Is https required for image tracking?

I have a site that doesn’t run any java, so I have been using the Piwik image tracking option. However, Piwik tells me I have to use https in the image location code, but I know that this causes various warnings on various browsers and devices - IE will report that not everything on the page is secure and won’t load non-secure parts of the site, giving users an empty page, plus not every browser and device accepts StartSSL certificates, bringing the dreaded ‘untrusted certificate’ warning.

Can I just replace https with http in the address for the image code and have it otherwise work the same?

the image code shows HTTPS probably because you access Piwik itself in SSL. The HTTP version will work perfect.