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This is what happens when you put a telephoto lens on a Game Boy Camera

Product designer and photographer Bastiaan Ekeler has managed to install a massive Canon 70-200mm telephoto lens onto a Game Boy Camera.

To illustrate the feat with a remotely applicable analogy, this is basically like installing a Renault F1 race engine onto a tiny Fiat Palio. Incredibly useless, seemingly impossible, but undoubtedly awesome.

Released around 1998, the Game Boy Camera is an ingenious accessory you can insert into the Game Boy’s cartridge slot to capture black-and-white 8-bit images in 128×112 resolution. And yep, before you laugh, that was a HUGE deal at the time.

Curiously, despite today’s image processing technology being infinitely superior, the iconic gaming device seems to be inspiring photographers 20 years after its release.

Recently, photographer Tim Binnion managed to install a smartphone clip lens onto a Game Boy Camera and shoot the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix. The results were, well, yeah. Smaller than a Twitter avatar, black and white and with an 8-bit colour depth.

But that didn’t stop Ekeler from pushing the gadget even further.

“I’ve seen people use cheap cellphone lens adapters on the Game Boy Camera before but I wanted to see what a high-quality lens would do for this vintage piece of technology,” Ekeler told Mashable.

“I just really like the idea of using professional photography gear with this little 128×112 greyscale camera, it’s very funny and interesting to me.

“Plus I’ve been getting into wildlife/nature photography lately so I figured a big long lens combined with some childhood nostalgia would be the perfect fit!

Of course, the strange concept was not easy to bring to life. First, Ekeler had to 3D-print a custom EF mount, which is Canon’s standard lens mount, to fit his lens onto the tiny Game Boy Camera.

This mechanical monstrosity actually had an interesting side effect. Because of the minuscule chip size of the Game Boy Camera, the Canon 70-200mm telephoto is actually boosted to an absurd focal length of around 3,000mm.

If Sarah Palin had one of these, maybe she would finally be able to see Moscow from her house in Alaska.

Ekeler used an Arduino circuit board coupled with a Game Boy Printer Emulator he found on GitHub to create a pipeline that allowed him to actually save the images.

After somehow soldering the Game Boy Link Cable to the Arduino board, our Victor Frankenstein of photography had his monster ready.

Ekeler unleashed his creation on the world, taking photos of nature scenes, wildlife and of course, with that focal length, he just had to shoot the moon.

The results? Well, you guessed it. Black & White, 8-bit, 128×112.

“Shooting the moon handheld with a ~3000mm equivalent lens on an unlit (Game Boy) screen that updates at about 1fps in low light situations is not an easy task but I got a couple of shots in,” Ekeler wrote on his blog.

“The bird shots actually show some surprisingly creamy bokeh for a 2-bit, 14 kilopixel image, there might be some portrait session in this camera’s future.”

If you’re interested in this awesome experiment, you can check out Ekeler’s website where he has more in-depth explanations of how he built the EF mount, and plenty of images taken with this incredible mutant camera.

About the author

Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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