Mini Spy Camera

For this week’s project, I built a portable mini camera and In this guide, I’ll show you I how I built it. I think this is great for anyone looking to build a DIY project with a low cost camera. I’m using this to create time lapse videos but you could use it for all sorts of photo based projects.

The mini spy camera module has an integrated driver and is really easy to use without an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. The camera sensor can take 1280x720 photos and captures video at 480p. it's not an HD camera but it’s pretty decent for small projects. The module uses a microSD card (FAT32 format only) to store data and it has a maximum support of 32GB. 

Timelapse Photography

By taking a series of images, you can compose them together to create time lapse videos. When each photo is taken several seconds or minutes apart, slow things appear to be moving fast – Like these clouds flying by! I captured this timelapse by having the camera take a photo every 5 seconds. Normally, this is achieved with an intervalometer remote control. In this project, we're using an Adafruit Trinket micro-controller to act as the remote control to trigger the camera module.

Prerequisite Guides

We recommend walking through the following tutorial to get familiar with the components used in this project.


You'll need the following parts to build this project.

Tools & Supplies

The following tools and supplies will help you complete this project.

Project Expectations

This project uses a $12 camera module – It's not the best or going to replace a GoPro or the camera on your mobile phone. The image quality isn't fantastic, but it is suffice for most things. There are no adjustable camera settings, so everything is automatic.

If you're looking for a much higher image quality and adjustable settings, check out the Wearable Raspberry Pi Zero Camera build.

Camera Comparison

So how does the mini spy camera module stack up agaisnt some other projects / products? In terms of size, the mini spy camera is actually quite small. On the left is the GoPro Session, and the middle is our Wearable Raspberry Pi.

This guide was first published on Jan 30, 2017. It was last updated on May 03, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on May 03, 2024.

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