When the original Raspberry Pi Zero was released back in November of 2015, it became one of the most sought after SBCs to hit the market. So much so that the Raspberry Pi factory couldn’t keep up with the demand. And why not, the amount of hardware packed onto the $5 board is impressive to say the least and includes a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC (1GHz ARM11 CPU), 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM and a 40-pin GPIO header.
What the board didn’t have was a camera port, a popular feature found on every version of the Raspberry Pi, which was sorely missed by the Maker community. A few months ago (back in May) the Foundation rectified the issue by updating the Zero with a camera connector and released an initial batch of 30,000 of the popular board to the market. With thousands more being produced every day until the demand subsides.
If your familiar with the original Zero, you’ll notice a few subtle changes that were made in order to fit the port onto the card, most notably shifting the surface components slightly to the left and rotating the LEDs in order to gain a tiny bit more space. The CSI connector itself is 3.5mm smaller than those found on the other RPis and positioned on the leading edge of the card rather than in the center.
As a result of the port being smaller than the others, it isn’t compatible with the ribbon cables used with the other RPis, however the Foundation found that it does work with the fine-pitch FPC connecter that’s used with the Compute Module Development Kit. The best part is that the port is compatible with the latest Raspberry Pi camera, which features a Sony IMX219 8-megapixel sensor. What’s more, the Zero v1.3 is still only $5 and is found on most online electronics retailers.
This board is such an inspiration to me. I’ve started so many projects with it. I hope to have one using the camera port ready soon. Why this update is such a big deal to me boils down to camera latency. I tried video feed using a USB webcam on the Raspberry Pi Zero’s original model, which showed noticeable lag in the video. The Raspberry Pi CSI based interface’s lag is far less… Combined with the new Raspberry Pi Camera V2 Board, I am hoping the get even better results. You can read more about the Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 on the Raspberry Pi blog.