The best digital camera of the past?

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Discussions
BobT Forum Pro • Posts: 13,116
The best digital camera of the past?

Looking back over the relatively short life of digital photography (and digital gear), what do YOU feel has been one of the best cameras to ever hit the market?  Nothing current, please.  I think it should be a camera that you feel that you could use today (and maybe you still do).  And of course, why do you feel it was (is) a very decent photo tool?

I'll start.... with the Canon 300D...the first "Digital Rebel".  I enjoyed the fact that I really "knew" this camera better than any others since, and got what are still some of my best images with it.

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Canon EOS 300D (EOS Digital Rebel / EOS Kiss Digital)
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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 33,454

At least, in my universe, that was the first pro digital that was relatively affordable, and it left me little excuse for blaming the hardware  for failures, as I took up this endeavor in earnest.

Truckin'. . . what long strange trip. . .

It's not uncommon to feel some of one's best work was done in their first years at it.   But soon enough one looks for more consistency (rather than serindipity), trying to figure out why the best were the best, and why the rest were not.   But by then one is hooked, and committed to chasing that down for the rest of one's life.  

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...Bob, NYC
"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't." - Chief Dan George, Little Big Man

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PenPix Senior Member • Posts: 3,261
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

Being a Nikon user, it would be the D200. I used my F801 up until I got the D200… it was the first DSLR that I felt was proper successor to the old film camera. Sometimes I wish I didn't sell the 801!

Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 14,791
Nikon CP4500

This was a beautifully made swivel camera. It was great for macro because it worked in the middle of the zoom range, allowing you some working distance and minimizing distortion. Picture quality was good for 4 MP. I still carry one for shooting details of machinery in factories.

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Leonard Migliore

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Marx81 Regular Member • Posts: 434
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

In my experience , Canon 40D .

I no sell my older gear , but , unfortunately , this cam been stolen , years ago , in Madagascar :

so I don't know what use I could have for it today .

But it has been a sweet tool for me .

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Jim Cassatt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,859
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

I agree with you on the 300D.  Mine still works.

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Kodachrome200 Contributing Member • Posts: 763
In reality

with digital gear being so technology dependent there is very little to look back on nostalgically. Fact is my D800 and GR are better in every way than my older cameras. and I really cant envision a situation where that wouldnt be true.

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captura Forum Pro • Posts: 23,718
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

Jim Cassatt wrote:

I agree with you on the 300D. Mine still works.

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I just bought mine last year, it's like brand new. But I could not get used to the tiny screen, so it's for sale.

My choice of best digital from the past is the Panasonic G1 which was the very first M43 camera far as I know.  It came bundled with a very good kit lens, too, the 14-45. I still use it for portraiture, with manual Minolta lenses.

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digitallollygag Contributing Member • Posts: 679
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

Nikon D100. I still use it from time to time.

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Wm. L. Senior Member • Posts: 2,166
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

I think of this in terms of generations or pre-history. Saying best is tough having watched leading products come along but get surpassed when another or same manufacturer has new releases.

A milestones were in my hands with a former job I had. That job was often known as Apple evangelist where Apple subsidized the salary of some at their reseller partners. My employer did setups, piloting, demonstrations, and sometimes beta testing for a group of Fortune 500 firm locations in our region, and targeted early days of desktop publishing and pre-press. In that era we had early Kodak digital backs for testing and demo, same for QuickTake cameras. We'd laugh now but we were using cameras with VGA or barely to as high as 2 megapixels with SCSI interface to get images from remote locations faster.

For the above I remember a time when we flew to SFO and used long gone dial services to take a photo and send it to the engineering department of a major corporation. It was about trying to cut their costs and time flying engineers to manufacturing sites. When Kodak sent the modified Canon and Nikon bodies the instructions had insurance amounts in shipping we'd laugh at now for 2 megapixel cameras.

For me milestones after those early cameras were Nikon 99x that had good looking color and macro, some early Olympus p+s that had decent looking color and didn't cost a ton, and one I LOVED was Canon making the elph digital.

As a category I'll add the likes of Canon's digital Rebels. Sure most owners shot in green mode and replaced them with camera phones, but the image quality they brought did a lot to end film era as most knew.

I would add the quality travel zooms with good lenses as a best or important part of development. Some I know who owned them went to mirrorless systems for upgrades. For me it meant no longer dragging pounds of gear with me for a lot of use or travel.

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tjboothe Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

I am gonna go with one I still use almost daily because I still love the files it gives me. The Canon 5D. First affordable full frame.

Took Nikon up to the D3X to surpass it in IQ.

I still am convinced you can't get a better 100 to 400 file from any camera, you can get bigger, yes but IMO not better.

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I look at pictures, I don't peek at pixels!

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Ron Poelman
Ron Poelman Veteran Member • Posts: 5,892

An extremely well executed convergence of features
that still hasn't been definitively beaten.
I.Q. out to 10 metres is still 2014 gold standard,
the screens and the speed, a different matter.

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KCK14 Contributing Member • Posts: 633
Re: Nikon CP995

Bought one for close-up (sort of macro) shots at work - first camera that I bought new in over 30 years of used and rebuilt cameras. My first digital camera.    The swivel body is perfect for close-ups.

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Henry Falkner
Henry Falkner Forum Pro • Posts: 13,936
There is not One

BobT wrote:

Looking back over the relatively short life of digital photography (and digital gear), what do YOU feel has been one of the best cameras to ever hit the market? Nothing current, please. I think it should be a camera that you feel that you could use today (and maybe you still do). And of course, why do you feel it was (is) a very decent photo tool?

All of them had the convenience of me being able to use the pictures instantly. Some had better IQ than others, independent of Mega Pixels in them.

BUT, my Olympus C-1400L came with a warning that letting any hint of dampness near it may be dangerous, and Alkaline AA cells lasted a bare five minutes in it.

The C-2500L had more resolution, also more noise, and luckily in 2000 rechargeable AA cells with a typical capacity of 2000mAh were available.

The Olympus D-400Z pocket P&S beat the C-1400L bridge camera for resolution, at the same pixel count, and the D-490Z beat the C-2500L bridge camera. At a school function, Sandra's daughter used the D-490Z for its simplicity, and I used the C-2500L. As it turned out, she and I took the same shots, and I submitted only the D-490Z shots that Sandra's daughter had taken. They had far less noise.

I still have the D-490Z with the last 128 MB SmartMedia memory in it - which makes the camera a nostalgic relic.

The C-750UZ was my first super zoom, and I used it for four years. But it sucked in dust, and became unpredictable in operation at the slightest hint of rain (hence the need for the Stylus 800 in spite of its IQ issues).

The Olympus Stylus 800 has weather seals, and it is still in use by Sandra. But I got slaughtered here for the artifacts it created by excessive in-camera sharpening.

The Olympus SP-570UZ was the last full-featured bridge camera in the series. It is built like a tank. I does useable VGA video, but it uses Olympus xD memory, and the development of that came to a halt at 2GB capacity. The Stylus 9010 pocket P&S beats the SP-570UZ for shadow detail, so the latter is now another nostalgic relic in my possession.

The camera that does combine all the good bits of my older cameras and none of their drawbacks has been in my hot little hands for only four weeks - but the OP says I am not allowed to mention it.

Basically, all my old cameras took good pictures as and when I learnt to work around the drawbacks. But it is usually the subjects that make the shots worth keeping, not the camera they were depicted with.


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Henry Falkner - SH-50, SZ-30MR, SP-570UZ, Stylus 9010

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OP BobT Forum Pro • Posts: 13,116
Re: There is not One


For you Henry, we'll make an exception.  Besides the suspense is killing us.  What's the 4-week-old camera?  SH-50?

By the way, your last sentence above is perfectly true.

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Osvaldo Cristo
Osvaldo Cristo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,242
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

Nikon Coolpix 990

Nikon D200

Nikon D3

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O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

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Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 17,395
Sony F707/717

Best camera I have had for taking candid shots at parties.

Great design with the twisting body.  Great lens.  Unbearably slow operation.

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Chris R

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rurikw Senior Member • Posts: 1,004
Re: R1

I suppose you mean the Sony R1. I was going to suggest that one but you beat me to it. Funny you should say "up to 10m". I have made the same observation but haven't found an explanation. Do we both have a flawed focusing mechanism?

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Sonyshine Senior Member • Posts: 8,741
The best digital camera of my past - my Canon 300D

I would agree the Canon 300D was a fine camera in its day.

I enjoyed mine - more than the 450D and 30D that I followed it with.

This is the last image I took with my 300D:

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MOD Biggs23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,076
Re: The best digital camera of the past?

I'd have to say the Canon 5D, the Nikon D3x and the Nikon D3s. All were very significant changes in the digital photography world.

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Any opinions I express are my own and do not represent DPReview. Have a good one and God bless!

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