Build your own DIY night vision camera with a Raspberry Pi
One of the great things about a lot of small sensor cameras is that they’re available in multiple flavours. Most webcams, for example, see both visible light and infrared at night. The Raspberry Pi cameras are the same.
In this video, John Irvin takes one of those small infrared camera modules and a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ (buy here) and bundles them up into a night vision camera. It sports a 5″ display and has a compact wireless keyboard.
[Related reading: The “Pieca” is a Raspberry Pi powered camera with a Leica M lens mount]
An older but smaller Raspberry Pi
John chose to use the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ inside the camera. It’s quite a bit slower than the Raspberry Pi 4 (buy here) and new Raspberry Pi 5 (buy here) models out there. But it’s the most recent model bearing the A+ form factor. This is significantly smaller than the standard Model B form factor of the Pi 4 and 5.
It uses the official Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3, released earlier this year. He’s using the NOIR version, which allows it to see infrared light. With the help of “invisible” infrared lights, it can see at night. He used a low-power, off-the-shelf infrared LED module as this light source.
Download and make your own
While there are a number of off-the-shelf electronic parts, they all need to be housed in an enclosure. And for something like this, you need a custom enclosure. So, that means 3D printing. John has made the STL files available to download at Thingiverse.
[Related reading: The Pikon is a 3D printed Raspberry Pi mirrorless camera]
The video above explains the construction of a prototype version after the parts were all printed. It is quite an in-depth video, lasting for fifteen minutes. He talks about what he learned from the first prototype and shows the improvements he’s made to the current version available to download.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.