A Best Camera: The Casio WQV-1 Wrist Camera

Commercial photographer and serial iPhone camera user Chase Jarvis has recently popularized the idea that “the best camera is the one that is with you” in a big way. Armed with a camera small enough that you’re willing to carry it everywhere you become free to capture moments, record mental notes, and other save images that would have otherwise passed you by. Though his weapon of choice is a cell phone camera my weapon has recently been an artifact of a decade ago picked up off of eBay — the Casio WQV-1 wrist watch camera. Though it only takes postage sized [120×120 pixels] black and white images it does so in a way that satisfies my bestcam needs.

Chase Jarvis Late Train Home new profile pic Enter

Ancient BUT Charming

Everything about the Casio Wristcam screams ancient technology — from the sub megabit images, to the slow slow buffer, to the infrared syncing of data from the watch to your desktop computer. (Remember Palm Pilot organizers?)


Casio had made a few models of watch cameras in the 90s with this model being the first — later models had quicker buffers, longer lasting batteries and even color images, but the line didn’t seem to last very long. They can often be found on eBay, but fluctuate wildly in starting price.

With all its flaws and having been far surpassed by even the worst of camera phones, the images from this original spy style watch camera often capture the essence of the subject — and its this quick, sketchbook style documentation of an object that I’m looking for when I’m on the go and want to remember a moment for a later, more serious or deliberate photo session.

Following The Best Camera Idea Through

This “best camera” notion is something that I long ago realized and took to heart and has dictated a lot of the style and subjects of my photography a mix of landscapes, observational and local travel style photos. It is also why, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was carrying a camera on my commute into Manhattan that historic and haunting morning.

Chase has taken so many photos with his iPhone camera that he put together a book of the snapshots, moments and saved images in a recent book entitled The Best Camera and has an iPhone app and photo sharing site of the same name.

Buy The Best Camera Is The One That's With You by Chase Jarvis on Amazon.com

Your own best camera doesn’t have to be a wristwatch or a camera phone — I carry a point and shoot digital camera or my DSLR with me quite often. But if your only camera is one that you leave behind more often then not consider buying something you’re willing to travel with as a compliment.

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2 thoughts on “A Best Camera: The Casio WQV-1 Wrist Camera

  1. re: found images on Casio wristcam.

    Hi, Chris —thanks for posting your found images. I sometimes find cameras with images at our local recycling center, and they’re always fascinating (and sometimes X-rated…). I even use a found image as my background – nice shot of the ocean with waves rolling in.

    Do you happen to know whether another IR adapter will work with the WQV-1? I only have the watch/cam, and have tried to use the IR beam function with 3 different PDAs (2 x Toshiba e740/e800 and a recycled Samsung 8525 cellphone I use for wi-fi and calendar functions only) – no luck.

    Charles Winkler/Charlottesville p.s. you’re quite right about having a camera with one at all times…

  2. @Charles: I really don’t know if there are options… i’m sure someone could reverse engineer things, or find a way to get the app reading from a different IR receiver, i just dont’ know that anyone has (or that the desire is out there these days)

    Good luck with the hunt!

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