Iconic 1990s Digital Cameras

Digital photography in the 1990s was a wild ride, full of innovation and quirks. Here are five iconic digital cameras from the 1990s, each unique in its own way.

Coming to you from James Warner of snappiness, this fun video starts with the Ricoh RDC-1 from 1995. This early digital camera was priced at $1,700 and offered a mere 0.4-megapixel resolution. Its unique design included a detachable LCD screen. The RDC-1 also required proprietary batteries and used a Type I PC card for storage, making it a relic of its time. Warner demonstrates how challenging it can be to get these old cameras working again, especially when dealing with outdated storage solutions.

Next, Warner discusses the Polaroid PDC-2000, a 1-megapixel camera released in 1996. This camera stood out not just for its unusual design, which resembled a mix between a toy and a spaceship, but also for its use of an internal hard drive. The Polaroid PDC-2000 was incredibly expensive, costing $4,000 at the time, which translates to about $8,000 today when adjusted for inflation. It featured sonar autofocus, a technology that allowed it to focus perfectly even in complete darkness. Despite its high price and unique features, the PDC-2000 was a niche product aimed at professional photographers.

Warner then shifts to the Game Boy Camera, released by Nintendo in 1998. This quirky camera was designed to be used with the Game Boy Color and was priced at just $49. Despite its low resolution of 0.014 megapixels, it became one of the best-selling digital cameras of the 1990s. The Game Boy Camera was innovative in its approach, turning photography into a game-like experience. Users could take selfies, print photos using the Game Boy Printer, and even share images with friends through tethering. This camera was a hit among kids and remains a beloved piece of tech nostalgia.

Those are just some of the nostalgic cameras Warner examines, so check out the video above for the full rundown from Warner.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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The gameboy camera was fun to mess around with early on, though the the stock output (camera calibration) was really tuned for the original gameboy and gameboy pocket, but not the later models.