A decent DIY Allsky Camera can easily cost over $400 USD to build. A “low-cost” Raspberry Pi 4B based system with HQ camera and wide-angle lens with enclosure will cost over $250 USD to build. If that price range is too steep for you, you might consider a very low cost option. It will not be an ALL sky camera but will provide a fun experience with quality images and videos. Consider building an inexpensive sky camera that covers about 1/4 of the sky. This will still provide good coverage and captures very impressive day and night sky images and time-lapse videos using the Allsky software found on github: https://github.com/thomasjacquin/allsky There is an updated version of this software, currently in test (February 2023), that supports the Pi Camera Module 3. I expect that it will escape soon 🙂
You can build a compact component-based sky camera for less than $75 USD or about $100 USD with a very nice enclosure.
So, how do you build a compact component-based Allsky camera for less than $75 USD or about $100 USD with a very nice enclosure? You do this by using a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W SBC with the new Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 with wide-angle lens. The original Pi Zero is not recommended for this project as it does not have the required horsepower. The Pi Zero 2 W is about $15 USD (if you can find one), the camera with wide-angle lens is $35 USD and a power supply is about $10 USD. Add an enclosure for the Pi for about $10 USD and a camera mount for about $5 USD. Total build cost is about $70 USD. You might want to spring for a waterproof enclosure with clear acrylic dome for the Pi Zero and camera, instead of individual cases, for about $35 USD. Total cost of this system with miscellaneous screws, nuts, bolts, etc., is about $100 USD. Parts list below the sky images.
Free – open source software!
DJC Supply Co. 4″ x 4″ x 2.4″ Weather & Dust Proof PS Plastic Junction Conduit Box
SUPREMETECH Acrylic Dome/Plastic Hemisphere – Clear – 2″ Diameter
Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 – 120 Degree Wide Angle Lens
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W
Adhesive Black Rubber Pad Sheet Thin Silicone Rubber Gasket Sheet 12X12 inch,1/25 Inch
Raspberry Pi Zero Camera Cable
QIANRENON 90° Micro USB Panel Flush Mount Waterproof Extension Cable Micro USB
CanaKit 5V 2.5A Raspberry Pi Power Supply/Adapter
LitOrange M2 Male Female Nylon Hex Spacer Standoff Screw Nut Assortment Kit