Okay, so I’ve had the Digital Harinezumi 2++ for a while now, so I figured I’d put up a review of it, based on my experiences. Now, I’m not going to be be giving any sort of overall scores or ratings as numbers for any of my camera reviews, since I believe that each person wants something different out of their cameras.
First of all, there’s no onboard memory on the Harinezumi 2++ and it doesn’t come with a battery, so you can’t actually use it out of the box. You’ll need to go pick yourself up a MicroSD card and a CR2 battery before you can go trigger-happy. Just a note with the MicroSD card, I can confirm that MicroSDHC cards DO work with it. I couldn’t find any information about that before I bought it so I went out on a limb with a 4GB MicroSDHC card and it works fine. This means that you could potentially go all the way up to 32GB if the camera can handle it, but to be perfectly honest, 4GB should be more than enough. I can already take well over 3500 photos this way, so it seems a bit unnecessary to go much higher, but it should be possible.
Above is a picture of the bottom of the Harinezumi 2++, as well as the accessories you’ll need – a CR2 battery and a MicroSD card (any brand will do for both). Note that when you put the MicroSD card in, make sure that the gold pins are facing towards the back of the camera. In the case of the picture I have here, that would mean that when you put the card in, you should have the Transcend logo part facing you (assuming you are the camera). It’s not actually possible to insert the MicroSD card the full way in, but it sure does a good job of getting stuck. Which brings me to my first point. The MicroSD card is actually really, really difficult to get out, as it is placed right next to the hinge. This means that if you, like me, have thick fingers, be prepared to spend a while fiddling with it to get it out.
Superheadz has actually released an “accessories pack”, which includes a battery, a MicroSD card, a card reader, a pouch and some hand straps. The thing is though, it retails for 5775 yen (~US$68) in Japan, which is roughly a third of the cost of the camera itself (15,750 yen/~US$184). That is such a huge ripoff. If you just shop around locally, you’ll be able to pick up what you need for probably a third of the cost of the “accessories pack”.
Once you get what you need to set up though, this camera is an absolute delight to use. Out of all my various toycams, the Harinezumi 2++ is the one I use the most. There are many reasons, but the main one being that I don’t need to buy film, but it still takes lo-fi toycam photos. Also, the thing is absolutely tiny and light – basically super-portable in every possible way. The camera has a tiny little “viewfinder”, which is literally just a pop-up rectangular piece of plastic, but it’s pretty useless. There’s a live preview on the screen, so I just use that instead, because the “viewfinder” is totally not accurate at all.
Here’s an example shot, taken at Fushimi Inari Shrine – notice how vivid the red is? The Harinezumi tends to take quite saturated photos, which allows for great shots like this, where you get really vivid colours. The camera has an inbult auto colour balance which adapts to the scene in front of you in order to do this. The colour balance is a bit of a double edged sword though, since it doesn’t always work out well, especially when taking pictures of faces. Here, I’ll use a picture of my girlfriend’s Golden Retriever Phillip to demonstrate:
Notice how Phillip’s face is pretty just a giant mass of white? This tends to happen on human faces as well, if you’re not careful with the colour balance and, well…. it doesn’t look very good. If you’re in bright sunlight casting shadows on your face, then chances are it’ll turn out like this. If you’re careful, though, this shouldn’t be an issue. In fact, I’ll soon post up a guide on how you can actually take advantage of the auto colour balance to take some really funky looking shots on the Harinezumi 2++.
This camera also has a black and white mode, which can make for some really arty looking photos. Black and white just looks great.
The above shot, which is a Nike bag, was taken on the new macro mode – you can see that it can get insanely close to objects and display a huge amount of detail – you can’t see the individual strands on the bag like this to the naked eye.
Even though I’ve pointed out some possibly negative things about this camera, at the end of the day, it’s just such a joy to use. It captures the essence of using a toy camera without the slight guilt that you might be wasting rolls of precious film to do so. I actually also use it in conjunction with my film toy cameras, by using the Harinezumi a preliminary check to see whether or not there is enough lighting for the photos to turn out on film.
Would I recommend this camera? If you’re any sort of toy camera enthusiast who can spare the money, then yes, I would definitely recommend it. As it is only the length of a credit card, it means that you can literally take it anywhere, so that you can use it for opportunistic toycam photographing. You know those moments when you walk past the same scene 100 times, but it just looks perfect on the 101th time? The Harinezumi 2++ is perfect for that.
For more photos, have a quick look at my Harinezumi 2++ set on Flickr