Classic Film Camera Goes Digital With Game Boy Tech

Despite having been technologically obsolete for a decade or two, analog photography is still practiced by hobbyists and artists to achieve a particular aesthetic. One might imagine a similar thing happening with early digital cameras, and indeed it has: the Game Boy Camera has seen use in dozens of projects. [Michael Fitzmayer] however decided to combine the worlds of analog and early digital photography by equipping a Holga with the image sensor from a Game Boy Camera.

A camera module and an STM32 module on a solderless breadboardThe Holga, if you’re not familiar, is a cheap film camera from the 1980s that has achieved something of a cult following among retro-photography enthusiasts. By equipping it with the sensor from what was one of the first mass-market digital cameras, [Michael] has created a rather unusual digital point-and-shoot. The user interface is as simple as can be: a single button to take a photo, and nothing else. There’s no screen to check your work — just as with film, you’ll have to wait for the pictures to come back from the lab.

The sensor used in the Game Boy Camera is a Mitsubishi M64282FP, which is a 128 x 128 pixel monochrome CMOS unit. [Michael] hooked it up to an STM32F401 microcontroller, which reads out the sensor data and stores it on an SD card in the form of a bitmap image.

With no film roll present, the Holga has plenty of space for all the electronics and a battery. The original lens turned out to be a poor fit for the image sensor, but with a bit of tweaking the Game Boy optics fit in its place without significantly altering the camera’s appearance.

A monochrome low-resolution selfie of a man making the peace sign[Michael] helpfully documented the design process and shared all source code on his GitHub page. Holgas shouldn’t be hard to find to find, but if none are available in your area you can just roll your own. The Game Boy Camera is actually one of the most versatile cameras out there, having been used for everything from video conferencing to astrophotography.

Custom Zynq/CMOS Camera Unlocks Astrophotography

Around here we love technology for its own sake. But we have to admit, most people are interested in applications–what can the technology do? Those people often have the best projects. After all, there’s only so many blinking LED projects you can look at before you want something more.

[Landingfield] is interested in astrophotography. He was dismayed at the cost of commercial camera sensors suitable for work like this, so he decided he would create his own. Although he started thinking about it a few years ago, he started earnestly in early 2016.

The project uses a Nikon sensor and a Xilinx Zynq CPU/FPGA. The idea is the set up and control the CMOS sensor with the CPU side of the Zynq chip, then receive and process the data from the sensor using the FPGA side before dumping it into memory and letting the CPU take over again. The project stalled for a bit due to a bug in the vendor’s tools. The posts describe the problem which might be handy if you are doing something similar. There’s still work to go, but the device has taken images that should appear on the same blog soon.

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