“Sun and Cloud” digital camera is powered by solar and crank energy


posted Friday, March 22, 2013 at 1:15 PM EDT


The Sun and Cloud camera is a curious concept. It can be powered charged by solar cells or by cranking a retractable handle, giving it enough juice to function without needing to plug it in and charge a battery. An idea like that sounds like it could be perfect to keep in your emergency kit, for when you need to record the world around you but the power's out.

But the Sun and Cloud isn't an emergency camera. This $200 hand-cranked gadget comes from Japanese company Superheadz, who are best known for their toy and plastic cameras. The Sun and Cloud shoots just 3-megapixel stills and 640x480 video at 30fps. It also comes packed with 15 different art filters, an 8fps film mode called Miriraiku 8, and ISO of either 100 or 800. None of which seems to be the sort of things you'd look for in a camera for disasters. Instead, it's more along the lines of a quirky and artistic toy camera, that can be used anywhere and any time without the need to worry how the battery's holding up.

The optical quality on this probably won't wow anyone (we don't even know what the focal length of the lens is), and there's no indication of how long you have to crank the handle to make it work. Even so, it could be a fun little toy to have in the car for some impromptu photo snaps. Since it can be powered by hand or sun, you don't need to worry about the battery dying while it languishes in a glove box.

If you do want to keep a camera around for emergencies, what might be your best bet is to find a model that can be charged over a USB connection, and then hook it up to a standard emergency crank/solar generator with a USB charging port. Something like this from Eton offers flashlight, charger, and radio all in one handy package.