Skip to main content

Funders wanted: Camera lucida for modern times, cardboard medium-format camera, and binocular zoom for smartphones

neolucida
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Looking to support some awesome photography projects? Channel you inner venture capitalist and get in on these crowdfunding prototypes.

NeoLucida

The camera lucida, an old 19th–century optical technique that artists employed to help draw what they see, has been updated for the modern age by two university art professors. Pablo Garcia, an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Golan Levin, an associate professor at Carnegie Melon, devised an inexpensive, portable camera that allows the user to “draw from life,” as the creators put it.

What is a camera lucida? As Garcia and Levin put it, a camera lucida is “a prism on an adjustable stand. When an artist looks down through the prism, they see the world in front of them, plus their hand on the page, combined in perfect superimposition. In short, a camera lucida allows you to trace what you see.” Highly popular in the 1800s, it’s an effective method in portraitures. In Garcia and Levin’s modern version (shown above), the NeoLucida is highly portable, with a small prism attached to flexible stand with clamp. There’s no electricity required nor are there any computer components reproducing the image – low-tech meets high-tech, if you will.

For those who want one, you’re a bit out of luck. While there are still 28 days left in the Kickstarter campaign, the projects has surpassed its $15,000 goal – garnering more than $378,000 from more than 9,000 backers – and sold out its initial production run. You can still get in on the second batch with a $40 or pledge, but that’s also going fast. Delivery is expected in September and December. The good news is that the creators plan to release the product details as an open source project, allowing us to build our own NeoLucida.

Videre: The Pop-Up Pinhole Project

videre-1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

From Instagram filters to vintage film cameras, analog photography (or the concept of it) is alive and well. However, some of these old-school cameras can still be expensive. A designer in London, who couldn’t afford a real medium format camera, has created a pinhole alternative called the Videre. Looking like a camera from the olden days, the Videre doesn’t use a lens but a pinhole that lets light in to expose the film – a form of photography that’s been used since ancient times. The neat part is that the Videre is made from thick, die-cut recycled cards that are easy to assemble, made in England.

The project has already reached its funding goal, but you can still get one. Hurry, though, because there are just five days left. Delivery is scheduled for November.

videre-2
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Snapzoom

snapzoom
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s say you’re faced with the following dilemma: You want to photograph something in the far distance, but your smartphone’s optics is incapable of that type of zoom (please, no digital zooms ever). You have a pair of high-powered binoculars, but you can’t record what you see (unless you have Sony’s new digital recording binoculars). The simple solution would be to marry these two devices, which is what Daniel Fujikake and Mac Nguyen have created: the Snapzoom.

The idea was born out of their passion for surfing and photography, according to the brothers-in-law. “About a year ago we started using binoculars as a telephoto lens for our smartphones. We were amazed with the quality of the photos and videos, but connecting our phones with the scopes was pretty frustrating. We set out to find a simple solution and came up with Snapzoom the universal smartphone scope adapter.”

The adapter, which works with iPhones and Android phones (although you can probably use any camera phone), lets you attach and align the phone with the eyepiece of the scope. “The scope then becomes an accessory lens, and the smartphone camera’s image is magnified by the power of the scope. For example, the iPhone 5’s camera is equivalent to a 33mm lens field of view. Adding a Snapzoom and the average 10x power binocular increases the size of the image to a 330mm lens field of view.” It may be a long time before built-in smartphone optics can achieve this type of zoom, but the Snapzoom is a clever solution in the meantime.

There’s just 14 days left to fund this project, and availability is very limited at this point. If you want to get in on this, act fast. Delivery is estimated for August and September.

Topics
Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
Can a $500 Pixel phone beat a $1,000 iPhone in a camera test? I found out
iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 8a camera modules.

Right before Google I/O 2024, Google showed off the latest Pixel device, the Google Pixel 8a. This is the latest offering from the Pixel A-series, which is a more budget-friendly Pixel for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles of the flagship Pixel 8 or 8 Pro.

The Pixel 8a features a new design with more rounded corners and a matte-finish back. It packs Google’s latest silicon, the Tensor G3, but the camera hardware remains unchanged from its predecessor, the Pixel 7a.

Read more
Flash deal drops the price of the DJI Mini 3 Drone to just $550
A DJI Mini 3 Drone in the air.

Over at Best Buy today, there’s a fantastic deal on the DJI Mini 3 drone which is perfect for anyone waiting for great drone deals. Currently, you can buy the DJI Mini 3 drone for $550, meaning you save $60 off the regular price of $610. A decent discount of just under 10% on a highly sought after drone, this is perfect for anyone keen to see more of the world. If you want to learn more, keep reading -- or you can simply tap the buy button.

Why you should buy the DJI Mini 3 drone
DJI makes some of the best drones around and the DJI Mini 3 drone is a great example of what it does well. When we tried out the DJI Mini 3 drone, we described it as a game changer. It’s incredibly lightweight, weighing just 249g so it’s perfect for taking on your travels without being too heavy to take around.

Read more
Hurry! This GoPro HERO12 bundle has a rare price cut right now
GoPro HERO12 Black Action Camera Bundle

If you're thinking about buying an action camera, there's no better option out there right now than the GoPro HERO12 Black. It's the brand's latest model so you may not think that you can get one with savings, but there's a rare discount from Best Buy right now. A bundle that includes the action camera and some useful accessories is currently $50 off, bringing its price down to $400 from $450 originally. We're not sure how much time is remaining before this offer expires though, so if you want to take advantage of it, you're going to have to complete the purchase immediately.

Why you should buy the GoPro HERO12 Black action camera bundle
The GoPro HERO12 Black is a lightweight but durable action camera that you can on any outdoor adventure. It's capable of recording footage at up to 5.3K resolution with 60 frames per second, and its extra-large 8:7 aspect ratio gives you a bigger canvas for your creativity. The action camera also features the brand's HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilization technology that fixes even the shakiest videos, and Horizon Lock that keeps the video steady even if it rotates 360 degrees while you're recording.

Read more