Crazy cameras: Seven strange snappers

Crave has corralled seven of the weirdest cameras we've ever laid eyes on, including some panoramic wonders, a swivelling marvel and a camera you can throw

Those zany camera manufacturers. We know they have a sense of humour: just look at the tiny internal memories they slap in our compacts! And those noisy high-ISO settings! What a bunch of jokers. But sometimes they excel themselves with some truly wacky designs. Click through the links and check out some of the kerr-aziest cameras Crave has ever seen. -Rich Trenholm

Dapper Kan
The Konica Kanpai was the world's first sound-activated camera, developed in 1989. It featured a built-in tripod and would react to sound such as cheering or laughter by swivelling round to capture the source of the hubbub. Our picture shows one of the later black models, replacing the original red version. We're not sure if the dapper two-tone brogues were standard, but we sure hope so. They're fancy.

Floppy future
Check out this sci-fi-lookin' bad boy. The strangely shaped SJSU Nua 356 camera was developed in 1990 as a concept by Kyle Swen, a student at San Jose State University -- hence the SJSU name. Like the famous Sony Mavica range, the 356 stored pictures on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. Unlike the Mavica, it looks awesome. Sadly, it was never sold.

Camulator
Perhaps you want to work out how many pictures you've taken. Perhaps you have some kind of complicated exposure calculations to do. Whatever -- you need the Digital Card Calculator Camera. You need it to work out how much the $69.99 price tag is in real money (£34, fact fans).

Bird in the hand
Now this is what we call a superzoom. Bushnell specialises in putting together binoculars and digital cameras. Great for twitching -- that's birdwatching to you, chuckles. This 3.2-megapixel model does video, too.

Throw up
Panoramic cameras? Who gives a toss? Well, it's funny you ask that because here we have the Triops. This little fella features three protected fish-eye lenses and when you throw it around -- yes, throw it around -- it fires off three photos simultaneously. The resulting image is created by stitching together a panoramic, 360-degree triptych. Shame it's only a concept as yet.

Keep rollin'
While we're on the subject of panoramic cameras, let's roll on with our heads held high and take a look at Yanko Design's rolling 360 degree camera. It's like a spinning top that's hit the deck. Again, just a concept, this time for Sony.

Semi-detached
Viewfinders -- who needs 'em? Screens have been one of the defining characteristics of digital cameras for years. But back in the day there may still have been some LCD Luddites not sold on the video display goodness.

Enter the Pentax EI-C90, debuted at PMA 1996, marketed from July 1997, and featuring a detachable screen module. The bit on the left came off. Honestly, the 1990s! What were they like?

Tags:
Cameras
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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