Celebrating 10th anniversary of my first digital camera!


Quadophile

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Time flies but at my age everything seems to be going at warp speed! Looking back, a decade ago I had bought the first digital camera not as a replacement of my Nikon film SLR but more of a secondary camera. I was interested in a camera that could do what my SLR could do, not exactly but close enough in flexibility.


The digital camera I chose back then had a lens with zoom range of 38-152 mm, shutter speed of 8 sec -1/2300 + bulb, pop-up flash range of 10m (32.8ft), customizable white balance, high resolution glass optics, extreme macro range from 2 cm to infinity, spot and matrix metering, full manual mode as well as Aperture priority, shutter priority and program modes. Fast lens F2.6 – 5.1. Even by todays standards these specs are not at all bad for a point and shoot camera. The camera in question is the Nikon Coolpix 995. If you just add a 14 MP sensor to above would you buy one? I am sure you would! However, the Nikon Cool pix 995 had just 3.2 MP sensor. One is compelled to think it is not even comparable to a phone with a built in camera. Nowadays you get free phones with 3.2 MP cameras built-in.

This is what the camera looks like (photo courtesy DP Review)



NikonCoolpix995.jpg





NikonCoolpix995Folded.jpg



Last week I was cleaning up and checking stored items, that is when I spotted the Nikon camera bag, originally a black one but now giving more of a grayish look due to dust. I opened the bag and took out the camera which still looked great, I could not turn it on as the batteries were completely drained and would not recharge. I decided to order a couple of rechargeable batteries which luckily were available. The batteries arrived on Wednesday and after charging them fired the camera, lo and behold the light and LCD panel lit up after about 5 years.

After setting the clock I tested the camera with a few shots and all looked good. The only issue was the storage cards. The starter card was a mere 16 MB which came with the camera and I had acquired another CF card at the same time which was a whopping 128 MB (I had paid $96 + tax for this measly storage card). With these cards it would be difficult to go on a shooting session outdoors without running out of space. Therefore , on Wednesday night I ordered the highest capacity card this camera could handle which is 2 GB (Fat 16 file system limitation). I paid a princely sum of $13.74 (including tax and overnight shipping for this card! It sounds like a joke, doesn't it?



I was very curious about the picture quality of this camera compared to my Motorola Cliq 2 having a 5 MP camera which I acquired recently. I took a picture of the view from my front door, the first picture is from the Nikon and the second one from the Motorola. Both cameras were on full auto mode and I did not manipulate the images in any way. I chose this picture because it had shadows as well as highlights, secondly it was taken on a bright day where auto exposure on most cameras work very similarly. Take a look at each picture by zooming in on the blue street name plate across the street and the story would be revealed to you as to which image is better. I would not be surprised if YOU were surprised.


DSCN1114.JPG







2011-10-14_16-08-54_839.jpg



Here are the images of both the Motorola phone and Nikon camera taken from close range on macro mode.


2011-10-14_17-16-03_486.jpg



DSCN1163.JPG




Nikon 995 had a cult following, this camera was the most sought after one by coin and stamp collectors because of its tremendous macro capabilities. It was also a very desirable camera for the astro- photographers due to its 28mm thread on the optics, 28 mm being standard for all telescopes thus this camera could be attached to a telescope and you have all the galaxies literally at hand shaking distance away. Some astro-photographers are still using this camera for the same purpose. Last but not least, this camera was an excellent tool when it came to slide copying. I had bought the slide copier and used it many times to copy Slides done on my Nikon SLR. Here is one picture which I copied using the slide copier.


DSCN0053.JPG



I am no astro-photographer nor a stamp or coin collector but I did have a few coins in my pocket so I took a few shots to see the results. The first one is a picture of three coins and from left to right, a dime, nickel and a quarter. I arranged the lighting in a way to emphasize the engraving on each coin to give a 3D effect.


DSCN1154.JPG




For those who are not really aware of the size of a dime I took this picture by incorporating the standard USB plug to give a sense of scale.


DSCN1172.JPG




This is the picture of the dime which happens to be the smallest among the three pictured above. Again, the lightning is same but the shot was taken from a very close range somewhere between 2 and 3 cm. This picture gives a very good idea of how capable the camera is when it comes to macro photography.


DSCN1168.JPG




Of all the pictures that I took from this camera, this happens to be my favourite. It is a crystal flower made to glow from the window light and underexposed by 4 stops or so to achieve the desired result.


DSCN0140.JPG




In case you are interested in reading the review of the Nikon Coolpix 995 and want to see the full specification as it first appeared on DPReview back in May 2001, here is the link



:cheers:
 
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Taffycat

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A very interesting article and those are super photos too Quad. What great quality pictures, from an "old" camera. The macros are wonderfully detailed and would surely hold their own against more modern cameras.

It's great that your Nikon happily fired into life after being in storage for so long. It still looks rather stylish too, imho. In fact, the only disappointment would seem to be that it is not possible to use a CF card with greater capacity than 2 GB. (Wouldn't it be good if manufacturers could produce a larger capacity card which could somehow be accepted by the camera. Maybe one day...?)

Meanwhile, I'm guessing you are going to continue to enjoy your "golden oldie" for some time to come. :)
 

Quadophile

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TC,

Thank you for your comments. Yes the camera is good for macro and I intend to use it as long as it serves me well. :)

As for the CF cards, there are much larger ones available but unfortunately for this camera 2 GB will be the limit and never change. In Hi quality mode it produces a respectable 9 MB file in Tiff format and with a 2 GB card installed it accommodates 207 pictures. with the 128 MB card only 13. :lol:
 

Ian

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That first picture of your street doesn't look like what I would expect from a 10 year old digital camera - it's fairly decent quality!

I think my first digital camera was a 1.3MP Fuji which was probably around 10 years old now too - although I've got no idea where it is now. I've just had a look and I've still got the 8MB smart media card (but nothing on it).
 

Quadophile

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Ian,

Yes compared to the basic point and shoot cameras of today it is not too bad. However it's main strength lies in it's macro capabilities and that is the only thing I would be using it for.
 

Quadophile

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Today I took out from the closet this ancient camera which is Nikon Coolpix 995. Both the batteries had just enough juice to trigger it on which means all is hunky-dory and this camera is still in good shape to take photos. The batteries are being charged as of now and once done will take it for a spin and see what it's like to shoot with a 20-year-old digital camera. It is still in perfect shape with no scratches or blemishes on it just like it was, back in the days.
 
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Quadophile

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How'd it go @Quadophile? I'd be interested to see how you think it holds up!

I am sorry but I had some other things come up which I had to attend to and could not find time to do a shoot. I will certainly get on with it hopefully withing tomorrow and present it here for your scrutiny ;)
 

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I managed to sneak out for a bit with my camera and took a few pictures in the familiar territory of Sugar Land Town Square Plaza. The camera surprisingly did very well for its age. The best thing was it worked flawlessly without any hiccups. I also took pics with my iPhone 12 which I will upload in my next post in this thread just to give you an idea of how the technology has progressed in the last two decades. There is a huge difference in the resolution of both the cameras The Nikon is just 3.2 Megapixel whereas the iPhone is 12 Megapixels not only that, iPhone is blessed with AI and has a very good dynamic range. All the pictures posted from both the camera and phone are not edited and straight out of the box. Also just for the record, I shot in Auto mode on both. Nonetheless, I still think that the Nikon is good enough for casual posting on Facebook even today. :nod:

DSCN1186.jpg


DSCN1200.JPG
DSCN1192.jpg


DSCN1193.jpg


DSCN1197.jpg
DSCN1205.jpg
 

Quadophile

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These are the pictures that I tried to take at the same place with the iPhone 12 and framed it as close to what the Nikon was shooting in terms of viewpoint.
image3(2).jpeg
image2(3).jpeg
image1.jpeg
image0(2).jpeg


image4(3).jpeg
 

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I'm quite surprised at how well the 20 year old camera holds up to be honest - I expected to be surprised at how much things have improved, but actually for general web photos the camera holds up ok! Is it still using the replacement batteries from 10 years ago?

I think my first digital camera would have been from around the same time period, but I've got no idea where it is now - I guess I would have likely ebayed it when I upgraded many years ago. Maybe it's still at my dads house in the loft!
 
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Quadophile

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I'm quite surprised at how well the 20 year old camera holds up to be honest - I expected to be surprised at how much things have improved, but actually for general web photos the camera holds up ok! Is it still using the replacement batteries from 10 years ago?
Yes, the batteries are from 10 years ago and they still hold a charge and work ok. Before storing I guess they were fully charged and put in storage. If they were discharged and stored, they would go into what is called a "deep discharge" state and it would not be possible to revive them.

I think my first digital camera would have been from around the same time period, but I've got no idea where it is now - I guess I would have likely ebayed it when I upgraded many years ago. Maybe it's still at my dads house in the loft!

The CF card in the camera gave me a bit of a problem in the sense that many of the images got corrupted in there which were from 10 years ago. It was giving a tough time to my computer while reading the card, the computer was taking a long time to read. I am not sure why this happened but I had to format the card in the camera and use it for the shoot. I did not encounter any issues after formatting it. :thumb:

Something else I found out while fiddling with the camera later after shooting. The filter attached to the lens had a very thin film of dust which was visible against the light and something I did not see in the daytime when doing the shoot. I gave it a thorough cleaning and now it is a lot cleaner compared to what it was when I discovered the anomaly. I am pretty sure the slight softness and slightly subdued colors would pop out and produce better results. I am going to try it again just to make sure it is the case. Some more shooting to be done. Maybe I will create a new thread and name it "A digital camera: 20 years on!" LOL :dance:

Find out if your old camera is still there, it would be interesting to see the results from it. :nod:
 
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Time flies but at my age everything seems to be going at warp speed! Looking back, a decade ago I had bought the first digital camera not as a replacement of my Nikon film SLR but more of a secondary camera. I was interested in a camera that could do what my SLR could do, not exactly but close enough in flexibility.


The digital camera I chose back then had a lens with zoom range of 38-152 mm, shutter speed of 8 sec -1/2300 + bulb, pop-up flash range of 10m (32.8ft), customizable white balance, high resolution glass optics, extreme macro range from 2 cm to infinity, spot and matrix metering, full manual mode as well as Aperture priority, shutter priority and program modes. Fast lens F2.6 – 5.1. Even by todays standards these specs are not at all bad for a point and shoot camera. The camera in question is the Nikon Coolpix 995. If you just add a 14 MP sensor to above would you buy one? I am sure you would! However, the Nikon Cool pix 995 had just 3.2 MP sensor. One is compelled to think it is not even comparable to a phone with a built in camera. Nowadays you get free phones with 3.2 MP cameras built-in.

This is what the camera looks like (photo courtesy DP Review)



NikonCoolpix995.jpg





NikonCoolpix995Folded.jpg



Last week I was cleaning up and checking stored items, that is when I spotted the Nikon camera bag, originally a black one but now giving more of a grayish look due to dust. I opened the bag and took out the camera which still looked great, I could not turn it on as the batteries were completely drained and would not recharge. I decided to order a couple of rechargeable batteries which luckily were available. The batteries arrived on Wednesday and after charging them fired the camera, lo and behold the light and LCD panel lit up after about 5 years.

After setting the clock I tested the camera with a few shots and all looked good. The only issue was the storage cards. The starter card was a mere 16 MB which came with the camera and I had acquired another CF card at the same time which was a whopping 128 MB (I had paid $96 + tax for this measly storage card). With these cards it would be difficult to go on a shooting session outdoors without running out of space. Therefore , on Wednesday night I ordered the highest capacity card this camera could handle which is 2 GB (Fat 16 file system limitation). I paid a princely sum of $13.74 (including tax and overnight shipping for this card! It sounds like a joke, doesn't it?



I was very curious about the picture quality of this camera compared to my Motorola Cliq 2 having a 5 MP camera which I acquired recently. I took a picture of the view from my front door, the first picture is from the Nikon and the second one from the Motorola. Both cameras were on full auto mode and I did not manipulate the images in any way. I chose this picture because it had shadows as well as highlights, secondly it was taken on a bright day where auto exposure on most cameras work very similarly. Take a look at each picture by zooming in on the blue street name plate across the street and the story would be revealed to you as to which image is better. I would not be surprised if YOU were surprised.


DSCN1114.JPG







2011-10-14_16-08-54_839.jpg



Here are the images of both the Motorola phone and Nikon camera taken from close range on macro mode.


2011-10-14_17-16-03_486.jpg



DSCN1163.JPG




Nikon 995 had a cult following, this camera was the most sought after one by coin and stamp collectors because of its tremendous macro capabilities. It was also a very desirable camera for the astro- photographers due to its 28mm thread on the optics, 28 mm being standard for all telescopes thus this camera could be attached to a telescope and you have all the galaxies literally at hand shaking distance away. Some astro-photographers are still using this camera for the same purpose. Last but not least, this camera was an excellent tool when it came to slide copying. I had bought the slide copier and used it many times to copy Slides done on my Nikon SLR. Here is one picture which I copied using the slide copier.


DSCN0053.JPG



I am no astro-photographer nor a stamp or coin collector but I did have a few coins in my pocket so I took a few shots to see the results. The first one is a picture of three coins and from left to right, a dime, nickel and a quarter. I arranged the lighting in a way to emphasize the engraving on each coin to give a 3D effect.


DSCN1154.JPG




For those who are not really aware of the size of a dime I took this picture by incorporating the standard USB plug to give a sense of scale.


DSCN1172.JPG




This is the picture of the dime which happens to be the smallest among the three pictured above. Again, the lightning is same but the shot was taken from a very close range somewhere between 2 and 3 cm. This picture gives a very good idea of how capable the camera is when it comes to macro photography.


DSCN1168.JPG




Of all the pictures that I took from this camera, this happens to be my favourite. It is a crystal flower made to glow from the window light and underexposed by 4 stops or so to achieve the desired result.


DSCN0140.JPG




In case you are interested in reading the review of the Nikon Coolpix 995 and want to see the full specification as it first appeared on DPReview back in May 2001, here is the link



:cheers:
Excellent ! Thank you for sharing !
 

nivrip

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Love the old British phone box. :thumb: Have we seen it before or is my mind playing tricks?
 
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Quadophile

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Love the old British phone box. :thumb: Have we seen it before or is my mind playing tricks?

Yes, you have seen it from a different camera. I like going to this place for a shoot, plenty of opportunities and a good place to walk around. :dance:
 

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