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May 2002:

Fujifilm Axia EyePlate Camera

Fujifilm's Axia EyePlate is the smallest camera I've ever seen. The dimensions of a credit card and six millimeters thick. You can slip it in your pocket and forget that it is there. It's a perfect snapshot camera, and more than that, it's the perfect stealth spy camera.

It's the first of the "Ultra-Pocket Cameras" by SMaL Camera Technologies and it clearly represents a new generation of super-small personal media recording technology.

I love taking pictures inside museums (British and Whitney, for example) and this camera the dimensions of a credit card and only 6 millimeters thin is perfect for when security guards are wandering close. You can turn off the sound cues and hold this small flat electronic to your chest and take a picture of the exhibit in front of you. Of course it's probably too dark in the museum and you can't aim and you can't look at the picture afterwards, but at least you feel like James Bond, like a secret agent stealing a photograph because you have a device specifically for surreptitious picture-taking that does not require too much hiding.

And the incredibly cheap price is commendable as well. In May 2002, I found the Axia EyePlate at Bic Camera in Yurakucho/Tokyo for around 10000 yen ($82).

camera diagram
Ultimately, how are the pictures? Well, the old-fashioned viewfinder, if you press your eye up to it, even wearing spectacles, you won't get all that you see in the final picture. Best to pull back a little more if possible.

Indoor shots are blurry and indistinct. There's no flash. While other cameras are working to break the three, four, five, six megapixel barrier, the EyePlate is only .3 megapixels. Basically, the quality sucks compared to the other, bigger digital cameras. But you can take the EyePlate anywhere.

The Axia EyePlate attaches easily to your personal computer through USB. Download your pictures using the proprietary software, they come in as JPEGs. The battery in the camera recharges off the USB connection from the computer.

Choose between 24 pictures at 640x480 or just over 100 images at 320 by 240. There's no view-finder to examine pictures, only a counter and options to delete the last pictures, or all pictures.

Some Sample Picture Galleries:

golden pavillion
Ikkyu in Kyoto

Links (May 2002)
Axia: EyePlate Home Page, mostly in Japanese.
A Preview/Press Release with tech specs and a few official links.

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