Kevin McAleer often builds robots, but he’s turned his talents toward photography for his recent Pikon Camera project. The camera is built around the Raspberry Pi and incorporates an interchangeable lens design. The Pikon Camera also includes a large touchscreen interface.
The camera’s core is the 12.3MP Raspberry Pi HQ Camera module, which uses a Type 1/2.3 (6.3 x 4.7mm) Sony IMX477 sensor with a C-mount on the front, giving a 5.5x crop factor, relative to full-frame. With various C-mount adapters, you can mount a wide range of lenses to the Pikon, including Nikon, Canon and M42 lenses.
The 3D printable camera chassis can house a Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or 4, but McAleer uses the Raspberry Pi 4. The 5000mAh battery sits within the chassis and charges via USB. The camera’s large rear display is a Waveshare 3.5″ panel with resistive touch control. It’s not an especially high-res panel, with only 480×320 resolution, but at under $30, it’s affordable. Aside from 3D-printed parts, there are only five off-the-shelf components. The Raspberry Pi HQ module is the most expensive part, which is around $50, if you can find one for MSRP.
Of course, you could use a different camera module, such as the Arducam 64MP autofocus camera module (Type 1/1.7, 7.4 x 5.6). That module is significantly more expensive, but it’s also a much higher-res camera, reduces the crop factor to 4.7x, plus it has autofocus.
As for the Pikon project, it looks great and is versatile. McAleer admits that there are some software issues he must work out, but given that it’s built around a Raspberry Pi, it’s easy for users to tweak it to work with the Linux software of their choice.
On McAleer’s website, he offers a full breakdown of the components and includes the different STL project files for download. The project requires just a few M2 nuts and bolts plus a couple of M2 screws to put together. As for the software, McAleer is working on building a Python app that runs on Raspberry Pi 4 and can add video recording, photo filters and livestreaming functionality.