Mini digital fish-eye camera unveiled
The Lofi Fish-Eye camera
A student has developed a tiny digital fish-eye camera smaller than the average thumb.
Aberystwyth University PhD student Greg Dash's Lofi Fish-Eye camera is little over 4cms long and 2cms high, has only one button and no LCD screen.
But the £65 camera's 12 megapixels and its ability to shoot expensive looking photographs has proved popular with photography lovers.
Dash said he only began taking pre-orders last month, but has already had 290 of the tiny gadgets snapped up - almost wiping out his seven-year student debts in a matter of just four weeks.
And its 25-year-old creator, who is billing the device as the world's first-ever digital fish-eye lens, added he only came up with the invention because he could not afford to buy new equipment for his current camera.
"I've always been a fan of photography from a young age, but only ever used film cameras," he said.
"A friend bought me an SLR camera a few years ago, and I wanted to get a fish eye lens for it.
"However, as they cost hundreds of pounds and me being a student I had virtually given up on the idea.
"But then I thought instead to make my own one using old camera parts."
And the results soon impressed the student, who originally hails from Mountain Ash, south Wales.
Taking cues from lomography - the growing analogue camera movement - the device has no viewfinder or screen to view photos.
But it still manages to shoot high-quality images, HD video and has a built-in lithium battery can via a USB port.
"One of the things I first loved about it is that it doesn't have an LCD screen to preview images - so you have that element of surprise when you come to look at the photos you have taken for the first time," Dash added.
"That's something I love about using film cameras, but being a hard-up student I couldn't always afford to develop rolls.
"So that's where the idea about making it digital came in."
And when friends saw the results of his labour - and the photographs they produced - Greg soon found his invention in demand.
In February he launched the project via fundraising website Indiegogo, limiting production to a run of just 500.
Dash, who got undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Swansea and Cardiff before deciding to study for a doctorate, added: "Since taking pre-orders a month ago, 290 people have put their money down for the Lofi Fish-Eye.
"I've even taken one order of a batch of 50 from Taiwan - which is amazing considering the camera has only been promoted via word of mouth.
"I've also had a lot of interest from airplane enthusiasts and extreme sports fans, who are looking for a cost effective way of capturing their adventures."
And if the camera takes off, Dash said he has a few other ideas up his sleeve - though is remaining coy, at least for now.
"I'm hoping the camera will be just the start of things," he added.
"But for now, my main focus is getting more orders processed, begin manufacturing and ultimately it's then about getting the product out there."
"How do we balance security with civil liberties and privacy in today's high-tech but violent world? Can our private lives remain truly private?"
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