What if I told you that for just $50, you could have yourself a fully-customizable interchangeable lens camera capable of shooting 12.3MP stills and capturing 4K/30p video? You’d probably tell me to kick dirt, but the truth is that’s now a possibility thanks to Raspberry Pi’s new ILC camera module and accompanying lenses, which start at just $25.

‘There has always been a big overlap between Raspberry Pi hackers and camera hackers,’ reads the Raspberry Pi blog post announcing the setup. ‘Even back in 2012, people (okay, substantially Dave Hunt) were finding interesting ways to squeeze more functionality out of DSLR cameras using their Raspberry Pi computers.’

The full kit currently available from Raspberry Pi.

Since 2013, Raspberry Pi has released a few different camera modules: the original 5MP camera board based around the OmniVision OV5647 sensor, a Pi NoIR board for infrared photography and a follow-up camera board that used the Sony IMX219 8MP sensor (this unit replaced Raspberry Pi’s 5MP camera board, which has the distinction of being just two other products the company has ever officially discontinued).

Despite selling more than 1.7 million units of the 8MP camera boards to date, the Raspberry Pi team wasn’t content with the limitations put in place by fixed-focus camera modules with small sensors and poor performance. Enter the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera.

This new module is build around the Type 1/2.3” (7.9mm diagonal) Sony IMX477 backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that features 1.55μm pixels (double that of the IMX219 found in the 8MP camera board). In front of the sensor is a C and CS lens mount with adjustable back-focus, a mount most commonly used on 8mm, 16mm cameras, closed-circuit security cameras and other industrial-focused systems. It even features a built-in 1/4”-20 tripod mount for supporting the system.

While any off-the-shelf C- and CS-mount lenses will work with the new sensor, Raspberry Pi has announced it will be working with its official retail partners to carry a pair of lenses: a 6mm CS-mount lens and a 16mm C-mount lens for $25 and $50, respectively. There’s always the option of 3D printing and purchasing third-party adapters to create wild combinations, such as this monster, shown below, built around the Canon 70–200mm F2.8 IS II lens.

The possibilities are nearly endless.

The High Quality Camera is compatible with ‘almost all’ Raspberry Pi models, starting with the original Raspberry Pi 1. The only exception are a number of early Raspberry Pi Zero boards that lack the connector. Raspberry Pi has compiled accompanying support documentation on the product page, including a ‘Getting Started’ guide. There’s also ‘The Official Raspberry Pi Camera Guide’ that’s available to download for free as a PDF or buy in physical form on the Raspberry Pi Press Store for £10.

The Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera, which will remain in production until at least January 2027 per Raspberry Pi’s obsolescence statement, is available starting today for $50 on the Raspberry Pi website.