November 14, 2002

Gotta Have It

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In commemoration of the late George Eastman’s one hundred and forty eighth birthday this past July, I present to you today a collection of tricky cameras that owe some small part of their existence to Mr. Kodak himself. Eastman almost single-handedly brought the art of photography to the common man, when he decided that the bulky cameras of his day were both stupid and easily broken when thrown against a brick wall. So, George built a camera that almost anyone could carry and use to document their vacations, family gatherings, and bachelor parties. Photography has come a long way in the last hundred years, but nothing will top the first time George caught Mrs. Eastman with the milkman.

You Make the Call

Tired of sitting up in peanut heaven and watching your favorite team run around the field looking like ants? Well, wipe the blood off your nose and get your hands on the Meade CaptureView. You’ll be able to see snot running, sweat dripping, and pom-poms bouncing with this incredibly versatile 8 x 22 compact binocular. The CaptureView’s real innovation is that it also includes a powerful digital camera. Just look at some action on the field and, with the push of the button, you’ll capture exactly what you see through the 8-power view in crisp 640 x 480 resolution. With 8MB of memory and the included software, you’ll be able to record every decisive play and possibly locate your future wife. (

A Better Polaroid

Sure, instant cameras have been around for a while and maybe you think they’ve lost some of their zing, but the Fuji Mini Instax 20 just might change your mind. With its space age design, auto-flash, and quick-focus, this compact camera will deliver the results you’ve always missed with other models Each credit card sized photograph is sharp, colorful, and develops instantly without all of that useless shaking you’ve come to hate. You’ll finally be able to discern friends and relatives from complete strangers, unless you count Uncle Wayne. If it’s not a new beard it’s a ponytail. Make up your mind, Wayne. (

Dandy Warhol

Maybe you don’t dig the wigs or the soup cans, but there’s just something about Andy that makes you want to create some pop art. The Pop9 camera lets you become the artist you’ve always wanted to be without all the starving or the funky clothes. The Pop9 features nine lenses that go off simultaneously, producing a photograph with nine identical images on one print. With a single flash, you can transform an ordinary day at the beach into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll have nine beautiful images of the tip of your finger. (

Same as the Last One, but Different

The Pop9 has some competition in the pop art camera market in the form of the ActionSampler and the SuperSamplers. Each of these cameras features only four lenses, but the trick here is that they don’t all fire at once. Every half second, a different lens snaps a picture. The resulting photograph is a record of two seconds of your life. The difference between these two cameras is that the ActionSampler produces four square images and the SuperSampler produces four panoramic images stacked vertically on the final photograph. In addition, is even willing to develop your film and transform your photographs into mini flipbook movies. Imagine seeing actual people moving on film! Amazing! (

The Predator

Finally, if the visible light spectrum just isn’t your thing, FLIR Systems offers a wide array of infrared cameras for your viewing enjoyment. I suggest the ThermaCAM E2. This rugged, handheld model features a built-in viewing screen, a temperature sensitivity of 0.12