Looking for photo camera with wireless connection

I’d like to buy a small, simple camera with macro function or optional macro lens that connects to PureOS/Linux wireless via bluetooth or wifi.

I gave up on my Nikon W300 which I’m about to sell, because I do not want to waste more time in research how to circumvent their measures to make life hard to anybody not using their apps.

I’d strongly prefer a camera for which the connection to linux is supported by its manufacturer, but a solution which works thanks to an active community would be welcome also.

The wireless connection should be usable (I’m happy to script myself) to transfer (new) pictures and videos to a host on a network. This need not be completely automatic. I’d be happy to start some script/command on the linux side of the connection or select some menu of the camera.

I’m not interested in big cameras (like DSLR). I need something I can carry around. An action cam like DJI Osmo Action would be perfectly o.k. with an additional macro lens, but I didn’t find any information about the wireless connection to linux.

What about the Librem 5 itself? Once it is able to take photos this is basically what I would like to do i.e. automatic / semi-automatic transfer of photos off the Librem 5 to my photo library. I think I have about 100x better chance of getting a Librem 5 to do this than getting a blackbox phone to do this.

However for your requirement as stated, that would mean an optional macro lens for the Librem 5 and I don’t know about meeting that requirement!

Nice idea, but some showstoppers:

  • I do not want to be dependent of the limited battery life of my pinephone or librem5
  • Quality in my pinephone is’nt, yet, the low level I’d expect as a minimum
  • My Librem5 is not deliverable - I’m really waiting for it (already thought about buying one of someone who does not want his pre-order and postpone mine to batch fir).
  • I do not want to fiddle with a mobile (possibly a quite expensive one) in some situations I’d like to take a picture.
  • The macro option is important to me.

So the question is still open and @irvinewade should be offered a job in marketing for Purism :wink: .

how about building your self a raspberry pi cam similar to what Jeff Geerling did. The only thing missing is a case according to your requirements.
You shouldn’t have a problem getting a macro lens for the pi pro cam.

Have you looked at Panasonic Lumix models? (I have a non-WiFi Lumix myself.) By searching for “lumix linux” I found at least one support page that stated although they don’t officially support Linux distributions, all of their cameras are treated as mass storage devices when connecting, so they should just work. I imagine the wireless function would work fine as well.

As an aside, I would love to find a compact camera that has an optical viewfinder. Outdoors it’s sometimes hard to see an image on a screen.

It’s not so far-fetched an idea!

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With nearly the same naive thought I bought the Nikon W300 I do not want anymore. USB mass storage and wireless connection use different protocols and one working doesn’t mean the other is working.

Didn’t find any hint for wireless function using linux.


Yes, precisely. I was going to make the same observation.

USB mass storage would be too easy (would work out-of-the-box with just about any Linux computer). Once you go WiFi, there is no limit to the crappy proprietary protocols that a camera might use - which is sad because clearly there are satisfactory non-proprietary protocols that can be used over IP over WiFi.

LOL. It could look that way but honestly that is what I am going to do (hopefully) once the camera is working. (I already have my Librem 5.)

I understand but for me … the probability that I have my mobile with me in a situation where I am out and about and want to take a picture is about 100x the probability that I have my digital camera with me - excepting ‘set piece’ situations like being on holiday (which is a fading memory :slight_smile:).

I have a spare battery for my Librem 5. Wouldn’t be any good on a three-day trek far from civilization (not that I would ever do such a thing) but is adequate for a long day.

Depends what you mean by ‘compact’. You used to be able to get an optical viewfinder in a digital camera that falls short of a DSLR but ends up being a bit chunky e.g. 40 to 50 mm thick - but if you want it around the 30 mm mark then it may be a challenge.

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I’d settle for a detachable viewfinder that I could approximately “calibrate” to match the screen view.

Left field idea: What about building a bridge device out of a Raspberry Pi?

As I understand it, a digital camera connected via USB is more likely to present itself as MTP/PTP rather than mass storage but either way it should work. So your not-completely-automatic process is to connect the camera to a portable Pi via USB and the photos get transferred to the Pi, which then or later on transfers the photos automatically via WiFi to wherever you want them - as well as giving you an immediate backup of your photos.

(One neat aspect of the Librem 5 is that it shouldn’t even need WiFi. I will be able to transfer photos to my photo library via mobile internet, if I have signal and if I want to do that and allow that. If you wanted to go berserk then you could do the same with the “portable Pi” idea. I believe I have tested my USB 3G dongle with a Pi and found it to work basically out-of-the-box.)

The main benefit of this approach is that it opens up a much wider choice of digital camera.

I haven’t encountered such an animal.

Recently-ish I was in a store talking to the guy in the digital camera department. He basically said that digital cameras are dead except at the high (DSLR) end - because if you are going to buy a compact point-and-shoot then many people will just use their mobile phone. The sensors on mobile phones now have so many Mpx that digital zoom is not terrible and the sensors and optics are getting better all the time - with multiple cameras for greater flexibility - and you can add accessories to the mobile phone camera if you need that. Just his opinion of course.

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  1. What do I need the RPi for? It would be running Linux - same as my other computers.
  2. I do not want to connect a cable: Connections break, I’d have to open and close some part of the camera every time that will break sometimes, if the camera would be dust/water protected every time I take one picture to use it somewhere I’d have to wear down the protection by opening the camera.

Simplicity and protection of the mechanical parts is the reason why I do not want to connect via USB or take out the memory card.

Meanwhile found libgphoto2 which seems to be the software project I’d need for my new camera.

There’s a page with a long list of supported cameras which can be controlled remotely. It doesn’t explicitly state whether the camera needs to be connected by USB or whether the functions work wireless, also.

I opened an issue to get some help selecting a camera.

I think USB - although I suppose you can’t rule out a camera that allows you to layer USB commands over WiFi???

Have you heard of WIFI-enabled SD cards? the range and speed is not amazing but functional, and could be added to almost any camera.
The brand we used at work was called “Eye-Fi”

Having a separate wifi network without internet access for the camera to connect to may be a prudent security measure.

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