Raspberry Pi launches a 12.3MP camera module


Today, the Raspberry Pi team have announced they have launched a 12.3MP camera module for the Raspberry Pi for £50. The previous camera modules were like the compact camera, simply point and shoot; whereas this one is more like a professional camera like a DSLR.

Interchangeable lenses

Unlike the 5MP camera module they released in 2013, and the 8MP module that replaced it in 2015, this module doesn’t have a lens.

The 5MP and 8MP modules had a fixed focus lens which was great for taking photos and video provided there was enough light, and you couldn’t change the lens assembly.

The new module has a CS-mount and C-mount adapter so that it can be used with compatible lenses. They also launched a kit with a 6mm CS-mount lens for £25 that is suitable for basic photography and macro photography as well as a 16mm C-mount lens for £50.

Back illumination

The earlier modules as well as some smart phones use ambient light to illuminate what is being photographed, but as the light fades, so does the quality.

Like industrial CCTV cameras, this new module uses a back illumination to take decent photos and video at lower light levels.

High resolution

This camera module can take 12.3MP photos and up to 4K at 30 frames per second.

There is a limitation on the connector that prevents the camera from taking 4K at 30fps, it can take 4K at 10fps, 2K at up to 50fps and HD at up to 120fps.

Tripod mount

Another interesting feature is the tripod mount, so the module can mounted securely, although if you are using a large lens, you’ll want to put that on the tripod.

You can program it

Since this module is made solely for the Raspberry Pi and others that use the CSI interface, you can write software to control it.

There is a book you can buy, or download from the Mag Pi magazine that shows how to use the module for:

  • Time-lapse photography
  • High-speed photography
  • Stop-motion and selfies
  • Security Camera
  • ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition)
  • Underwater photo

Arducam HDMI extender

Since Arducam didn’t know this module was coming out, they sell a CSI to HDMI adapter, designed to extend the range of the 5MP and 8MP cameras up to 10m. This may also work with the new HQ module. Additionally, it can carry audio so you can use a microphone with the camera and be able to capture video with sound, or be used to pass GPIO pins through the HDMI cable. Robotshop sell this extender for around £14.

This only uses the HDMI cable to pass the data, it is not in HDMI format, so you can’t plug it into a TV or your laptop.

SLR lens adapters

Edmund Optics sell a range of SLR to C-mount adapters for different manufacturers for around £70

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