Making my own webcam: Part 2

In the first part I discussed why I'm not able to get a decent webcam, and deciding to make my own using a Raspberry Pi Zero and the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera instead.

Well, all the parts arrived from the friendly pirates at Pimoroni today, so I got to work at putting it together.

The first speed bump was discovering that the Zero W has a mini-HDMI port. I have many HDMI cables as well as a micro-HDMI adaptor for the Raspberry Pi 4, but no mini-HDMI cables or adaptors. I decided to just connect to it over WiFi instead. First up, Adafruit's Raspberry Pi Zero Headless Quick Start guide. That got me to the point where I could ssh into the Pi Zero W and update the operating system without seeing the screen or plugging in a keyboard or mouse.

The Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera Getting Started manual was also quite helpful in figuring out how to connect and adjust the lenses.

I tried a whole bunch of things, mainly on this forum thread, to try and get the Pi Zero to act as a webcam. It wasn't working, so I started wondering if the guy who showed a successful demo of it working on YouTube had a blog with instructions.

Turns out, he wrote up the instructions just four days ago! I tried it, and it works! Another turns out: He's the same guy behind the PiPhone, Drop Pi and the Lapse Pi.

One last issue was that everything was out of focus. I had a look at the Pimoroni website again and found the manual for the lens that I bought. Turns out I had to remove the CS-S adaptor, fully screw in the backfocus, and only then adjust the aperture and focus.

I compared it against my built-in webcam, and it looks so much better! Going from a 720p fixed-focus webcam to a 12MP camera running at 1080p with a manual focus is quite the difference.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting

#100DaysToOffload #day38 #rpicam