Pi-powered Mansfield Holiday Zoom Movie Camera

When John Sichi discovered a Mansfield Holiday Zoom movie camera on Yerdle, he was instantly transported back to a childhood of making home movies with his family.

The camera was fully operational, but sadly the lens was damaged. 

With the cost of parts, film, and development an unreasonable expense, John decided to digitise the camera using a Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi Camera Module.

Pi-powered Mansfield Holiday Zoom Movie Camera

To fit the Pi in place, John was forced to pull out the inner workings; unfortunately, this meant he had to lose the nostalgic whirring noise of the inner springs, which would originally have spun as the movie was recorded.

Using a scrap piece of metal, he was able to create a stop/start button from the existing trigger: hold it down to record, and release to stop.

A USB battery pack provides power to the Pi, while bits of LEGO and Sugru hold it in place. 

Pi-powered Mansfield Holiday Zoom Movie Camera

John decided to mount the Camera Module externally, as he did not want to risk damaging the body of the Mansfield. A further upgrade would aim to use a camera with functional lens, thereby fully incorporating the new tech with the old functionality. 

Code for the camera is available via GitHub, while sample footage from the camera can be found below. As you can see, the build works beautifully, and that retro image quality is incredibly evocative. Great work, John! 



L. K. avatar

I wonder if there is a copy of this video without the hipster filter… You know: so we can see what it really looks like.

Alex Bate avatar

The filter is part of the code. Check out the link to his GitHub and you’ll see the use of the ‘old-timey effect’.

Bill Webb avatar

A good project would be to make a digital Stereo Realist camera. They are readily available on eBay. The challenge would be to get both cameras to fire at the same time. This is critical. A few milliseconds error can cause problems with moving objects.


Bob Jones avatar


Guy Montag avatar

Am I right in understanding that the camera’s lens is not utilized, but the trigger is, and camera acts as a housing for the Raspberry Pi?

Alex Bate avatar


Ploy avatar

Seeing these pictures bring me back, too bad the lens was damaged. Very interesting fix though, you young generation are so innovative.

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