The Espressif ESP8266 series has become incredibly popular for IoT projects requiring wireless communication options that won’t break the bank, and while you can use them for nearly anything, they still lack the hardware interface for incorporating a camera module natively.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. A few talented hackers have managed to connect a camera module using several methods, such as utilizing I2C, while others designed camera boards around the ESP32, however most of those have been all but forgotten. While it may seem like all hope is lost, Seeed is currently taking pre-orders for an ESP32 development board that features the native hardware needed for a camera module, and even comes with a 2MP camera.
As far as the specs are concerned, the ESP32-CAM is outfitted with a low-power 32-bit CPU, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.2 LE module with PCB antenna, 32Mb Flash, 4Mb PSRAM, and up to 4Gb of external micro SD storage. Expansion options feature the same layout as most other ESP boards and offer UART, SPI, I2C, ADC, DAC, and PWM.
It’s also equipped with a reset button, 5V power supply (via header), LED, and FPC connector with support for OV2640 (comes with the board) and OV7670 camera modules. Supported image formats include JPEG, BMP, and grayscale.
To get the ESP-CAM to function with either camera module, it needs to be programmed with ESP-DIF, which can be downloaded here. It should also be noted that there is no Arduino IDE support for this board, which may be a drawback for some.