While I don’t usually miss old digital cameras, I’ve been really interested in the recent trend of “reviewing” these older cameras. And while I’ve never owned most of them, I still have a pair of Nikon D100 bodies that are 20 years old and remember seeing many other popular models back in the day. One such camera is the Nikon Coolpix 990, a quaint little camera with a rotating lens and a grip.
In this video, photographer Matt Parson – who seems to have one in exceptionally great condition – takes one out to try its steps and see how it compares to modern digital cameras than. The 2000’s Nikon Coolpix 990 was the third iteration of Nikon’s rotating design, starting with the Coolpix 900 in 1998 and the Coolpix 950 in 1999.
From a technical standpoint, the Nikon Coolpix 990 bears little resemblance to the cameras we use today – DSLRs or mirrorless cameras – and the image quality is certainly not technically perfect. But it does have a quality that makes the images it produces look and feel character-packed, and the look is often more cinematic than what we get out of the box with raw files these days. . That being said, the dynamic range is pretty awful, so it breaks down in the highlights pretty quickly!
It features a 3.2-megapixel CCD sensor with a 3x 8-24mm zoom lens that provides a field of view equivalent to that of a 38-115mm lens across the entire frame. CCD sensors were pretty common back then, at least for Nikon. Both the D100 bodies I mentioned above have a 6.1-megapixel CCD sensor, and my Nikon D200 also has a 10.2-megapixel CCD sensor. The CMOS sensor won in the end, although I’ve always felt that CCD sensors produce images with a bit of a special, quality that CMOS sensors seem to have perfected from them.
It’s interesting to see those old cameras used against the technology we’re using today. Not to mention some of the features they had before seem to be gone. Sometimes, I may even have to pull out my old Nikon DSLRs just to see how they perform to this day. I wonder if anyone notices that the pictures are not taken with the latest and greatest cameras?