A personal project of George Lin in Taiwan, Republic of China, the camera was inspired by never having a camera as a child. It was designed by him as well. Papershoot started producing cameras with paper casings in 2013.
Lin’s vision was “to evoke a fun and novelty feeling in photography.”
This he accomplished brilliantly without the unpredictable and often just plain bad results from the “toy camera” arena. This was done using a decent lens, good electronics and carefully tested firmware.
On the outside, stiff cardboard cases come decorated to suit the tastes of many creative lifestyles. I was amused by the printed camera case, but I am consider getting a plain case for less obvious shooting!
It is a camera with virtually no controls, as close to the original Kodak box camera as possible, but much, much smaller and no film to buy!
Some will ask, “What kind of results can you get from a camera with a single shutter speed, no zoom, no autofocus, no screen, no flash and no way to see right away if the shot turned out?"
I answer this by listing the mental process that I go through when out with my “good” camera.
What zoom setting will work best?
Should I go full auto decision-free, or Program with overrides?
Will aperture priority or shutter priority work better?
Auto ISO or ISO 800? 400?
Flash on? Exposure compensation?
Big screen or little eyepiece viewfinder?
Oops, too late!
Now, it isn’t like I go through an obsessive checklist, but it is a mental process that sometimes causes hesitation and can even stop you from taking the picture, or simply missing a shot.
The Papershoot avoids all that. It is not much bigger than a flat-pack of gum and no thicker than a checkbook.
Papershooters press (and hold) a button to turn the camera on, press the same button to take the shot and press (and hold) the same button to turn the camera off.
The only other control (if you call it that) switches from full color to black and white or two other color effects.
That is it, that is all, there is no more. And it works!
Sight the shot through the cardboard cut out and press the button. The quality 5MP image is saved to a standard SD card. And instead of looking at your shots (there is no screen!), just keep shooting.
Some will think this is just hipster nonsense.
Wrong! This camera should NOT be grouped in the highly unpredictable “Lomography” or “Toy camera” category.
Those cameras tend to require a hearty measure of tolerance for faults or outright fails...it’s part of their “charm.”
And while I am a fan of doing more with less, I find toy digital cameras shaped like USB sticks, "world's smallest'" etc., to be largely garbage.
The few that do show some promise (Superheadz Harinezumi, etc.) are hundreds of dollars, where a Papershoot base model is around $70.
For those preferring a bit more upscale offering, the same camera body is offered in some beautiful (and sustainable) wood cases and even clear acrylic, leather and wood with brass accents. Again, the camera tends to be an accessory that you keep with you and, like me, become fond of using. Some people would like it to wear a nice fancy coat!
In short, there is something about the Papershoot that may give your creative side a push. I’ve never been happier with my “artistic” shots taken casually in my area. And I was very pleased to see that a number of them were included in a Papershoot gallery display in Taipai!
It is my sincere hope that, like the “Diana” and “Woca” film cameras of bygone years, the Papershoot become the standard for beginner photography classes.
The Papershoot can be used to show that “it’s not the camera, it’s the person behind the camera” that is important. The difference now is that the PaperShoot will deliver far more reliable shots and cost less than a half dozen rolls of film and processing. Order with confidence via Taiwan or wait a big for it to hit the USA...no...don't wait, get one now!