Best Raspberry Pi Camera Modules of 2017Mandip
Yes, you can use the old Webcams with your Raspberry Pi, but having a dedicated camera module will help you get the high-quality images and HD video recordings without any blurring or buffering.
If you want to do some fantastic projects with your Raspberry Pi Kit, then you should grab the compatible camera module for it. The visual capability of your device will add a whole new package of opportunities. It will help to make your innovation a true, helpful machine or program that can change the world. Who knows, you may get the next MacRobert Award.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation introduced four official versions of the Raspberry Pi compatible cameras. Here, I will provide you the most sought camera modules for your RPi model.
Let’s check them below.
Best Raspberry Pi Camera Modules
1) Official Raspberry Pi Camera Board Module
This 5-MegaPixel CSI Camera for Raspberry Pi is a first official version introduced in 2013. Whether you want to teach science lessons, making telescopes, kites, or even a camera trap to capture wonderful nature outside, this official camera module can be a great choice.
The Official Raspberry Pi Camera Specs and Features:
- Compact design and stunning visual capabilities at fair price
- Even in the low lights, you can take high-quality images
- No worry about the size as you can fit the board and camera both in the same Raspberry Pi case
- It consumes minimal power from the Pi module
- Time-saving unpacking and installation process will make you love it
- Supports HD video format resolutions like 720P60, 640x480P60/90, and 1080P30; high-quality image capturing in static 2552x1944P capability
- Comes with a dedicated CSI (Camera Serial Interface) specially made for camera interfacing
2) Arducam 5 MP OV5647 Sensor Mini Camera Video Module
With the increased need for the Raspberry Pi camera modules, there are a lot of top brands who jumped into the field to make the best compatible products, even if they are competitors. Arducam which specially designs modules, kits, and other accessories for Arduino boards, introduced the mini camera video module for the Raspberry Pi circuits.
Features of Arducam Mini Pi Camera Module are:
- This Raspberry Pi add-on module is fully compatible with all the RPi models including the original Pi, Pi 2, 3, Pi Zero, etc.
- The 5-MP camera comes with the OmniVision OV5647 sensor to add some functionality to your action projects like Pi powered quadcopter or smartphone
- Captures images in 2592×1944 Pixels and record videos in 1080P HD, 720P and 640x480P resolutions
- You can use the camera as per your project needs as it is compatible with the most of the electronic circuits
- Especially useful for the tiny projects like building smartphones and other lower dimensional designs
3) Raspberry Pi Camera Module Version 2
This is the V2 camera module for Raspberry Pi boards which comes with fixed focused lenses. It got an introduction in April 2016 with standard capabilities to bump up your RPi board to 8MP.
Check the Specs and Features of V2 Raspberry Pi Camera:
- The hardware is based on Sony IMX219 to add more capability to the module
- Increase in the camera pixels makes it a favorable add-on for the Raspberry Pi lovers who don’t want to compromise with picture quality
- The hardware sensor allows to record 720P, 1080P, and even 4K videos and to capture images in 8 Megapixels resolution
- Official support from all the Raspberry Pi Compatible OS and applications makes it versatile to use in different kinds of projects
- If you spare some time and efforts to get working with it, then you will then only enjoy with its working
Are you looking for a module that can work at nights or want a 24×7 surveillance system powered by Pi? Then go nowhere than this night vision camera made with the merger of Waveshare and Raspberry Pi Foundation. Though it may hunger for a little bit more power consumption due to the LED infrared sensors for night vision, you will get a value for the money camera module as it can work whole day and night.
The Night Vision Camera Module from Waveshare & Raspberry Pi has features like:
- It comes with 5MP camera resolution and an OV5647 camera sensor to double the functionality of your project
- It has an easy setup and an accurate, clear image quality output
- You can either use two infrared LEDs or a fill flash for the image capturing and video recording at nights and in the dark places
- It also comes with zooming lenses, so even if your Pi device can’t reach the place, it can even capture and record far from the object
- To detect the light sensitivity and then adjust the intensity of the camera, it comes with IR photoresistor
5) Pixy (CMUcam5) Object Tracking Camera with Smart Vision Sensor
Even if there are official camera modules from Pi and some other Pi compatible add-ons by other top brands like Arducam, the Pixy smart CMUcam5 is gaining popularity among the electronic enthusiasts worldwide. This object tracking device comes with a button which you can press to teach it the items, literally.
Features and Specs of CMUcam5 Pixy Smart Camera Module are:
- Made with the combined technologies from Raspberry Pi Foundation and Charmed Labs, means you will get the best
- You can customize the programming with Raspberry Pi to only identify and capture the objects you want
- Multiple Operating Systems supported like Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.
- Not only with Raspberry Pi, but you can even use this smart vision sensor module with Arduino, BeagleBone Black, and other single board computers
- Versatility to use with different communication interfaces like UART, USB adapter, SPI, I2C, digital/analog output, and much more
- Stackable headers will allow to easily connect it through CSI cable or specially designed Pixy cable
How to get the best Raspberry Pi camera module for your project?
Yeah, there are plenty of other Raspberry Pi compatible camera modules available in the market. I have listed my favorites and top selling interfaces here. But how can you decide and get the perfect fit for you? Well, check this guide containing quick 5 things and simply make your choice.
- First, decide exactly what you need the camera whether for security, night vision, surveillance, or only for some tinkering projects.
- If you are buying a new, complete Raspberry Pi starter kit, then check whether the camera is included in it or not.
- Decide how will you connect the camera with your circuit board; on top/left/right, and through which port.
- Determine which and how many accessories you will need to use the camera module.
- Check the functions, features, documentations, and performance of the camera you want to get.
You may also want to take a look at
Official Raspberry Pi Flex CSI Cable
Whether you are using the ‘classic’ or ‘NoIR’ type of the Raspberry Pi camera, you can use this CSI cable as the substitution of the inbuilt flex cable of your Pi.
Facts about this Flex CSI Cable are:
- It helps greatly when you are doing embedded programming
- The length of the cable ranges from 50mm to 300mm, means you can choose the perfect one according to your requirements
- Open the Pi connector, attach the cable in, and you are done
- Compatible with all the Raspberry Pi versions
Get your favorite camera module
Any top class Raspberry Pi project like a stunning and helpful Pi robot, a home surveillance system, a Raspberry Pi powered quadcopter, taking wildlife photos through night vision modes, an eye detection system to allow permission, or any other visual device or design can be a true success with the help of best Raspberry Pi camera module. Enthusiasts and electronic pros, even the educational institutes use the RasPi cameras to extend the core values of the wonderful, tiny, and powerful desktop-like-computer; the Raspberry Pi.
Let me know your thoughts on the products mentioned above and share your experiences of the circuit designs you made using the Pi camera modules.
PS: A fish-eye lens can be outstanding for the projects like a CCTV powered by Pi.