You could build this 489MP camera for less than $200

CAD diagram for DIY camera

Name-brand cameras with heavy-duty resolution usually cost quite a bit, but this shooter is incredibly cheap if you built it yourself. The best thing about this DIY camera is that it offers an absolutely insane 489MP resolution.

YouTuber, photographer and inventor Yunus Zenichowski has developed a digital camera that you can build yourself and pack with a resolution that puts even the best by major brands like Fujifilm, Sony, or Hasselblad completely to shame.

The device costs no more than $150 USD to build so long as you keep several key considerations in mind. The first and most obvious among these is that you’re going to need your own 3D printer, so if you don’t have one, you can forget about keeping things to the stated $150 budget.

Secondly, this camera doesn’t feature a normal camera sensor, because of course a true sensor with a 489MP resolution would be inescapably expensive.

Instead, the DIY camera uses a clever workaround by turning the sensor from an Epson V35 flatbed document scanner into its photographic sensor.

This of course means that you’d need to also buy one of these document scanners to build it. Fortunately, they’re not too expensive, with a close cousin, the V39 costing just over $100.

It’s also worth noting here that using a document scanner sensor for your photos will dramatically change your photo exposure times. Instead of quick shots, you’ll have to take the equivalent of long-exposure photos in which objects need to stay steady for several seconds or longer.

Finally, Zenichowski’s camera uses a projector lens instead of a normal camera lens. You could use a camera lens if you wanted to, but the inventor and YouTuber went with a projector lens for the sake of keeping costs low.

photo of DIY camera

Once you’ve obtained everything you need to build this camera and then assembled it, your resulting images will likely deliver a very vintage look, partially because of the projector lens involved and possibly also because of the improvised sensor apparatus.

In any case, Zenichowski’s camera obviously isn’t a rival to factory-made full-frame or medium and large format mirrorless cameras by major brands.

It is however a very interesting experimental project that most photographers with a bit of technical skill could try for some truly unique photography projects done under controlled conditions.

If you’re interested in creating this clever homemade camera yourself, Zenichowski has been kind enough to provide its CAD designs for your 3D printer. I also recommend giving his video a look for further details about building the camera and using it.

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Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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