A Review of the IKEA Cardboard Camera

Yesterday I attended a VIP sneak preview of the new IKEA PS designer furniture line in Malmö, Sweden. I was not the slightest bit interested in the designer furniture. I was there for one reason, to play with and acquire the new KNÄPPA, IKEA’s cardboard camera.

The event started with everyone getting a big yellow sticker to put on their chest, a sort of VIP stamp á la IKEA, if you will. After waiting for everyone to arrive, the IKEA people announced that we could move on to the area they’ve prepared with all the furniture. On our way there, IKEA staff handed us small gift bags. This is where I knew the camera was going to be. I was ecstatic. I look down and there it is. Wrapped in classic folded IKEA carton.

They then presented us with a different assortment of food and snacks while one of the staff members showed us how the camera was operated.

They had a small presentation of all the furniture and they then let you off to roam around.

During this time I asked the staff about the camera. They told me that the camera was NOT going to be sold to the public, and that it was just made to promote this new line of designer furniture (great marketing tactic if you ask me).

After this, I quickly went home to start shooting.

Now, about the actual camera.

Description and Assembly

It is made of thick cardboard wrapped around a piece of PCB plastic.

The camera uses 2 x AAA batteries (using IKEA batteries here, obviously).

There’s two buttons in the front, the big one for turning on/taking a photo/turning off the camera (more on that later) and a small one to delete the photos from the device.

On the back there’s a small green LED light indicator and the small vinyl bolts and nuts to keep the camera together.

On the side of the camera there’s a male USB connector.

Assembling the camera is easy. You slide the two batteries in the battery compartment and you bring the other cardboard flap of the camera over to keep the batteries in place.

You then put the bolts/screws in to the mounting holes and screw the nuts on.

Using the Camera

Camera Quality and Sample Photos

Well to actually get to the photos you need to plug the camera into a USB port. When you first connect it, Windows 7 automatically installs the drivers. If you haven’t taken any photos, you’ll find two files in the 15.3MB drive. One is a photo.

This is a photo of all the products in the IKEA PS line.

The second file is a README file from IKEA.

Now as you can see from the photo above, the quality is not that great. Its like a camera phone from 2006. Here are more examples:

You can get quite decent photos if you manage to keep the camera steady and the scene well lit. The shutter of the camera is slow, so you’ll need a steady hand.

In conclusion, this is essentially a digital pinhole camera. But there’s something extra about it, it has that certain feel. It’s not a Leica — it’s made out of friggin cardboard! But even though it’s cardboard the build quality of it is surprisingly robust. Image quality isn’t always everything nowadays. I would love it if IKEA started selling these. It would gain a big following.

I know this review is somewhat long, but I hope you’ve gotten something out of it!

About the author: Hisham Ramish is a photo enthusiast living in Sweden. You can visit his blog here. This post was originally published here.

  • muffmolow

    I guess it’s a neat little toy, honestly it’s nothing too amazing though. I don’t know why Ikea even bothered to have it manufactured… I also don’t know why I want one. Well played, Ikea… Well played.

  • Michael Godek

    can you say digital holga?

  • Chris Newhall

    Agreed. I know I shouldn’t want one, it’s about the same size as my iPhone and takes worse pictures that I can’t even look at until I plug it into my computer, but I want one.

  • bob cooley

    Nah,  Holgas (and the original dianas) were crappy-wonderful.   This is just crappy. Like 110 Instamatic crappy.

  • guest

     I was thinking the same thing!

  • Brandon McWilliams

    Think of the social possibilities: the camera probably costs a dollar to manufacture. Sell it for three bucks, or donate them by the crate. People all over the world can now afford a functional digital camera, regardless of the comparative quality. A great tool for developing countries with burgeoning internet access. 
    Not everyone has an iPhone or DSLR, or for that matter a P&S. 

  • Bart Cummins

    i wanted one as soon as i read the word cardboard

  • AntonyShepherd

    If they put these on sale at a cheap enough price I could see people buying them for their kids, or people buying them as a ‘party camera’ where they don’t have to worry about it getting broken, lost, or having beer spilt on it.

    I could also see people buying them to experiment with, buy up a load and hack them together just for the heck of it.

  • Cwnation

    i want 1 whole case of these

  • Alan Orlič

    Anybody mentioned the price?

  • Knur

    I don’t need it but I want it ! Damn you Ikea ! :)

  • Cutebun

    So cute!!!

  • Miki

    digital diposable camera!!! wiiiiii!!!!!

  • kendon

    awesome. then they could take pictures they can’t view cos they don’t own a computer. in addition to not being able to eat the camera. well, maybe the cardboard part.

  • junyo

    This camera becomes a hipster collectible/proof in coolness in 3… 2…

  • Adam

    If this thing was wrapped in plastic instead of cardboard, no one would care about it. Face it, cameras are no longer for looking through, they’re for looking at, they’re just fashion accessories now. 

  • Andrew Bowness

    You are not wrong, as soon as they decided not to sell it it became the ultimate hipster camera: “oh this, you can’t buy this…”

  • Dummy

    I think the camera should have had a better holgaish lens.  It would let in more light and make awesomer pictures. The guy who talked about social implications is an idiot – what good is the camera if you need a computer (which is way more scarce in low cost regions than any cell phone) to distribute the photos.  

  • glennsmooth

    I think it’s possible to make these cheaper using human excrement and tree sap.