[OT] "Classic" Digital...

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by dean_matsueda, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. Not really a question but I was just telling my friend that I think I'm hanging out in this forum too much as I'm becoming quite fond of the more not-your-typical, limited- featured, a bit off-the-wall cameras that seem to be so reveled and praised by everyone here. And rightly so as these cameras are addicting and fun to use! OK, well here's a question... given that average life-span of a digital camera is quite short, due to the rapid advances in technology, when do those early-model digital cameras become "classics"? I'm figuring the age of digital cameras can be measured in "dog years"... a five year old digital camera would be equal to a 35 year old film camera, dontcha think? Anway, I've got my eye on this "classic" digital on that-auction-site which I think meets the spirit of a lot of the older film cameras... [By the way, I'd post this question in the Digital Camera forum but I don't think they'd appreciate the humor of it... someone correct me if I'm wrong.]
  2. Last Spring the wind blew over my 620L that was on a tripod and it died. Let me say, that I miss that camera. At least Olympus was generous enough to provide filter threads on these early digicams, unlike my present model which uses an adapter.

    I'd say we wait about five more years before before calling them classics. :^)
  3. When you see them in the thrift store,next to the Polaroids,
    then they'll be "classics".
  4. KEH has 2 & 3 megapixel cameras going for less than $100. 1 megapixel cameras are therefore essentially valueless, though perhaps not quite. I am sure some art student somewhere is snapping up all the less-than one megapixel cameras for their graduate art project.

    I think your question though is interesting. However, I think a big part of classic camera collecting is using cameras fabricated in a way no longer used - metal, wood, glass, leather. Digital cameras, while bulked up on the steroids of megapixels, are pretty much made the same way they always have been. Historical value of early digital cameras might be of some interest, though I think you would have to find truly early, non-mass produced, prototypes or something that would make them unique. Each stock model is made in numbers that exceed the numbers of most cameras from the past.

    And nostalgia is hard to generate for something 5 years old.

    Most people would rather not be reminded that the thing they paid $900 for in 1999 just got bought by an art school grad for $20.

    But there is plenty of humor.
  5. I doubt that a digital can become a classic. An old film camera can still be used as long as film is available, and can deliver results comparable to modern cameras. Chances are that technology has changed too much since an old digicam was made and people are not going to go through the hassle to extract a few lousy low-res photos from them. You'd probably have trouble finding a driver that will work with your computer, and even then your computer may no longer have the correct port to connect it. Even the old 3.5" floppy disc, which was used by some Sony digicams, is no longer standard equipment from many PC makers.
  6. Dean,

    There are no more classic digital cameras than there are classic VCR's (Beta or VHS).

    No five year old digital camera is is equal to the 35 year old classic film cameras. They will still be going when the five year old digicam is done, like right now.
  7. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    Actually even the Smithsonian is collecting up these early digitals. As are a number of collectors. Try checking out what some of the early PC's sell for if in good working condition.

    Yes they will be collected by how many and whe who knows but if you are interested I suggest you start now before they are $500.00 each LOL
  8. And nostalgia is hard to generate for something 5 years old.
    Good point!
    But to those that say that those out-dated digis are worthless because you can't use 'em... well, I think that if they still work -- that is, you can still take a picture with it -- how is that different from the good folks here that will happily use a camera that takes 620 or 127 or 2x3 or 9x12 sheet film?
    And to Mark's point, yeah, look at how much an Apple I is going for nowadays. The computer is functionally a bit useless today but they are very collectable.
    So, intersting in terms of how we each view what a "classic" or collectable should be and I don't mean to imply that any one persective is right or wrong... I mean, back in the day, who in their right mind would have thought that a 6x9 Zeiss Ikon would go for $700 50 years from then.
    $700 Zeiss Ikonl (link opens in new window)
  9. Dean, if it does what you want it to do, then that's great.

    Anybody wanna buy my old XT clone for $700?
  10. I shoot over a hundred pictures a day on my "antique" Sony Mavica FD75. Am seriously thinking about buying another one for a back up, it's a perfect camera for my work as an Independent Mechanical Inspector.
  11. Of course, my desk is so littered with 3.5" floppies that it looks like "senior-night" at a house of ill repute.
  12. There might not necceaarily be classic VCR's for example, but there are classic videogame systems. The argument does not hold water.
  13. For me, the problem with digital cameras right now is the lack of life-span. While you may get a few years out of them, they are pretty much obsolete in a year and a half.

    This is why I haven't gone digital. I want cameras I can use for the rest of my life, not the next 12 to 18 months. I do have to admit to seeing a lot of good images coming from the digital camp.

    Digital reminds me of my early computers (and how much money I wasted on them). The XT, the 286, the SX-386, the 386 (skipped the 486) and then the Pentiums. I could probably have something nice for what I blew on computers. Electronic tend to grow more powerful while prices fall as well. While it's fine for anyone else, I've done my 12 rounds in the ring. It was a TKO, my wallet lost. It wasn't even close.
  14. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    Jeff why can't you use a digital camera longer thena year to 18 months? I have a Canon G3 4mp that hit the market in Nov of 2002 We used it Saturday to grab some digital shots so that we could email our son in the Navy that night photo's of his Sisters wedding. He was leaving on a 2 month long float the day after the wedding and we were able to give him a good idea of what the wedding was like. I shot 10 rolls of Portra the wife shot three rolls with my little APS ELPH Jr. BUT the digital was able to do a great job. It's 2 1/2 years old works great.

    To see the photo's go to: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=486450

    I'll be you I will be able to take photo's with this camera in another 2 1/2 years and most likely longer.
  15. Mark, I didn't expect to get called on my comment. I pointed out that you can use them for 'a few years' and referenced a 'year and a half' life span at the same time.

    Back home I have a tool room in my basement full of old computers starting with a fully expanded TI-99/4A (which I have over $4,500. into) as well as all the PC's to follow. They too all still work (as do a string of dot matrix printers).

    In a comparative way, I consider these computers as 'junk,' but that isn't completely true either. They do still work. But since they aren't getting any use, referencing them as 'junk' is accurate at the same time.

    I appologize if my post was insulting or came across that way. That wasn't my intention.
  16. The thing that gives me the most trouble with any of my classic cameras is the electronic components. From the electromagnet circuits in the Olympus shutters (except the OM1, see what I mean) to the meters in the Minoltas / Pentaxes / Nikkormats etc. Not the mechanical bits. So how can anyone think that a digital camera made in 2000 is going to work in 2050, even if the drivers, connecting cords etc are available? Electronic components change their values, deteriorate, ultimately fail. The auto-focus / auto-iris lens mechanisms will not last that long, and the home "enthusiast" like me won't be able to repair them as I can my classic prime lenses now.

    I think even the most expensive digital cameras will just be so much junk in 50 years time.
  17. For something to become a real "classic",as opposed to a collectors item or curiosity,it first has to have some sense of permanence.Then it has to trancend the materials it's made of to become something of value and meaning. For years my Grandmother called a picture Or a camera(any camera) a "Kodak",as in "take a Kodak" or "get the Kodak",even though my Grandfather bought a Certo in the late 30's and my father used it into the early 60's,she still refered to it as "the Kodak".
    she also calles a refrigerator "the Frigidaire"(regardless of brand).

    Many electrinoc products by their very nature of being transient gadgets,that we use until the new model comes out,don't do very well in the "classic" department.
  18. The first digital camera that I used was the Logitech Fotoman, the first B&W version (that was back in 1993!!)...for a digital camera...sorry, in those days, they were 'electronic cameras'...that consitutes a classic. I didn't own it, but I needed to become familiar with it because we sold them in the computer retail store where I worked.

    The first true digital that I actually owned was the Sony Mavica FD-7 (640x480 with a 10x optical zoom and floppy storage) and that was probably around 1997-98. In those days, the level of enthusiasm for the new technology was astronomic. These 640x480 sub-megapixel images were being praised as being 'just like 35mm film' and prints from old color inkjet 'graphics' printers were touted as being 'impossible to tell from traditional lab prints'. Now, with 6, 7, and 8Mp digital cameras being the norm...people don't look on their old 640x480 images with the same level of awe! Now, the same pictures that were ;just as good as 35mm' are seen for what they were all along...low resolution, over-compressed, grainy, soft and littered with 'artifacts'. One wonders why we couldn't see those things back in 1998? Well, we didn't want to!

    When the resolutions milestones were attained ...1024x768 ...1600x1200 ...at each step the claim of parity with 35mm film was reasserted and the old, lower resolution cameras lost their shine. "Well, now that we have achieved the 'holy grail' of digital resolution...2Mp...we can see that 640x480 really wasn't as good as 35mm film but 2Mp...THAT is it!"

    Of course, now we can see the deficiencies of the 2Mp images that we marvelled over just a few years ago...shots that we proudly displayed to one and all..now are hidden in embarassment...ashamed that we actually showed that shot in public.

    The original Mavica that I owned back in '97 is still working. I gave it away to a friend when I got my .8Mp 14x super zoom FD-91. So a digital cameras physical and working lifespan is much longer than its technological lifespan which...in these days of rapid development...is about 18 months.

    So, we define a 'classic' film camera as being made 'pre-1970' so, I suppose a 'classic' digital camera could be defined as being made 'pre-January 2003'. If a 'classic' film camera is more than 30 years old and a 'classic' digital is more than 30 MONTHS old then 'dog years' for a digital camera are 12x film camera years.

    Don't forget how fast the technology has moved! The Logitech Fotoman was a current model only 12 years ago! The Sony Mavica FD-7 was current only 7 years ago...I think I still have film in my freezer older than that!! Now, find the ORIGINAL Sony MAVICA (MAgnetic VIdeo CAmera) that they used to cover the L.A. Olympics and THAT would be a classic!
  19. I guess that makes my Apple Quicktake 100 the 'barnack' of digitals. Featuring a blazing
    256k pixels (480x640), no removeable storage, all 7 or so internally stored pics
    transferred slowly via serial cable to a mac running system 7 at best if I remember right. It
    was the first consumer level digi-cam, originally sold for about $800 in about '93?. Maybe
    I'll pull out my other 'classic' digital, the mighty coolpix 990 (which still takes great macro
    shots BTW) and take a pic of it.
  20. I'll nominate the Sony FD Mavica series as well. Classic in the sense of well built, still quite useful. The 10x zoom with 640x480 would still get you a lot closer than cropping down from more mp's.

Share This Page