The Old Game Boy Camera Isn’t So Bad When A Telephoto Lens Is Attached

game boy camera lens
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In the June 1999 issue of The Robot Builder, Nintendo’s Game Boy was described as being capable of taking medium-resolution pictures of 128 x 123 pixels, supporting a wide variety of graphic processing capability. At the time praised for the included ROM chip, the small camera was considered somewhat of a revolutionary, albeit strange, addition to the beloved handheld console.

Since then, Nintendo’s Game Boy camera has – along with the Game Boy itself – amassed what can be considered a cult following. A lot has changed since 1998, when the camera was first released. Technology and the gaming industry have evolved, Game Boy players have grown up.

Still, out of production, the camera hasn’t stopped a small community from modifying and improving it, playing with it, so to speak. Designer Bastiaan Ekeler, who recently talked to End Gadget, has built a Canon lens adapter which supports a large telephoto lens.

The photographs taken by the Game Boy camera through the telephoto lens, are “whimsical,” as End Gadget’s Nick Summers put it, especially when shooting wildlife and landscapes. Bastiaan Ekeler’s adapter, which was built in the graphics software Rhino 3D, was an idea that took only an hour to fully come to life.

“I’ve seen people use cheap cellphone lens adapters on the Game Boy Camera before, but I wanted to see what a high-quality lens would do for this vintage piece of technology,” Ekeler said.

In theory, at least, Ekeler’s adapter should work with different Canon lenses. For his first photography session, the goal was to capture images the standard Game Boy Camera lens would not be able to capture. To achieve this, Ekeler took a piece of the biggest telephoto glass he was able to find and attached it to his Game Boy Color.

Due to its size and weight, the lens made photographing a challenge. Still, Ekeler managed to capture images of the moon, boats, and birds. After wrapping up the shooting session, he transferred the images using an old Arduino Duemilanove and Game Boy Link Cable. Using a Game Boy printer emulator, Ekeler converted HEX files into PNGs, thanks to his JavaScript knowledge. He then cut the images – which looked like a roll of traditional camera film – using Photoshop.

Ekeler’s next goal is wildlife photography. He wants to capture close-up images, so he is now considering moving on to something like a Canon 800mm. Fisheye lens and studio lighting will, he claims, make for an interesting experiment with the camera.

“I just really like the use of professional photography gear with this little 128×112 greyscale camera. It’s very funny and interesting to me,” Ekeler concluded.