Christopher Graves' Game Boy Camera M Is the Most Stylish, Usable Game Boy Camera Ever

Built around a Game Boy Pocket and five custom PCBs, this conversion kit turns what was a toy into a serious-looking pocket camera.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years ago β€’ Photos & Video / Retro Tech

Christopher Graves, a photographer with a penchant for imagery taken with the Nintendo Game Boy Camera accessory, has built a tool to make his hobby a little easier: the dedicated Game Boy Camera M.

"It's a Game Boy Pocket redesigned exclusively for Game Boy Camera use," Graves explains of the device β€” which, despite having been unveiled as the "Game Boy DSLR," is not a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. "OK, yeh, it's not a DSLR because it's mirrorless. I just gave it a name last minute. Other ideas I was considering: 'Game Boy Camera Camera' or 'Game Boy Camera Pocket,' but SEO [Search Engine Optimization]. Maybe I should try something more abstract or whimsical? GB Snap? GB Pix?"

Whatever name the device is under, it's built around the Nintendo Game Boy camera, an accessory launched in 1998 for the Game Boy family of handheld consoles and offering a swiveling camera capable of showing imagery on the console's display or printing it out for posterity with the optional Game Boy Printer. With a 128Γ—128 CMOS sensor capturing 128Γ—112 grayscale images, the images it captures are higher in nostalgia factor than quality β€” which may well be part of what attracted Graves to the device.

Having previously used a traditional Game Boy and camera add-on for his hobby, Graves' Game Boy Camera M looks a lot more like a traditional camera. A custom shell with leatherette finish evokes classic Leicas, while custom circuit boards provide access to a dedicated shutter button, a cold-shoe flash mount, back-lit IPS display with adjustable brightness, USB Type-C charging, and a battery capable of driving the device for up to eight hours.

Other features include a mount point for tripod use, strap lugs for portability, and a CS/C lens mount for interchangeable lenses β€” something never available for the original Game Boy Camera hardware. Despite its new form factor, though, the Game Boy Camera M is still a Game Boy at heart: The new Camera M cartridge itself can be popped out, complete with lens, and have an original Game Boy Camera inserted in its place β€” or a game, providing you don't mind the unusual control layout.

More information on the project is available on Graves' Twitter thread, with examples of his photography available on his website; the maker has indicated a desire to produce kits or completed Camera M devices, but says he'll "need to perfect things first."

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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