Making a Custom Raspberry Pi Camera with Zero Coding Knowledge

The Verge Video Director Becca Farsace recently set out to build her very own custom camera by merging a point-and-shoot film camera with the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera module and a Raspberry Pi 4 computer. Just one problem… she has zero coding knowledge. Cue a very frustrating week.

The whole experience was, of course, captured on camera for an episode of Farsace’s YT show “Full-Frame,” and it shows how she took a Raspberry Pi camera, a Raspberry Pi computer, and a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, and stuffed the whole setup inside the (somewhat mangled) shell of a Ninoka NK-700 compact film camera that was sacrificed in the name of DIY. For lenses, she used C-mount lenses from her 16mm Bolex.

When the build is said and done, the final product looked something like this:

We’ve covered a lot of really cool Raspberry Pi camera projects on PetaPixel over the years, and while DIY enthusiasts probably understand what it takes to actually make one of these work, Farsace’s experience shows you what it’s like when you’re a rote beginner—from the frustration of learning how to code, to the challenge of creating something functional, to the relief that courses through you when you realize you “built a freaking camera.”

Admittedly, Farsace never did quite figure the whole process out. The final product would only take really low-res images unless she literally brought a keyboard along for the ride, and even when using it “normally” she has to re-launch the program every time she wants to take a photo.

Still, she found a fun way to both review the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera—which gets a big thumbs up from Becca—and show prospective builders out there what they’re up against if they actually want to use it. Check out the full video up top to see the whole process for yourself, and if you want to see some more high-tech Pi Camera builds, click here.

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