As far as DIY projects go, building a usable street camera sounds pretty daunting. That said, the RUHAcam, a new project by Ping-Hsun “penk” Chen and Ruha Cheng, definitely looks like a fun weekend project for folks who want to create a standalone camera from scratch.
The project uses a Raspberry Pi Zero W connected to a battery and camera module. A little TFT screen acts as your viewfinder, and the whole thing fits inside a 3D-printed case. There are even plans so that you can make your own leather holster for your weird little point-and-shoot—but don’t expect niceties like autofocus and dust detection. This is basically the electronic equivalent of a DIY Lomograpy film camera.
The system uses the 10-megapixel Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera, which costs $50 online and can be connected to a C- and CS-mount lens. The lens itself costs another $50 on Adafruit. To build the RUHAcam, you simply print the case, assemble the parts, and add some code to the Raspberry Pi to react to the shutter button by storing the image onto an SD card. The resulting pictures, if Chen and Cheng’s site is any guide, are very nice in a retro-cyberpunk-camera-futurist kind of way. You’re going to experience a lot of artifacts and messiness, but what do you expect with a camera made out of about $120 worth of parts and a few dollops of melted plastic? Ultimately, it’s the cool that counts.