We know what you’re thinking: how can a camera possibly be crazy?
After all, the concept is pretty straightforward: point the camera at the object, push a button, and you’re done. Sure, we’ve come a long way from spending hours in a dark room to develop our photographs, but the design of a modern camera remains similar to a Leica Rangefinder Camera from 1936. Even if photography continues to evolve with smartphones and high resolution digital pictures, perhaps it’s comforting to know that some aspects in the past never went out of style.
Of course, the above only pertains to normal cameras, which brings us to the following 10 cameras that went off the deep end in more ways than one.
In 1991, Japanese camera company Konica called their AiBORG camera “futuristic.” Two decades later, photography buffs only remember it as the “Darth Vader camera.”
Were it not for the infamously ugly design, the functionally unremarkable AiBORG would have likely been forgotten among the myriad of cameras from the early 90s. Sometimes it’s good to be bad.
GoPro Hero4 Session
One look at the 2.6 ounce Hero4 Session will have most people asking where the rest of the camera is. Spoilers: that 1.5 inch cube is the camera.
Touted as the world’s smallest action camera ever made, the waterproof device is great for people who want to forget they are holding a camera.
For those who want to literally shoot a photo, the pistol camera is a perfect fit.
This piece of firearm photography was specifically designed for police work during the 1950s, but there have been a surprising amount of gun-cameras made throughout history. This is not to be confused with cameras mounted onto guns, which is utilized by military personnel.
Like the AiBORG, the Olympus Ecru hails from 1991 and looks kind of like a member of the Star Wars Imperial Army.
That said, the high image quality of the Ecru combined with its compact design makes for a neat camera to play around with. Just make sure this circular device doesn’t roll out of your hands by mistake.
Reporter Book Camera
The reporter book camera was produced in 1889, and it has since become an extremely rare collectible worth thousands of dollars. We’re not entirely sure of how it would be practically used, but it does look nice!
Combining a camera and a video game might not make sense to most people, but it did to Nintendo in 1998. Perhaps they knew that handheld devices featuring cameras would one day become common place.
The Gameboy Camera once held the record for the world’s smallest digital camera, and it even interfaced with a Gameboy Printer that could print off the 4-color pictures. How technology has changed in 15 years!
Fisher Price PXL-2000
Would you pay $179 for a children’s camera? No? Well neither would consumers in 1987 who saw the Fisher Price PXL-2000.
Though the PXL-2000 was a commercial failure, it became a surprisingly popular tool among filmmakers in the 1990s. It was even used to shoot the 1991 film Slacker, which would go on to be preserved in the Library of Congress for its cultural significance.
Lancaster Watch Camera
The compact Lancaster watch camera looks like a modern artist’s steampunk creation – except it was made in 1886.
The camera came in a men’s version and a smaller women’s version, the latter of which is extraordinarily rare to this day. In a 2007 auction, one such watch camera sold for $36,000.
Necono Digital Camera
Yes, this cat is actually a camera. No, we’re not making this up.
However, unlike other oddities we’ve written about on the site, this one is actually pretty unique. The Necono camera features a face-recognition sensor that snaps pictures whenever anyone looks at it, making it great for capturing candid photos or inconspicuous pet selfies. The cat design helps disguise the hidden camera.
Pic Pic Camera
This is, in fact, a camera.
It is not a Frisbee, nor is it a roll of tape. The Pic Pic camera was produced in 1950, but beyond that there is scarce information describing this strange creation. It’s been said that no one really understands why the camera was even made, and it may have been completely forgotten if it had not been archived on Sylvain Halgand’s “Collection Appareils” website. We can only assume the camera was designed to baffle anyone who saw it, which would in turn lead to some excellent pictures of shocked faces.
Perhaps the Pic Pic camera isn’t quite as crazy as it could have been, but the lack of any details describing its specific purpose means we may never know why it was produced. Perhaps someone just wanted to give us something to talk about 65 years later.
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