Raspberry Pi Announces $50 High Quality DIY Camera

Raspberry Pi Announces $50 High Quality DIY Camera

Raspberry Pi has just announced a high quality camera for just $50. Is this product about to revolutionize the world of photography?

For those not familiar with Raspberry Pi the company produces small single board computers that look like nothing more than a circuit board. The reason they are so popular is that they can be easily programmed and adapted to become the brain of virtually any electronic device you can dream up. Everything from retro arcade machines to life-saving ventilators has taken advantage of these tiny computers in the past. Enter stage left is the companies newest camera module which they hope will open up a world of camera-related possibilities on the platform.

Features include:

  • Sony IMX477R stacked, back-illuminated sensor, 12.3 megapixels, 7.9 mm sensor diagonal, 1.55 μm × 1.55 μm pixel size
  • Ouput: RAW12/10/8, COMP8
  • Back focus: Adjustable (12.5 mm–22.4 mm)
  • Lens standards: C-mount, CS-mount (C-CS adapter included)
  • IR cut filter: Integrated
  • Tripod mount: 1/4”-20

Raspberry Pi expects people to use a wide variety of lenses with this module but have also released a 6 mm CS‑mount lens at $25, and a 16 mm C-mount lens priced at $50 to help get users started. What's good news for us photographers is that third-party adapters are available from a wide variety of lens standards to the CS-mount their camera uses. This means that it will be possible to connect any lens that meets the back focus requirements of this module.

The big thing that excites me about this release is the potential this product has for innovation in photography. The accessible price point and the open source nature of Raspberry Pi is the perfect storm for interesting creations to be realized. With a little bit of coding know-how and some easily accessible electronic components, the possibilities are endless. Maybe we'll see people building their own camera systems and giving the big names in our industry a run for their money. I don't think it will be long before we start seeing people retrofitting these inside old film cameras for example.

I know many of you will stick your noses up at the 12.3 megapixel sensor but like any technology, the specs will only improve with time. The exciting thing to remember is that products like this make camera development more accessible than it ever has been before. This can only be a good thing for accelerating camera advancements going forward. 

Would you buy one of these cameras from Raspberry Pi? Do you have any interesting ideas on how you would use one? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Paul Parker's picture

I would love to see this camera integrated with some stepper motors to build some cool automatic focus stacking device...

Dr Peter Howell's picture

I'm excited by the potential of this thing for astrophotography.

Paul Parker's picture

that's a great point actually Peter. I think we will see some exciting things come off the back of this release...

Nicolas Thulliez's picture

this is exactly what I was thinking !

Spy Black's picture

I wonder if you can strap a small Linux system on it, no bigger than a compact camera housing, running all the apps you'd need for plate solving and autoguiding.

2ndshotphotos's picture

I have a few ideas, the first one being a cheap but fun digital back for old film slrs, sure there are a few out there already, but this could be a fun DYI. Just wish I could afford to do more than eat one meal a day, I would buy it now.

Paul Parker's picture

It will be a lot of fun to put one of these in an old camera Philip. We have events where WW2 reenactments like to stay "stay in role" but still take pictures. A cool mod with a Raspberry Pi could be just the trick.

There will be plenty of time in the future to get your hands on one of these once all this blows over. By then, some of the kinks which always arise with such DIY projects will have been ironed out... stay safe :)

Paul Parker's picture

* reenactors who

Alfonse Diantonio's picture

What will they think of nexT?!!


Mark Burton's picture

I’ve got one with the 6mm lens. Not had time to set it up, but have been thinking of some projects. First thing I’d like to try is a pin hole camera. I’d like to try and build a moving platform- this would be great for object tracking or Astro photography

chrisrdi's picture

Woooooaah it's gunna be fun seeing what people make!