Raspberry Pi Foundation Launches $50 High Quality Camera Module Supporting Interchangeable Lenses
May the photos be with you: Raspberry Pi’s new camera lets you swap lenses for the perfect shot
The Raspberry PI Foundation unveiled the High Quality Camera module today. The $50 camera accessory features a larger sensor and CS-type lens mount that allows users to change out lenses as needed. The High Quality Camera accessory connects to the same serial camera interface as the existing Camera Module V2 which will continue to be sold at its $25 price point.
The new High Quality Camera module uses a 12.3 megapixel Sony IMX477 sensor measuring 7.9 mm diagonal (1/2.3”-type) with 1.55 μm x 1.55 μm pixels – approximately double the pixel size and sensor area of the existing Camera Module V2’s Sony IMX219 8 megapixel sensor. The module further features an aluminum CS lens mount with back-focus ring (12.5 mm–22.4 mm) and a standard ¼” tripod mount.
The larger back-illuminated sensor should perform noticeably better than the original and updated Camera Module V2 particularly in low light situations. Out of the box the module supports CS and C mount type lenses though with proper adapters you could pair the module with almost any glass so long as it supports the back focus. CS and C lenses are likely best suited to the small sensor though micro 4/3rds camera lenses should also work fairly well. Larger lenses can be used though larger optics aimed at full frame and APS-C DSLRs will work but look different (much more telephoto/using mostly the center of the lens) than when paired with a larger sensor.
I am interested to see the lens combinations tinkerers and photographers come up with. I can see the new High Quality Camera module being used in astrophotography, nature photography, trail cams, home security systems, and automation using computer vision and edge AI for monitoring crops, quality control, book scanning and other OCR tasks, and robotics projects. The improved sensor and interchangeable lens system will open up a lot of possibilities and I’m interested to see what projects hardware hackers and photography enthusiasts come up with!
The High Quality Camera module is priced at $50 with authorized resellers also offering a $25 6mm wide angle CS-mount lens and a $50 16mm telephoto C-mount lens to get you started and that can be paired with the module out of the box. The camera module comes with an included 200mm ribbon cable for connecting it to a Raspberry Pi and a C-CS lens adapter in the box.
"Versatile though they are, there are limitations to mobile phone-type fixed-focus modules. The sensors themselves are relatively small, which translates into a lower signal-to-noise ratio and poorer low-light performance; and of course there is no option 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."