HOW TO use a generic USB webcam on Raspberry Pi

how to use a generic webcam on Raspebrry Pi

How to use a generic USB webcam on Raspberry Pi

You often have a webcam and would like to use it on your Raspberry Pi. In this article you will see how to install a generic webcam on your Raspberry Pi and how to take photos. Everything is much simpler than you think.

The webcam

Meanwhile, the webcam should be one of those for PC, connected via USB connection. I am using this model ( ELP USB130W01MT-L21. ) and I must say that its performance is excellent especially for places with little light.

ELP USB130W01MT-L21 webcam per raspberry
ELP 2.1mm USB130W01MT-L21 USB Webcam per Raspberry


In order to use the webcam on Raspbian, you need to install the fswebcam package. To do this, open a terminal and enter the command line:

$ sudo apt-get install fswebcam

Once the package is installed, you can take a simple image by launching the command

$ fswebcam image.jpg

Once you have launched the command you will see some writings appear on the terminal.

how to use a generic webcam on Raspebrry Pi

Now in the current directory there is a new image.jpg file with the image just acquired by the webcam.


As you can see from the picture the default resolution is very small (320×240). Also at the bottom there is a bar with date and time. Let’s see how to increase the resolution.

Specify the resolution for the webcam

You have seen that the default resolution is very low. Increase it for example to 1280×720.

To do this you need to add the -r (stands for resolution) option to the fswebcam command and then specify the desired resolution level.

$ fswebcam -r 1280x720 image2.jpg

Now if you go to check the image the resolution is the one you have chosen.

fswebcam resolution

Remove the banner

Another default aspect that you are likely to want to delete is the blue banner at the bottom of the photo.

To delete it, it is simple to insert the –no-banner option.

$ fswebcam -r 1280x720 --no-banner image.jpg

Now the scanned image no longer contains the banner at the bottom.

fswebcam no banner


1 thought on “HOW TO use a generic USB webcam on Raspberry Pi

  1. kevcouk


    Very interesting

    Please can you let me know how to do a screen preview of the webcam

    eg, using PICAM I can preview and set where on-screen to preview
    raspistill -p ‘1200,200,640,480’ -t 10000

    anthing like this for a USB Webcam?

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