I have an Arduino Uno and an ArduCAM-mini 2MP camera:
Is it possible to connect this camera, or similar cameras, to the arduino without a shield? The only tutorials I've found use a shield.
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Judging by the photo (below) it is specifically designed to plug into the SPI ports on a Uno or similar (that is, pins 10 to 13). The other two wires are going to the ICSP header, presumably to pick up +5V and ground.
So yes, most certainly you can use it like that. With the pins done like that it even points horizontally.
It wasn't clear to me that I should bend the camera pins as such (mine has 8 pins pointing downward).
You can buy pins with a 90° angle. If yours are not already soldered on, I would use the bent connector. If the pins are already soldered on, then the camera would lie flat, so just rotate the Arduino itself to point to where you want it to.
However you would need to do something with the +5V and Gnd pins, so that they can be rerouted to the correct place.
Looking at another photo on that site.
The pins would match most of the pins on a Uno, like this:
The only one that is wrong is AREF - you need +5V into that pin, not AREF, which is why they bent those two pins outwards (+5V and Gnd) and ran wires to the ICSP header.
If you mean all your pins are at right-angles already, then you really only need to fix the +5V one (you can probably bend it up). This is the pin-out for the ICSP header (view from above):
As you can see, you can pick up +5V from pin 2 (Vcc). Alternatively, run the +5 wire over to where +5 is marked on the Uno on the other side.
Another possible approach would be to not bend anything, but solder on a wire to the +5V pin and leave it plugged into AREF. AREF is just an input (analog reference voltage) and it won't hurt to have it left at +5V.