This Tiny Waterproof Camera Shoots 50,000 Photos on a Single Charge

A compact, dark gray camera hovers against a space-themed background with streaks resembling stars. The camera has the word "photon" inscribed on the front, with a prominent lens and a small green light above it. A soft glow emanates from behind.

At first glance, the Photon camera looks a bit like an action camera. However, the tiny camera is better suited to being placed somewhere and left alone.

Photon’s battery life is “measured in years,” says Toaster, the company behind Photon. The camera can record at least 50,000 photos on a single charge, although it can only store 20,197 in its internal storage. Once the storage is full, the device will begin overwriting the oldest files.

The camera also lacks Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular connectivity, so photos must be taken directly from the device. Toaster says this makes Photon “simply unhackable,” as photos are only reachable with direct physical access.

A computer screen displaying a software interface for a camera application. The interface shows scheduling options for photo captures and a projected battery life graph. The graph spans from the current date to March 2025, indicating battery life predictions.

When placed somewhere, Photon can automatically capture photos at particular times or on specific dates, making it “perfect for time-lapse photography.” It can also be set to motion-based capture. Thanks to being an open-source project, in terms of hardware and software, the possible ways people can use Photon are essentially endless.

A computer screen displaying a photo editing application with a sunset landscape photo. The photo shows a scenic view of hills and trees under a colorful sky. Editing options like saturation, brightness, and contrast are visible on the right side of the screen.

As for its tech specs, the little camera has a built-in lens with a 130-degree field of view and captures photos that are 2,304 by 1,296 pixels, which works out to just about three megapixels. That’s not a lot of resolution, but the camera can record RAW images, at least. It can also record video, although with a crop that reduces the field of view to 90 degrees. The camera’s motion detection range is up to five meters (over 16 feet).

Three images of a small, compact camera placed alongside a coin for scale. The first shows the back of the camera, the second shows the front with the lens and button, and the third shows an angled side view. The background is blurred greenery.

The camera is built using machined aluminum and is smaller than an AirPods case. Specifically, the camera is 47 x 36 x 31 millimeters (1.85 x 1.4 x 1.2 inches). The Photon can survive rain, so it can be left outside, but it does not withstand submersion. It can operate from 0 to 50 degrees Celsius (32 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit).

Toaster offers a few caveats about the Photon’s current capabilities. The company says the camera’s low-light performance is a “work in progress,” which will hopefully be addressed in a future software update. Further, the motion sensor doesn’t work through glass, and the motion detection algorithm is very sensitive right now, so moving vegetation can trigger the camera. This “may” be tweaked in the future with user control over motion sensitivity.

A computer screen displays a photo management application with a selection of nine sunset photos. One photo is highlighted in blue. On the left sidebar, an album titled "Jan 2024" is visible with a count of 18,689 photos. The sunset photos show a landscape with sparse trees.

Speaking of software, Photon works with macOS software, Photon Transfer, which is free and has no in-app purchases. The Photon camera itself is available now for $200 directly from Toaster. While not the camera for everyone, Photon is, at the very least, an interesting new product.

Image credits: Toaster