This is Raspberry Pi's new $50 High Quality Camera

The High Quality Camera features a 12.3MP Sony IMX477 sensor that brings adjustable focus and better low-light performance.

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Amid booming sales for the Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi has now unveiled a new camera option, launching the 12.3MP High Quality Camera for a wallet-friendly $50.

Raspberry Pi's first foray into the camera space, which was built around a 5MP OnmiVision sensor, was discontinued in 2015. Its replacement, launched in 2016, was built around the 8MP Sony IMX219 sensor and quickly became a firm favourite among Pi-lovers and DIY camera hobbyists, who found all manner of uses for the board, from telescopes to….err…cucumber sorters?

As its name suggests, the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera offers a substantial upgrade, sporting a 12.3-megapixel Sony IMX477 sensor. This offers double the pixel area of the IMX219, says Raspberry Pi, as well as back-illuminated sensor architecture for better low-light performance and integrated back-focus adjustment ring.

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This addresses the shortcomings of the previous model, which relied on a fixed focus module that produced lower-resolution images and didn't perform quite so well in low light conditions. Sample photos shot by both models by Raspberry Pi demonstrate just how much of an upgrade the High Quality Camera Offers: "It's really rather good," as the company itself attests.

"As with every product we build, the High Quality Camera has taught us interesting new things, in this case about producing precision-machined aluminium components at scale (and to think we thought injection moulding was hard!)," Senior Principle Engineer, Simon Martin, said in a blog post.

"Getting this right has been something of a labour of love for me over the past three years, designing the hardware and getting it to production."

The High Quality Camera is widely compatible with existing Raspberry Pi models, from the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B onward, that feature camera connectors. It also supports off-the-shelf C and CS-mount camera lenses, with Raspberry Pi also selling a range of interchangeable lenses starting at $25.

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The regular and infrared versions of Camera Module v2 will remain available to purchase.

To coincide with its latest camera board, Raspberry Pi has also released and Official Raspberry Pi Camera Guide, which covers how-tos and tips for both the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera and previous models.

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