One of the beautiful things about film is the variety of cameras out there. You could shoot a different one every day and seemingly never get to the end of them. With that variety, though, comes a lot of quirkiness. A new generation of photographers has embraced one of the quirkiest cameras of all: The Nishika N8000. Although no technical marvel, its resurgence in the photography community is because of one unexpected trick, creating 3D animated GIFs.
The N8000 is point and shoot at its simplest. Once you insert your roll of 35mm film, you select one of three settings: sunny, partly cloudy, or shade. By selecting one of those settings, you're setting the aperture of the camera to f/19, f/11, or f/8, respectively. You then line up the viewfinder frame and snap away. Pretty simple, right?
After that, though, it gets interesting. You see, the N8000 has not one, not two, not three, but four lenses side by side. Each of those lenses takes a photo on the strip of film, each one the space of half a frame. Because each frame is slightly offset, you're taking a photo of one subject from four different vantage points. When you put those images together in an animation, you can get a neat little 3D effect! Think lo-fi bullet-time.
The camera was released in 1989, hence the blocky, horrible styling. It was touted as a technical marvel, able to produce 3D images via a special process. Horror film icon Vincent Price even did celebrity endorsement duty on the N8000. So hey, I'm sold right there! If it's good enough for Dr. Phibes himself, it's good enough for me. For a laugh, check out the video below of the tutorial for the N8000, hosted by Price.
Of course, the process that yielded the 3D result back in the day is long since defunct, but you can get your own animations by putting together the scans of the individual frames into simple animations. Use cheap film, a cheap scanner, and process your own film for the most cost effective result. Eduardo Pavez Goye does a wonderful tutorial on the film where he goes in-depth on how to create a fun GIF from the film. He goes slower than in my own review of the camera and if you're newer to Photoshop, it's definitely worth the time to check out. In the second half of my video I go through the process as well, but also add a bit on exporting as a short video so that you can use the animations on Instagram and Facebook.
A quick Google search of "Nishika N8000" will yield tons of examples of the GIFs, so check them out when you get a moment! The camera can be readily acquired on eBay for $40-$60.