CinePI is a 2K, 12-bit RAW, 50P, open supply video digital camera for $200

CinePi - full body

Good video cameras don’t come low cost. Truly, they’re fairly costly. Even the basic ones. And in order for you RAW video recording, you’re looking at a minimum of $1,899. (Hey, if you realize any digital camera that does RAW video for much less, hit us within the feedback). Nicely, that is altering. Enter CinePI – an open-source cine camera.

CinePi is a free, open-source mission that features the {hardware}, firmware, and electronics to construct a totally working 2K digital camera with unbelievable specs for beneath $200. The draw back, you’d have to be fairly a tinkerer to construct it.

The CinePI mission

CinePI is an bold mission by Csaba Nagy to construct a totally working video digital camera (or cine digital camera) from off-the-shelf elements. The digital camera’s core is constructed on a Raspberry Pi 4 ($144.99) and a Super8 Sized Sony Sensor.

(I do know these two elements alone are over $200, however the RasPi 4 will hopefully return to its sane pre-covid value – about $60).

These are mixed with supporting electronics and a elaborate 3D-printed physique to create a full-fledged cinema digital camera. If the physique appears to be like acquainted, it’s as a result of it was impressed by the Sony ZV-1, which is sort of the proper dimension for the Raspberry Pi 4 board.

Together with a spot for storage, the physique has a spot for an SSD, energy provide, and hey! It’s going to even match a SmallRig ZV-1 cage.

That is undoubtedly not the primary digital camera we’ve seen primarily based on a Raspberry Pi. The Pieca, Paparazzo, and Pi Cam are all initiatives round this platform, however the CinePI is the primary I’ve seen taking the idea to manufacturing stage.

However why make the CinePI?

OK, good query. I used to be curious too, so I reached out to Csaba Nagy to ask. Here’s what he tells DIYP:

Oof, why? 😅 it’s a traditional case of why not? It does appear form of foolish to make use of a Raspberry Oi as a cinema digital camera; That’s, till you notice that at its essence, what’s a cinema digital camera however a sensor and a processor board? – Raspberry Pi is essentially the most accessible kind of open {hardware} and software program obtainable, so it’s form of a no brainer.

It’s actually only a one-person mission for the time being, formally, I assume? However that is altering by the day, and there are actually people who helped me with getting this mission off the bottom.

And that is form of a ardour mission; I turned actually within the technical facet of cameras across the identical time I purchased the unique Blackmagic Cinema Digicam 2.5K in 2013

I actually loved utilizing that digital camera; filming in RAW was a recreation changer for me coming from a Canon T3I DSLR taking pictures compressed 1080p video.

I like the concept that cameras and their {hardware}/software program be extra accessible, properly understood, and tinkered with basically.

I wish to suppose CinePI positions itself properly between initiatives like Magic Lantern and it’s hacked/modified firmware for Canon Cameras and the Apertus mission that takes a extra “ground-up” method, constructing every thing from scratch; together with the {hardware}/software program.

With Raspberry Pi you may take a really accessible / low cost / off the shelf single board laptop, add a picture sensor; and begin writing your personal open supply software program utilizing very properly documented Linux primarily based instruments and libraries

CinePI Specs

Sure, you construct the CinePi with obtainable components, and sure, it’s no competitors for a brand-made digital camera. However nonetheless it presents a really spectacular checklist of options:

  • Super8 Sized Sensor ( Sony IMX477 )
  • 12-bit CinemaDNG Recording
  • 4.0″ Excessive Res Contact Display screen Interface
  • Inner Excessive Capability Battery
  • Actual-time clock
  • USB 3.0 Exterior SSD Recording
  • 1/4″ Mounting Factors
  • 40mm Noctua Cooling System

The primary bonus right here is the flexibility to document in 12-bit CinemaDNG format. And whereas the digital camera solely offers 2K native output, I’m fairly certain there’s sufficient knowledge to blow the video to 4K with none vital loss, a minimum of for YouTube utilization.

The one caveat is that it is advisable save your video into an exterior USB 3.0 SSD and provide a lens. These will carry up the fee. However storage and lenses usually are not a part of every other digital camera anyhow.

CinePI take a look at footage

If you’re not satisfied but, listed below are two quick movies that Csaba shot as take a look at footage.

Constructing the digital camera equipment

When you get your fingers on all of the elements (there’s a list here), there’s an easy-to-follow build guide. Nicely, possibly I ought to swap straightforward to extraordinarily detailed. However if you happen to really feel comfy with a screwdriver or a soldering iron and have made a Raspberry Pi mission or two, you have to be fantastic.

After I requested Csaba concerning the software program complexity, he informed me that “The digital camera makes use of the native 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS Lite, the software program that controls the sensor is Libcamera, and the principle digital camera software known as cinepi-raw ( that’s the portion I developed, primarily based on libcamera-apps ) the GUI makes use of LVGL Library.” If this doesn’t sound like Chinese language to you, you’ll get pleasure from this mission very a lot.


Seeing a neighborhood mission at that scale constructed round an open-source neighborhood is unbelievable. One can solely hope that between units like Phoneblocks and the laptop computer, a totally modular digital camera will discover its place. If you wish to comply with the mission or turn out to be a contributor, head over to the CinePi GitHub page.