A side grip, an under­stand­able form fac­tor, a pre­view screen and one lens — afford­able dig­i­tal cam­eras appeared at the turn of the 20th-21st cen­turies and, it seems, every­thing is clear with them. Or is it still not? There were and still are excep­tions. Believe me, they are very far from the usu­al appear­ance of the cam­era. I col­lect­ed for you 9 cam­eras that are not like every­one else.

Apple QuickTake

Pho­to: iphones.ru

Of course, the iPhone was not the first smart­phone, the Apple Watch was not the first smart­watch on the mar­ket, and Air­Pods were not the first wire­less head­phones. How­ev­er, the Cal­i­forn­ian com­pa­ny makes prod­ucts that change the game in the mar­ket. Apple also tried to enter the field of pho­tog­ra­phy, but not very suc­cess­ful­ly.

In 1994, with the sup­port of Kodak, Apple launched the first con­sumer dig­i­tal cam­era on the mar­ket. The body of the cam­era resem­bled binoc­u­lars, and the char­ac­ter­is­tics can now only cause a smile: 24-bit col­or, 0.3 MP res­o­lu­tion, f / 2.0 aper­ture, shut­ter speed 1/30 per sec­ond, pow­ered by three AAA bat­ter­ies. On 1 MB of built-in mem­o­ry, eight pic­tures are placed in the orig­i­nal res­o­lu­tion (640 × 480), or thir­ty-two in half (320 × 200). The cam­era cost $ 749, but there were few peo­ple who want­ed to buy such a mir­a­cle of tech­nol­o­gy.

In 1997, the com­pa­ny released the sec­ond ver­sion of its cam­era, the Quick­take 200. The lat­ter was more like a famil­iar soap box: an LCD screen appeared on the back pan­el, a choice of modes and the abil­i­ty to con­trol aper­ture and shut­ter speed appeared. How­ev­er, this also did not help the gad­get become pop­u­lar.

In par­al­lel with this, oth­er mar­ket play­ers fig­ured out where to move, and Apple was no longer able to keep up with the grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Return­ing to the com­pa­ny, Steve Jobs turned this direc­tion in the same 1997.


Image: dpphotoworld.net

For the lat­est smart­phones with por­trait mode, you can now find spe­cial third-par­ty pro­grams that help you shift focus to anoth­er sub­ject after shoot­ing. Tak­ing into account the artis­tic blur­ring of the back­ground in post-pro­duc­tion by the hard­ware itself, this becomes pos­si­ble.

Even before the era of smart­phones with mul­ti­ple cam­eras, this was pos­si­ble in the world of pho­tog­ra­phy. In 2011, the Amer­i­can com­pa­ny Lytro intro­duced the first film-opti­cal cam­era to the mar­ket. The main fea­ture of the cam­era is the abil­i­ty to post-focus on objects when the pho­to has already been tak­en.

Pho­to: newatlas.com

In addi­tion to the extra­or­di­nary func­tion even now, 10 years lat­er, the cam­era has an equal­ly futur­is­tic look. Out­ward­ly, it looks like a rec­tan­gu­lar bar made of met­al and plas­tic.

Lytro uses an array of microlens­es to ana­lyze and cap­ture infor­ma­tion about light pat­terns in all four dimen­sions. Giv­en this fact, the cam­era has a res­o­lu­tion char­ac­ter­is­tic not in megapix­els, but in megarays.

The Lytro of the first mod­el is capa­ble of cap­tur­ing and ana­lyz­ing 11 mil­lion rays in space. It is this fac­tor that allows you to work with the direc­tion of focus and trans­fer it when the pho­to has already been tak­en.

Pho­to: bhphotovideo.com

A few years lat­er, the com­pa­ny restart­ed the start­up and intro­duced the new Lytro Illum mod­el. The nov­el­ty is much more rem­i­nis­cent of a famil­iar cam­era, has a fast f / 2 lens and a focal length range of 30–250mm. The res­o­lu­tion has also improved, now it is as much as 40 Megarays, and this mar­vel of tech­nol­o­gy is still almost the only post-focus cam­era on the mar­ket.

Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D

Pho­to: pocket-lint.com

As the name implies, this tiny soap box is capa­ble of tak­ing pho­tos and videos in 3D. All thanks to two lens­es at once and two matri­ces inside. The com­pa­ny released the stereo­scop­ic device in the wake of the mass appear­ance of 3D tele­vi­sions and the boom in 3D movies. The effect itself is obtained by soft­ware over­lay­ing pho­tos from dif­fer­ent lens­es.

The screen is cov­ered with a spe­cial film and allows you to view three-dimen­sion­al images with­out spe­cial glass­es. At the moment, the third ver­sion of the mod­el has been released in a light­weight body and with improved char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Leica DMR

The pre­mi­um Ger­man brand Leica, which spe­cial­izes in rangefind­er cam­eras, also released the R SLR sys­tem. At the dawn of the 2000s and the advent of dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy, the com­pa­ny released an even less­er-known device today — a dig­i­tal back for its R series cam­eras. The back was placed in the film slot and turned the film cam­era into a dig­i­tal one.

The device was pre­sent­ed at the Pho­tok­i­na exhi­bi­tion in 2004 and had the fol­low­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics: 10 megapix­el CCD sen­sor, pix­el size of 6.8 microns, and dimen­sions of the effec­tive area of ​​the sen­sor are 26.4 x 17.6 mm.

Thus, with just one back, the Ger­man brand has made the Leica R a work­ing tool for both 35mm film and dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy. Maybe such a device did not receive dis­tri­b­u­tion, but it def­i­nite­ly marked a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone on the path of tran­si­tion from film to dig­i­tal.

Lat­er dig­i­tal backs for Mamiya, Has­sel­blad and oth­er medi­um for­mat cam­eras appeared on the mar­ket.

Photomask Liquid Image Explorer

Even in such a nar­row direc­tion as pho­to div­ing, there were some crafts­men! The Chi­nese com­pa­ny Liq­uid Image is engaged in the pro­duc­tion of div­ing masks com­bined with a cam­era. No more need­ing to keep your hands busy with equip­ment in bulky water­proof cas­es: every­thing in this device is sharp­ened for com­fort­able shoot­ing.

Out­ward­ly, the mask looks like a clas­sic acces­so­ry for div­ing under water, only the lens of an inte­grat­ed cam­era is placed in the fore­head with a third eye. Vol­u­met­ric but­tons for shut­ter release and switch­ing func­tions are locat­ed on the mask body.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics: 3264 x 2448 res­o­lu­tion, 74° lens, F/2.8 f=8.5mm, ISO 100, shut­ter speed from 1/15 to 1/1000 sec, immer­sion depth up to 20 meters. Pho­tos and videos are record­ed on a micro SD card, and the mask also has a USB 2.0 out­put.

Ricoh GXR Modular Camera

Pho­to: Flickr.com User: Masa Ange­nieux

In 2011, the Japan­ese com­pa­ny Ricoh, known for its ultra-com­pact street cam­era, entered the ranks of mir­ror­less cam­era man­u­fac­tur­ers. Only the Japan­ese did it in an extreme­ly unusu­al way.

The GXR Sys­tem is a mod­u­lar con­struc­tion cam­era. Instead of the usu­al inter­change­able lens­es for a car­cass, you can buy full-fledged mod­ules that include a lens and a matrix at once.

The con­cept of such a cam­era is based on the con­ve­nient selec­tion of a pair of matrix + lens based on a par­tic­u­lar genre. So, for exam­ple, por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy requires baboutLarg­er matrix than for the archi­tec­tur­al one, as the man­u­fac­tur­er notes. In gen­er­al, the idea is based on the ratio of the res­o­lu­tion of the lens to the size of the matrix.

Ricoh empha­size that sep­a­rate mod­ules pre­vent mois­ture and dust from enter­ing the space between the sen­sor and the lens glass.

At the moment, among the mod­ules are: A16 24–85 mm / 3.5–5.5 (16.2 MP, APS‑C 23.6 × 15.7), A12 Leica M with inter­change­able lens­es for Leica M lens­es (12.3 MP APS ‑C 23.6x15.7), A12 50mm / 2.5 Macro (12.3MP 23.6x15.7), A12 28mm / 2.5 ( 12.3MP 23.6x15.7), S10 24–72 mm / 2.5–4.4 (10 MP 7.60 × 5.70), P10 28 — 300 mm / 2.5–5.6 (10 MP 6.16 × 4.62).


Pho­to: roadtvr.com

In 2017, Google announced a 360-degree cam­era co-devel­oped with Chi­na’s Yi Tech­nol­o­gy. The mod­el, which looks more like a mod­est UFO, has 17 cam­eras and allows you to record video in 8K res­o­lu­tion. The cam­era is designed specif­i­cal­ly for cre­at­ing spher­i­cal videos and is aimed pri­mar­i­ly at pro­fes­sion­als, hence the cost of one and a half mil­lion. Video merg­ing occurs due to a pro­gram spe­cial­ly devel­oped by Google.

Pho­to: 24gadget.ru

Ready out­put videos can be watched even on a reg­u­lar com­put­er and uploaded to Youtube. The fin­ished video can be scrolled in any direc­tion, as in the street view mode on the maps. It turns out some­thing incred­i­ble! How­ev­er, it is bet­ter to see this once:

Camera Telescope Kowa TD‑1

Pho­to: oceanwanderers.com

If you omit some fea­tures, you get some­thing ordi­nary: 1 / 2.5 inch matrix with a res­o­lu­tion of 3.14 MP, a lens with a triple opti­cal zoom f / 2.8–4.0, man­u­al aut­o­fo­cus, LCD, and even shoot­ing only in jpeg . Such a mar­gin­al mid-range cam­era. Now add to that a 450–1350mm non-replace­able lens, a 55mm front lens diam­e­ter and a total weight of 2.4kg! This is the Kowa TD‑1.

An object at a dis­tance of 1 km from this giant will be per­fect­ly vis­i­ble in the frame. The mega-tele­pho­to ful­ly jus­ti­fies the extreme­ly mod­est res­o­lu­tion. Watch­ing the stars, explor­ing moun­tain peaks, and tak­ing first prizes in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic pho­to com­pe­ti­tions — for all this, the Kowa TD‑1 will def­i­nite­ly come in handy.

Bellami HD‑1

Pho­to: Chi­non
Pho­to: tokyocamerastyle.com

The last one on the list is not quite a cam­era, but def­i­nite­ly a note­wor­thy device. In 2010, the Japan­ese brand Chi­non brought the clas­sic back into the game. The die-cast met­al body and grip of the HD‑1 cam­corder are almost iden­ti­cal to the clas­sic Super 8 cam­corder from the 70s.

How­ev­er, the iron was pumped to the last lev­el: a 21 megapix­el matrix with the abil­i­ty to shoot in 2K and a fre­quen­cy of 30 frames per sec­ond. Sup­port for D‑mount, C‑mount, CS-mount and M42-mount lens­es. The stan­dard lens for the Japan­ese brain­child is Chi­non 4mm / 1.2. The cam­era sup­ports SD, SDHC, SDXC cards, is pow­ered by two bat­ter­ies and has USB, HDMI and 3.5 audio out­put ports.