retro digital [part two]

June 17, 2022

Picking up where we left off: let’s talk about more “old” cameras! In case you haven’t read part one, I won’t be going into the specifications of each camera, as I picked these up for fun. As a recap: I favor CCD sensors, although I have a camera or two in the “retro digital” series that have CMOS sensors. Now that that's out of the way, let’s look at some more photos!

Olympus EVOLT E-500 (2005)

I was really excited to have this camera in my hand. Specifically, I was really excited about its Kodak 4/3 CCD sensor. I'm already an Olympus fangirl, and I love Olympus color science, so getting the chance to own something that Kodak also played a role in is really neat. As far as limitations, it's similar to those I faced with the C5050Z, in that a memory card hinders my freedom. I had to use the same 512Mb CF card that my C5050Z uses. The shots shown here are of the two lowest in-camera image size/quality settings. Once I find something a bit larger I'll be able to shoot in HQ/SHQ and RAW without worrying about using up the entire memory card within a few shots. 

Canon A570 IS (2007)

This was the only camera that I had the pleasure of finding myself in a thrift store. I was browsing the Goodwill electronics section when I came across it in a bin, and it seemed to be in good shape. Luckily, the camera uses a standard SD card and AA batteries. I was willing to risk the $4.99 price tag in case the camera turned out to not work after all. I managed to get it up and running in just a few minutes. This camera is such fun to use and the photos have a ton of character straight out of the camera. The images below required only minor tweaks in lightroom-- some are even completely untouched. The colors are rich and saturated, the camera has good dynamic range (most of the time), and it's extremely easy to use. Even its auto setting produces great photos.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 (2012)

I'm not exaggerating when I say that this camera is now my go-to. I even opt for it over my DSLR which is only a few years old today. This camera was my introduction to the micro 4/3 system, and while it took some getting used to (having to buy all new lenses, for example), this is now the camera that I bring with me anytime we're leaving the apartment. I ordered a 14-45mm kit lens separately, as well as a 35mm f1.7 manual prime lens. I've since found that 25 - 35mm is my preferred focal length and I'm now in the market for an AF prime. Although it's an older camera today, I certainly understand its original quadruple-digit price point. Simply handling the camera feels high-end to me-- but, then again, I'm someone who is really only used to plastic fantastic. And not only does the camera handle nicely, but I'm also constantly in awe of its photos and the details it's able to capture. 

I’ve had a lot of fun already, and I still pick these cameras up daily. Since I’ve started collecting these, I’ve noticed a huge uptick in the photos I’ve taken and my own creativity. They’re easy to pop in a bag and they yield great (sometimes unexpected) results. If you want to give your smartphone a break, or if you just want to have some fun with some inexpensive cameras, I highly suggest checking your local thrift stores or eBay. There are TONS of cameras just like these that are waiting for a good home and a second life. These cameras— and many like them— are still good. Are they going to suit the pixel peeper? Not likely. But, if you want to have some fun and take photos with some character, an older digital camera may be just what you’re looking for! Most use batteries and memory cards that are widely available today, so getting them up and running won’t be a massive undertaking. I can’t recommend these enough. Let me know if you guys use any old cameras or have any interesting finds in the comment section below!