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following this tutorial on https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/getting-started-with-picamera/6 , I am told that I need to use camera.start_preview() and sleep(5) in order to turn on auto exposure for the raspberry pi camera. However, doing so also opens a camera preview on my monitor which covers up my GUI. Is there a way to turn on auto exposure without having to enable camera.start_preview()?enter image description here

  • Perhaps set the transparency of the preview to 100% ?. Or put it on the lowest possible dipmanx layer (see docs) ? – flakeshake Jul 3 '18 at 13:49
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You no need to use start_preview()/stop_preview(), but you must give about 2sec delay after PiCam create to initialize camera before capturing.

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According to the FAQ (https://picamera.readthedocs.io/en/release-1.10/faq.html) there is no way to stop the preview window from opening. The basic recipes on https://picamera.readthedocs.io/en/release-1.10/recipes1.html#capturing-consistent-images give some indication on how to save pictures without using the preview window, but then you need to set the exposure manually.

So, though not the answer you want to hear, there currently is no possibility to set auto exposure without a preview windows.

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