As you probably know by now, recently, I’ve been repurposing old digital cameras from the 2000 era and putting them to everyday use. What started off as an experiment to find great-looking, film-like images from their CCD sensors, turned into something very different.
There is no denying that camera technology has moved on, but, in retrospect, these cameras were absolutely amazing. Before we go into the benefits, though, there are, of course, some issues that you will come across that today, as photographers and camera phone users, that we take for granted.
Firstly, these (point-and-shoot) cameras are generally really bad in low light. And I don’t mean slightly bad; I mean you’ll need a full flash in all but the lightest rooms. You’ll also get noise, distortions, light leaks, and other imperfections, as well as limited control of your settings (even on some that offer manual control).
But hold on there, this is also their charm! Let’s look at eight benefits of using CCD point-and-shoot cameras from the 2000s.
- Size – These cameras can be insanely small, smaller than your typical mobile phone these days. Thier compact size means you can keep them with you all the time, and it feels like you are using a camera when you take photos. I think many people hate the way mobile phones handle when you are using them as a can camera!
- Colours – There is a certain quality and charm about the colours that these cameras render. It can be more life-like than modern CMOS sensors, and colour science is generally very good for general photography. I’ve noticed monochrome images look particularly good on some of them.
- Image quality – Wait? Didn’t I mention a whole lot of negative things about the images from these cameras? Yes! But that is a positive if you’re looking for an analogue look, and the way that CCD sensors handle light means your images will be much more “film-like” straight from the camera, unlike many modern cameras.
- Nostalgia – We all love looking back and reliving our past where possible. The same goes for cameras. With hindsight and all you’ve learned from modern digital cameras however, you’ll be taking better photos than ever before with these point-and-shoots.
- Fun – One of the biggest issues I see these days is that people are just so serious about taking photographs. The fun is gone! However, with these, you can forget about settings and just concentrate on capturing the moment, framing with all the knowledge you’ve learned with modern cameras.
- Ease of use – Part of the fun factor is the ease of use! You can pass one of these cameras to anyone, and they will know how to use it. No need to explain; they will point and shoot! Beautiful!
- Price – Many people have these lying around in cupboards, drawers, etc., so the chances are you won’t have any outlay. Friends and family are always willing to give them away, or there are many models available cheap in flea markets, charity shops, and so on.
- That CCD sensor – Oh yes, leaving the best until last. The CCD sensor is known for its great colour reproduction, the similarities in the way it collects light (in a similar way to film), and its unique look. Things have moved on, and everything is much more clinical these days, but that’s what makes CCD sensors so great, the imperfections.
Take some time and look for your old CCD sensor cameras, and give them a go. You’ll realise that they really are not as bad as you think they were! They might not have the dynamic range, fast autofocus, sharpness, and clarity as modern sensors and technology; however, they do have something else… Charm.
Of course, I am open to receiving your old point-and-shoot cameras if you don’t want them! Feel free to send them to me; they will really help me out.
Until next time, thanks, and don’t forget to check out my book!
About the Author
Mark G. Adams is a documentary photographer, blogger, and writer based in Port Talbot, Wales. On his website One Camera One Lens you’ll find plenty of his photos, as well as interesting articles about photography. Head over to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and follow Mark for more of his work. This article was also published here and shared with permission.