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I would like to know how difficult it is to build your own camera module. For instance, how difficult would it be to assemble the Raspberry Pi camera module from scratch?

The reason I'm interested in this, is that camera modules for high quality image sensors often come with horrendous price-tags, and I would like to know why.

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An anonymous example [to not shit-talk a specific seller :S]:

You can buy a camera modules for a quite good image sensor for 200 bucks + shipping costs online. However, the image sensor cost ~10$ in mass production, and probably ~20$ in smaller bulk orders. If we then factor in the price for some lenses ~35$ and lens holders ~5$, we come to a total component price of 50-60$.

--> So why is the selling price so high? Do I forget important parts? :S

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closed as too broad by laptop2d, Dmitry Grigoryev, Wesley Lee, ThreePhaseEel, pipe Mar 12 '17 at 13:45

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to stackexchange. It's best to make each question a single question, and each of which should be answerable (not just discussed). As of now, it appears your question is pretty much "How difficult is it to do X?" which is purely opinion, and has no good answer. Maybe something like "What are the requirements to accomplish X?" would be better, but even then, it's pushing it. \$\endgroup\$ – Bort Mar 9 '17 at 18:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is much else at play in a commercial product other than just parts, cost to manufacture/assemble, cost of packaging, cost of advertising, payroll and facility overheads, repayment of investment development costs and on and on, plus ultimately a reasonable profit margin the market will tolerate. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Mar 9 '17 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about the ASIC to convert the image data to something usable? Add that, and multiply the component cost by three or more (usual markup), and we get quite close to $200. \$\endgroup\$ – Leon Heller Mar 9 '17 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it difficult to develop your own... well that depends on how much quality of image you want. You can throw the parts together fairly easily, but any graphics device is extremely susceptible to noise interference. It can take many design cycles to get an image that has the sustained quality you would expect. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Mar 9 '17 at 18:38
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There is much else at play in a commercial product other than just parts, cost to manufacture/assemble, cost of packaging, cost of advertising, payroll and facility overheads, repayment of investment development costs and on and on, plus ultimately a reasonable profit margin the market will tolerate.

Is it difficult to develop your own... well that depends on how much quality of image you want. You can throw the parts together fairly easily, but any graphics device is extremely susceptible to noise interference. It can take many design cycles to get an image that has the sustained quality you would expect.

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