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It's probably no surprise that you won't find a review or a score for the Game Boy Camera in DPReview's archives. Even by 1998 standards, the Game Boy Camera was a bit underwhelming in terms of technology. It took 0.5MP still images and displayed them at half that resolution. Output options were extremely limited: you either displayed your photos on the screen and passed your Game Boy around the room, or you acquired the Game Boy Printer – a glorified receipt printer that spits out tiny renditions of your subject on thermal paper.
But it was also the first camera that some of us on the DPR staff called our own, and for that reason holds a special place in our hearts. Take a look back at the Game Boy camera with us in all its 8-bit glory.
The camera itself attaches to a standard Game Boy cartridge, and the camera unit itself can swivel 180-degrees to face forward or backward. That's right, Nintendo was so far ahead of the selfie craze that we didn't even have an obnoxious name for them yet.
The menu system is about as straightforward as it gets: your three options are Shoot, View and Play. Of course, it needed to have a game element, so the Game Boy Camera offers three simple mini-games. But the real attraction is that camera on top. Hitting 'shoot' brings you to a screen where you can choose to just jump right into a fantastically laggy live view experience, or navigate to menu options called things like 'Items' and 'Magic'. There's a kind of Easter Egg if you select an option called 'Run,' but the less said about that the better.
Here's what's surprising about the Game Boy Camera – it offers quite a bit more than meets the eye. There are time-lapse, panorama and self-timer options. Nine different 'trick lenses' unlock more effects, like posterize, mirror and a 4x4 collage. You can also add hotspots to images, that when clicked take you to other images in your album. If you've got the time and imagination, you can actually do a lot with it. Heck, the cover of one of Neil Young's albums was taken with a Game Boy Camera.
That said, low light shooting is not at all a strength of the camera, so any photo taken in less than ideal light comes out as not much more than some dark, indistinguishable pixels.
Choosing 'View' from the main screen brings you to a simple 3x3 grid where you can select images individually to view at larger size (weirdly, you can't scroll between images in this view). On this screen you can unleash all kinds of mischief – zany borders, eyeball-shaped stamps and comments. But the party really started when you hooked up your Game Boy Printer.
That's right, if you really wanted to share your photos, you had to shell out some more cash for the printer. It outputs images on tiny strips of thermal paper at about the size of a postage stamp. The best part? The back of the paper can be peeled away to reveal an adhesive strip, which was ideal for attaching to photos to your Trapper Keeper.
The thing we remember most about the Game Boy camera is that it was just plain fun. In 1998, digital cameras were still making their way into the hands of the masses. Being a kid and suddenly having the ability to attach a camera to your beloved handheld game system was kind of magical. It encouraged silliness, inspired creativity and was the first step toward a lifetime of photo geekery, at least for a few of us.
Some of us were thrilled to be reunited with the Game Boy Camera of our childhood. Others? Less thrilled. Watch as DPR staff revisit the Game Boy Camera – or in some cases, pick it up for the very first time.
Chinese lens and accessory maker Kipon has introduced an adapter that includes a variable neutral density filter, primarily for video shooters. The filter is placed between a Canon EF-S mount and a Sony E-mount body. The Kipon EF-S/E AF ND retains the autofocus and image stabilisation features of the lens, according to the company, and EXIF data is communicated so it can be recorded in the image files. The adapter also allows manual focusing of the lens to trigger MF assistance features of the camera – such as peaking or magnification.
Kipon has produced adapters that contain graduated neutral density filters before but this is the first that has a variable ND filter. The filter is turned via a wheel that sticks out of the barrel and is marked with values between 1.5 and 7 f-stops. The idea of the adapter is that wide apertures can be used with shutter speeds appropriate for shooting video – as well as for stills shooters who want a shallow depth of field outdoors on bright days.
The adapter features an EF-S mount, so that it can use both EF and EF-S lenses but covers the full frame image circle for use on a7 series cameras.
The company suggests that the selling price should be 45,000 yen before tax, which is approximately $430.
You can read more about the adapter, including camera compatibility, on this translated version of Japanese agent Focus Workshop's website.
Rounder Records recording artists the Lonely Heartstring Band have now climbed into the AirPlay Direct “Top 50 All-Time” Americana / AAA Album Chart with their debut CD Deep Waters! They find themselves in very good company.
“When I heard this album the first time, I knew immediately that this was a unique and special act, with a very bright future," says Robert Weingartz, Chairman - AirPlay Direct / Collective Evolution. "We are proud to have signed The Lonely Heartstring Band as official AirPlay Direct Artist Endorsees, as they not only help define the present, but in doing so they contribute to the musical landscape and the future of the music industry. Congratulations to all involved.”
Marian Leighton Levy, Co-founder Rounder Records, states, “It has been a great privilege working with The Lonely Heartstring Band on their debut project. These guys are already proving themselves to be a major force in roots music, proven further by the incredible accomplishment of breaking into AirPlay Direct’s Top 50 All-Time chart. I’m excited to watch them grow as a band and to see what else their very bright future has in store for them.”
Though Deep Waters is the Lonely Heartstring Band’s debut album, it nonetheless feels deep, with a maturity and wisdom far beyond what one might expect from a first release by a relatively young band. Having come together officially only four years ago, the Lonely Heartstring Band has already been hailed by luminary Tony Trischka as having “carved out a fresh niche in modern bluegrass,” and similar accolades not often accorded to a debut outing.
AirPlay Direct is the premiere digital delivery / distribution company, brand and platform for engaging radio and airplay worldwide. AirPlay Direct is a professional B2B music business environment for artists, labels, publishing companies, radio promotion firms, PR / Media firms, etc.
AirPlay Direct currently has over 10,000 radio station members in 92 countries. AirPlay Direct also serves over 40,000 artist / label members globally on a daily basis. AirPlay Direct currently operates and services the largest global independent radio distribution network in the world with respect to Americana, Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Alt. Country, Roots Music, etc. www.AirPlayDirect.com
Collective Evolution is a boutique, high-end entertainment and media consulting firm. Our clients include recording artists, record labels, record producers, management companies and radio promotion / PR firms. We deliver creative consultative services and customized business solutions to our clients based upon their specific needs and goals.