Staying through to their pace-setting tradition, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has once again pushed the bar of what is achievable with SBCs, higher, with the launch of what is arguably the most powerful camera ever shipped with an SBC.
The first official Raspberry Pi camera with 5MP resolution which was launched back in May 2013, was followed with an updated 8MP version in 2016.
As useful as these two versions were, they had their shortcomings and have now been rendered obsolete as the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a few days ago, announced the launch of a new high-quality camera that boasts of a higher megapixel back-side illuminated sensor, with improved sensitivity and interchangeable lens support for both C and CS-mount form factors. Describing the motivation behind the new cameras in the press release, the foundation stated that:\
There has always been a big overlap between Raspberry Pi hackers and camera hackers. Even back in 2012, people (okay, substantially Dave Hunt) were finding interesting ways to squeeze more functionality out of DSLR cameras using Raspberry Pi cameras. We are pleased to announce a new member of the Raspberry Pi camera family: the 12.3 megapixels high-quality Camera, alongside a range of interchangeable lenses.
As versatile as the previous camera modules were, the Pi Foundation added that there were some limitations including their relatively small sensors which led to to a lower signal-to-noise ratio as well as a poorer low-light performance. This, amongst others, are some of the shortcomings that the new high-quality camera is designed to handle.