HackSpace magazine

The Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera

By Ben Everard. Posted

Raspberry Pi have just released a new High Quality camera. For $50 you get a 12.3 megapixel sensor with 1.55μm × 1.55μm pixel size (that's double the pixel area of the standard Raspberry Pi Camera Module). It's also got a back-illuminated sensor architecture for improved sensitivity and support for off-the-shelf C- and CS-mount lenses. You can secure it to your project using either the mounting holes or the integrated tripod mount.

Additionally, you'll need a C or CS lens. There's are two available from most resellers from about $25, but any lens with this mounting should work.

For makers, there's some things to really like about this camera module. Most obviously, it takes good pictures -- much better than ones using any other commonly available hackable module we've found.

A shot of Cambridge with the High Quality Camera

As well as better pictures, you can take more of them. The HQ Camera module is capable of up to 120FPS video which means it can capture fast-moving events.

The lens mounting system means you can use a staggering range of different lenses. You'll see a small number of lenses at resellers at the moment, but there's already an ecosystem of C and CS lenses you can use. There's also a range of adaptors that can link into other types of camera mounts. If you've already got a selection of camera lenses, it's worth checking if there's an adaptor that can link them to the HQ camera module.

The two downsides to the new camera are size and cost. It's a much bigger and heavier beast than previous camera modules, so you'll need a beefier drone if you want to get this thing in the sky. At $50 (plus lenses), this is noticeably more expensive than other camera modules for the Pi, but for that you get noticeably more camera.

The products that excite us the most don't just make projects better, they make whole new classes of projects possible, and this is one such product. Yes, you can make better wildlife, astronomy and security cameras with this, but additionally we suspect we'll soon be seeing a range of projects from creative makers that we haven't even imagined yet thanks to this.

You can read more about the development of the camera in the announcement blog post or pick up our guide to using the official Raspberry Pi cameras.