Daily Giz Wiz 685: Konica Kanpa

Episode 685 of the podcast

Konica Kanpa
Subject: Review of Konica Kanpa
Released:Friday 24 October 2008
Length:about 17 minutes
Download file:dgw0685.mp3 (7.7 MB)

Listen to the episode

Short info

From the Gadget Warehouse: Konica Kanpa

Detailed information

The Konica Konpai or KANPA! came out in November 1989 and was the world's first voice-operated film camera.  Designed as a party camera, it came with its own automated motorised tripod, complete with shoes.  When you turned the microphone on, the fixed 34/35mm lens, autofocus camera would first sense the current level of noises.  It would then turn (within an arc of 45˚) towards a burst of noise above the prevailing level and take a "candid" picture.  "Products to Watch", said Fortune Magazine in March 1991.  The list price was $216 in 1991.

The name of the camera is KANPAI, not Kanpa, with the letter "I" looking like an exclamation mark " ! ".  "Kanpai!" is a Japanese phrase (there is a similar phrase in Chinese) which literally means something like "empty the glass", and is the equivalent of the English interjections "Toast!" or "Bottoms Up!" - in line with the camera's selling feature as a party camera.

When originally released in 1989, the camera was red in colour.  Later models came in black.

Coverage of this camera on English language websites is scarce.  Digicam History is one (thanks to G Arch in the Chatroom), the archived Fortune Magazine article (above), and CNet UK includes it in an article on Crazy Cameras: 7 Strange Snappers.  The camera smacks of a Japanese sense of humour, and as might be expected, you can find the camera quite easily on Japanese websites.

The top photo (black) is taken from http://arrow-camera.weblogs.jp/garakutayatsuhan/2008/09/kanpai-b930.html.  The second photo (red) is taken from http://canon-a.fantastic-camera.com/dasoku/kanpai/kanpai.htm.  The last photo (haha) is taken from CNET UK.

Konica, Minolta, Sony

Konica and Minolta, both long-time Japanese camera manufacturers, struggled in the digital age, and merged in 2003 to become Konica Minolta.  3 years later, Konica Minolta sold its camera manufacturing business to Sony, and all that remains is its office supplies (such as photocopiers) business.

Ego Searches

Dick and Leo compare Google search results on their names/handles.

From Dick's Store

Dick reminds us that he's unearthed more Match Game Cards, and paperback versions of his book Good Days And Mad.

Weekend Shows

Don't forget to catch up on the weekend shows, the Saturday Theme and Sunday Theme.

Barbara's Pick

Barbara our live studio audience has been sitting through this week's recordings, and she has a pick of the week.  It's an iPhone app called iRetroPhone.  It gives you the picture of an old rotary dial phone, and you use your finger on the touch screen to turn the dial to input the numbers, complete with visual animation and sound effect.  Cool!

[play video]

No Letters Today

Dick gave us 2 letters yesterday, but today Dick and Leo forget to read a letter.

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