That reminds me that I need to find a working 600 series. My cat managed to kill my SLR 680.
I learned photography right as digital was becoming a thing. I remember taking photos on some kind of… Canon I think? Not seeing any canons in the early 90s on the site…
You stuck a floppy right in the camera. Was that just so old it predates compact flash? Or CF cards were too expensive and it was meant for consumers? So many questions my older self would love to ask that instructor.
Anyways, that course really made me interested in photography. I was always a bit adhd, and being able to tweak the levels, crop something, etc… hell just being able to see the pic and delete it if it wasn’t good… I wish I could recapture that magical feeling.
Collecting digital cameras is something anyone can do.
It’s soon enough that the cameras are still around, thus cheap, yet supply hasn’t gone below demand. Original owner are still selling them off, rather than the pool bring owned by resellers.
My first digital camera, about 2003, was s hand me down from my sister. 2MP, it used Compactflash cards. It was fine for me, I wasn’t printing the photos. I assume other than low MP it was probably a better lense system, being expensive. I used it for done years.
Right at the same time I was given an Olympus D-600 DSLR, all of 1.4MP, and tiny Smartcard. I played with it, but a tad too old to be useful. I’ve never had an SLR, so I’m more interested in point and click.
Then I kept seeing digital cameras, at garage sales and in the garbage when the unit varsity students moved out. An Intel webcam, which could also be used as a limited standalone. An Apple digital camera, maybe the 150 since I can view photos after taking them. But low a amount of memory, and it’s built in. And you need a serial port to get the pictures off the camera. Plus low resolution, but I paid five dollars knowing it was an early digital camera.
Others fairly generic, though one 5MP that would be great but it uses a special battery. A Polaroid digital, though a bit smashed. I did see a Sony digital, that used a floppy drive but claimed high zoom, but no price do I assumed expensive.
I think an Olympus with a cover that slid over the lens, rather like one if their famous viewfinder film cameras.
But after a certain point, the specs are “good enough” even if the owners decided they are obsolete. For a lot of uses, they are still fine, not just to collect, but to be a camera for someone without a lot of money.
I did pay $20 for a Canon, quite hefty looking. It wasn’t DSLR, but did have 12X optical zoom, do I use it at times. One can even screw in a lense in front of the existing one, though I’m not likely to find one cheap.
I then bought another hefty Canon, for five dollars, fewer MP but like the previous one, a high end consumer camera. There is free software for Canon cameras that give more features, so both of these still have use as working cameras.
I’m not spending money on this collection, I didn’t even plan a collection. But the cameras are out there, and cheap.
In 2000, when I was buying my first “real” camera, I bought a Nikon Coolpix 990 camera. I played with it for about four hours, then I returned to the camera store and begged them to let me return it. Thankfully, they did. But ever since, it was kind of “the one that got away”.
I went off and bought a N60, which I used for about 4 years before buying my D70. Seemed like a great upgrade. (I also had a FM10 that I shot with B&W for another 4-5 years after that, until I lost my darkroom space.)
Anyway, I was in a camera shop and saw a fairly good looking copy of a 990 for under $5, so I got it, and I’ve played around shooting with it a couple of times. It eats through AA batteries like they are going out of style, so it appears to be working correctly.
Old digital cameras can be a lot of fun!
That was probably a Sony Mavicon. They could store about ten pictures on a floppy.
This inspired me to search my archives. I found two very different cameras that I had used in the past:
- a Mamiya ZD, early digital medium format. Huge CCD, mediocre resolution and around 30 seconds to save a shot to the (tiny) CF card:
- a Sony TRV340e, actually a camcorder, which I used a lot to take photos. At 640x480, but it had a huge optical zoom! Practically no wide angle! But night vision!
Most of the pictures I found incidentally were of old-ish things, I posted some of them on my blog.
I don’t suppose anybody wants to hear about my 1950s Bolex H8 movie camera. I mean, it has a zoom lens and all. . . .
Good site idea - unfortunately the navigation is fugatz. It takes multiple clicks to see a camera and you can only see one at a time.
So you’re saying the user interface on a site about a collection of old digital cameras is crappy?
As a sort of arty street-shooting 35mm guy with intermittent journalistic and photo magazine connections, I used to worry about digitally matching the quality of 35mm film, principally Tri-X and Kodachrome. In 2002 Kodak came out with the DCS 14n, which put digital works with a full-frame 14 megapixel sensor inside a Nikon SLR body. I got hold of a second-hand one about three years later and found:
- It was a very crappy camera, that took several seconds to turn on, took pictures with appalling noise in the shadows, was poorly weather-sealed and had a slow frame rate.
- But on the rare occasions the subject contrast range matched the dynamic range of the sensor, it produced images with Kodachrome-level sharpness and general image quality. And since I was able to use the same clutch of Nikon lenses I’d collected over the years shooting film, it became clear to me that some of the qualities I’d liked about my pictures and ascribed to film were actually due to the lenses, because those same tonal qualities were (sometimes) apparent in my digital pics. For me, digital quality matched film quality at 14 megapixels as far as sharpness was concerned.
These days I’m using a 24 megapixel Nikon D610 which is ready to shoot when you turn it on, has better dynamic range than film if you shoot in RAW mode, and uses all my old lenses.
I also have a Nikon F4 film SLR, a lovely rugged device which I rarely use. I ditched most of my darkroom gear years ago, when Agfa stopped making variable contrast printing paper and Rodinal developer, and Kodak stopped selling Kodachrome and HC-110 developer.
I don’t miss film much, and I certainly don’t miss old digital cameras.
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