I spy with my little Pi

Raspberry Pi's new high-quality camera is perfect for home security

Now you can make your own security doorbell. Or birdwatch. Or stargaze. The possibilities are endless.

Raspberry Pi has released a high-quality camera module that attaches to its microcomputers for all kinds of photography-based projects. The sensor itself is a 12.3 megapixel Sony IMX477 with a 7.9mm diagonal image size. It supports attachable DSLR lenses and can shoot video in 1080p at 30 fps or 720p at 60 fps. The camera sells for $50 and works with all Raspberry Pi computers except the original Raspberry Pi Zero, which doesn't have a camera port.

Raspberry Pi shared some pictures on Twitter that were shot in Cambridge, England using the new camera:

As you can see they're not anything amazing, but consider that your typical smartphone is relying on processing software developed by Apple and the like to help you get a good shot. Besides, that sort of misses the point of this DIY camera module anyway.

Go your own way — So, why would you even want one of these if the phone in your pocket takes better shots? A couple of ideas come to mind. Maybe you'd like to build your own outdoor camera system that doesn't rely on a third-party cloud service like Ring. Countless times we've seen internet-of-things services shut down only to turn their expensive hardware into paperweights.

And then there are the privacy snafus that happen with cloud services all the time, like hackers breaking into Ring accounts and harassing people, or Ring staff watching people surreptitiously. If you're a weekend project type of person, hacking together your own security cameras with this new module could both put your mind at ease and give you something to do.

Look to the stars — Or maybe, as Raspberry Pi suggests, you could pop a high-end telescope onto this lens and use it to take astrophotography snaps at night without having to leave your phone outside for hours. Or set it up pointed at a bird feeder and see what you catch.

Raspberry Pi has a full guide on its site detailing how to get the camera up and running, along with updated features in its Raspian OS for capturing images.