Superheadz Digital Harinezumi camera is retrograde in all the best ways

digitalharinezumi_patrickng.jpg

I tread a fine line with it comes to faux retro camera hipsterism: I think buying old film cameras, while a perfectly fair choice for some, forgoes most of the convenience, opportunity for learning, and dare I say magic of the digital camera. On the other hand, my white is on my computer and iPhone adding washed out filters and faux vignettes all the time. I’ll give up fidelity and authenticity, but never ease of use.

So what to do about the “Digital Harinezumi” by Superheadz? The Japanese analog cameramaker has made a tiny digital (its first), complete with an LCD screen—that it won’t let you use when snapping a picture, forcing you instead to frame the shot with a plastic viewfinder like the one found on old 110 “spy” cameras. (The Harinezumi looks quite a bit like those very cameras, one of which I owned after seeing Bill Cosby use one in Leonard: Part VI.)

The washed out look from leaky plastic cameras is still there. There’s a physical spring-loaded switch that mimics a film camera’s controls. It even shoots video that harkens to 8mm film—by leaving out the sound.

It’s sort of what we’ve come to, the last option in a market oversaturated with inexpensive point-and-shoots capable of crystal-clear snapshots: when you can no longer go forward, you have to go back. But at least Superheadz remembered to keep it convenient, with a microSD card slot for transferring up to 4GB of your 2-megapixel images and VGA movies onto your computer and the internet.

I’m sold—except I don’t know where to get one in North America. Sorry, John R. (who first made me aware of the Digital Harinezumi): I can’t find it anywhere online. (Patrick Ng has one, but he’s in Hong Kong. He liked it well enough to take the above picture, though, as well as shoot a movie with it that he has on his website.)

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18 Responses to Superheadz Digital Harinezumi camera is retrograde in all the best ways

  1. strider_mt2k says:

    LOL,
    You said, “Leonard: Part VI”.

    If only that movie was as funny as the references to it are today.

    Sorry, Cos. Love you man, just not this film.

    (-and please don’t yell at me for my grammar.)

  2. Michiel says:

    Wait, you think cameras with “magic” that measure and set everything automatically are better for LEARNING how to trick the light into becoming a good photograph?

    I can’t read five paragraphs when the first starts with such a mistake, so I have no idea what this story is about.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I really don’t get it. If it’s designed to mimic a vintage camera and that’s cool… why not get a vintage camera and have some better fun with it? I shoot and develop film when I can, it’s pretty awesome. But faking it not as much.

  4. Michiel says:

    I’m right, but I’m also being kind of a dick so never mind my previous comment. Hadn’t had my coffee yet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My god! What’s the point of this camera? Just turn off the display of a regular crappy p&s and apply some filters to the photos in photoshop.

    It should be about using simple technology to empower creativity, not about crippling high technology and wasting tons of money for an end product that feels as real as any 1$-photo-filter-vintage-holga-polaroid-app on your iPhone.

    Buy an old 110 camera for 1$ at eBay and get some expired 110 film, you can shoot and develop hundreds of pictures for 400$ and get something with character while you have the chance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The camera will be available in the US by this July. It will be priced at less than 200 dollars. The movie function is really amazing, film like colours…

  7. gnosis says:

    @#7 – Hey, thanks!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Here I found one movie example. http://www.vimeo.com/3685931

  9. Anonymous says:

    You can get them from here (once they get some more in stock): http://www.fourcornerstore.com/collections/superheadz-cameras

  10. Chizu says:

    They’re available in a few shops in Tokyo, like Loft, Village Vanguard, Tsutaya in Roppongi.

    http://www.superheadz.com/digitalharinezumi/shop/ja.html

    The amazon japan page puts them at ¥38,000 ($400)

    Here’s the product page from the makers:

    http://www.superheadz.com/digitalharinezumi/

  11. oblomov says:

    A 2 megapixel camera is a 2 megapixel camera no matter how you twist it. You can get them on keychains at your local walgreens for about 15 dollars and the result is essentially the same.

  12. gnosis says:

    Yea! The first suggestion I’ve given to BB that got published. US $400 is steep though….have to think about it.

    Thanks!
    John R.

  13. Alex says:

    It’s on urbanoutfitters.com as of today

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hey,

    We also have them at the International Center of Photography. We’re in NYC, so if you’re in the area, stop by. I also have them up online for $170: shopping.icp.org/store/product.html?product_id=31966.

  15. Sean Leary says:

    It’s hit US stateside via Urban Outfitters.

  16. nicnichols says:

    The Digital Harinezumi 2 : Exclusive details at http://www.fourcornersdark.com

  17. edward says:

    they have it on http://www.freestylephoto.biz for 149$ and the video looks pretty cool. i’d love to get a real 8mm but how many viable options for the long run are out there?

  18. nicnichols says:

    It’s an amazing camera, and after a week with it I have not put it down yet. The actual US price will be about $170, and its well worth it. The chip is designed to produce images like an old 110 camera and video like the 8mm your parents used to use. You can check out my review here: http://nicnichols.com/FourCornersDark/?page_id=3549

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