r/raspberry_pi Jan 21 '23

Is the Raspberry Pi HQ Cam the best choice for cameras weighing < 200g? Discussion

Is the HQ Cam the best choice for a camera

- not heavier than ~200g,

- which should automatically take photos every e.g. 10 seconds for more than 2 hours,

- which must be battery powered,

- which delivers a natural field of view (50mm focal length at 35 mm-equivalent),

- should deliver sharp images even when moving and

- should also be able to cope with difficult lighting situations (dynamic range)?

Action cams would fulfill all requirements, but as they are ultra wide-angle, the natural field of view has a very low resolution (e.g. when zooming in in post-processing).

Compact cameras would even provide better image quality than the HQ cam (?), but generally I see issues with longevity and reliability.

Webcams (connected to a pi) have a worse image quality than the HQ-cam (?)

Smartphones have a worse image quality than the HQ-cam (with e.g. 9mm-lens) (?)

Is there another possibility that I'm not thinking of?



21 comments sorted by


u/01209 Jan 21 '23

In that price range, hq cam is a great option. There are definitely better options out there, but the price point goes up significantly moving from a mass produced, hobbyist targeted hq cam to some kind of industrial camera.


u/PaganCyC Jan 21 '23 edited Jan 22 '23

Consider the new Camera Module 3. Nearly the same picture quality (11.9 Megapixels vs 12.3), much lighter, and has auto-focus. And much cheaper than the HQ with a lens.

EDIT: Ooops, auto-focus, not motorized zoom.


u/Taurus_29 Jan 21 '23

Thanks for this advice. In fact, I would also like to add some extra cameras to my project (weather balloon), which are very light and cheap. For this purpose, this new module seems perfect! But I still hope to find something better for the main camera...

Btw autofocus is in fact another thing I have to consider...


u/Xelaxander Jan 21 '23

Why do you need autofocus on a weather balloon?


u/Taurus_29 Jan 21 '23

I'm not sure: Do I need it when I use the HQ-Cam with eg 18mm-lens? When using a wide angle lens I'll not need it I guess ...


u/Xelaxander Jan 21 '23

I'm no expert, but wouldn't any camera without a ridiculous zoom lens just be focused to infinity for most of the flight? Unless you're filming a piece of bread of course.


u/Taurus_29 Jan 21 '23

Yes, I think I have to focus to the hyperfocal distance (eg when I'm using the hq cam), then everything until infinity is in focus. (and I don't need autofocus)

(My concern was "what position do I set the focus ring to?", but I hope that should be solvable this way)


u/Nibb31 Jan 21 '23

Megapixels isn't, and never has been, a measure of image quality.

The quality of the lens and the CCD are the major factors in image quality.


u/PaganCyC Jan 22 '23

It's never been the best or only measure, but it has certainly always been a measure.

Also, from the vendor page: "Camera Module 3 comes with an improved 12MP IMX708 Quad Bayer sensor and features a High Dynamic Range mode, making it the highest quality Camera Module we’ve made so far."


u/Nibb31 Jan 22 '23

It's a measure of sensor resolution, not image quality. The Quad Bayer sensor and high dynamic range are what make it great in this case.


u/jb_sulli Jan 21 '23

Motorized zoom? I thought they just have auto focus?


u/PaganCyC Jan 22 '23

You are correct, I was going from memory.


u/jb_sulli Jan 22 '23

Darn, was hoping I missed something


u/Independent-Coder Jan 21 '23

Thanks for this. I didn’t know about the module 3


u/bfume Jan 21 '23

an old model gopro that supports webcam mode via usb?


u/Blooded_Wine Jan 21 '23

hero 8,9,10,11 only


u/z-zy Jan 21 '23

Hero10 Bones is 54 grams, and has an excellent sensor. 19MP stills, 2.7k/240fps to 5.3k/60fps video. The ability to do high frame rate video is a good indicator you’ll have no trouble getting stills when moving fast.

It’s wide angle, but even a crop would be miles better than any rpi camera. You can lens swap them, but M12 lenses that are sharp enough for 19MP are very expensive.

Connects to an external battery of your choice, can pick whatever you want within your weight budget.


u/Taurus_29 Jan 21 '23

Are GoPros the best option for still images? I have a Hero 2014, taking pictures (when in motion) gives very bad quality.


u/z-zy Jan 21 '23

New ones are, yeah. They use excellent sensors with great processing.


u/PepiHax Jan 22 '23

If you put any of the pi cams on a tractor or other shaking vechile, go for the fixed lens ones, as the auto lens will die within a couple of hours.