Lisiparoi creator Jason Barnett was kind enough to send me one to review, so here goes…
The Lisiparoi is, simply, a light for your Raspberry Pi camera module. It comes in two flavours: the white Lisiparoi is for the normal camera module and has 12 bright, white LEDs; the black Lisiparoi is for the PiNoIR camera module and has 12 infra-red LEDs. It comes with a 4-pin header which you will need to solder on yourself. These pins provide power, 2 grounds and a pin for GPIO control.
First of all, I soldered the header pins onto the board. This was very simple and shouldn’t be any bother for someone familiar with using a soldering iron. I then attached the camera to the board using the included plastic screws/nuts. One thing I noticed at this stage is that, because the camera module’s lens connector stands out from the board, the lens of the camera doesn’t lay parallel to the Lisiparoi. This isn’t a huge issue, as you can handle the slightly off angle by mounting the board differently, but it is something to bear in mind. I connected the camera ribbon cable to my Pi, then connected the 5V, GND and GPIO pins via jumper cables to my Pi. At this stage, the GPIO pin was connected directly to the 3V3 pin. I switched the Pi on and, lo and behold, the Lisiparoi lit up.
After I’d taken a few photos just to prove the camera still worked, I moved the GPIO cable to pin 4 and replicated a short Python program given in Jason’s instructions (which you can find here). This worked well. The lights come on, you’re presented with an on-screen preview of what the camera sees, then the image is captured and the lights are turned off. It uses the picamera library to do the capture and it’s a nice example of how to create a piece of camera software without much bother.
Here are some example photographs taken by Jason using the two Lisiparois with the subjects 1.2 meters away. The top one is the regular board and the bottom one is the infra-red board.
As you can see, the results aren’t great at 1.2m away and the Lisiparoi is perhaps more useful if the subject is closer to the camera.
As I said above, assembly is very easy. The provided instructions are very good and the example script is easy enough to understand that you’ll be able to tailor it to your needs. I do have some reservations about the brightness of the LEDs and I wonder whether they give enough illumination to be useful if the subject is more than about a metre away. For an ideal distance of around half a metre, though, you may need to look at refocussing the lens, which is tricky.
The board is likely to be useful, for example, when used as part of a home security system. Set the camera and Lisiparoi up at your front door and, because the subject will be fairly close, you should get a decent photograph. The infra-red board is, in a way, the more intriguing of the two. It will be particularly useful when used, for example, in a bird house or other nature project for capturing images at night.
The Lisiparoi is well-designed, but on the pricey side, but is good if you need some illumination for your project. Be aware of it’s limitations, however – it’s not a professional photographer’s tool, but it could be just what you’re looking for as long as your expectations aren’t too high.