Raspberry Pi Camera Module 2: Review and How-To

Author: Zen Kuda Nixjoen

The Raspberry Pi Camera v2 is a high-quality 8-megapixel add-on board designed for Raspberry Pi. The Pi Camera v2 is a second-Generation Raspberry Pi Camera Module and it comes with a fixed-focus lens as well as a new custom-designed Sony IMX219 image sensor.

SPECS AT A GLANCE

Lens:On-board Fixed focus lens
Sensor:Sony IMX219 8-Megapixel
Still Photo Resolution:3280 x 2464
Video Resolution:1080p30, 720p60 or 640x480p90
Size:25mm x 23mm x 9mm
Weight:3g
OS Support:Raspbian

The Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2 replaced the original Pi Camera Module in April 2016. The module v2 maybe the same price as the original module but it does have some key differences that make it superior. Below is a small table that highlights some of the differences and/or similarities between the original module and the v2.

Comparison With Original Pi moduleRaspberry Pi Module V1Raspberry Pi Module V2
Net price:$25$25
Sensor:OmniVision OV5647Sony IMX219 8-Megapixel
Sensor resolution:2592 × 1944 pixels3280 × 2464 pixels
Still resolution:5 Megapixels8 Megapixels
Video modes:1080p30, 720p60 and 640 × 480p60/901080p30, 720p60 and 640 × 480p60/90

The Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2 can be used to take still photographs as well as high-definition video. It is easy to use for beginners as well as advanced users hoping to expand their knowledge. Many people use the Pi Camera Module v2 for time-lapse videos, slow-motion videos, home security systems, and wildlife camera traps. To add even more versatility, the Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2 comes bundled with various libraries that allow the camera to create effects such as:

⦁ negative
⦁ solarize
⦁ posterize
⦁ whiteboard
⦁ blackboard
⦁ sketch
⦁ denoise
⦁ emboss
⦁ oil paint
⦁ hatch
⦁ gpen
⦁ pastel
⦁ watercolor
⦁ film
⦁ blur
⦁ saturation

The camera works with Raspberry Pi models 1, 2, 3, and 4. It can be accessed through the MMAL and V4L APIs, and there are numerous third-party libraries built for it, including the Picamera Python library. The camera can be attached by connecting the 15cm ribbon cable to the CSI port on the Raspberry Pi.

HOW TO INSTALL THE CAMERA MODULE

credits: thepihut.com

Insert the cable into the Raspberry Pi camera port.

Make sure the blue part of the cable is facing the USB ports on the Raspberry Pi:

Plug the power in and turn it on the Raspberry Pi on.

Once booted, run the following commands in a terminal window:

sudo apt-get-update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now run the follwing command:

sudo rapi-config

Navigate to Interfacing Options and hit Enter. Next select the ‘Camera’ option, and hit the Enter key to enable it. Select “Finish” and “select” to reboot your Raspberry Pi.

TAKING A PHOTO WITH YOUR RASPBERRY PI CAMERA MODULE

“raspistill” is a command that allows you to capture images with your camera module.

Capturing an image in jpeg format, type the following command into your terminal window:

raspistill -o image.jpg

RECORDING A VIDEO WITH YOUR RASPBERRY PI CAMERA MODULE

“raspivid” is a command that allows you to capture video with your camera module.

Capturing a 10 second video with your Raspberry Pi camera module, run the following command:

raspivid -o video.h264 -t 10000

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2 is a step up from the previous module. In terms of image quality and sensor resolution but still retails at a similar price. Anyone with a Raspberry Pi can testify that at some point they require a camera for their projects. This camera module is great, accessible, and cheap. However, if your pockets are a bit deeper, you can opt for the most recent Module, the Raspberry Pi High-Quality Camera which is about double the price but excellent quality. That said, you would not be missing out on too much with the Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2.

Get started with your raspberry pi here, and the camera module v2 here.

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