HQ camera and Canon lenses

This is a summary of my tests of the RPi HQ Camera and some Canon EF-S lenses.
(all photos made with the HQ camera are untouched and full size, click to view).

The results are not bad, the Canon lenses are usable, easy to change, focus is manually, they enhance the quality. The 6mm RPi is no match to any Canon, the 16mm is not bad at all.

Much has already been written about the new (spring  2020) HQ camera available for the Raspberry Pi.
Now one can argue if this is a HQ camera (12M pixels, no focus facilities), it certainly got the interest of the Pi community, the cameras and lenses seem to sell well.
Not to be positioned as a Pi Camera V2 replacement (much more expensive, larger in dimensions), it can be a quality camera  to do projects with.

Certainly not a photo/video camera replacement (even a phone camera is much easier to wok with, depth of view and focussing is too limited) , but will have its place in vision applications demanding higher quality images under computer control.

Since the camera comes without lens, but has a C or CS lens mount adapter, it is possible to choose a lens, like the two  available form the Pi Foundation.
I have bought both together with the camera, resulting in reasonable images but a pain to focus, let alone to change the focus often. The small one has a reasonable depth of view, and a wide view and lots of cushion distortion and color aberration. The bigger one is better, more a telelens.

The C mount allows more freedom in the choice of lenses, so I thought about checking out my (really high quality) Canon EF lenses.

This requires a C mount to Canon adapter. A metal one is on its way (May 10) from China, a metal one. In the meantime I set my 3D printer to work on 3D printed adapters.
I found two in Thingiverse:

Canon_EF_lens_to_C-MountCF-Mount_CCTV
Canon_EF_lens_to_C-Mount_w__stand
and printed both.

Some remarks about the two designs:

Canon_EF_lens_to_C-Mount_w__stand

The STL is missing the sizing information as required by the slicer program, as noted in the comments section. The trick to get a correct STL is to upload the STL in Autodesk Fusion and export as STL (with a new name of course!). It then prints fine in the right scale, once rotated and landed lying on its Canon side with supports and a brim. Reduce layer to 0.1.


It fits the Pi camera without adapter. I suppose I should have used a finer print, screwing on was hard, a gap was still present.
The tripod adapter needs to be removed from the camera, otherwise it will not fit.
The stand makes it a very stable setup on a table. I did not yet glue a tripod screw on it.

Canon_EF_lens_to_C-MountCF-Mount_CCTV
Prints fine, rotated and landed lying on the Canon side, with a brim. Reduce layer to 0.1.

It fits fine in the Pi camera (without c to cs adapter). The camera’s tripod support can be used, the result is quite unstable with a small table tripod and a real lens, a real tripod works fine, but the Raspberry Pi computer needs to be close and not dangling on the side. A longer camera cable of 50 cm helped a lot.

First impressions.

With each lens a photo of a test chart, printed on my laser printer, on the wall and a plant in the window.
Distance between camera and object for all lenses is 60 cm.

Focussing and capturing photo has to be done manually by looking at the monitor display running this command:

$ raspistill -fw -md 3 -q 90 -k -v -o filename

The – fw switch requires downloading and building Raspbian userland, it gives a numeric indication of the quality of the center part of the screen. Very helpful to get to the best focus.
The -k -v keep the camera image on screen with a prompt until Return key is pressed. Note that the -k in combinationwith other image formats like PNG do not work.

Canon EF-S 18-55 IS
Only way to focus is to adjust the zoom, making it a fixed length. Very high quality.

Canon EF-S 18-135
More a telelens. Same remarks as the EF-S 18-55.

Canon 40 mm (Pancake)
With a 13 mm ring added and about 25 cm distance between camera and object.


EF-S 60 mm Macro
Unable to focus

EF-S- 55-250
Unable to focus

6mm 3MP Lens for HQ Camera
Not easy to focus, extreme sensitive to small movements. Low quality, cushion distortion is high, wide view.

16mm 10MP Lens for HQ Camera
Not easy to focus, extreme sensitive to small movements. Quality is allright. Smaller view of point.