Do you remember the first digital camera you ever bought? Did you ever own the unusual Nikon COOLPIX 100 from 1996? Gordon Laing of Dino Bytes takes us on a trip down the memory lane in this fun “retro review” of Nikon’s first consumer digital camera. How does it hold up 25 days later? Let’s check it out in Gordon’s video.
The COOLPIX 100 certainly wasn’t Nikon’s first dive into the digital camera world, but it was the company’s first consumer digital camera. It packed a one-third-megapixel sensor, a fixed 52mm equivalent lens, and 1MB of memory. You could choose between “Fine” and “Normal” image quality and shoot 21 or 42 images respectfully. In both cases, the image size would be 512×480 pixels. There was also a little lever that allowed you to switch on “Macro” mode for close-up shots.
What I find particularly interesting about this camera is its design. It was made to be held vertically, as we usually hold our phones today. It even looks like one of those ancient cell phones a bit, doesn’t it? There was an optical viewfinder and no LCD screen to preview your photos. Still, if you had a feeling you messed it up, you could delete it.
Another interesting thing about the design is also related to the camera’s connectivity. The COOLPIX 100 came with a built-in PCMCIA card. To transfer the photos onto your laptop, you would need to detach the camera section from the battery section and slot the card into your laptop.
Gordon notes that the biggest challenges when using old cameras today are connectivity and power. Thankfully, the COOLPIX 100 is powered by four AA batteries which are easily available today. As for connectivity, that turned out to be a bit of a problem. Gordon had to hunt down for an old laptop with a PCMCIA slot, as the COOLPIX 100 wouldn’t react to a card reader that has it. Thankfully, Laptop Chap in Brighton’s Open Market had what Gordon needed and he successfully transferred photos from the 1996 camera onto a laptop from around the same time. You can check them out here if you like.
My first digital camera
Even though the Nikon COOLPIX 100 wasn’t my first digital camera, Gordon’s video got me all nostalgic and made me remember the one that was. It was Fuji Finepix A200 from the early 2000’s. In fact, it wasn’t mine, it was my dad’s and he wouldn’t let me use it. But when he would fall asleep, I would snitch it, take it a gig or to a night out, and take photos. I wonder if he knew. :)
In late 2006 I got my very own digital camera for my 18th birthday. My mom said I could choose between that and going to driving school as a birthday gift. Well, Samsung Digimax S600 it was, and I never regretted that decision. I obtained my driver’s license eventually, but to this day, I remain a much better photographer than a driver. :)
Your first digital camera?
Now I’d like to hear your story. What was your very first digital camera? Do you still keep it? Any fun stories to share?