libcamera-jpeg on Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye Duration

The image capture process was taking about 5 seconds which a bit longer than I was expecting.

libcamera-jpeg -o rotated.jpg --rotation 180

The libcamera-jpeg program has a lot of command line parameters.

pi@raspberrypi4a:~ $ libcamera-jpeg --help
Valid options are:
  -h [ --help ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)         Print this help message
  --version [=arg(=1)] (=0)             Displays the build version number
  -v [ --verbose ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)      Output extra debug and diagnostics
  -c [ --config ] [=arg(=config.txt)]   Read the options from a file. If no filename is specified, default to
                                        config.txt. In case of duplicate options, the ones provided on the command line
                                        will be used. Note that the config file must only contain the long form
  --info-text arg (=#%frame (%fps fps) exp %exp ag %ag dg %dg)
                                        Sets the information string on the titlebar. Available values:
                                        %frame (frame number)
                                        %fps (framerate)
                                        %exp (shutter speed)
                                        %ag (analogue gain)
                                        %dg (digital gain)
                                        %rg (red colour gain)
                                        %bg (blue colour gain)
                                        %focus (focus FoM value)
                                        %aelock (AE locked status)
  --width arg (=0)                      Set the output image width (0 = use default value)
  --height arg (=0)                     Set the output image height (0 = use default value)
  -t [ --timeout ] arg (=5000)          Time (in ms) for which program runs
  -o [ --output ] arg                   Set the output file name
  --post-process-file arg               Set the file name for configuring the post-processing
  --rawfull [=arg(=1)] (=0)             Force use of full resolution raw frames
  -n [ --nopreview ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)    Do not show a preview window
  -p [ --preview ] arg (=0,0,0,0)       Set the preview window dimensions, given as x,y,width,height e.g. 0,0,640,480
  -f [ --fullscreen ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)   Use a fullscreen preview window
  --qt-preview [=arg(=1)] (=0)          Use Qt-based preview window (WARNING: causes heavy CPU load, fullscreen not
  --hflip [=arg(=1)] (=0)               Request a horizontal flip transform
  --vflip [=arg(=1)] (=0)               Request a vertical flip transform
  --rotation arg (=0)                   Request an image rotation, 0 or 180
  --roi arg (=0,0,0,0)                  Set region of interest (digital zoom) e.g. 0.25,0.25,0.5,0.5
  --shutter arg (=0)                    Set a fixed shutter speed
  --analoggain arg (=0)                 Set a fixed gain value (synonym for 'gain' option)
  --gain arg                            Set a fixed gain value
  --metering arg (=centre)              Set the metering mode (centre, spot, average, custom)
  --exposure arg (=normal)              Set the exposure mode (normal, sport)
  --ev arg (=0)                         Set the EV exposure compensation, where 0 = no change
  --awb arg (=auto)                     Set the AWB mode (auto, incandescent, tungsten, fluorescent, indoor, daylight,
                                        cloudy, custom)
  --awbgains arg (=0,0)                 Set explict red and blue gains (disable the automatic AWB algorithm)
  --flush [=arg(=1)] (=0)               Flush output data as soon as possible
  --wrap arg (=0)                       When writing multiple output files, reset the counter when it reaches this
  --brightness arg (=0)                 Adjust the brightness of the output images, in the range -1.0 to 1.0
  --contrast arg (=1)                   Adjust the contrast of the output image, where 1.0 = normal contrast
  --saturation arg (=1)                 Adjust the colour saturation of the output, where 1.0 = normal and 0.0 =
  --sharpness arg (=1)                  Adjust the sharpness of the output image, where 1.0 = normal sharpening
  --framerate arg (=30)                 Set the fixed framerate for preview and video modes
  --denoise arg (=auto)                 Sets the Denoise operating mode: auto, off, cdn_off, cdn_fast, cdn_hq
  --viewfinder-width arg (=0)           Width of viewfinder frames from the camera (distinct from the preview window
  --viewfinder-height arg (=0)          Height of viewfinder frames from the camera (distinct from the preview window
  --tuning-file arg (=-)                Name of camera tuning file to use, omit this option for libcamera default
  --lores-width arg (=0)                Width of low resolution frames (use 0 to omit low resolution stream
  --lores-height arg (=0)               Height of low resolution frames (use 0 to omit low resolution stream
  -q [ --quality ] arg (=93)            Set the JPEG quality parameter
  -x [ --exif ] arg                     Add these extra EXIF tags to the output file
  --timelapse arg (=0)                  Time interval (in ms) between timelapse captures
  --framestart arg (=0)                 Initial frame counter value for timelapse captures
  --datetime [=arg(=1)] (=0)            Use date format for output file names
  --timestamp [=arg(=1)] (=0)           Use system timestamps for output file names
  --restart arg (=0)                    Set JPEG restart interval
  -k [ --keypress ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)     Perform capture when ENTER pressed
  -s [ --signal ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)       Perform capture when signal received
  --thumb arg (=320:240:70)             Set thumbnail parameters as width:height:quality
  -e [ --encoding ] arg (=jpg)          Set the desired output encoding, either jpg, png, rgb, bmp or yuv420
  -r [ --raw ] [=arg(=1)] (=0)          Also save raw file in DNG format
  --latest arg                          Create a symbolic link with this name to most recent saved file
  --immediate [=arg(=1)] (=0)           Perform first capture immediately, with no preview phase
pi@raspberrypi4a:~ $

My libcamera-jpeg application is run “headless” so I tried turning off the image preview functionality.

libcamera-jpeg -o rotatednopreview.jpg --nopreview

When I ran libcamera-jpeg in a console windows or my application this didn’t appear to make any noticeable difference.

libcamera-jpeg run from the command line with –nopreview

libcamera-jpeg run by my application with –nopreview

I then had another look at the libcamera-jpeg command line parameters to see if any looked useful for reducing the time that it took to take a save an image and this one caught my attention.

I had assumed the delay was related to how long the preview window was displayed.

libcamera-jpeg run from the command line with –nopreview –t1

I modified the application (V5) then ran it from the command line and the time reduced to less than a second.

private static void ImageUpdateTimerCallback(object state)
		Console.WriteLine($"{DateTime.UtcNow:yy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} Image update start");

		// Just incase - stop code being called while photo already in progress
		if (_cameraBusy)

		Console.WriteLine($" {DateTime.UtcNow:yy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} Image capture start");

		using (Process process = new Process())
			process.StartInfo.FileName = @"libcamera-jpeg";
			// V1 it works
			//process.StartInfo.Arguments = $"-o {_applicationSettings.ImageFilenameLocal}";
			// V3a Image right way up
			//process.StartInfo.Arguments = $"-o {_applicationSettings.ImageFilenameLocal} --vflip --hflip";
			// V3b Image right way up
			//process.StartInfo.Arguments = $"-o {_applicationSettings.ImageFilenameLocal} --rotation 180";
			// V4 Image no preview
			//process.StartInfo.Arguments = $"-o {_applicationSettings.ImageFilenameLocal} --rotation 180 --nopreview";
			// V5 Image no preview, no timeout
			process.StartInfo.Arguments = $"-o {_applicationSettings.ImageFilenameLocal} --nopreview -t1 --rotation 180";
			//process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardOutput = true;
			// V2 No diagnostics
			process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardError = true;
			//process.StartInfo.UseShellExecute = false;
			//process.StartInfo.CreateNoWindow = true; 


			if (!process.WaitForExit(10000) || (process.ExitCode != 0))
				Console.WriteLine($"{DateTime.UtcNow:yy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} Image update failure {process.ExitCode}");

		Console.WriteLine($" {DateTime.UtcNow:yy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} Image capture done");
	catch (Exception ex)
		Console.WriteLine($"{DateTime.UtcNow:yy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} Image update error {ex.Message}");
		_cameraBusy = false;
libcamera-jpeg run by my application with –nopreview -t1

The image capture process now takes less that a second which is much better (but not a lot less than retrieving an image from one of my security cameras).

2 thoughts on “libcamera-jpeg on Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye Duration

  1. So let’s say you have an time critical application that depends on speed of the camera. A picture every 1 second is 1 FPS, right? It’s too slow for alot of purposes. Is there any way to get faster pictures?

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