Until recently I did not know that this was possible, but people are hacking the venerable Logitech C920 and C930e webcams. The hardware hacks allow them to be used with a diverse range of high-quality, low-cost, CS lenses.
What started as a series of hacks by Saulius Lukse in Vilnius, Lithuania has turned into a small enterprise. At his Kurokesu site he now sells various things related to his adventures in optics. That includes machined metal cases to refit the internals of the C920/C930e.
Further, the 3D model for the case is available on GitHub. Here’s a nice video of how to mod the C920, mounting it into the new case.
If you’re not quite so into DIY you can purchase the reworked C920/930e ready to use for $200. That’s not bad given the effort shown in the video.
According to a comment on his blog he’s hoping to get his hands on a Logitech Brio 4K webcam soon. I think he might be able to accomplish some interesting things with a 4K sensor and USB 3.0 connectivity as a foundation.
Looking beyond the Logitech webcams, he’s working on USB camera C1, a camera of his own design. Available for pre-order for just $120, it purports to offer superior low-light performance compared to more common webcams. It features the Aptina AR0330 1/3″ inch image sensor.
His YouTube channel also has some interesting videos of the C1 in action. There’s one where he’s created a system for recognizing car license plates from a distance using OpenALPR. It’s interesting stuff.
Thanks to George Ou for the tip about Korukesu.