This Clever CMOS Sensor Breakout Sits at the Heart of a Custom Crafted Camera!
Niklas Fauth shares his picture-perfect CMOS image sensor breakout board, forming the heart of a custom camera system.
This is part 2 of a complementary pair of articles, featuring the latest project from the ever productive pair that isJana Marie Hemsing and Niklas Fauth. Part one can be found here, where we look at a clever, custom controller for Canon EOS AF lens systems.
Thereis often quite a disconnect between consumer grade, and higher end camera systems. Not only for features and capability, but more than often, in the pricing of these systems also!
Centered around the OS05A10 from OmniVision, this board serves to get the 5-megapixel CMOS sensor reading out pixel data, to be sampled by a separate controller board.
We can see the sensor sat proudly on the front face of the breakout, as shown below — and it looks simply glorious!
With this CMOS image sensor offering some quite impressive low-light performance, the 5-megapixel resolution means that it should be well suited to recording naturally lit environments like home labs, etc. — making this a very, very attractive sensor for things like live streaming and video blogs, etc. (When I say naturally lit, I refer to the lack of need for studio lighting!)
A recent theme in some of the projects our articles cover has been "Why buy what I can design and build — it'll only cost me 10x as much!"
While that is going to be true for a lot of us, Fauth here is demonstrating that if you know what you're doing, that building your own doesn't have to break the bank — if you've already learned the lessons that come with that 10x cost in previous projects, those lessons pay back in later projects 100x.
With little more than the image sensor, voltage regulators and decoupling capacitors, this slim PCBA is has a slim BoM to match. The sensors image data is piped out over differential pairs — visible in the tracking along the bottom of the central part of the PCB, and terminates at a FPC connector, pinned to match the EVK Fauth has on hand.
While using a pre-made EVK might seem contrary to the DIY approach, Fauth quite rightly points out that having a known, working set of hardware from which to refer to is a no brainer. It means he can focus on getting the sensor board working, allowing him to verify the sensor PCB design washout needing to figure out a complimentary controller card at the same time.
With the sensor design sorted, he's free to revisit the controller electronics at his leisure, and I have a feeling that's going to be a very, very interesting project to keep tabs on!
It's refreshing to see some really slick teamwork, especially with both Fauth and Hemsing turning out hardware projects that are not only well conceiver, but well executed.
The combination of these two projects has resulted in the basis of a very capable camera system, that looks to feature high-end performance, without the associated high-end price tag!