Digital Harinezumi

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The Digital Harinezumi cameras[1] are a series of novelty digital still and video cameras, sold under the Japanese Powershovel Superheadz brand, from about 2009. The brand was later bought by Chinon[2] (itself owned by Kodak since 1997). At least the later cameras have been made in China.

The original Digital Harinezumi has a 2-megapixel sensor. It will take still images in monochrome or colour, and silent video. It has a black moulded-plastic body, shaped to recall that of a 110 film cartridge. It has a display screen on the back, and a folding frame finder on the top. The camera has no flash (none of the models has flash).

The specification was improved in the Digital Harinezumi 2 and the Digital Harinezumi 2++ within a few months of the original model. Several special editions were produced, for example with body decorations by skateboarder/artist Ed Templeton[3] and photographer Mark Borthwick,[4] and coloured (painted) or matte black ('Black Rain') bodies.[5]

The Digital Harinezumi 2+++[5] has a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor, giving still (.jpg) images 2048x1536 pixels, and 640x480-pixel AVI video, which can be with or without sound (the maker's information describes it as having a 'tiny, tiny microphone and speaker'). It has a 4 mm f/3.0 lens, giving a view roughly equivalent to a 38 mm lens in 35 mm format. This is fixed-focus, said to give a focus range of 1 metre to infinity in normal mode. It also has a macro mode, allowing close-ups at about 3 cm. It has a number of colour-rendition modes: normal, three monochrome modes (with hard, normal and soft contrast), two 'vivid'-colour modes, a sepia-tinted 'Old' mode, an 'Old' mode with reduced colour, and blue- and red-tinted modes. The sensor can be set to ISO 100 or 800. It has a ten-second self-timer. It measures 90 mm (w) x 38 mm (d) x 35 mm (h) and weighs 59 g. It requires one CR2 battery. It uses micro SD memory cards up to 2 GB, or micro SDHC cards up to 16 GB.

The Digital Harinezumi 3.0[6] has, in addition to the ten rendition modes, settings for deliberate over-exposure, and for addition of digital fog to the image (referred to as 'smoky' in some information). It allows still pictures at 2048x1536 or 1024x768 pixels. The camera will record video in 640x480 pixel AVI format, at 30 frames/second (standard mode), and now has novelty eight- and even one frame/second modes. It has 3.5x digital zoom. The camera measures 115 mm (w) x 67 mm (d) x 47 mm (h), and weighs 104 g.[7] It was made in several body colours, including black, white, red, pink and pale blue glitter paint.

At some time, it appears that the LCD screens used in the camera became unavailable, which interrupted production for some months. This is referred to in the announcement of the Digital Harinezumi Guru - 2011 final special edition.[8] The camera seems to have been available with black or white body. Otherwise it is a model 3.0; the only feature change mentioned in the announcement is a 'swirly' textured surround to the lens.

The Digital Harinezumi 4.0[9] is similar in design to the Harinezumi 3 which preceded it, but it is now a Chinon product, and the wording printed around the lens includes the Chinon name. 'Made in China' is printed on the bottom, unlike the model 3.0. The camera is smaller and lighter than the preceding model: 90 mm wide and 35 mm tall, and weighs only 60 g. Instead of a CR2 battery, it has an internal rechargeable one. The technical capabilities of the camera are very similar indeed to the previous model. It was apparently only made in black, whereas the model 3.0 was made in several body colours. The camera was discontinued in 2016.


Notes

  1. Harinezumi (針鼠; 'needle-mouse') means hedgehog, and the camera body carries the logo of a hedgehog.
  2. This is stated at Powershovel.co.jp: 'Sales of Powershovel cameras have been transferred to Chinon Industries Ltd.' (system translation) with a link to Chinon support.
  3. Ed Templeton at Wikipedia
  4. Mark Borthwick at Wikipedia
  5. 5.0 5.1 Digital Harinezumi 2+++ at Superheadz. The maker's information (under 'The Whimsical evolution' in the 'The Charm of Harinezumi' tab) states that they intended to vary the specification (including the lens) from time to time, so individual examples may differ.
  6. Digital Harinezumi 3.0 (English-language page) at Superheadz
  7. This change in size from the previous model, and the reduction in size to the next one, seem improbable; but all the measurements are from Superheadz' information.
  8. Digital Harinezumi Guru at Superheadz.
  9. Digital Harinezumi 4.0 at Superheadz (Japanese text)