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There's now a $50 camera for your Raspberry Pi with interchangeable lenses

For just $50, the Raspberry Pi camera is incredibly versatile.

Published onMay 1, 2020

Raspberry Pi Camera
Raspberry Pi Foundation

If you are a Raspberry Pi tinkerer, you likely already know about the $30 Camera Module V2. While that will allow you to capture photos and videos with your Raspberry Pi, it certainly is no powerhouse. The new Raspberry Pi camera, though, is something else altogether.

Officially dubbed the Raspberry Pi High-Quality Camera, this new sensor has a few tricks up its sleeve that the CMV2 simply doesn’t have. The biggest new aspect of the new camera is that it has interchangeable lenses. In fact, the $50 price of the High-Quality Camera doesn’t even include a lens — that’s just for the sensor, mount, and ribbon connector.

Related: This guy made his own HAL 9000 with Google Assistant and a Raspberry Pi

Resellers will be offering a couple of lens options for the new Raspberry Pi camera: a 6mm CS‑mount lens for $25 and a 16mm C-mount lens for $50.

However, you don’t need to buy those lenses if you don’t want to. Since the camera has a relatively common mount on it, you could connect compatible lenses you already own. If you don’t have any, there are likely inexpensive adapters online that will make your existing lenses compatible.

For example, check out this photo that appears to show a  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM attached to a Raspberry Pi with the new module:

Raspberry Pi Camera with Canon Lens
Raspberry Pi Foundation

The other new bit to the Raspberry Pi High-Quality Camera is the sensor itself. The V2 was a relatively old smartphone sensor, but this is a 12.3MP Sony IMX477 sensor with 1.55 µm pixels and a 7.81mm diagonal. In non-photography-expert speak, that’s a sensor that sends the V2 home to cry in shame.

With the simplicity of a Raspberry Pi computer and the versatility of a high-quality camera sensor with nearly limitless options for lenses, this new camera will likely make tinkerers pretty happy.

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