Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) Camera Is Finally Coming to The Raspberry Pi Thanks to Arducam

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We all know that there is a CSI connector on the Raspberry Pi to facilitate the connections of a small camera to the processor, but how should we facilitate the small camera itself?

As a professional camera manufacturer and solution provider, Arducam has been obsessed with this question for the last 6 years, and came up with a lot of solutions like adding a lens mount, a switchable IR cut filter, a multi-camera adapter, autofocus control, and most recently, MIPI camera support to the camera board of OV5647 and IMX219.

Is it a perfect time to take a good break now since we have already covered most use cases? I don’t think so. Arducam never settles down, and we want to push the cameras for Raspberry Pi to the extreme.

I am glad to introduce you to our newest PTZ camera for the Raspberry Pi. It’s real PTZ with servos for directional control and varifocal lens for optical zoom, and it supports autofocus and IR cut switch control.

Here is a short YouTube video to give you an idea on this nice little camera.

What Are PTZ Cameras

PTZ is an abbreviation for pan, tilt and zoom and reflects the movement options of the camera, and a pan–tilt–zoom camera (PTZ camera) is a camera that is capable of remote directional and zoom control.

The Need for PTZ Cameras

A PTZ camera is not a still camera. Instead, it could move the camera and the lens, and that means a single camera can be used to monitor places that should be covered by multiple ones. You can save a lot of cost and time in purchasing and deploying the camera if a PTZ camera can handle the job. With its moveable lens, you will also be able to zoom the camera to see a specific area that you are interested in. To conclude, it’s “do more with less.”

PTZ Cameras Are Expensive, But the Raspberry Pi Ecosystem Is Not

A PTZ camera is usually expensive than the other surveillance cameras. This is what it looks like when you search PTZ camera on Amazon:

Search Results of “PTZ camera” on Amazon

Arducam makes cameras, and we’ve made a lot of cost-effective ones for the Raspberry Pi. The whole idea about Raspberry Pi is “low-cost, high-performance … that people use to learn, solve problems and have fun. ” This is also the idea we are having here. It would be great if we can offer a cost-effective PTZ camera on the cost-effective Raspberry Pi.

Arducam R&D, Reliable Suppliers, and Informative Customers

Arducam has good relationships with both suppliers and customers.

On the one hand, Arducam works closely with all kinds of suppliers, especially those in optical lenses, to achieve better optical performance on our camera boards. The first time we got our hands on the newest varifocal lens from our supplier, we started to think that whether we could integrate this stuff with a raspberry pi camera project, and make a PTZ camera out of it.

On the other hand, we have a group of customers that really enjoy our product and services, and they will always give us new ideas on our products and push us to keep going forward until we surprise them with another new product. We’ve heard a lot of suggestions and proposals from our customers in this PTZ camera project, which really inspires our engineers. Without them, it would be much harder for us to present you with a PTZ camera for Raspberry Pi with optical zoom, autofocus control and switchable IR cut filter.

Possibilites

Although we have released this PTZ camera for Raspberry Pi as a new product, we still think that it’s more like a window to new possibilities. Customers will be able to make greater projects with this camera, such as adding image processing and recognition to the system so that the camera will be able to track and follow an object, and then zoom in to get the details.

Please let info@arducam.com know if you are interested in or have great ideas about this PTZ camera.

Check out the PTZ Camera here or get this cool cam from one of our distributors!

Arducam M12 Mount Lens Kit for Raspberry Pi and Arduino Cameras

Over the past few years, Arducam has launched many camera boards for Raspberry Pi with M12 or CS mount lens holders. One of the many features that outperformed the official ones was the interchangeable lenses, a feature also on our SPI cameras for Arduino. We are excited to announce that the Arducam M12 Mount Lens Kit for Raspberry Pi and Arduino Cameras has already been on sale.

The new lens kit that we have carefully prepared for you
The new lens kit that we have carefully prepared for you

The lens kit has 10 M12 Mount lenses that we have selected from a wide array of lens options, and the Horizontal Field of View (HFOV) of those lenses ranging from 10 to over 200 degrees (on a 1/4-inch RPi cam or Arduino cam). It comes with labeled caps, four lens holders, a lens cleaning cloth and screws, which allows you to select and change for the best lens you need.

Pi Cam – Optimized Optical Performance

The official RPi camera module has permanently attached lenses which could not be changed, so whether you are satisfied or not, you are stuck with what comes from the factory. Sometimes you may want extremely closeup macro photography or a wider field of view, but you just can’t with the official ones. On the other side, Arducam-designed camera boards with interchangeable lenses extend the capabilities and flexibilities of Raspberry Pi and Arduino camera, and you can finally have better control over what gets into the frame of the images and videos.

Arducam M12 Mount for Pi Cam
Arducam M12 Mount for Pi Cam
Arducam CS Mount for Pi Cam
Arducam CS Mount for Pi Cam

Lens kit that thinks for you

To meet the increasing market demands for more lens options to address different use cases, Arducam selected and tested a wide range of M12 optimal lenses from long focus to fisheye for shooting on your Raspberry Pi or Arduino cameras. We have also labeled every lens on its cap, provided multiple lens holders and a piece of lens cloth. It is now much easier for you to get the best lens you will need, and we will keep the lens list growing.

We have thought in advance about what you might need
We have thought in advance about what you might need

That is the part we have put in the box. Aside from that, we have made a PDF document that contains the details specifications of each lens, and a video that shows how to replace the lenses on Arducam Cameras.

An overview of the specifications of those lenses
An overview of the specifications of those lenses

To the top

To test what a Raspberry Pi can shoot with our lenses, we decided to take a field visit to the rooftop of one of the tallest building here so that we can capture the view of this city. We’ve also planned a trip to the bookstore. Here was what we brought with us:

  1. A Raspberry Pi Zero W with SD card.
  2. A power bank to supply 5v power to the Pi zero
  3. An Android phone with our app preinstalled to connect to the Pi’s hotspot for the preview
  4. Some tapes and elastic bands to hold the setup steady
  5. Our M12 Mount Lens Kit
Lens Kit shot by Mi A1
Lens Kit shot by Mi A1
Pi and Cam shot by iPhone 6S Plus
Pi and Cam shot by iPhone 6S Plus

Wait and see

After we went back from downtown, we pulled the micro SD card and got the pictures out. Our designer really liked those lenses and was surprised by the picture quality. He thought there would be no need to risk climbing to the rooftop with his heavy DSLR lens anymore.

Here are some of the pictures that we’ve taken with Arducam M12 Mount lenses on an OV5647 sensor.

Find the lens kit here or buy these lenses from one of our distributors now!

ArduCAM porting for Raspberry Pi

As ArduCAM is general purpose camera, it can be used on any micro controller platform not limited to Arduino, and now ArduCAM team port the code library to Raspberry Pi family.

Thanks to the uniform 40 pin GPIO header design makes it possible to adopt ArduCAM and its mutli camera adapter board for Pi B+, Pi 2, Pi 3 and even Pi ZERO. Due to the benefit of onboard frame buffer and DMA transfer directly from sensor to frame buffer, make the ArduCAM outstanding of taking photos simultaneously.

With ArduCAM porting for Raspberry pi, you can use more cameras on Raspberry Pi together with native Raspberry Pi camera.