The Nickelodeon toy people have released new submini camera for kids called a "PhotoBlaster". For a submini it's a little on the big size. It's about the size of a Leica M3, but remember -- it's for kids. It is different because it uses regular 35mm film and produces submini images -- similar to the rare Biflex. The images are quarter frame so you end up with 4 times the number of pictures per roll. It advances like a half-frame, but has a horizontal split and two lens/shutters. The top quarter frame is exposed, then the bottom, then a half-frame advance. The lenses are 2 element and do a very nice job!

You may be thinking that this camera is like the "action tracker" cameras, which takes four quarter-frame exposures on 35mm film, as well. Not really. The "action tracker" takes four pictures with each press of the shutter release, with a single rotating shutter. But the PhotoBlaster takes 96 distinct exposures (on a 24 exposure roll) -- only one for each press of the shutter release. That's great for kids, because one roll of film, gives them lots of shots and helps keep the cost of film and processing to a minimum. But don't use 36 exposure rolls in the camera! -- the counter only goes to 96.

It's $39.95 in the toy stores everywhere -- just in time for Christmas.

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