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Is an Older Camera Still Useful?

Find Tips for Using an Older Camera

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Is an Older Camera Still Useful?

Some older cameras still have some value, such as the Canon PowerShot S110 ELPH pictured here.

Canon

Many people have an older digital camera lying around the house that they’re no longer using. But the questions crop up: Does the older camera have any value? Is an older camera still useful?

As long as the older camera is still in working order, it can still be functional. It may not create photos that can match your current camera, and it could have some serious response time delays that will cause you to remember exactly why you chose to purchase a new camera.

However, there are situations where putting that older camera to use still makes sense. Use these tips to come up with ways to still draw some value from your old digital camera.

  • There may be some photography situations where you want to use an older digital camera, such as if you’re concerned the shooting environment may lead to damage for the camera. If you still have a functional older camera, don’t risk a newer camera in a wet environment, in extreme temperatures, or in an environment where dust and sand may blow around.

  • Think about the exact strengths that your older camera had, and compare it to your new camera. Is there something that the older camera does a little better than the new camera? Maybe the older camera has better macro photography results, for example. If so, use that older camera to shoot those types of photos. In other words, play to the strengths of the older camera.

  • An older camera certainly will have accumulated more dirt, smudges, and other debris than a newer camera. Before using the older camera again, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning -- especially the lens -- with a dry microfiber cloth.

  • As the older camera’s image sensor probably won’t be as technologically advanced or powerful as a newer image sensor, the older digital camera may especially struggle with low light photography. Use a tripod or monopod to steady the older digital camera and to give you a better chance for good low light photographs.

  • Become an expert at using photo editing software. If your photos taken with an older camera don’t quite measure up to photos from a newer camera, perhaps you can fix the flaws in the older camera’s photos with your photo editing skills.

  • You can extend the capabilities of some older cameras with lens adapters. For example, you may be able to give an older camera a 1.5X or 2X larger zoom lens by using a lens adapter, which is less expensive than purchasing a new camera.

  • If you own an older DSLR camera that can accept interchangeable lenses, consider extending the life of the DSLR camera body by adding a newer, compatible lens to the camera. A new lens with new capabilities can breathe new life into an older DSLR camera.

  • Another way to help your older camera work better is to purchase a new battery. Older batteries naturally lose their ability to hold a full charge over time. You may become pretty frustrated with the limited battery life that your older camera and battery combination have. However, with a new battery, you may find those frustrations disappear because the camera’s response times, especially with flash photos, are much improved.

  • Even if your older camera has been dropped a few times and it’s having trouble creating good photos, the camera may still have some useful life. Some photographers look to shoot artistic images that the slightly off-center or slightly malfunctioning camera can create. Try some shots with your older camera that are more artistic in nature.

  • Finally, although a newer camera can provide faster electronics and improved performance, it doesn’t guarantee better photographs than an older camera. The basics of good photography -- good composition, good timing, proper exposure -- haven’t changed from film to digital cameras and from older digital cameras to newer ones. Make sure you’re following rules about good photography with your older camera, such as the Rule of Thirds, and you’ll have a good chance of achieving good results, even with an older camera.
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