Raspberry Pi camera module sneak peek, and Model A unboxing

Of course, Model A is not the only new bit of hardware we’re releasing in 2013. JamesH just sent me these pictures of the forthcoming camera board to whet your appetite. This is the final hardware; we’ve been working on tuning (Gert tells me that picture quality is “pretty good” at the moment, but we’re hoping to get it to “bleedin’ marvellous” before we release the hardware), and there is some work to do on the drivers, but everything’s looking pretty peachy for the moment. I don’t have a release date for you yet, but we’re probably at least a month away (and possibly more) from being able to sell these at the moment.

Raspberry Pi camera module

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Raspberry Pi camera module, back

Click to enlarge

Meanwhile, Model A boards are already starting to appear in the wild. Alex from Raspi.TV, a fan site, has what I think is the first blog post about the Model A from someone who’s bought one. (The blue splodge he mentions, which can be removed with meths, is an artefact of the testing process. At certain times of day, when the production line is relatively quiet, that splodge is added as a visual demonstration that the Pi has been through the whole battery of factory tests.)

He also has some video of the board. Plug it in, Alex!

147 comments

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How much does the camera weigh, including the cable? And how much current consumption idle/in-use?

Just doing some calcs on how high I can get this thing … :)

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I’ve asked James for some measurements – I hope he’ll pony up tomorrow!

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IIRC correctly (and I really should have put a ruler in the picture) the board is 20x25x10mm. And weighs naff all. (technical term)

The sensor itself is 8x8x5mm. Good luck to those people who want to try and change the lens…

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I’ve made payloads down to around 50g so even “naff all” can be a significant number!

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Dave, next time you make a record attempt I’d love to come and shoot some video for RasPi.TV if I’m not abroad at the time. (I know you were asking about the camera weight, but the model A is 10g lighter than the B, which should help a little.)

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Sure, you’re welcome to do that.

I’m ready for the next Pi flight now. Earliest launch date is the weekend 16/17th Feb (I have a commercial non-Pi flight this weekend). When I actually launch depends on the weather. That flight will be a model B in a replica TARDIS :-)

I’ve got a couple of model As ordered. The 10g saving will help, but the main thing is that I’ll probably be able to run the whole thing on 4 AAA batteries instead of the existing 6 AAs, saving around 60g. If the balloon behaves itself then that flight has a very good chance of breaking 40km.

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that’s higher thanthe recent baumgartner skydive. woot!

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I’m surprised you’re not using lipos as they’ve got twice the energy density of AAA – or is it because of the low temperatures? I measured my model A’s power consumption last night and it uses half a watt instead of 2 watts for the B.

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These are Energizer Lithium AAAs – 1200mAh and specced to -40C, and half the weight of alkaline cells. Outside gets to around -55C, so with a bit of insulation these are fine even in a low power payload.

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Dear Sir,
I want run Ignition(opc server) in Raspberry Weezy.so can you give some information about raspberry and suitable OPC server. please

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I am not from the Foundation, but I think we can lend you an A-board and a camera for the flight.
I have prototypes of other new hardware under development. So lets us know what you need and we will see what we can do for you.

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You will very soon have a PM :-)

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Hearty agree – Dave, you have my and Eben’s emails. Copy us in, and we’ll see what we can do. (Thanks again, Gert!)

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Will do :)

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Check out NC Nearspace (www.ncnearspace.org) – we have flown 8 high altitude balloon launches, including presenting/flying at the last two NC Maker Fair (makerfairenc.com) events. We have been invited to fly another balloon this year for NC Maker Fair.

I would love to be able to add one of these to our flight plan for Maker Fair – not only would it be cool for us, but it would be an ideal location for other enthusiasts to hear about the Raspberry Pi and the new camera module.

I am not asking for a handout, but would definitely love to be able to purchase one as soon as they are available to allow time to get it ready for the June 15th date in 4 months – will they be shipping and available by that date?

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Unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong, yes, they’ll have been shipping for a few months by then.

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we wants the camera
we wants the precious
we needs it
we must have it
please give it to us

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Great! I’ll keep checking in here regularly as I would hate to let it slip by.

We had a meeting last night to discuss the launch. I have added a 10 DOF sensor to the RPi so not only can I track it’s location via satellite, I should be able to track the movements of the camera and know where on the ground it is positioned. The goal is to try and tag each photo to where the camera was positioned and that will require careful timing of the sensor gathering and the camera capture. We have experimented some with usb web cams, but love the RPI camera as the best option for both weight and power considerations.

The flight is tracked via APRS while in the air, and we will have a radio link to the ground for direct photo/sensor display on our ground based dashboard.

Lots of ideas for this launch, and a couple volunteers to help with all the work, so we are really looking for and hoping for access to the RPI camera!

Keep up the incredible work!

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Wow! The previous camera pictures I’ve seen have been on boards covering the full width of the Pi, and directly over the main board. That looks as though it’s about half that size, and with a cable as well, so it can fit into gaps where the Pi won’t go!

(How long can the cable be? Do you have any idea of a firm upper limit yet?)

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“How long can the cable be? Do you have any idea of a firm upper limit yet?”
The length of the cable is a regular recurring question. The current cable is 150mm and that will probably be the standard for the first cameras. It is not possible to theoretically calculate what the maximum length is so it will have to be determined by experimenting. Also I don’t know if the CSI clock speed goes down for lower resolutions which will give you a longer reach. These cables can only be bought in batches of 1000 so trying a different lengths is not trivial.

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Thanks Gert!

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“These cables can only be bought in batches of 1000 so trying a different lengths is not trivial.”

It is fairly trivial in the sense that you can pick them up from ebay for a few £GBP.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AlienSpec-CSI-DSI-Ribbon-Cable-5cm-10cm-15cm-20cm-30cm-for-Raspberry-Pi-/121051772597?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&var=&hash=item1c2f3f76b5

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nice

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Woot! Can’t wait to get the camera board. and a Model A. And a Red board somehow :)

Great work all!

-Shea

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Can we have some kind of indication on when the camera is likely to be available? These sneak peaks are all very well, but they’re kinda useless if we don’t know when we can get hold of them.

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I believe that was referred to in the blog post….

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I was thinking something less vague than “at least a month away, maybe more” – maybe “in the next six months”? Just to give us something to look forward to, more than anything?

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Should have said, by the way – great work on the module. It’s so… small! I know someone who has a project for the camera that will really appreciate how small it is, so truly great work!

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better to have seen peeks, then be told nothing until release, whence you just bought something else in the meantime . .

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A couple of quick questions: Will this do video, if so what are the likely specs – HD? I notice the sensor is on a small flex lead connecting it to the small board. Is the sensor/lens assembly loose and can we get a longer flex lead to mount it as needed?

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Yea!
What about the price? Under 10$?

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It’ll be $25.

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Liz are you meaning $25 for the Camera or a Pi Model A?
This is a camera module thread!!

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Liz are you meaning $25 for the Camera or a Pi Model A?
Correction: This is a combined Model A & camera module thread!
Confused… you will be.

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For the camera. :) (Model A is $25 too.)

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Uhh, yes. Look at the camera forum. It is rather big now but somewhere in there are a posts about what it all can do, but it is a HD video camera.

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Will it record video at 1080 or 720? Or is it just a still camera?

Is there an official FAQ yet? Sorry, I checked the FAQ section and there is no mention of the camera yet?

Erv

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See the new thread in the forum.

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Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to have a driver for a USB web-cam? No need to re-invent the wheel?

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There are drivers for USB webcams. The issue is the USB bandwidth on the PI…it’s pretty poor. I have successfully used a H.264 encoding webcam (C920) but any cam that does only YUV will not pull any decent resolution at a good framerate.

The CSI cam goes directly into the GPU so it doesn’t have the USB bandwidth limitation to worry about.

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USB cameras are not that good. Definitely a $25 one will be far and far inferior to this one. On that flat cable we can have 2.4 Gbits of bandwidth going to the Pi.

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I have plugged it in ;) and it works perfectly. Only 31g vs 41g for the B too. When I removed the splodge it seemed a lot like ink.

The other small difference I noticed (when looking at the full-res photos, not the board) was three fewer leds – obviously no need for the network related ones.

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I want one soooo bad

this is awsome

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Will it work with all revs of the Pi or possibly only rev 2?

From http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/1929 :

“There has been a small change to the GPIO pin out of revision 2.0, to add ARM JTAG support and to present a different I2C peripheral from that which is (heavily) used on the camera interface.”

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there are already two connectors further to the GPIO pins, they escape casual notice , but one is for the camera and the other is for a touchscreen (so i’m told)

the ribbon connectors are found standing upwards flipside to the SDcardframe, and, between the ethernet and HDMI ports. Forget which is what.

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I was wondering if the lens will be easily changeable?
A larger lens could admit a lot more light and give perhaps give better pictures, less camera shake, low light level shots etc.
Also I wonder if it will have filters, IE infra red.
Thanks
TonyM

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The lens is the same piece of kit as the lens on a mobile phone camera. So…no!

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However, that would mean that one could add a lens such as the kits available for mobile phones.

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Hi Dominic, thanks I had never heard of these kits. Will now investigate

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I mentioned these on the forum in the past. No idea on quality, but i remember finding them when i was searching for something else…

http://photojojo.com/store/

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Hi Darren, useful site thanks very much. I like the slingshot for a phone camera especially.

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Thanks Liz for info and for all your continuing hard work at the foundation

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Hi Liz, are you sure that the camera module is not using M7x0.35 or M6.5×0.35 threaded microlens?

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Pretty sure, yes.

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Looking at pictures I can faintly recognize notching around the lens circumference, which indicates fixed focus threaded lens adjustable at the final stage of module production. The lens may be immobilized with adhesive, but there may be a release agent available for that.

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Can we get you to start a mailing list, so that you can send an email when these new developments are ready for purchase, or other interesting things happen? If so, please add my email!

Keep up the good work. Btw, I’m having no end of fun with my model B!

Brian

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Is there a waiting list or something regarding the camera module?! Where can I subscribe to be able to order a few when they are out..?

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As you previously mentioned that the 41mp camera has been tested on the pi (then opted for 5mp due to price), is the smaller module connector the same?

And would a mobile macro lens adapter work on this module? (For time lapse of growing flowers for example)

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No, the 41MP camera is VERY expensive, much larger and has a different connector.

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But would a mobile macro lens fit?

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Is it possible to get some pcb dimensions as well ? I would like to prep a holder for the camera unit as this is one of the most exciting peripherals for the pi I have seen.

If I can get the dimensions ahead of release, I can just plug and go when mine arrives in the mail, whenever that is.

Thanks
Dave

PS. I would just like to say what an amazing job the foundation is doing of making everyone feel like part of the “process”. It is truly refreshing to feel like our thoughts and opinions are being taken seriously, not just being given lip service. Keep up the good work, and thank you again.

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Hey! I’m desperately hoping to get a wildlife monitoring plan up and running in the future with a youth project, and I’ll need night vision on the camera I use. If this had nightvision it would be perfect!

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Hey! I’m desperately hoping to get a wildlife monitoring plan up and running in the future with a youth project, and I’ll need night vision on the camera I use. If this had nightvision it would be perfect!

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You’re not the only one; London Zoo are also doing a project with them. We’re working on it.

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a bit of old floppy disc over the lens and a crapload of infrared LEDs. BAM! Nightvision camera… (I think)

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I was thinking something similar, as I understand it a lot of digital cameras can be easily converted to infrared but you have to get under the lens and remove the (visible-spectrum) colour filter. Often this means destroying the filter and they are not easily replaced, so it tends to be a one-way conversion. Any idea if this camera can be converted, either one way or both?

Personally I’d love to use one as a cow monitor, and IR capability would be a big plus as I’m pretty sure they can’t see it either! :o)

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Will the data from the camera be available as an OpenGL texture for processing by shader programs running on the GPU?

IOW, since the GPU is already doing the raw to pixel conversion, will it be possible to do additional image processing per frame without making extra copies of the data?

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I hope it has at least 8MP … can’t think of any application where lesser would be sufficient. Just think of robotics, drones, image processing, surveillance devices. aaaaaww, my heart is pounding just by thinking of these O_O

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It’s 5MP. And it will be fine. People have been ‘getting by’ with ‘only’ 5MP for a huge number of jobs (it’s less than 1080p for example).

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Im just gonna be pedantic here and correct JamesH.
I think he meant that 5Mp is MORE than 1080p. And for those wondering, its actually more than double.
1920*1080=2073600 so it should be good for any video and many (but not all) imaging applications.

Unless JamesH meant something else entirely and I have just made a fool of myself.

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Absolutely right – I should have typed more than…

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I think you mean 1080p is less than 5MP (1080p is 1.9775MP)

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I cant wait for this to come out. I think it’s going to be as popular as the Pi it’s self. There are going to be so many fantastic projects come out of it. Baby monitors, Security cameras, so on and so on

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With the new H.265 standard approved (http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/25/h265-is-approved/), is there going to be a follow up camera module with H.265?

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Easy answer: no. (Sorry!)

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Although the standard is approved, to support it requires HW, and it takes MONTHS to develop HW for something like this. It’s not a software issue at all (if you want to get decent frame rate at encode time), so not something the Pi could be upgraded to

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Can I pre-order the camera module? Can’t wait!

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Just in case no one else has volunteered, my sixth grade science and math classes are ready to accept any and all peripherals for taste testing just in time for the February “29th”, 2013 first anniversary celebrations ;D

BTW, I just saw an Original Flavor 256 MB Pi offered for free on the Palo Alto FreeCycle mailing list to the first person whose response e-mail transmission timestamp was the earliest. So, that’s probably a first, not counting what’s been given away by the Foundation, et al.

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I’m hoping the camera is cheap. I’d love to use it for keeping an eye on the birds in the garden. I’d be delirious, if there’s an option to use infra-red, for night time stuff.

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Liz has said above $25 I’d expect that to be ex tax and delivery and available from the usual suspects!

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I reckon I need a Model A and Camera on my motorcycle to capture all the track action.

Any idea on the Frame rates? And also will it do that nasty shearing effect on high motion stuff? I think its related to shutter speed.

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They’ve said it can do 1080p so I reckon 1080p@30fps at least

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Me want, me want, me want

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What is the true sensor-size? Is 8mm*8mm or somewhere I read 3.6736mm*2.7384mm? (I hope it’s not the latter one: Check this out pastebin.com/5jxU9pAD)

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The full module size is 8x8x4mm, the actual sensor inside the module is considerable smaller. See here http://www.ovt.com/products/sensor.php?id=66

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“backside illumination pixel architecture”
“720p/60 HD video is captured in full field of view (FOV) with 2 x 2 binning”
“provides full frame, windowed or binned 10-bit images in RAW RGB format.”

<>

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He said, “backside” … heh … heh … heh-heh-heh! :D

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Liz, has the video-in/SD input been removed from the final board?

Tarkan

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There was never any intention to have video in as far as I know.

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Liz has mentioned that the camera board will handle composite video in this thread:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=209166#p209166

Liz: “We’re going to be releasing a camera board, which will deal with composite input. My hope is that we’ll be ready to go before Christmas – but you know how these things work, so it’s perfectly possible that we won’t be ready before February-ish. We’re doing our best, though!”

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Excellent, I have so many ideas…

Does the camera module come with a built in IR filter?

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I believe it does.

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I simply cant wait to get my hands on a camera board :D

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Is Sneak Peak a bit like Make-Out Point? ;-)

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For all of you wanting waitlists and announcement lists and the like, the easy solution is to subscribe either to the RSS feed on the front page, or the Twitter feed.

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It seems pretty cool. Its possible to take RAW images or video with it? it would be a totally new level of awesomeness. :)

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See the new thread in the forum. Although I should add that I hope to support RAW – currently writing example code.

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how can I buy one? :) :O

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Could you please include a distance shot that shows the orientation of the connector relative to the orientation of the camera board? This has some relevance into how the Pi, ribbon and camera can all get curved around into a 3D package…

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Nevermind, I see that such a picture exists in the forum thread. Let me ask another question or two. What’s the diameter and centerline spacing for the camera board holes? I want to be working up a bracket to put this on a pan-tilt platform. Also, it looks like one of the four holes is partially blocked by something thin and white associated with the camera module – are all four holes available for mounting or only three? Thx, great work!!!

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The next big thing is Raspberry Mobile phone :)

I can’t wait to make Raspberry + Camera = Telepresence Robot’s

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$25 seems very over-priced when I can buy the exact same sensor from the manufacturer for $5…

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Oh and 10$ to have the processing chip bundled in and soldered onto a pcb (note this is a one off buy and doesn’t include bulk discounting)..

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Sounds like an opportunity. If you believe you can do it at a better price, why not try it?

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When the drivers are released I may as well. Here is a supplier: http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/617672364/_Sensor_OV5647.html

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Looks like I made a mistake; you can actually buy the sensor for 1 cent. Wow.

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Go for it, since all the dev cost will have been paid for by then (you did take in to account dev costs didn’t you?). So it won’t cost you anything much, and you’ll be able to take all the profits for yourself instead of them going to the Foundation. Sounds like a plan!

(As an aside – is that the sensor cost or the module cost? You know, the cost of the sensor mounted inside a case with the lens and all the electrical connections. And don’t forget the PCB cost. And the ribbon cable. And all the other components on the board.)

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That link lists the sensor under ‘theory’ as a “hall sensor” Given that it is actually a CMOS image sensor, you might want to find a better retailer — at least one that knows what it is selling! Caveat Emptor, eh?

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Great stuff..though of course without an IR filter and lens it could have been great for astro-imaging and spectroscopy, something I’d love to do on the Pi.

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Peak = Peek :(

Sorry to be an English definitions pedant but a ‘Peak’ is a mountain top. To take a ‘Peek’ at something is to look at it.

Comprende?

Cheers

R

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I once worked as a professional proofreader — I was very good at it. But Liz’s vocab/grammar/spelling dumps on mine from a great height, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that she might actually know the difference ;) (and also be able to tell you the etymology of both with OED-style usage examples thrown in.)

In the trade we call this mistake a “typo” (well spotted though — titles are notoriously proof-resistant). I’ve got to go — I’m a bit piqued because my peke is feeling a little peaked.

Entendeu? ;)

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I’d read that title about 100 times in the last 24hours and hadn’t spotted it. I’m normally a good typo spotter, can normally spot a typo from 100 yards at night, with no lights on and in the fog.

Can’t tell you how to correct the spelling though but i’ll know it’s a typo

[My brain probably thought it was a play on words to do with the spelling of sneak which is why it didn’t register ]

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oopsy. fixed that for you.

Looks like Liz needs to go to remedial spelling class for a few days says he who couldn’t spell his way out of a paper bag if you gave him a dictionary

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‘=’ ≠ ‘≠’

;)

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As an amateur astronomer, I see this as a real possibility for building an auto guider to attach to the telescope in a small package that is easy to run off batteries.

I looked up the spec sheet a few months ago when this was announced, and found that while not really great from an astronomical camera perspective, it was on par with many of the webcams that people have been doing neat stuff with.

Please expose as much configurability as possible! If the camera can be made to support long exposures, direct control of the amplifier gain, and raw read-out of the data provided that speed is not critical, this option on my pi would make an awesome addition to the wi-fi access point for wireless control of the scope I am working on.

Software-wise, there are tons of open source packages already written to use the v4l api on linux. Porting that software to the Pi and connecting a telescope is all it would take.

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How to make computer vision with this Camera without access to GPU features like OpenCL?
Is there some hope? I want to make feature detection and other stuff with it.

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Grab frame from camera. Process frame on Arm.

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I don’t think it will be as slow as webcams (which is what I’ve used in the past).

I would like some opencl available though. That would definitely speed things up.

Has there been any progress on that front, using the broadcom chip?

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you’ve still kept a couple of unnecessary components for robotics. You should have made something similar to beaglebone, something like pi-bone.

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Why? It’s not a device designed for robotics, never has been, and if you want something similar to Beaglebone, I’d suggest buying a Beaglebone.

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It will be difficult to get a good quality picture with such a small sensor. But it will be fine for most casual video surveillance.

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All this negativity! What is it with you people? It’s $25, please don’t expect it to outperform a DSLR !!

There are many camera phones producing decent images from sensors like this, and I am sure most will be perfectly happy with the image quality.

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The problem is that people who are happy with the information provided generally don’t flood the place with positive comments. We sit back and wait for it to go on sale, whenever it is ready.

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Will the Pi only be able to support 1 module, or will it handle more, with lower resolution and frame rate?

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Dont’ let the negativity get to you guys. Your work will change the world. Or perhaps already has.

BTW: Would the simpler layout of the Model A USB-port design mean that the errors seen when e.g. connecting certain webcams (or other bandwith-intensive devices) to the Model B would disappear (here’s to hoping!) or perhaps be less pronounced on the USB port of mA?

/IM

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JamesH. Liz do you know if Adafruit or anyone? is planning a “Wrapper board” for the camara board with IR leds and / or Flash Led’s?

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I’m not sure, but I’m seeing LadyAda and PT (and actually working out of their offices for a few days) later this month, so I’ll be sure to ask then!

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Thanks…. being cheeky but as your with her can you ask for a case for their LCD Pi keypad / display idally with enough room for a second logic board and control relays. It takes me hours fabricating them instead of coding!

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JamesH. ignore the negativity, if you shipped a 22mega pixle module, with analog focus for $10 someone would complain that it didnt make the tea or only had a 3m focal length. From what i can see the camera being offered it is doing exactly what you said it would do 6 months ago.

For people who what something else, there are lots of USB camera out there and the PI is “fairly” open source and hence they can develope their own.

All I can say is I for one really what to thank you, Liz, Eben and for that matter Ladyada for your hard work.

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I’ve played with a number of webcams, ranging from $6 to about $100. If you think you can get a better one for $25… then you should buy it. And let me know which one you got!

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What will be the focal length (either 35mm equivalent or actual plus chip size, 3673.6 x 2738.4 µm perhaps) and the f-Number? Thanks!

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The 35mm-equivalent focal length for the iPhone 5 is 33mm, the 4s is 35 mm, the 4 is 30 mm, and the earlier iPhone cameras were 37 mm. Most other cellphone cameras are in that same “moderately wide-angle” range, so I’d expect this one is as well.

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It would be handy if a new release of Raspbian with all the drivers included was released in the next couple of months.

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Will it be available for the Model B?

I wish there was a Model C!!!

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Just wondering what the field of view would be on the camera? I’be been working on a concept using multiple cameras and stitching the images to create a greater field of view and a higher resolution image overall..

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DO WANT!!

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Seems to be interesting. I would really like to see one that uses a m4/3 size sensor with a passive m4/3 mount. You then could possibly try to record an uncompressed video stream. Of course the only issue is that there is probably no high performance storage outputs on the board.

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I’m looking forward to getting a camera like this so I can hook it up in my car. I’d like to have it capturing video continuously, but only write the last 15 seconds of buffered video to the SD card either in the event of sudden change in acceleration (for parents to identify if their car is being driven in an unsafe manner) or if I press a button (so I can catch car litterbugs in the act — when they’re throwing a can or a cigarette butt out the window). It would record them in the act of littering along with their make model of car and license plate #.

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Any updates on the progress and release date of the camera?

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Will the camera card work with the “Model B”?

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Of course!

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I am interested in high speed video for sports analysis, bowling actions in cricket mostly. Do you thinkthe Pi camera could be used for this? 30fps is pretty useless and I would be looking to go for at least 240fps , albeit at a reduced quality?

thanks

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Are there any news about the release date of the camera?

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I wonder why people are so excited about this camera. I love the Raspberry Pi conecpt but this camera is just useless and overpriced.

Thanks to the USB you can connect any $5 eBay webcam to the Raspberry Pi. Where is the need for this camera module that a cheaper USB cannot do?

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Thank you for your vote of confidence. In fact it is neither overpriced nor useless. It does exactly what is says (a 5MP stills, 1080p30 to H264, high quality imagery camera) for $25. You would also know that you cannot do this stuff with a webcam on the Raspberry Pi had you done any research whatsoever, so good luck with finding a webcam that can do the same for the same price…(you won’t btw),

Just because you are not excited about it doesn’t mean others are not. You are not the only person in the world.

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For $25 it may be worth trying to remove the filter. Regardless the decent frame rates may make this a good planetary cam. I shall be investigating its astro imaging capabilities when they are released.

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