OCTOBER 30, 2021

Digicams: 7 Reasons to Try Older Digital Cameras

By Free Geek Toronto volunteer David Cadiente

Pocket-sized digital cameras are having a comeback—see our thrift shop forused digicam digital cameras for sale!

Even if you have the newest phone with the latest camera, here are 7 reasons to carry an inexpensive digicam, along with a tip on how to shop for a camera.


Smartphone camera apps rely on your touchscreen, while digicams have buttons and dials, which are easier to use with gloves on—useful for winter photography!

CCD sensors and the “film” look

Older CCD sensors, according to many digital photography enthusiasts, give photos a more film-like look without manual photo editing or having to actually process real film.

Smaller image files

The total size of image files can creep up and fill your device and/or cloud storage, especially if you never delete redundant or unusable images. Older digicams can reduce storage costs by keeping your pictures off your device and cloud storage accounts.

Smartphone image sensors are only getting larger and creating larger default file sizes. While this is great for making large prints,  most of us are just posting images to social media and will never need large-megapixel images to make large or life-sized prints. By using a digicam, you’re usually recording your images onto SD cards, which can be easier to manage and back up.

Battery considerations

Save your phone’s battery life—recording still photos and videos drain battery, making digicams a more efficient way to record anything from a night out to a weekend out of town. Some digicams accept AA batteries, which can be convenient on trips and vacations.

Fun and features

Here are some photography techniques that digicams can let you try–without having to use photo editing apps:

  • Rear curtain flash
  • Colour and art filters
  • Full Manual and semi-manual (Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority) controls
  • Date and time stamps

CHDK for advanced users

Advanced tinkerers can load the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) onto Canon point-and-shoot cameras. This custom firmware lets users experiment with features like RAW image file formats and time-lapse shooting.

Optical zoom

The optical zoom on an old point-and-shoot camera actually brings you “closer” to a subject, while digital zoom just shrinks your image by pretending to magnify. See this article formore info.

Shopping tip: read a camera’s manual before buying

While camera reviews are all over the internet, the truth is there really is no such thing as a bad camera—especially now that the price of these cameras are so much lower than when they were first sold.

Before buying a camera, find its manual online and look for:

  • Battery type
  • Does it use AA batteries?
  • Does it use reusable batteries that require a specific charger? Are those batteries and chargers affordable and available?
  • Storage media
  • Does it accept SDHC and/or SDXC cards?
  • Does it accept an older memory card format? While older formats are still available, they can be expensive

The revival of digicam photography

The aesthetics of digicam photos reflect a trend towards more inclusive and authentic art. Instead of taking, making and editing pixel perfect pictures with expensive gear and the “latest” software, creators are simply going outside at the right time of day, happily taking snapshots with grain, noise, blur, and red eye, then sharing what they love.

Looking for inspiration and community? Check out the Instagram account

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