Raspberry Pi lets you have your own global shutter camera for $50

With no rolling shutter, it's ideal for machine vision applications.

Raspberry Pi

Global shutter sensors with no skew or distortion have been promised as the future of cameras for years now, but so far only a handful of products with that tech have made it to market. Now, Raspberry Pi is offering a 1.6-megapixel global shutter camera module to hobbyists for $50, providing a platform for machine vision, hobbyist shooting and more.

The Raspberry Pi Global Shutter Camera uses a 6.3mm Sony IMX296 sensor, and requires a Raspberry Pi board with a CSI camera connector. Like other global shutter sensors, it works by pairing each pixel with an analog storage element, so that light signals can be captured and stored by all pixels simultaneously.

By comparison, regular CMOS sensors read and store the light captured by pixels from top to bottom and left to right. That can cause diagonal skew on fast moving subjects, or very weird distortion on rotating objects like propellers. The video below shows the difference with plucked guitar strings.

By eliminating those issues, the new camera allows for distortion free capture of things like sports or fast-moving industrial processes. The relatively low resolution isn't a problem, the company says, as video is usually downsampled before being fed into machine vision systems anyway. It uses the same C/CS lens mount as Raspberry Pi's 12-megapixel High Quality Camera, so you can attach 6mm CS‑mount and 16mm C-mount CGL lenses offered through the company's reseller partners.

If you're interested but worried about delays, Raspberry Pi recently posted that it has been working on resolving supply chain issues. "We expect supply to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2023, and to be unlimited in the second half of the year," it said in a December blog post. The Global Shutter Camera is now available to purchase for $50.