There’s no law that says cameras must look boring. Not that there’s anything wrong with boring-looking cameras, but there’s something to be said about a camera that turns heads out of curiosity, intrigue, confusion, or a combination of the three.
The following cameras are “statement makers” that are guaranteed to turn heads and, better yet, elicit wonderful smiles.
1. Polaroid Originals 600 96 Cam Instant Film Camera
Something old, something new, something orange, something blue, something pink, something yellow, something cyan, and “somewhat different” is a good way to describe the Polaroid Originals 600 96 Cam Instant Film Camera. Designed to go with just about everything in your wardrobe, this Polaroid 600 retro camera features a built-in flash, close focusing, and a Lighten/Darken exposure slider for optimizing your exposures. Sunglasses not included.
2. Ilford HARMAN TiTAN 4x5" Pinhole Camera
Ilford’s HARMAN TiTAN 4x5" Pinhole Camera is designed for use with 4 x 5" film holders. Made of injection-molded ABS plastic with stainless-steel fittings, it has built-in spirit levels, and dual ¼"-20 thread mounts. Included with the camera body is a 72mm f/206 (wide-angle) lens/aperture cone and a pinhole exposure calculator. Optional 110mm and 150mm cones are also available.
3. Lomography LomoKino 35mm Film Camera
Does the intense detail of image-stabilized 4K video get you down? Maybe it’s time to park your GoPro in the garage and head out with a Lomography LomoKino 35mm film camera. This hand-cranked, 35mm motion-picture film camera is a throwback to the days of silent movies. You get 144 movie frames on a 36-exposure roll of film, which with an average crank rate of 3 to 5 frames per second works out to motion-picture epics lasting between 28.8 to 48 seconds per roll. For more extensive story lines, you can splice in additional 36-exposure rolls.
4. Lomography Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter Medium Format Camera Kit with 35mm Back
A holdover from last year’s holiday review of oddball cameras is the Lomography Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter Medium Format Camera Kit with 35mm Back.This is the type of camera you want if your vacation plans include driving around the Italian countryside on a Vespa, circa 1957.
Novelty factor aside, the Lomography Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter offers a choice of two lenses (a 58mm wide-angle and a longer 90mm lens) and two film formats. Sporting a satin metal folding body with brown leatherette wrap around the beltline, the camera can be configured to shoot 6 x 6 cm, 6 x 9 cm, or 6 x 12 cm stills onto 120-format film. Swap out the camera’s 120 film back for the 35mm film back and you can now shoot 35mm panoramas with 3:1 aspect ratios.
The actual AoV of each lens depends on which format you’re shooting. In keeping with Lomography’s less-is-more philosophy, focusing is by zone (3.3', 4.9', 9.8', ∞). The aperture range of Lomography’s Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter is an underwhelming f/8-16, but fear not—B&H still carries fast Lomography film.
5. Yi Technology HALO
When it comes to unconventional cameras, the Yi Technology company tops the list. The Yi Technology HALO is a cylinder-like device containing 17 camera modules that, together, capture a 360° view of its surroundings. Using Google’s Jump Assembler software, the Halo produces 2D or 3D video for playback on mobile devices, computers, and VR headsets. Time-lapse and still images can also be captured using the Halo’s touchscreen, a Bluetooth remote (included), or via Android smartphones. Stills and video are recorded to microSD cards. Also included is a water- and shockproof Pelican 1610 hard case.
6. Panono 360° Pro Set
If you’re disappointed that you can’t roll the Yi Technology HALO around like a ball, you should definitely check out the Panono 360° Pro Set.
The Panono 360° Pro Set resembles a grapefruit with a hard, black plastic shell surrounded by 36 camera modules and lime-green racing stripes. Unlike a grapefruit, the Panono 360° can capture 108MP 360° panoramic photographs stitched together from 36 individual camera modules. Controlled by iOS and Android smartphones, the Panono 360° features shutter speeds ranging from 2 to 1/400-second, an ISO range of 100-1600, a white-balance range of 3000-8000k, HDR capabilities, 16GB of internal memory, and Live View from your smartphone.
7. Arca-Swiss M-Monolith 4x5 View Camera
The Arca-Swiss M-Monolith 4 x 5 View Camera is a camera you approach with respect. Visually, it oozes serious precision and that’s exactly what it’s designed for when shooting architecture, studio still-life, and other photographic assignments that require the ability to adjust and/or correct the visual dynamics of a photograph meticulously.
Fully modular, Arca’s M-Monolith features fully geared movements, +/- 70mm front and rear rise, +/- 70mm front and rear shift, geared Orbix center-axis tilt for 100% yaw-free corrections, and a conical 380mm bellows. This French-made picture-taking machine can be used with film and digital backs and lenses. And if 4 x 5" isn’t enough real estate for your needs, the M-Monolith is available in 5 x 7" and 8 x 10".
8. Lomography Konstruktor F Do-it-yourself 35mm Film Camera SLR Camera Kit
Tired of buying pre-assembled cameras? Me too! That’s why I’ve been thinking about buying a Lomography Konstruktor F Do-it-Yourself 35mm Film SLR Camera Kit. The kit includes a 50mm f/10 fixed-aperture lens (sorry… no fancy bokeh from this slowpoke…), a hooded waist-level viewfinder, fully manual focusing and exposure control, a PC connector for flash, and a bunch of stickers you can plaster across the body if black plastic exteriors don’t cut it for you.
9. Avangard Optics Smiling Face Brooch Spy Camera
The Avangard Optics Smiling Face Brooch Spy Camera is a 1.85" brooch that covertly records stills, audio, and 720 x 480 @ 30fps video within a 33' range of its smiley face.
Avangard Optics’ brooch spy camera cam be pinned to you jacket, shirt, shoulder bag, hat, or backpack. Depending on how well you can keep a straight face, it can also be used as a rather creepy camcorder for interview or ENG purposes.
“Smiley” contains a lithium-ion battery that provides up to two hours of recording time on microSD cards up to 16GB. Imagery can be output directly from the brooch via USB/AV cable (included) for playback on a TV or monitor.
10. Gift Trenz Woodsum Pinhole Camera
Pinhole cameras are dime a dozen but few, if any, resemble a 35mm SLR. The Gift Trenz Woodsum Pinhole Camera (Maple) is a DIY 35mm pinhole camera made of maple wood that’s guaranteed to make you stand out among Pentax K1000 and Minolta SRT 101-toting millennials. And unlike 60s-vintage SLRs, if you should accidentally drop the Gift Trenz Woodsum into the pool—it floats!
11. Holga 135 TIM 35mm Half-Frame Twin/Multi-Image Camera
Question. What’s cute-looking, has a smile on its face, and takes 72 pictures on a 36-exposure roll of 35mm film? If your answer is the Holga 135 TIM 35mm ½ Frame Twin/Multi-Image Camera, you got it right! The Holga 135 TIM half-frame camera features dual lenses that can be used together or independently, depending on your needs. Other features of this cutie are multiple exposure capability, a built-in flash, and a choice of three shooting apertures – f/8, f/11, and f/16. As for exposure times, you have a choice of 1/100-second and bulb. Sometimes simple is better, and often fun.
12. Linhof Technorama 617s III Panorama Camera
There’s a big difference between wide-angle and wide-field, and that’s what sets the Linhof Technorama 617s III Panoramic Camera apart from conventional cameras. Linhoff’s Technorama 617s II captures 6 x 17cm photographs (2.25 x 6.69") onto 120 film. Made of die-cast aluminum alloy, this thoroughly manual camera is compatible with five dedicated lenses for capturing architectural and landscape photographs unlike those captured with conventional cameras—film or digital.
Do you know of any oddball cameras we might have missed? Let us know in the Comments section, below!