The eleventh circle of hell: setting up an RPi camera module#

2023 Nov 22

Short story long, don’t trust any of the community content; it’s full of ghosts and wolverines and those people you meet at parties that start the conversation with “so what do you do?”… Rely solely on the official RPi docs. And make sure that whatever you’re reading was written for the specific HW/SW permutation that you’re using. In my case (RPi4 + RPi OS Bookworm + RPi Camera Module 3) the correct doc is The Picamera2 Library.

Once I found the right doc it was trivial to get everything working. The picamera2 repo has an extensive collection of examples. It’s downright magical that I can get started with computer vision in a matter of minutes. OpenCV is really cool stuff.

This gem of a quote from an RPi engineer sums up the situation:

Hi, yes it’s a bit of a minefield out there on the web because so much content is still referring to the legacy camera stack which will never (for example) support the camera module 3, or even work at all on any reasonably modern Raspberry Pi OS image.

I’m not writing this post to complain; who has time for that? This is just a courtesy heads up to my fellow hackers.

Huh? You're still here? And you scrolled all the way down here just to ask "What's the tenth circle?" Excellent question. I have no idea.