I was recently searching for an overhead camera with interchangeable lenses for streaming and making video tutorials, and was going to pick up a Sony mirrorless camera, but stumbled across what may be the most hackable camera I’ve ever come across from a mainstream manufacturer: The Micro Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Design.
This super compact camera is designed for drone operators, and is somewhat specialized (there is no display on the camera itself and configuration is done over HDMI or via remote control), but what makes it stand out is the DB-15 port you can see just below the HDMI connector above. You have full control over the camera (shutter speed, iso, iris, etc.) through standard pins using PWM signals, meaning you can easily control the camera from an Arduino or most other MCUs! It even comes with a cable that breaks the pins out to easy to use female headers. Read on for details!
Using a specific (but fairly simple) protocol you can set the iris, shutter, white balance, etc., using a simple PWM signal, meaning you could probably even make your own wireless remote control using something like a RFM69HCW Feather or similar two way radio.
Not having an LCD on the camera might be a deal breaker for some people, but as an overhead camera for product demonstrations it’s great to be able to control this from an Arduino just as a fun little project. If you have any experience with this camera, let us know about it in the comments below. There is also a more expensive 4K version of the camera, the Micro Studio Camera 4K, but only the HD version has internal recording to SD cards (in high quality 10-bit 4:2:2 or 12-bit CinemaDNG raw files!).
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.