Gen Z Is Bringing The '00s Digital Camera Back Just In Time To Capture All Your Summer Adventures

Vinyl records, cassette players, typewriters, film cameras — these gadgets of the past aren't the only things making a 21st-century comeback. Rummaging through their parents' junk drawers, Gen Z has found an unlikely treasure: the early '00s digital zoom camera. That's right, the little camera that your family used to capture memories at family vacations, sporting events, and birthday parties. The one you'd take old-school selfies on before smartphones were in the picture.  


Though it appears obsolete now with our fancy phone cameras, the old digicam is getting some time back in the spotlight, and it's one of the many Y2K revival trends popping off these days. But what's the appeal? Don't we have smartphones now that can take photos in 4K resolution? Well, it turns out the low quality, bright flash, and blurriness are all part of the aesthetic. It might just be your new (yet old) essential item to bring with you everywhere this summer.

What brings them back?

Social media has the power to spark new trends and bring old ones to the surface again, including the digicam. It's been a favorite among influencers and celebrities, including Charli D'AmelioEmily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid, who've shared their nostalgic inspo on Instagram. And of course, the power of TikTok has contributed to this trend as well. In the same way that the app has revived old songs and fashion moments, it's bringing back some older tech as well. When you search for #digitalcamera on TikTok, you'll see that the hashtag has nearly 450 million views.


With their popularity on the rise again, early-2000s digital cameras are being resold on Etsy and eBay. But if you're in the market for an affordable or used one, be wary of sellers who scam and sell broken or untested cameras. It might be a better idea to search in your local thrift store or at a used camera shop. 

A dose of nostalgia

Gen Z is a very reflective generation, often yearning for the past and reliving core memories. The majority of Gen Z-ers grew up with these cameras in their households. Moments from their childhood were taken on them, so an element of nostalgia comes from owning a digicam. It's how all their favorite YouTubers filmed the old videos that Gen Z grew up watching. 


The camera quality is nostalgic in itself. The moments captured on these cameras look like dreamy memories. In an interview with Dazed, Katie Glasgow, a video creator and digital camera TikToker explains it perfectly, saying, "The mechanical sound of the zoom, the blur and pixelation, the harsh flash against the faces of a group of friends, it creates its own version of memory that's somehow more real and more dream-like at the same time." It's about the whole experience of taking photos and uploading them to your computer, rather than just using a smartphone.

Taking a break from our phones

With our phones, we've grown used to the convenience of having everything we need packed into one device. Taking photos on your old digital camera may help curb your screen time while you're out and about. You might feel more present during your photography endeavors this way, and we could all use some time away from our phones. 


Some TikTok users prefer using their digicams over their iPhones, sharing videos comparing the iPhone flash to the digital camera's flash. Others who don't have these cameras are even trying to achieve the digicam look with their brand-new phones, placing saran wrap over the lens and applying lip balm over it, as seen in a video by user @filmbykt. 

For most Gen Z-ers, bringing back these cameras simply makes taking photos more fun. "We're so used to our phones," college student Anthony Tabarez tells the New York Times. "When you have something else to shoot on, it's more exciting."

Simple and portable

While film cameras have also had a revival among Gen Z-ers, many people are drawn to the digital camera for its ease and accessibility. You can have the grainy, nostalgic aesthetic without having to keep buying film and develop your photos as you would with a film camera. With digital, you only need to put the memory card in your computer and upload. Just don't lose that memory card! 


These cameras' small size allows you to keep them right in your pocket, or in a cute camera case worn on your shoulder. Bring yours to the beach, concerts, or a night out with friends. Pass it around at a party and see the wild photos people take on by the end of the night. Taking selfies is an art, and believe it or not, the '00s digital camera can help you turn your photos into masterpieces reminiscent of your youth.