Nikon Coolpix - Retro, compact travel digital camera

What’s old is new again. It never seizes to amaze me how products or trends that seem long faded — jean shorts, silver HiFi components, vinyl, NES video games, etc. — find a way to not only become popular, but once again hip and cool.

Retro games is a big one these days. Software emulators and low-cost handheld hardware are enabling new generations to experience that glorious pixel art of the 80’s and 90’s.

Now the latest example appears to be: compact cameras.

TechRadar notes that demand of the travel-friendly Nikon Coolpix have soared 8,000%. That’s kind of crazy.

A quit bit of context. This is based on Google search results. Not actual product sales.

Still, it can be a strong indicator of interest in a technology or, in the case of the Nikon Coolpix camera, a specific product. Most of us use Google search for research and, if you’re like me, it’s the first place to go to learn about something. It’s a solid place to glean consumer sentiment about a topic. So, yes, it’s a valid data point when coalescing a bigger picture regarding trends in the marketplace.

So with regards to the Nikon Coolpix, there has been a year-over-year growth of 8,507% searches.

Other retro tech making big gains includes the Motorola RAZR (flip phones!), Apple iPod Nano (streaming be damned), Nintendo DS (retro gaming) and the Sony Walkman (nostalgia?).

That a compact camera like the Nikon Coolpix would mount a comeback of sorts is not surprising entirely.

Recently, the new Fujifilm X100VI causes all manner of bruhaha. The update to the beloved and viral TikTok favorite, the (also) compact camera is sold out everywhere. Opportunists who were somehow able to score a copy have — not surprisingly — marked them up and are trying to flip them on eBay for well over the suggested retail price of $1,599 USD.

It’s kind of wild to me to consider: we all have smartphones, be they iPhones or Androids, that shoot high quality photos available on us pretty much 7/24 with all the convenience of social sharing and the cloud built-in. And yet? Some would prefer old school point-and-shoot, with the joy of removable SD cards and computer transfers? Those extra steps and time consuming steps? Apparently, the answers are yes and yes. Resoundingly so.


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Perhaps it’s indicative of a zeitgeist that prefers to slow things down a little and chill. Enjoy the moment and process at hand.

Maybe that’s why some still prefer the analog feel of combustion-based sports cars (say, an older Porsche 911) versus their modern EV contemporaries (Porsche Taycan). The latter may be better in most objective measures, including maintenance and operating costs. Yet, for many, rolling down the windows and letting it rip, with an old school ICE roaring away — even if not accelerating less than 2 seconds — is the basic thrill needed to inject a feeling of simpler times.

If you too want that retro compact vibe, for $220 you can still buy a Nikon Coolpix on Amazon.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear