The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

A snapshot in time: digital cameras click back into trend

Emi Sim
Teens have been increasingly using point-and-shoot digital cameras to take their photos. “I normally bring my digital camera everywhere, like when I hang out with friends or go places with my parents, to capture all the memories,” said junior Zara Dijcks.

The recent resurgence of digital cameras offers a revival of nostalgia as this retro trend makes a comeback from the past. 

Recently, point-and-shoot digital cameras from the 1990s to 2000s have become increasingly popular for taking photos among Generation Z.

Their customizable settings and high definition have made it appealing for users searching for an enhanced look to their photos. Some have even found a preference for digital cameras over a regular phone camera

“The digital camera is more permanent, as it doesn’t have live photos, so in my opinion, it’s more like capturing the moment. I like the sharper quality of the photos and its features such as the flash, night mode, cloudy weather mode, and more,” said junior Zara Dijcks.

After Apple’s introduction of the first iPhone, the digital camera market suffered immensely, with sales dropping from 120 million unit sales to 63 million unit sales between 2008 and 2013, according to the Hustle

Yet sales have made a remarkable change in direction. According to the Nikkei, research found that in 2023 the digital camera market had experienced positive growth for the first time in 13 years, as it had been declining since its peak in 2010. Japan observed a 39.4% increase in the value of their shipments of cameras with interchangeable lenses, according to the Asia Times. This is a significant change, as Japan holds 90% of the global camera market share.

The quality may not be the only reason behind the rebound of these retro gadgets. Teens find fascination in the “vintage” look of these cameras. 

“Image quality isn’t the reason point-and-shoot cameras are gaining popularity, since many phone cameras take high-quality photos. One reason may be the cool new design of retro point-and-shoot cameras,” said Kathy Rodriguez, a digital photography teacher at Carlmont. “The Nikon Coolpix S6900  was voted best retro point-and-shoot camera design–and it comes in Barbie pink.”

This new trend can also be greatly credited to social media. On platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, the “retro” visual that digital cameras give to people’s photos has users in a chokehold. The hashtag “#digitalcamera” has secured over 500 thousand posts on Instagram and over 130 thousand on TikTok as of May 2024.

“I think people want more permanent memories along with the Y2K trends,” Dijcks said. “The digital photo look is pretty popular for Instagram posts.”

Aside from giving an old-fashioned effect to images, digital cameras can also come with a special, nostalgic feel to some.

“I think digital cameras have become so popular among teenagers nowadays because of the surge of bringing old trends back,” said Leona Villanueva. “I grew up with my parents constantly taking pictures of me with their digital camera, so I have always been excited to get my own as I grew older.”

I believe that taking photos with my digital camera is a very good way to socialize among people. I have made many friends with just the introduction of saying, ‘Do you want to take a picture?’

— Leona Villanueva

The revival of these cameras brings memories from the past.

“Even when I was a teenager, my family and I would shoot photos and take them to the Fotomat to have the film developed,” Rodriguez said.

Digital cameras can also offer more than just photos: some people find opportunities to connect with others through the hobby.

“I believe that taking photos with my digital camera is a very good way to socialize among people. I have made many friends with just the introduction of saying, ‘Do you want to take a picture?’” Villanueva said.

Whether it’s the enhanced quality or the “vintage” look, digital cameras offer a throwback to the past for teens to share and connect through photography.

“My digital camera captures my memories in higher definition. Taking pictures on it has a special feeling to it that my iPhone camera doesn’t,” Villanueva said.

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About the Contributor
Emi Sim
Emi Sim, Staff Writer
Emi Sim (Class of 2026) is a sophomore at Carlmont High School and this is her first year as a staff writer for Scot Scoop. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, listening to music, and thrifting with friends.

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