The strange world of the 808 Car Keys Micro Camera

They have no viewfinder, no way of focusing, no controls beyond a power button and a multi-function shutter button (and two other seemingly useless buttons). They come with no manual, no readily identifiable manufacturer and you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you turn them on — yet they sell in their thousands. They are the 808 Car Keys Micro Camera.

I first heard about them from This Camera is an Adventure on MetaFilter, then someone suggested one as a solution to my Halfbakery idea “Tiny high quality digital camera”. So I bought two:

  • a #3 from ebay seller liangmin9888. Total cost $14.59 shipped from Hong Kong.
  • a #16 from ebay seller elehomegood. Total cost $40.99 shipped from Hong Kong.

I chose these sellers for their high reputation, and they didn’t disappoint. The cameras? They’re no Leicas.

The #3 is supposedly the best of the standard resolution cameras. They have a large yellow timestamp permanently inscribed in the corner of any image or video. The one I have is loaded with lens aberrations, and makes a Lomo look like a view camera. Still, I see some potential in it.

The #16 is a bit better. It still is miles behind my phone camera, and it only takes slightly soft 0.9 megapixel images. No video samples yet, but here’s a squinty picture I took in Lakefield today:

Lakefield, rather wonkily by 808 #16

I do feel a bit self conscious about using such a covert camera, but I’ll see what I can do with them.

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