Raspberry Pi yesterday launched its latest camera board – High-Quality Camera – available for just $50, along with a range of interchangeable lenses starting at $25.

For those unaware, Raspberry Pi had launched its first camera board in 2013, which was built around the OmniVision OV5647 5-megapixel sensor. This was replaced by Camera Module V2 in April 2016 built around the 8-megapixel Sony IMX219 sensor.  

The High-Quality Camera is a big upgrade over the IMX219 camera module, as it consists of a 12.3-megapixel Sony IMX477 sensor, with a 7.9mm diagonal image size, and 1.55-micron pixels. It has a back-illuminated sensor for improved sensitivity. 

The High-Quality Camera is compatible with almost all Raspberry Pi models, from the original Raspberry Pi 1 Model B onward with the exception of early Pi Zero boards. It also supports interchangeable C- and CS-mount lenses as well as an integrated 12.5 mm–22.4 mm back-focus adjustment ring and a 1/4”-20 tripod mount.  

“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,” said Simon Martin, Senior Principal Engineer of Raspberry Pi Foundation in the announcement blog post.

Highlights of the new Raspberry Pi camera are:

  • 12.3 megapixel Sony IMX477 sensor
  • 1.55 micrometer × 1.55-micrometer pixel size – double the pixel area of IMX219
  • Back-illuminated sensor architecture for improved sensitivity
  • Support for off-the-shelf C- and CS-mount lenses
  • Integrated back-focus adjustment ring and tripod mount

Besides the camera, users will be able to buy lenses through approved resellers, starting with a 6mm CS-mount lens at $25 and a very shiny 16 mm C-mount lens priced at $50.

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