I have an idea for a DIY electronics project which involves a camera where I want the camera to be small.

I thought may be to get a camera component similar to the ones used in smart phones. But my Internet searches proved unfruitful. All I see is big cameras, or off-the-shelf final product filming and photographing machines. :(

I don't know what words to search for (and it is a rare phenomenon; normally I get the thing I want on the first Google results page).

Or is the component I am searching not available for general consumption?

And what about the communications interface of the device? Are there standards for phone cams to operate equally among different vendors or not? I had read a little about MIPI CSI and CSI, but I got confused!


After @Transistor comment, which made some good observations, I will make a bunch of things clear:

  • Purpose of the project is to transmit capture from camera to a phone. I've thought Bluetooth would be the best way, but I am receptive to alternatives, if they seem better to someone of you all
  • I want live video
  • Ideal resolution would be Full HD, but HD is also acceptable. Anything over Full HD is a waste of resources and battery life. Frequency: 30Hz minimum, 60Hz ideally.
  • No processing. Just live transmission.
  • \$\begingroup\$ google arduino camera ... that should get you started in your search \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ do you want to interface with the image sensor, or just trigger a device to store imges? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 21:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Rasperry Pi has a camera \$\endgroup\$
    – Oldfart
    Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 22:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sergiol, your question is missing some very important details: (1) What is the purpose of the project? (2) Do you want a still photo once an hour or do you want live video? (3) If so, at what resolution and frame rate? (4) Do you need to process the image - to identify objects, etc.? Hit the edit link below your question but be aware that asking for project recommendations will get your question closed fairly quickly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 22:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This has all been sorted out for remote monitoring of quadcoptor video using mobile phone mounted on the remote control. See what they're doing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


Depending on what supporting hardware you are using, laptop cameras might be interesting. They are small, can be bought for a few dollars only and often connect over USB. If you use a microcontroller that can run Linux, you can probably connect to the camera. See more info in this video: https://youtu.be/CouxmNqxO4A


The Raspberry PI can support a camera module that's something like what you'd find in a phone (small camera on a flex mount.) The interface is MIPI CSI-2. There are a number of suppliers who support their specific pinout.


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