Photographer turns the Game Boy Camera into a rangefinder-esque pocket camera


We’ve seen the Nintendo Game Boy Camera quite a bit recently, including as part of Gordon Laing’s ‘Retro Review’ series and with a modified lens to capture photos of the moon. Thanks to lo-fi shooter and Game Boy Camera fan Christopher Graves, the classic low-resolution digital camera has never looked so stylish.

Graves turned a Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Camera into a heavily modified, sleek digital camera, complete with original Game Boy buttons for controls. The ‘A’ button shutter release is an especially nice touch. The buttons aren’t from the Game Boy Pocket that Graves used for the project but are instead from the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP.

Christopher Graves used the internals from a Game Boy Camera and Game Boy Pocket to create the Game Boy Camera M. It has a new Backlit IPS panel and uses buttons from the Game Boy Advance SP.

At its heart, Graves’s Game Boy Pocket Camera is still the same great Game Boy Camera you love (or maybe even hate). The CMOS sensor has a mere 128×128 pixel array and captures 128×112 pixel images, which works out to a paltry 0.0014 megapixels. The camera isn’t just low-res; it shoots black and white images in a mere four shades of gray. It puts the ‘low’ in low-fidelity.

The images have a certain charm, which has made the Game Boy Camera popular since its release in 1998. You don’t hear much about its contemporaneous digital cameras anymore, despite their higher resolutions – and color. The Game Boy Camera has character.

Images shot with the Game Boy Camera M. Credit: Christopher Graves

Graves’s customized Game Boy Camera, dubbed the Game Boy Camera M, includes a custom shell, leatherette grip, and some custom PCBs. The original Game Boy Pocket display has been replaced with a backlit IPS with adjustable brightness. The Game Boy Camera M uses a rechargeable battery, another upgrade over the original Game Boy Pocket’s two AAA batteries. The camera can run for up to eight hours. In case you’re wondering, the Game Boy Camera M can play Game Boy games, although Graves hasn’t done it yet.

From left to right: Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Camera M, and Analogue Pocket.

The Game Boy Camera M’s sensor, which is original, has been relocated along with its original PCB behind a CS mount. The CS mount is paired to a manual focus 5-50mm zoom lens, although it could be swapped to something else. Graves told Gizmodo, ‘ Sure, I can put on a massive Canon lens with huge zoom for ‘the clicks,’ but that’s not what I’m interested in. This is a completely personal and selfish project mean to improve my GBCam photography and expand my skills as a beginner, self-taught designer.’

The resulting images won’t knock your socks off with resolution. They’re 0.0014MP, after all. But they still possess the Game Boy Camera’s trademark style and are now captured using a sleek, custom-built camera.

Images shot with the Game Boy Camera M. Credit: Christopher Graves

The response to the Game Boy Camera M has been hugely positive. Graves is working on finalizing his design so that he can create a DIY kit for other Game Boy Camera enthusiasts to build their own. To learn more about the project, visit Graves’s website. You can also follow Graves on Instagram.

Image credits: Photographs via Christopher Graves

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