS options etc)

bart avatar

Could it please have a mic?

James avatar

I am also interested in trying to add a good quality mic to the raspberry pi

Dave avatar

Just watched the video, nice but slightly worried about RS handling things.
I had to cancel my order for my RPi after a 6 week delay on top of a 3 month lead time. Went with Farnell instead and got it inside 2 weeks.

Are RS going to take our orders and our money (better in their pocket than ours eh?) and make us wait an age again? And stick £5 delivery on a package that costs under £2 through Royal Mail !!

I don’t know the business side of this stuff but I certainly know the consumer side and there must be a better and cheaper distributor, RS are ripping us off !!

psergiu avatar

Same worry here about RS handling the shipments.
I too canceled my long-due RS order and living in Eastern Europe i acually got way less money back than i gave RS in the 1st place due to the different conversion rates when buying and selling foreign currency (Price in UKP, RS conversion, my account got billed in EUR, bank conversion to local currency, then everything back at different rates)

Javier Coronel avatar

I want to create a portable prototype of a medical imaging device that I have designed.

awaaas avatar

Looks like the PCB is up to 2 cameras? or I have mistaken?

Gert avatar

One connector is a CSI (Camera Serial Interface) the other is for DSI (Display serial interface) So: No.

Jay Summet avatar

I would really like to use it as a security camera with ZoneMinder, I wonder if it will support pulling the IR filter so it can be used at night?

Anonymous avatar

Now if only icamsource worked on Linux.

Matthew avatar

I want this for surveillance. This would be a cheap and lightweight surveillance system. I don’t want to have my big and loud pc on to capture camera footage.

James avatar

I want to set some up to to time laps photography with an external hard drive and battery and/or solar power.

hoping to leave some hidden around as sort of time capsules to be discovered in the future and would like to try putting one in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean, as a sort of message in a bottle/time lapsed journey.

Rob Dunsford avatar

Great ideas James!

Patrick Keane avatar


Please, please, would it be possible to produce your camera with the possibibility of fixing a CS lens mount to it. There are CS mount lens holders available, see,
which can be used to convert the lens mount.

If the front of your camera can accomodate something like this, it would allow a choice of good quality lens to be fitted. This would allow easy use on telescopes, microscopes, cctv zoom lenses, wide angle etc. I would like to use it on my frame by frame 8mm cine film to digital transfer machine . Presently, I have a 50mm 1:1.8 lens on the end of two C/S extension tubes which fit onto the C/S mount of a VGA resolution cctv camera. The extensions are necessary to get the correct degree of magnification, It would be great to be able to transfer the old films into HD resolution!

keep up the excellent work!



Pensee avatar

+ 1000 it will amazing to know how to adapt lens to this particular cmos.
anway thank for the link Patrick.

Rune Henssel avatar

Will it be possible to program the camera to run at 120 or 240 fps? I know that highspeed comes at a cost of lower resolution but that is ok.

I need the highspeed to record the ignition and burn when we at Copenhagen Suborbitals tests our rocket engines.

liz avatar

You’ll be able to get a higher framerate, but it’ll come at the cost of lower resolution, as you say.

Rune Henssel avatar

Sounds good. What kind of resolution/fps combinations can we expect to see? 640×480@240fps would be very nice :-) and would fulfill our needs for a highspeed camera solution that we can use both for live streaming of our tests onto the net, and for scientific work with our engines.

Rik Stigter avatar

Oh yes! And not just me (I’m thinking of mounting a camera on a movable platform, not sure what platform yet. I can also think of several places where I could use it as a ‘security’ camera, for instance in stables for foaling. Normal IP-camera’s are pretty expensive for such use), I think I have several friends who want to use such a module on their octocopters. If you can meet the price mentioned, I think it will take off like nothing you’ve seen before.

Schnoog avatar

I`ll try to create a onboard camera system for my motorcycle.
The idea is to “record” the whole time into a loop, and if a trigger was set, dumping the videostream, starting 30 seconds before the switch was pressed out of the loop to SD card until the switch got used a second time (or the SD card is full).

Andy Armstrong avatar

Are there any examples of the encoded video available to download?

Gert avatar

Andy, although the BCM2835 supports various encoders the best one to use is the build-in H264 encoder. It will produce a highly compressed stream which still will have excellent quality.

Angel Genchev avatar

Is the H.264 compression configurable ?
E.t. set H.264 profile, level, number of ref.frames, consecutive b-frames, bitrate ?
If so, does one have feedback if the VideoCoreIV would be realtime-capable on the chosen settings or not ?

Eddy Wuytens avatar

I will buy one !

Nicolas Penin avatar

What would be insteresting to me would be to be able to scan bar codes using the camera to handle my stock of drinks and foods.

Marius avatar

I have a plan. I want to mate the RPI and camera to my Celestron telescope. Hopefully I will have control over shetter speed and frame rate. If need be, I will cool the camera using a suitable peltier cooler to reduce noise. I have already mated the RPI with a small 4” screen and with a dc-dc converter. This allows me to power the RPI and hopefully the camera from any DC source from 6 to 30 volt. Battery packs made up out of Lithuim cells recovered from old laptop batteries works fantastic.
Hopefully I will be able to do the image stacking in the RPI as well.

jason avatar

Absolutely brilliant. As most mobiles have a front and rear camera, could the raspi support two cameras? I’m thinking of two cameras and a 60/40 or 70/30 mirror to make a high dynamic range video camera or forget the mirror and make my own 3d movies.

Did someone say that half the board is for the display interface? Will that still be on the production board? If so will the software be able to handle one camera being inverted so that the cameras can be positioned at the right (ish) distance for 3D?

Would the software be able to incorporate audio (e.g. From a USB sound card) into the video stream? Would the software allow time stamps to be inserted to
Sauna with other videos or audio recordings?

How much power does the camera draw?

How many Smarties does it take to fill Wembley?

jason avatar

Due to my phone autocorrecting one word in that post I have to point out that I will not be videoing in saunas.
At least not until I make a steam proof case.
However, a clear sandwich box, some gaffer tape and hot glue – underwater camera

JC avatar

I’ll hook it on to my telescope

Edward avatar

I’m very interested in using 2+ RasPis with cameras as part of a motion tracking setup (think VICON, but vastly cheaper). Adding an optical bloking IR pass filter is a vital part of this, to make marker discrimination easier in noisy environments.
Is the camera module’s IR filter easily removable without significantly affecting the optics (the PS3eye for counterexample, has the filter glued in and removing it prevents the camera focusing correctly due to the filter being a chunky optical element)?
Less likely, is there a monochrome (non bayer patterned) version of the sensor that would be compatible with the camera board?

Kevin Groce avatar

I am working on taking some old cameras and converting the into digital cameras. Fun!

SesquiAR avatar

I definitely have a plan for this. I am going to capture myself playing let’s plays that I will then synchronize to the game footage. It’s beginning to catch on in the LP community.

Note that I don’t have a Raspberry Pi, but I am about to order one. The very idea that a computer can be had for 35 dollars is exciting. I will certainly get the camera when it goes into production.

Fraser avatar

I would love to make a Car Safety Camera to record potential accidents. With addition of a G.P.S. and accelerometer you could make an amazing unit. Add a wireless interface and you upload your days images as you pulled up in your driveway / depot. You could check the drivers / kids were driving sensibly. May also be handy for tax time if you needed to log mileage.

Axel avatar

I’m thinking of something like this as well, but more for personal use. I want to install dash cams that record everything, then upload the days data as my home Wifi comes into reach.

The Raspberry Pi would boot up when the car is turned on, and initialize a shutdown function when the car is turned off. Feed data would be stored to an onboard HDD, and offloaded to a home computer via a network connection. Should be a fun project :)

Ken Thompson avatar

Does the camera take the standard screw in board camera lens like the ones here or is it a fixed in lens. What will be the focal length?

Marco avatar

Haha, i saw the camera module also at the electronica, but actually at the Farnell-Booth (where Gert presented it). I didn’t even recognize it at RS xD

Edoardo Lobbiani avatar

Well, now i only need Skype on the RasPi and i can do 1080p videocall on my TV!

jason avatar

You might add a usb audio adaptor unless you plan to talk in bsl

David Sykes avatar

With the advent of 3D TV’s, more people are becoming interested in stereo photography.
One approach is to use simple digital stereo cameras such as the Fuji W3, if you find the quality acceptable.
A more versatile approach, and far higher quality, is obtained with a pair of Canon Powershot cameras synchronised to high precision using my ‘SDM’ software loaded on the SD card :-

Unfortunately, this does not synchronise the cameras for shooting movies.
No amateur, and very few professional, cameras allow genlocking.

With the Pi this could be the ideal opportunity to add the hardware (if any) and software to provide such synchronisation.

I know some cmos image modules can be synchronised.

The GoPro Hero 3 attempts some form of synchronisation but for the intended market is only supplied with a very wide-angle lens that is unsuitable for general stereo photography.

This is a problem that many people have been waiting a long time for a solution.

The Pi could provide that.

David Sykes avatar

Further to my previous post, this sensor can indeed be externally frame synchronised :-

christopher wright avatar

will you be able to attach 2 of these on 1 raspberry pi.

David Sykes avatar

I do not know technically how you implement this but information is available regarding the GoPro solution where one camera is Master and the other Slave and they are connected by a ‘synch cable’ :-

If you need two Pi’s and a similar adapter that is fine, especially if you can access the I2C communication to the sensors.

Aarat Nathwani avatar

Rpi Camera seems cool !! Planning to integrate it for Surveillance System (CCTV Sort of) and may be in boardroom Video meetings with PTZ functionality that can be achieved with Arduino and servo motor.

Waiting for updates Eagerly !!

Vicary avatar

I’m gonna rob their warehouse when this is out! :D

HomoFaciens avatar

…there is a new Rover under construction capable to leave my RoboSpatium. An improved image quality would be great!

liz avatar

If anyone can do something blindingly cool with the camera board it’s you, HF – looking forward to seeing what you end up doing!

Tim avatar

Monitor a bird feeder and take closeup pictures of the bird eating. Wirelessly send the pictures and/or video when motion is detected to a remote process where the bird images can be classified by species.

hans avatar

I have this project going on using a cortex-M3 to replace some 1980’s electronics of an old telescope mount. I’m keeping an eye out on this camera, maybe I’ll be able to both control the cortex MCU and do star tracking from a Pi+camera unit. It would be nice if I would get to manage to run all this as an INDI server…

Jimmys avatar

I would stick it to a helium ballon and fly it into space!

Brian Finley avatar

I’m getting married in June. For a wedding a few years ago, I wrote a photo booth application in Adobe AIR, connected to a USB button. Hoping against hope that this will be out early enough for me to re-write that on the Pi. *fingers crossed*

MrT avatar

Willing to use many of them as a network of security camera.

Krishna avatar

Plan to use Camera for Pi Robotics platform.
-Robots powered by Pi

Krishna avatar

And I want to have SKYPE on Pi.
Pi + SKYPE + TV = Telepresence Toolkit.

Drew avatar

Is everything AUTO on the camera?

Can you manually set the exposure control, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, ect.

JamesH avatar

There will be settings you can set – imagine a fairly sophisticated camera phone, and that’s the sort of stuff. (Nokia N8 and 808 have the same GPU/software)

bazza14 avatar

Good oh. I’ll put that on my christmas list .

Leap avatar

What would the low light sensivity be like on this cam? using with a telescope sounds like an excellent plan – but would need to be fairly light sensitive. Any ideas?

JamesH avatar

Not fantastic – it’s a fairly typical 5MP camera phone device.

mhc avatar

Would it possible to get 15fps as well? That’s what I need for a project …

JamesH avatar


mhc avatar

Oh yeah! Thanks!

mhc avatar

Can we expect it to the beginning of January?

Khürt Williams avatar

Ugh! Flash based video. I removed Flash due to the security concerns.

battila avatar


is there a chance to connect two cameras to the board?

Best regards,

pavilion sahota avatar

we’re going to use it for our engineering education scheme, we’re using a raspberry pi with a camera, to stream 1080p video from a balloon in the sky

Felix Sulla avatar

Where the heck do I actually GET a raspberry pi?

JamesH avatar

Follow the links on the front page of this very site….

excited avatar

1) Would it be possible to live stream from the camera to the internet?

2) Would it be possible to save a stream to an internet folder (let it be dropbox or something else) live while being recorded (obvously with a small delay)?

The reason why im so interested in this, is I would like to record everything that is going on in my house while im not at home. I have become paranoid after a burglar “visited” my home last year and stole most of my inventory, so I would love the pi to record when i’m not at home, and get a recording of an eventuel new burglar if that were ever to happen again :(

JamesH avatar

I believe both would be possible with the right software.

excited avatar

Thanks mate :)
Someone also mentioned using it as cctv, which essentially would be much the same I would use it for, with some aditionel features!

Gert avatar

“stole most of my inventory,”
In that case you still need a solution so your Pi does not get stolen as well.

excited avatar

Thats the reason I want it to stream to an internet folder. In case the pi gets stolen and the external harddrive gets stolen as well, I have a copy of the f… burglar online, i could give to the police.

Larry Barnes avatar

I am due to recieve my Raspberry Pi just before Christmas. My family and I send a weather balloon up every year and have been using Microcontrollers for everything digital onboard. We are excited to try using the Pi instead. I would like to be able to hook several cameras to the Pi and record the video. The camera woud be situated to cover many different angle, i.e. looking straight down, looking at the balloon, looking at the horizon, etc. I just havent found any software, yet, that will record multiple cameras. I camera board looks promising for our project.

Richard Milewski avatar

We hope to be able to integrate RasPi and the camera module into Air Mozilla’s operations especially in making community-created video easier to do.
follow our progress in the bug:

MaineGuy avatar

For what it’s worth, I currently have 8 internet cams on a wireless LAN as a surveilance system. A Pi captures one 320×240 frame every 15 seconds from each cam, writes a header line to each image with date/time and cam id, and stores it on a 1TB USB drive. CPU utilization never exceeds 20%. It runs 24/7/365. Regarding home invasion concerns, it it trivially easy to hide the Pi, drive and hub (behind the refrigerator, for example) so that a thief would not be able to find it. (The average thief thinks of a computer as a big box with monitor attached sitting in the living room or den.)

excited avatar

That sound quite nice. Are you using HW encoding and would it be possible to increase the resolution. 320*240 is quite grainy for purposes of recognizing theifs and whatnot.
What is the model/maker of these cams?

MaineGuy avatar

1 is an old Linksys WVC54GC, 3 old Linksys WVC54GCA, 1 Foscam FI8905W, 2 Foscam FI8909W, and 1 Foscam FI8910W. I set the resolution back to 320×240 to save some archive space. The pictures are suprisingly clear using a digital zoom (Ctl-+ in FF). The cams send a snapshot as jpeg so no processing is required other than building a simple web page to display the 8 images. Incidently, I have another Pi that displays the webpage using a dedicated monitor. It’s nice because if I hear a noise at night, a simple glance at the monitor lets me know if all is ok, and, of course when off site my Motorola Xoom lets me keep tabs.
Although the cams won”t read a license plate, I can get a pretty good idea of who is in the yard/house. I can also access the cams directly over the ‘net to view real-time video at 640×480. The Pi is not involved in that, other than a third Pi that I use for a firewall.

Art60 avatar

These are great news :) Congrats!
I desesperatly need the cam module for me to build a real time magnifying glass with software controlled contrast and zoom for my mother to be able to read again, for she’s got age-related macular degeneration and need a big screen surface, far bigger than existing “electronic” magnifying glasses (from $500 to $2.500 for no more than 6″ display) so a simple 19″ HDMI LCD (may be less than $150) computer display would fit :)

ctrlw avatar

I’m looking to do the same. Do you have any news or hints on this?

ian avatar

Book scanning.

Take two Pi boards, each with a camera module, and enclose them with an LED flash inside this: (that’s me in the photo)

Being able to hook multiple cameras up to a board would reduce the amount of hardware required and simplify things like file storage and transferring to a larger computer.

micheline avatar

(sorry, i’m french speaking…)

Hi! This looks promising! I’m not sure tho if I understand correctly… will it be possible to stream in real time directly to a mac and all wireless ? If yes, will the stream will be smooth or will look like 5fps? Thanks!

liz avatar

Dom just put out a video demo of the camera streaming over a network: it’s at

micheline avatar

Thanks for your reply. Yup … very promising indeed!
Hurry up, hurry up, can’t wait to get my hands on it!

matthias avatar

Is there any plan to allow capturing video from an HDMI input cable instead of your own camera ? I am talking about unencrypted HDMI of course, as we have a huge number of cameras outputting 720p or 1080p hdmi an currently require a big ugly pc+pcie setup for capturing these….

Even capturing just single images and/or overlaying the hdmi output would be awesome.

Lipis avatar

How far are you guys from selling this thing.. or where can I find/buy a camera module for my Raspberry Pi..!

Bjørn Remseth avatar

I have a hobby project making an autonomous vehicle (small “rc-type” car) based on the Pi + misc stuff. This camera would make a nice addition to the sensor suite; one USB unit less is always good :-)

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