25 years after the Game Boy camera first debuted in 1998, not only are fans still enjoying lo-fi, black and white, and pixel photography, they’re still evolving the camera to make it better, and gone even as far as regards reduce it to size a regular Game Boy cartridge.
We checked in last time Christopher Gravesa Game Boy camera fan who knows his way around a 3D printer and circuit board showed a custom creation called ” Game Boy Camera M. It transformed a sacrificed Game Boy Pocket into a mirrorless shooter with interchangeable lenses, a custom leatherette-wrapped case, a rechargeable battery, and a repositioned action button repurposed as a trigger.
That was then Game Boy Camera M seemed like the perfect tool for those who’d rather capture images as small as 0.001434 megapixels (128 x 112 pixels), but after seeing Graves’ latest creation we’re not so sure.
The ones who have spent any amount of time Shot with Nintendo’s Game Boy camera I will recall that it was a chunky accessory with a bulbous lens that protruded over the top of the Game Boy it was attached to. There’s no doubt that Nintendo did everything it could to shrink the size of the original Game Boy camera, but the company was limited by technology in 1998 All digital cameras were quite bulky. By leveraging a quarter century of technological miniaturization, Graves was able to create a much slimmer alternative they call the Game Boy Mini Camera.
Starting with the schematics for a custom build Rechargeable Game Boy Camera Board prepared by Martin RefsethGraves created a custom circuit board that took the original Game Boy camera’s sensor, memory card controller, and “a couple of capacitors that were just easier to collect” and that all fit into a custom case that was the same size as a standard one -Game Boy game cartridge had . The Game Boy Mini Camera can actually run two different ROMs and comes with flash memory, so there’s no risk of saved photos disappearing when a backup battery dies.
As for the Game Boy Mini camera lens? If it looks oddly familiar because it’s sticking out slightly from the top corner of the cartridge, that’s because it’s actually a lens from an iPhone XR. The lens is screwed into a special threaded sleeve so its position can be adjusted to change the focus of the camera. Graves is also testing other iPhone lenses, including one from the iPhone 14 that sticks out even further, and possibly one from an iPhone 5S that would eliminate that little camera bump entirely.
Despite borrowing some optical hardware from the iPhone, the images captured by the Game Boy Mini camera are still unmistakably low-resolution and lack detail and color: this is exactly the aesthetic Game Boy camera photographers are looking for. But with the redesign, the Game Boy Mini camera can actually slip into a pocket when used with a handheld like the Game Boy Pocket.
Don’t pull out your credit card just yet and yell at Graves to just shut up and take your money. As with them Game Boy Camera Mthe Game Boy Mini Camera, is described as another selfish project they made just for themselves, but they don’t completely rule out one day designing their own PCB schematics from scratch and making them available to other hobbyists who want to tackle a DIY project like this will do so on their own.