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The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

Y2K trend attracts Gen Z

Digital cameras make a comeback despite competition from cellphone cameras

With modern day smartphones being built for high quality photos, it’s shocking that the early 2000s digital camera is making a comeback online. Specifically for teens, digital camera photography has become very popular adding a “Y2K” theme to ones’ social media. Why is the popularity of the digital camera making a comeback into the Gen-Z generation?

The first digital camera was invented by Eastman Kodak in 1975. By the 1980s, brands such as Kodak, Fujifilm, Sony, and Canon hit the markets. The first ever handheld digital camera reached the US market in 1990 with the Dycam Model 1. By the early 2000s, small handheld digital cameras became staples in most American households before the popularity of smartphones, allowing average citizen to take video and pictures of life moments. This deemed the “Y2K” era known in the ‘90s and early 2000s was filled with photos of fashion, music, and television. With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, sales for digital cameras dropped from the market from 120 million units of cameras to 63 million from 2008 to 2013.

However, in the past 5 years, searches for “film cameras” on the internet has increased by 338% according to photo printing retailer Max Spielmann. As well as on TikTok the search for “digital camera” has 137.9 million views as of Feb. 21.

“Back in the day, digital cameras didn’t have the best of reputations,” Max Spielmann said on Creative Blog. “The picture resolution wasn’t great, often blurry, and worked poorly in low lighting… cameras from earlier eras have great functionality and durability too, meaning it’s possible to buy equipment second or even third-hand and still achieve great results. This has fueled the retro trend allowing more people to buy into and experiment with the minimalist yet playful essence of Y2K photography.”

Junior Johanna Frandeen bought her digital camera in June 2023 to take with her on a trip to Thailand. Frandeen frequently posts pictures from her camera on social media.

“I love my camera and I’d prefer it over my iPhone any day,” Frandeen said. “It allows me to take photos without needing to rely on my phone. The quality is significantly better than my actual iPhone camera because its sole purpose is to take photos, so it has much better results. My camera may have taken longer to understand the settings, but when I did understand them, it made my photos turn out better than any I had taken on my phone.”

Junior Evelyn LeClair also owns a digital camera. LeClair’s owns a Sony handheld camera and received it as a birthday gift.

“I like using it better for certain situations more than an iPhone, it just gives a certain look that an iPhone doesn’t have,” LeClair said. “My camera lens is a little scratched up so sometimes the pictures come out blurry, but other than that the quality is so good, and all my pictures turn out with good quality.”

With Gen-Z growing up heavily in a technological world, it seems digital cameras bring back a sense of childhood nostalgia and make teens yearn for an era of culture from before they were born. Digital cameras have introduced beginner photography to teens, that could lead to a love of photography and ignite a generation of future photographers.

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