While I don’t usually miss old digital cameras, I’ve really enjoyed the recent trend of “reviewing” these older cameras. And while I’ve never owned most of them, I do have a pair of 20 year old Nikon D100 bodies 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 rotatable lens and grip.
In this video, photographer Matt Parson – who seems to have one in exceptionally great condition – takes one out to walk it through the 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 has a quality about it that makes the images it produces have the look and feel of character and the overall look and feel of the movie than we get out of the box with today’s raw files. That being said, the dynamic range is pretty awful, so it breaks down in 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 on full-frame. CCD sensors were pretty common back then, at least for Nikon. Both the D100 bodies I mentioned above contain a 6.1-megapixel CCD sensor, and my Nikon D200 also has a 10.2-megapixel CCD sensor. In the end, the CMOS sensor won out, although I’ve always felt that CCD sensors produce images with a bit of a special twist, a quality that CMOS sensors seem to have perfected from them.
It’s interesting to see old cameras being used against the technology we’re used to today. Not to mention some of the features they had at the time seem to be gone. I might even have to pull out my old Nikon DSLRs to see how they perform today. I wonder if anyone has even noticed images that are not taken on the latest and greatest cameras?