HackSpace magazine

Sean Hodgins likes a challenge and decided to build a digital camera including a bespoke image sensor.

"I wanted to make it in a way that is simple enough where almost anyone can understand how it works", explains Sean. "I thought about getting an off-the-shelf image sensor, or hacking a computer mouse sensor, but I decided that wasn’t simple enough and it also wasn’t really building the digital camera ‘from scratch’, which at some point I thought was an important feature of the build."

"I started taking some photos and scaling them down to ridiculously low resolutions to see what would be an appropriate size for an image sensor and still: 1) get a decent image, and 2) not completely break the bank in component costs (or my neck soldering it). I settled on the 32×32 array (60mm across) sensor."

"What’s great about this size (even if I didn’t take advantage of it in this build), is that it’s a standard in a lot of medium format cameras, so adapting a quality lens would be possible – simple, even."

"I originally wanted to use a pinhole lens (I’m still convinced this is possible without too much difficulty) but decided to settle on the hacked-apart Canon front glass for the time being. However, I am going to attempt to 3D-print a lens in a few weeks, whenever my SLA printer arrives."

"The images actually turned out way better than I was expecting. There will likely be a second version of the build; bigger image sensor, faster shutter times, and more complex circuitry, but it was great to start with the basics."

Check out the video below to see how Sean made the camera and image sensor

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