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Raspberry Pi Camera Module now available

Raspberry Pi Camera Module now available

The Rasbperry Pi Camera Module is the first, but almost certainly not the last, official accessory to launch from the Raspberry Pi Foundation for its single-board computer.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the launch of its first official accessory for the eponymous single-board computer: a five megapixel camera board.

When the Raspberry Pi launched last year - following a delay to its September 2011 schedule as a result of manufacturing problems and the need for compliance testing - few could have predicted its success: using outdated system-on-chip components from Broadcom to hit a pocket-friendly sub-£30 price tag, the machine sold like the proverbial hot cakes - and now, a year later, has easily broken a million units sold. While plenty of third-party add-on boards, from GPIO extensions to battery packs and, of course, custom watercooling rigs, exist for the system, the Foundation itself concentrated on the boards themselves.

Until now: following a by-now completely expected delay, the Foundation has announced the release of the official Raspberry Pi Camera Board. Designed to plug in to the Pi's CSI (Camera Serial Interface) port, the module itself is tiny: measuring just 25mm x 25mm and 9mm tall and weighing around 4g, the module packs a five megapixel sensor and surprisingly powerful imaging engine - previously found driving the camera on Nokia's N8 smartphone - while drawing its power from the Pi itself.

As well as capturing still images using a command-line utility baked into the latest revision of the Pi's Raspbian operating system, the camera can be used to record or stream video at resolutions of up to 1080p/30 - or 720p/60 if you'd prefer faster motion. For high-speed video shooting, a VGA resolution video can be captured at 90 frames per second. All video capture is done in H.264 format, making use of the integrated hardware acceleration found in the Pi's Broadcom BCM2835 SoC.

The camera module is the first, but likely not the last, official accessory to come from the Foundation. Giving Pi owners something to connect to the board's CSI port, it will likely be followed by a small form factor display which uses the as-yet unfulfilled DSI (Display Serial Interface) capabilities of the low-cost single-board computer.

The camera board is available to purchase now from Farnell, RS Electronics and CPC, priced at just shy of £20. Instructions on its use, and a handy video set-up guide, can be found on the official Raspberry Pi blog.

10 Comments

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Sheiken 14th May 2013, 12:13 Quote
Am I the only one thinking low cost homebrew GoPro?
edzieba 14th May 2013, 12:29 Quote
Attach camera to Pi, install OpenCV, add LED illuminator ring, raise massive middle-finger to Vicon.
As soon as they get 720p60 and/or 640x480 120fps capture working, that is. 30fps is good for proof-of-concept, but that's going to give you a headache if you try and track at that rate. Hopefully the latency of capture is low enough for real-time work (though it doesn't look like you can feed raw unencoded sensor data via the video stream).
Picarro 14th May 2013, 12:42 Quote
I want to use one as an IP security camera. Just chug it in a tupperware box and use some bathroom sealant along the edges.
Guinevere 14th May 2013, 13:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheiken
Am I the only one thinking low cost homebrew GoPro?

A GoPro is £200. By the time you've bought a PI, the camera, a battery,wifi adaptor and a charger you don't have really that much left to hand fabricate a waterproof housing with a mounting kit and accessible controls.

More flexible? Maybe.

Cheaper? Not by much.

That's why GoPro became THE standard for extreme cams. Because they are so cheap!
MSHunter 14th May 2013, 14:57 Quote
Its a shame there is no Power over Ethernet version of the Pi.
edzieba 14th May 2013, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSHunter
Its a shame there is no Power over Ethernet version of the Pi.
While it's not 'proper' negotiated 802.3af PoE, quite a few people have bodged power supplies onto the unused ethernet pairs to power their pi's, e.g..
tad2008 14th May 2013, 16:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheiken
Am I the only one thinking low cost homebrew GoPro?

A GoPro is £200. By the time you've bought a PI, the camera, a battery,wifi adaptor and a charger you don't have really that much left to hand fabricate a waterproof housing with a mounting kit and accessible controls.

More flexible? Maybe.

Cheaper? Not by much.

That's why GoPro became THE standard for extreme cams. Because they are so cheap!

Well considering the Pi, Cam, Battery+Charger / Power & Wifi can all be picked up for around £100 so plenty left for a small custom housing.

So, more flexible? Definitely.

Cheaper? Clearly by a large margin at almost half the price.
fdbh96 14th May 2013, 18:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheiken
Am I the only one thinking low cost homebrew GoPro?

As cool as it sounds, I don't think there'd be much of a comparison. The GoPro would be a hell of a lot lighter, smaller, resilient and I bet the image quality would be better.

Plus a second hand hero 2 is about £150.
Andy Mc 15th May 2013, 14:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSHunter
Its a shame there is no Power over Ethernet version of the Pi.
While it's not 'proper' negotiated 802.3af PoE, quite a few people have bodged power supplies onto the unused ethernet pairs to power their pi's, e.g..

Those PoE splitters are really good, I use one for powering and connecting my Draytek 120 to my Netgear UTM10. Saves me so much hassle what with the phone socket being in a stupid place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheiken
Am I the only one thinking low cost homebrew GoPro?

Why bother when you can get a Horyzon HD? I intend to use one when I eventually get the funds together for a tricopter build.
Sheiken 15th May 2013, 23:45 Quote
And here I was thinking I'd come up with something worthwhile! eh!
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