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.)