Photographer Turns Battery Grip into a Computer, Gives DSLR an Extra Brain

Ireland-based photographer David Hunt recently came up with the brilliant idea of turning an old broken battery grip into a small computer that can be connected to his Canon 5D Mark II. After buying a Raspberry Pi computer for €35, he modified the battery grip and stuffed the computer inside.

Once the the “surgery” was complete, he had a battery grip that housed a functioning computer with Linux (Raspbian), 2 USB ports, a network adapter, HDMI, and a General Purpose Input/Output.

“Why would anyone want to turn a grip into a small computer?” you might ask. Well, the possibilities are pretty exciting:

Hunt says that the grip could one day offer wireless tethered shooting by attaching a Wi-Fi dongle to the USB port, easy backups by attaching a USB or hard drive, remote controlled operation, a custom intervalometer, on-the-fly image conversion for previewing images on a display, and simple things like triggering the camera shutter or waking it up.

Maybe one day we’ll all be using special battery grip-style computers that offer all kinds of special features (Internet connectivity and apps, for example).

Head on over to Hunt’s blog post for a more detailed look into how he built the thing.

Camera Pi – DSLR Camera with Embedded Computer (via Make)

Image credits: Photographs by David Hunt

  • Jeremy Madore

    Genius and innovative. Can’t wait to see how this evolves.

  • DzPhotography

    And where does he puts his batteries now? :s

  • Tanja Schulte

    in a german forum someone has done that 2 years ago.
    i don´t remember exactly what for but the connected the BG computer to some of the camera outputs…. so much i remember..

  • Stewart Doyle

    In the camera’s own battery compartment?

  • Andrew Doran

    Wouldn’t’ it be nice if the Camera manufacturers started implementing that kind of processing in the cameras so we didn’t’ have to do it ourselves? There is so much potential. It’s about time Nikon & Canon started thinking outside the (mirror) box

  • Ray Andrews

    No need for patent, it’s all off the shelf. It’s nothing that Canon or Nikon couldn’t already be doing if they weren’t out to get every dollar possible

  • DzPhotography

    wel no, because the grip’s connection to the body goes in that compartment… but I saw it afterwards, he has still room for one battery apparently…

  • Tanja Schulte

    thank god for capitalism…..

  • Angus

    this guy needs to get onto kickstarter and get the ball rolling..

  • cunguez

    If you read his site, the battery in the compartment powers the Rasberry Pi. He’s cut off the vertical piece of the battery grip that houses the cables that lead to the contacts connecting the batteries in the grip to the camera. He still has a battery in the camera’s normal battery compartment. He could still have the original battery door attached since he’s cut off the vertical piece. The grip attaches to the camera via the tripod socket, so he doesn’t need the vertical anyway.

  • lol

    Now its a standard pentax with all the added extras, but minus the OEM costs for those parts.

  • Bonny Doo

    this with Magic lantern would be an impressive combo to say the least.

  • Daniel Yu Suzuki


  • Camstone

    And this is better than eye-Fi cards… Or an attached Linux computer to the USB/FireWire connector…how? personally, I wish a camera company would make their firmware open source… Then you’d see real innovation happen!

  • Wibble

    If Apple built SLRs, we’d have all this stuff now…

    I’ve never been able to understand how primitive my Cannon is up against, say, my mobile phone. Strikes me that the whole camera industry are asleep when it comes to innovation.

    Why can’t I control my camera remotely; use my iPad as a viewfinder; set up time shifted shots, bracketing… The possibilities are endless except that Cannon, Nikon, etc. won’t let go.

    Maybe opening up a third party computer such as this will finally knock the manufacturers off their perches.

  • wha

    call me when your iphone takes 8 frames a second (buffering 20+mb files) and can shoot at 1/8000s. Also, ALL of the things listed in your third paragraph can be done, except remote ipad control.

    Nikon is making a point-shoot (rumored) to come running Android.

  • Wibble

    It can be done, but only if you leave your first born as deposit.

    Cameras are very primitive when compared with other tech. Sure, it’s good that the development focus (ha!) is on quality pictures, but that seems to be at the expense (ha!) of all the other things that should be easily and cheaply available.

    If the interfaces were opened up then other people could innovate. Camera tech seems to be amazingly closed when compared with other tech.

  • Paul

    Wifi is already available, as are redundant backups. Essentially its turning a camera into a smart phone only bigger.

  • manual

    you are a sad individual. it is open source hardware and software and you want to patent it.

  • Azim Aziz S

    theres an Eye-fi sd card nowadays