Raspberry Pi is hoping to capitalize on the pandemic hobby boon with a new 12.3-megapixel High Quality Camera and range of interchangeable lenses. It will allow you to kickstart your photography side hustle with an camera for $50 and lenses starting at $25 each.
The camera is compatible with most Raspberry Pi single-board computers—from the original Pi 1 Model B onward—the so-called “High Quality Camera” features a 12.3-megapixel Sony IMX477 sensor, with 7.9mm diagonal image size, back-illuminated sensor architecture, adjustable back focus, and support for C- and CS-mount lenses.
“There has always been a big overlap between Raspberry Pi hackers and camera hackers,” senior principal engineer Simon Martin wrote in a blog post. “Even back in 2012, people were finding interesting ways to squeeze more functionality out of DSLR cameras using their Raspberry Pi computers.” The foundation launched its first camera board in 2013, followed quickly by the original Pi NoIR board with infrared sensitivity—popular among astronomers and drone pilots, who used the tech to boost telescopes and monitor plant health.
When the 5-megapixel camera was discontinued, Raspberry Pi replaced it with an 8-megapixel Sony IMX2019 sensor, released in 2016. “It has found a home in all sorts of cool projects, from line followers to cucumber sorters,” according to Martin. “Going through our sales figures while writing this post, we were amazed to discover we’ve sold over 1.7 million of these to date.”
These mobile phone-type fixed-focus modules, however, have certain limitations: small sensors, low signal-to-noise ratio, poor low-light performance, and, perhaps most notably, no option to replace the lens. “These are the shortcomings that the high-quality camera is designed to address,” the blog said.
You can learn more about the earlier Camera Module and new High Quality shooter with the Official Raspberry Pi Camera Guide, available in print from the Raspberry Pi Press store for $12.50, or as a free PDF from The MagPi magazine website.