Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the Game Boy Camera’s debut, and despite its very limited capabilities—even for 1998—there are still devoted Game Boy Camera photographers that love its pixelated aesthetic, and who will love this 3D-printable custom shell that makes it compatible with proper lenses.
For a lot of people, the Game Boy Camera was the first digital camera they ever owned, as its $90 price tag at launch was considerably cheaper than the real digital cameras available at the time (with price tags closer to $1,000). How Nintendo got a digital camera into consumers’ hands for $90 was easy: the Game Boy Camera snapped pics with an incredibly limited 128 x 128-pixel CMOS sensor in just four shades of gray. That would be the equivalent of 0.001434-megapixels if compared to the capabilities of the digital cameras we have today.
But just as there are still devoted fans of retro gaming despite the limited graphics of those decades-old titles, there are still lots of people out there shooting with the Game Boy Camera, and looking to upgrade its capabilities, without sacrificng its lo-fi aesthetic.
That’s what the Camera+ from 2BitToys promises. It’s a replacement shell for the Game Boy Camera that improves the ergonomics of shooting with a Game Boy while also adding the ability to easily attach real camera lenses and use filters with the accessory. The replacement shell is 3D-printable, and is designed to “reuse as many parts from your original cart as possible.” It even assembles using the Game Boy Camera’s original screws, and the upgrade is completely reversible if you’d rather put the Game Boy Camera’s guts back into its original shell at a later point.
You can purchase the STL and STP 3D printing files for the Camera+ from Ko-Fi for around $12 (£10), but if you intend to use it with CS-mount lenses (typically used on 16-millimeter movie cameras, as well as CCTV security cameras) you’ll also need to drop ~$5 on a five-millimeter C-CS lens adaptor, plus some strong glue to hold it in place.
The upgrade isn’t going to make images snapped by the Game Boy Camera look like they’ve instead come from a pricey mirrorless camera, but it will give Game Boy Camera photographers more creative freedom when it comes to framing, giving them the ability to use zoom or wide-angle lenses, and even filters, for those wanting to bring a little color to the accessory’s very limited palette.