Hello Kitty brings film cameras (and a walkman) back from the dead

Hello Kitty Strawberry Kawaii film cameras and cassette player
(Image credit: Retrospekt)

If you love nostalgic technology, milkshake-pink palettes and impossibly cute Japanese mascot characters, today is your lucky day: a range of retro Eighties tech, including a pair of film cameras, has been brought back to life by Hello Kitty. 

Well, technically by Retrospekt – the Milwaukee-based upcycling firm that refurbishes retro products like instant cameras and film cameras with a fresh gloss of nostalgia. You might remember it as the company behind the similarly milkshake-aesthetic Polaroid Barbie 600, the crocodile-styled Lacoste x Polaroid 600,  the 24K gold 50th Anniversary Polaroid SX-70 or retina-scorchingly blue Polaroid 600 Pepsi.

You may be picking up a theme here, as Retrospekt's bread and butter in the world of cameras is the Polaroid 600. Accordingly, the centerpiece its new Strawberry Kawaii collection is the Polaroid 600 Hello Kitty Strawberry Kawaii Instant Film Camera. And in case you scoff at the $179 / £149 price tag, this is far from just an old 600 with some Sanrio stickers slapped on it.

(Image credit: Retrospekt)

"This new camera uses refurbished, vintage Polaroid internal components from the 80s and 90s, housed in a freshly-molded exterior – designed and built by Retrospekt and officially licensed by Polaroid and Sanrio, creator of Hello Kitty," crows the company.

"Retrospekt’s refurbishment process ensures each set of camera internals is thoroughly restored and inspected to provide the foundation for a brand new camera that captures the instant photography experience in its most authentic form (while also promoting sustainability through reuse of what would otherwise become e-waste)."

Also receiving the Sanrio love is the Hello Kitty Strawberry Kawaii FC-11 35mm film camera – available in "Planet" and "Shake" finishes (as you can see if you play spot the difference below).

(Image credit: Retrospekt)

This is the latest iteration of the FC-11, most recently featured in a collaboration with Californian brand Killer Acid. It's a fixed lens (31mm f/9), fixed focus point-and-shoot camera with a built-in flash and 1/120 sec shutter speed, priced at $59 / £49.

If you're still jonesing for more throwback gadgets, the final piece of the collection is the Retrospekt x Hello Kitty Strawberry Kawaii CP-81 Portable Cassette Player. Like the FC-11, the CP-81 is an original Retrospekt product that has been used in other brand collabs. Here it comes in the most subtle finish of the three products, with an "exclusive" set of Hello Kitty headphones (I would think the whole thing, surely, is exclusive) for $99 / £82. 

Head over to the Retrospekt website for more details on the collection. I'll admit, tempted though I am by the Polaroid, it's nowhere as cute as my Instax Mini Hello Kitty.

(Image credit: Retrospekt)

If you're a fan of classic-looking kit, take a look at the best retro cameras. If you're looking for something for the youngsters, check out the best cameras for kids. And if you're a Polaroid or Instax shooter, make sure you know what type of instant film you need

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.