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Inspired by the old-school Super 8, this $78 video camera captures GIFs

Fragment 8 Retro Camera Video

Creating a GIF usually involves reworking a short video into the shareable, looping video format — but one odd retro-inspired camera could change that. The Fragment 8 Retro Camera, the brainchild of an industrial designer and film director, is a Super 8-inspired digital camera that captures MP4s or GIFs and adds special effects using a rotating lens plate.

The Fragment 8 is designed to look an old 8mm film camera — while capturing imperfect videos that also feel like film. The camera uses a 1/3-inch sensor (small, by today’s standards) and an f/4 fixed focus lens that uses both glass and acrylic elements. That odd lens design is there to intentionally create some random imperfections, much like the film the camera is inspired by.

If that unpredictability isn’t enough, the Fragment 8 includes three add-on lenses — accessible by rotating a lens dial — that add creative effects. The add-on lenses add a kaleidoscope effect, a star filter or a radial filter. The lens dial can also house 17mm-size smartphone lenses.

The Fragment 8 can shoot in MP4s or JPEGs — or capture GIFs directly. GIFs can also be set to loop or repeat. Unlike with a traditional video camera, those GIFs are immediately ready to share on social media once transferred to a smartphone or computer.

The Fragment 8 takes on the rectangular shape of a Super 8 camera, keeping the design simple with just the viewfinder, shutter, lens rotation plate, handle and a tripod mount. The add-on lenses can also be stashed in a compartment inside the camera itself, which only weighs roughly 8.8 ounces.

Designed by a film director and industrial designer, Fragment 8 comes from a Hong Kong-based startup called Lofty Factory. The group has been working on the design for a year after the two co-founders picked up an old Keystone K35 8mm camera and loved the results, but not the cost of the film or the two-minute clip limit.

Fragment 8 is the start-up’s first Kickstarter campaign, launching today, January 21. The campaign aims to raise just under $20,000 by February 22. If the project and manufacturing is successful — which is not a given, with this being a first campaign — the earliest backers can pick up the camera for $78. Additional pledges add extra features and a more high-end design.

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