Attention tinker: Raspberry Pi has released a new camera for its tiny single-board computer. The "Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera" is now available for $ 50 and will be sold with the older Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2, which still costs the usual $ 25. This is a real camera system, so you won't get a ready-to-use Raspberry Pi camera for $ 50. You also need to buy a lens for the interchangeable lens system that supports high quality cameras.
Both cameras are connected to the serial port of the Raspberry Pi computer's camera via a ribbon cable, but the high quality camera seems to be a massive upgrade in both size and (hopefully) image quality. While the $ 25 camera module V2 uses an old low-end smartphone camera sensor with a microscopic lens, the high quality camera is a completely different product class. It's not a newer smartphone sensor, as I assumed when I first saw the news, but something that was originally intended for camcorders. It is a 12.3 MP Sony IMX477 sensor with fairly large 1.55 µm pixels and a diagonal of 7.81 mm (1 / 2.3 "type). This corresponds to approximately twice the sensor area of the camera module V2.
As the Raspberry Pi Foundation explains in the blog post: "There are restrictions for modules with a fixed focus of the mobile phone type. The sensors themselves are relatively small, which results in a lower signal-to-noise ratio and poorer performance in poor lighting conditions; and of course there is no way to replace the lens assembly with a more expensive one or one with different optical properties. These are the shortcomings that the high quality camera is designed to address. "
The technical data correspond to that of a modern smartphone camera sensor, but the lenses for the high-quality camera blow your phone camera out of the water. There is an interchangeable lens system with support for commercially available C and CS mount lenses and an adjustment ring for the rear focus for changing between the lenses. This frame is not as large as a DSLR lens – it is smaller and is often used for 16mm CCTV video cameras. In addition to the native C-mount lenses, there are also many adapters, and you can easily jump to a real DSLR size like an EF Canon mount.
With an adapter, you can also attach much, much larger lenses.
The lens system opens up a whole world of photography to the tiny Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is already taking the mounting system to the extreme with an image of a powerful telephoto zoom lens – which looks like a Canon EF 70-200mm f / 2.8L IS II USM – that absolutely outshines the tiny camera body. This is a $ 2,500 lens for your $ 50 sensor. For less demanding photo tasks, entry-level C-mount lenses are available from Amazon for around $ 30. Raspberry Pi retailers will offer two entry-level lens options: a 6mm CS mount lens for $ 25 and a 16mm C mount lens for $ 50.
As is common with a Raspberry Pi product, there is just enough here to start operating while keeping costs to a minimum. The circuit board has four mounting holes at the corners, and in the future there will no doubt be millions of aftermarket packages and 3D printable designs to protect the exposed circuit board. It sounds like a lot of attention has been paid to the C lens barrel, which is milled from aluminum to hold your lens securely. The only luxury is a standard 1/4-inch tripod mount on the bottom.
Raspberry pis often become video cameras, so this seems like a great idea. The tiny computers are perfect for time-lapse, motion-activated videos or for continuously recorded surveillance. With Wi-Fi and Ethernet, the video can be viewed remotely, or with USB storage or an SD card, you can save a lot of videos right where you record them. The Pi is a great solution for a small, flexible video recording package. In the past, the most practical option for better video quality was a USB webcam, but this with a good lens should be a big upgrade.