Pocket Camera with Zoom Lens

Recently I finished putting together the Pocket Camera Plus for the Gameboy. This takes all of the original hardware of the GameBoy Camera and puts it into a shell that you can attach actual Camera lens. You can read more about here: /gameboy-camera-plus


Attached to the Pocket Camera Plus, I'm using a pretty generic and bare bones Zoom lens. I just bought whatever was cheapest on Amazon. It has manually focus, zoom, and aperture, and has a focus length of 6mm up to 60mm. I guess that means it has a 10x zoom. Each of the rings has a pin used for movement, but these pins can be screwed in to keep the current setting.

In addition to the manual settings of the lens, the GameBoy Camera game has a Contrast and Brightness setting. Contrast is very important to reduce the harsh lights and darks coming into the camera. There is some automatic brightness control that the camera already does. This makes the manual aperture nearly useless. And even the digital brightness settings in the game can get overridden by the software trying to autocorrect the brightness.

For the following photos, I really only used the manual Zoom and Focus, and digital Contrast when taking photos.

Anyway, with my Pocket Camera and regular Camera, I went around town throughout the weekend and tested it out.

Sakurano Park 桜野公園

It's Spring in Takayama, so the Cherry Blossoms are in full boom. One of the best places to view cherry blossoms in Takayama is northwest of the main town. On the way to Kokufu, Sakurano Park is off to the side of the highway on the other side of the river. It's the perfect place to have a picnic on a warm Spring afternoon while viewing the cherry blossoms. (Although, this Spring has been freezing with the occasional snow)

I took some photos in late evening as the sun was setting.






The Camera lens gives an incredible amount of flexibility when taking photos. No matter how close or how far away from the subject, the zoom allows you to frame the photo and the focus allows you to get all of the detail. The sensor itself is still primitive by only allowing 4 colors, but you can still get a ton of clarity.

Of course, photos are best taken when the subject is clearly light. If there is no strong light source, then it can be hard to squeeze out detail. 4 colors can only do so much.

Shiroyama Park 城山公園

The next day, I went to Shiroyama Park downtown and took a few more photos. Shiroyama sits above the town, so I was able to really test out of the Zoom lens.



This tiny camera lens can zoom in further than my actual camera! It's pretty incredible how far it can go. Each of those photos would be smaller than a pixel using the original GameBoy camera hardware.

I took a few more photos from around the park. I walked a little bit around town, too, and took some photos there.






Again, the Pocket Camera works best if you have a well-light subject. But, additionally, you need to have a lot of contrast between your subject and the background. If you subject blends into the background a little, the Pocket Camera isn't going to have a way of showing the difference.

Skypark スカイパーク

To complete the day, I went to Sky Park. Sky Park is the easiest assessable, most dynamic observation point in town. You can view around half of the town from this point with a clear view. All of the eastern and northeastern mountains are visible, too.

I took a massive panoramic with the regular camera and many zoomed shots with the Pocket.



Again, it's incredible how much detail can be squeezed into the GameBoy camera with this lens, and how far it can zoom in. But, there is still one small problem. With the lens zoomed in so far, it's a little difficult to steady the camera. I might invest it a heavier, steadier tripod than the flimsy one I already have.

I took a few specific shots of the mountains.



One of the native features of the GameBoy Camera software is being able to adjust the Contrast. By pulling that way down, you can get a lot of detail from the mountains, even if they're mostly white.

I concluded my photo journey by taking a panorama of Mt. Norikura, which towers over Takayama. The resolution of each Pocket Camera photo is 128x112, so taking a panoramic photo can boost the resolution considerably.



The GameBoy Camera is over 25 years old now, so it's pretty fun being to squeeze as much functionality as possible out of it.

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