What to do with old cameras?

With the advances in digital photography, cameras become old very quickly. Sometimes cameras become outdated even before a user sometimes gets to know them well. Quite frequently new cameras are bought and the old ones just lie unused. Here are some ideas for those old cameras which are not being used now.


Donate them

This is the best that you can do with your old photography equipment. There are photography clubs, learners who can’t afford even a basic camera, and even photography classes in various schools and colleges. You can even donate them to youngsters in your own family. They’ll be more than happy to receive your old cameras. It may seem like a financial loss but in the end, you’ll feel happy. One less camera to think about and the inner happiness at the thought of being able to help someone will make up for whatever financial loss you think that you might have incurred.

One another point that I want to emphasize here is the clarity of thought that starts to happen with fewer cameras. With fewer cameras and less number of lenses, the visualization becomes strong. Our mind gets to see things through whatever we own. Understanding of the camera functions also improves.


Sell them

This is the option if you really need the money from your old cameras. Selling them can be quite disheartening. The price which used cameras get is very low compared to what they sell for when they are new. Even if the camera is maintained like new and nicely cared for, the price in the used cameras market still remains uncomfortably low. If you want to sell them, the best place can be a local photography group. Ask around in your contacts. The next best option is online forums and used goods sites. Ebay, Craigslist, OLX, Quikr take the top spots. Lastly, you can also try at local service centers.


Fields after rains

(Captured the above photograph just after a bout of a thunderstorm, while still, there was a fine drizzle. Used my old D200 without any worries. The camera got wet and had to be kept in a dry box for a few days, later on.)


Find alternative uses

Some alternative uses for old cameras can be these –

Photography in Rough Conditions: Use them in conditions where you wouldn’t risk taking your new camera. You can happily go around clicking photographs on those dirt-tracks or during the worst of sandstorms too. Yes, the camera will be harmed but then it was anyway not being used much. For those of you wondering, my D200 still works fine, even after being used in the drizzle, during the above photography outing.

Infra-Red Photography: Get them converted for use in infra-red photography. This is an inexpensive tweak and requires just a few minutes with the person who knows how to do it. (Infra-Red Photography)

Candid Cameras (as a backup): Use them as candid cameras. Set the camera to Auto or Program mode, mount an inexpensive autofocus lens. Enable autofocus with the maximum focus points and use the smartest auto-focus mode that your camera might support.


What to consider while putting old cameras into use.

Noise Control : One of the major improvements that I have seen in the cameras has happened in the sensor noise. The latest cameras have very low noise at high ISOs whereas the old models suffer from noise at high ISOs. First and foremost, keep the ISO as low as possible. I still use a Nikon D200 at times but never do I use it above 400 ISO. Most of the time, I set the ISO to 100 on this model.

Click raw. The in-camera processing will be from the time when the camera model came out but the softwares on your computer may have the latest raw converter. The results will be better even if you simply convert the raw files to jpg on the proprietary/ recommended softwares, than jpg clicked directly on the camera. I am not talking about the power of post-processing or image editing here but just about the improvements in the software itself.

Play Safe with Memory Cards: Use multiple, low capacity memory cards. This is one fear that I have. Due to failing electronics, I am not very convinced with the reliability of memory cards in really old cameras. Using multiple small capacity cards may help avoid lots of data loss in case a card failure does happen. The latest high-capacity memory cards may be incompatible too with the old cameras. That’s another reason to use small capacity slow memory cards… and they are cheap


Kid playing with Holi Colors

(Used an old Nikon D200 for the above shot. Being an old camera, I was not as scared as I would have been with a new camera body, clicking photographs while surrounded by colored dust. None of the cameras that I own are weather-proof. Clicked raw with ISO 400 and post-processed on computer, using the latest noise reduction algorithms.)


E-waste recycling

If your old camera is dead and of no use to you, don’t just throw it away. Cameras are electronic items and contain materials which may be harmful to the environment. Even if the camera is completely safe for the environment, recycling them can help salvage useful resources from your camera. Find out about the recycling options in your region and send the camera to such a facility.


Further Reading:
Clutter that builds up
Minimalism – A Way of Life!


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