Digital Cameras Are Back in Fashion
February 26, 2023
The 2000 digital camera trend has started to grow online and also the search for vintage equipment on online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy has increased in recent times. For example, in the last 12 months on the platform TikTok the hashtag #digitalcamera amassed more than 220 million views, and this trend is said to be linked to similar turn-of-the-century fashion revivals.
Many people who keep these types of items have started posting content and have received a large number of followers and likes just for having these items that are considered vintage and retro. We have Scott Ewart, 32, who lives on the Isle of Arran, this user has managed to accumulate more than five million likes on his TikTok account just by showing content from his retro articles.
Some of the items that Scott has shown are old cameras, which he says belonged to his parents, and some that he has also begun to acquire to expand his collection, in fact he now has more than 30 pieces of equipment that he and his followers consider vintage.
What he says:
- “A lot of folk find them quite comforting. It reminds them of their childhood, it reminds them of simpler times.”
- “I find it quite refreshing going back to something so simple. With older cameras you have to work with them a bit more, to get a good photo or to get the most out of them.”
- “Because with every smartphone you buy, you can’t take a bad shot almost.”
Even as he mentions, the shots from old cameras are quite different from what a new phone or camera can take, and many people constantly ask him if he usually edits the photos, however, he answers that he never edits them. “I get folk asking me, ‘where do you edit these photos, are they edited?’. And I always say these are never edited and I want to show exactly how they’ve come out on every camera.”
Online search traffic and online marketplaces have increased in certain vintage and retro items, it has been seen that the increase has been mostly in cameras. EBay UK told the BBC that during the last three months of 2022 they saw increases in people searching for the old or retro devices.
It is also said that there has been a 13% increase in search traffic for ‘old digital camera’ and a 52% increase for ‘refurbished camera’, this on EBay UK alone in the last few months.
On the other hand, there is also the Etsy platform, which focuses on handmade or retro products, and as well as other online market platforms, they have been able to realize the great increase in sales and searches for retro items. They also mention that it currently has over 19,000 digital camera-related items listed online.
More User Examples
We also meet Katie Glasgow, 25, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She mentions and says that she herself is part of “the oldest generation Z possible”, and that she has even been using an old equipment, which belonged to her parents to be able to make image and video content.
What she says:
- “It looks like memories, because it’s blurry and imperfect. It looks more like how we remember things,” she said. For younger people, who will have virtually no recollection of these cameras in their 2000s heyday, this opens up a kind of “nostalgic world.”
- “These are the cameras my older sister took to prom or my brother had in college, or my young childhood memories were recorded on.”
- “With your phone you can take videos and pictures of literally everything. So your library is huge, versus with this you kind of have to decide, ‘this is a moment I actually want to preserve’.”
On the other hand, we also find Paul Greenwood, who is head of research and knowledge of the creative agency We Are Social. Paul said this was a “natural cycle” in which by the time people reach their 20s they “become nostalgic for the cultural landmarks of their youth.”
He also says:
- “They want to feel comforted when in the real world they feel uncomfortable. And there’s some reasons why people are feeling uncomfortable – like the existential dread you’re seeing with Ukraine, the pandemic, wealth inequality.”
- “It’s seen as more real and authentic. And that’s why we’re seeing this trend really play out, because the grainy kind of content you see is basically shorthand for authenticity and realness. That’s what Gen Z are looking for.”