How to Build a Digital Camera with a DIY Image Sensor By Hand

It's alive! It's alive! This guy not only built his own camera but also made the 1-kilopixel brain by hand.

Having a digital camera that only has a single kilopixel isn't really anything to brag about...unless you built that friggin' thing with your own two hands, sensor included. That's exactly what YouTuber and creator Sean Hodgins did. 

Meet the "digiObscura", a hand-made digital camera made from 3D-printed parts, a custom image sensor, and a broken Canon 35-105mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. Find out how Hodgins built this thing from scratch in his video below.

As you might be able to tell from the camera's name, the digiObscura was originally meant to be a pinhole camera. However, when Hodgins realized it wasn't producing enough light, he decided to repurpose the front glass of an old Canon 35-105mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

And even though the image sensor itself is only comprised of 1000 pixels, I think we can all appreciate the fact that Hodgins placed and soldered each and every photo cell by hand.

His DIY camera is actually relatively straightforward and is really only comprised of a few parts: the microcontroller circuit board, the image sensor circuit board, the camera body, the lens mount, and the lens.

Though the digiObscura was built by hand in an office rather than in a professional, contaminant-free factory in a Japanese prefecture, it's not as inelegant as you might think.

Hodgins gave this thing a few bells and whistles, including a shutter button, an SD card holder, and the cutest little OLED screen you've ever seen. 

Last but not least, what in the world does an image taken with Hodgins' digiObscura look like? Well...

This is not a DIY build for the faint of heart. If you really want to take a wack at this, Hodgins' walks you through every part of his process step-by-step in his post on Instructables. He even provides a parts list, 3D print files, and source code.

Let us know if you try this build, because we want to see pictures!     

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Your Comment


That’s great. Would someone take this Alexa Classic sensor and put it in my URSA Mini Pro?!


January 2, 2020 at 11:26AM

DP Potomac Media

Now we are talking, No Film School for me!

January 2, 2020 at 1:32PM

Jacob J Gonzalez

Global Internet of Things (IoT) security breach
Hackers never sleep. Everyone in the cybersecurity industry knows that. As long as you connect something to the Internet it immediately becomes vulnerable.

In the past years, we have seen how hackers have turned to unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices to create an extensive botnet which then they could use to push enough traffic to take down Dyn, the DNS provider. As a way to refresh your memory, here is how the DDoS attack using IoT devices happened in 2016.
A quick look at the news tells us that not much has been learned. However, the great number of security breaches occurred during 2018 should serve as an alert of what can happen at a global scale in 2019 if organizations don't take the necessary precautions.

Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. And with the rise of autonomous things --I will call this the Internet of Autonomous Things (IoAT)-- there is a good chance that many of these things will show a certain level of weak security.

In 2019, it will be paramount for IoT manufacturers and all of their supply chain to dramatically increase the security in all the products that come out to market. It can be a connected refrigerator, a robot, a drone, a vehicle, or a health tracker.

Manufacturers must implement a level of security that keeps hackers at bay. Otherwise, there is a good chance we are going to witness a global IoT security breach in 2019.

January 5, 2020 at 6:41PM, Edited January 5, 6:42PM