Fun in the Eastern Fields

While preparing to head out to the Eastern Fields in November last year, it occurred to me that the trip would be filled with lots of experienced and talented photographers, armed with a plethora of fancy equipment.

So one thing I decided to do just for kicks was to experiment with something decidedly non-fancy, non-expensive, non-hi-tech.

After a bit of research, I came across a tiny toy camera called the Digital Harinezumi (harinezumi means porcupine in Japanese), pictured below in my hand:

digital harinezumi

In this day and age of inflating megapixels, improving low-light performance and extraordinary in-camera HD video...this little gadget certainly seems out of place.

It's made in Japan by a company called SuperHeadz (what a cool name!), but I couldn't find one in Tokyo before I jumped on the plane, so I picked this one up at a store in Singapore called 8 Storey Tree.

The camera shoots both still images (at 2MP) and video (at 640 x 480), with a unique look that reminds me of the way still photos and video looked back in the '70s...a bit of nostalgia for people in my age bracket (or a history lesson for those of you who didn't exist until the '80s or later).

The camera was so small that I had to mount it on a Gorillapod in order to carry it around, which made most people do a double-take, since the set-up looked so ludicrous.

I only used the camera for video, and here's the result...a visual scrapbook of a month on board the MV Golden Dawn:

(Fun in the Eastern Fields of Papua New Guinea from Tony Wu on Vimeo. Downloadable version available on iTunes also. Music by Artificial Intelligence in Texas via Music Alley.)

As you can see, this is the exact opposite of shooting with the new video-capable DSLRs. There was no way to change lenses, no way to control aperture or adjust shutter...basically, no way to do anything except point-and-shoot.

But I love the result!!!

Just goes to show that it's not always necessary to have expensive hi-tech gear to have a good time.

Apparently, there's a new version of the camera out now called the Digital Harinezumi 2, which shoots 3MP still and 640 x 480 video (with audio too in this latest version I think) if you're interested in picking one up to play with.

The only question now is...should I get a housing built for it?