Weird photography: Game Boy Camera meets Canon telephoto lens

game boy camera canon telephoto lens
Bastiaan Ekeler

Soon after the Game Boy Camera launched in 1998, Nintendo broadcast a TV ad confidently announcing that it would “turn photography into fun-tography.” But it turned out the claim was even fuzzier than the images that the basic camera produced, and it failed to catch on.

As a result, the Game Boy attachment was eventually scrapped by Nintendo.

Fast forward a couple of decades, however, and you’ll see that at least a few folks out there have actually found ways to enjoy some “fun-tography” with this old piece of equipment.

Take Bastiaan Ekeler. The designer recently built a mount that enables him to attach Canon lenses to his aging Game Boy Camera.

Ekeler created the mount in Rhino 3D — computer-aided design software used by professionals. Using his skills in industrial design, Ekeler could complete the project in just a couple of hours, building the attachment using a Monoprice Select Mini v2 3D printer. The setup looks odd to say the least, but it worked as planned.

game boy camera canon telephoto lens mod
Bastiaan Ekeler

So what about the results? Well, it’s worth noting that the Game Boy Camera produces images of just 128 x 112 pixels, a fraction of what you get with today’s digital cameras. Oh, and the images are all monochrome, too. If you hadn’t already noticed, this is no Nikon D5. Or even a Coolpix 600, for that matter.

“The Game Boy Camera has a sensor size of about 3.6mm² which seems equivalent to a 1/4-inch sensor,” Ekeler explained in a blog post.

“This gives the Game Boy Camera a crop factor of about 10.81. With my 70-200 f4 mounted on a 1.4x extender, this gives me a max equivalent focal distance of about 200×1.4×10.81= 3,026.8mm.”

That’s powerful enough to capture some stunning shots of the moon. Or at least, some shots of the moon. Take a look for yourself (Ekeler converted the files to PNG and cropped them to make them square):

game boy camera canon telephoto lens images
Bastiaan Ekeler

Ekeler also snapped some pictures of different birds, images that he says feature “surprisingly creamy bokeh for a 2-bit, 14 kilopixel image.”

And there are some pictures of a boat, too. Or is it an oil rig? Hang on, it’s a lighthouse.

Ekeler isn’t the first to mod the Game Boy Camera. In fact, he says he was inspired to embark on his project after reading about Tim Binnion, who recently used the device to shoot the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

And then there’s Jean-Jacques Calbayrac, who bought a second-hand Game Boy Camera more than a decade ago and continues to use it for his gameboycamera Instagram feed.