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Camera Review, 10 Vintage Analog, Digital, Mobile, and CCD Camera Picks

Off The Beaten Track: 10 Great Camera Picks For 2023
A wayward view of great camera picks for vintage analog, digital, mobile, and the occasional time-lapse for photo enthusiasts.

Within the continuous barrage of promotions and ads taunting the newest and latest photography products flooding the media platforms, one wonders whether there is still room for the vintage analog and bypassed digital cameras to continue surviving with only a limited number of photo enthusiasts maintaining their loyalty to these genres of photography gear. As an amateur who delves into such, and has been doing so for years, my answer is still a definite yes.

As it is I still have the urge and willingness to persist with film photography, maintain an interest in CCD sensor imagery and vintage digital SLR cameras, enjoy the ease of using superzoom digital bridge cameras, and appreciate the convenience of using super and ultra compacts which are of no hassle to carry around.

To that end, I shoot analog, vintage digital, and mobile, and do the occasional time-lapse, with the perseverance and persistence of maintaining my presence on the Net with a weekly post on ImagingPixel (this website), and the daily cyclic posts on my side hustle at VintageCameraMarketplace.

And wayward off the beaten track, these are the 10 cameras I have been using in 2023, and potentially, through 2024 as well.

35mm Film Cameras

Canon EOS 5

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Canon EOS 5

The Canon EOS 5, seen here with the 2012 version of Canon EF 40mm 1:2.8 STM pancake lens. is an autofocus and autoexposure 35mm SLR film camera introduced by Canon in 1992, and was the world's first with an eye-controlled autofocus system. The system works by automatically bringing into focus the part of the image you are looking at with any of the five autofocus points lined along the center of the viewfinder screen. The EOS 5 is also a paraphilia of functions and systems enough to guide you to be an efficient photographer.

The eye-controlled autofocus system of the very advanced 'semi-professional' EOS 5 is seen again on a few other cameras, and 30 years later, albeit with more advanced technology, on the mirrorless flagship Canon EOS R3, which was launched in 2021.

Minolta P's

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Minolta P's

Minolta introduced the 'cult classic' Minolta P’s (aka Minolta Riva Panorama), a 35mm fixed-blind cropped-frame compact autofocus autoexposure panorama film camera, which reduces the 3:2 image aspect ratio of the film frame to 2.7:1. This is to address the resurgence of interest in panoramic photography in the early 1990s where the economics dictates that you still get 36 shots with a 36-exposure 135 (35mm) film roll, no less.

The simple and easy-to-use point-and-shoot has 5 elements in 5 groups 24mm 1:4.5 wide angle lens and comes with a shutter speed range from 1/4 to 1/200 second when the flash is deactivated. The camera loads and rewinds files automatically and accepts DX-coded film roll which the camera sets to ISO 100 or ISO 400. Simple as it sounds, the camera is capable of capturing panoramic wide-angle images that are sharp, clear, and contrasty. A fun one!

Konica II B

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Konica II B

From the old-school barn, the Konica II B, a 35mm rangefinder film camera released by Konica, the oldest Japanese photographic company, in 1951. The II B is part of the series of well-built fixed-lens, leaf-shuttered Konica 35mm rangefinder cameras produced from 1950 to 1959, and is fitted with a Konirapid-S shutter and a fixed collapsible Konishiroku Hexar 50mm 1:3.5 lens (from May 1955) or f/2.8 (from June 1955).

Unique to the Konica II B is a super bright viewfinder and rangefinder patch that is hard to match with other vintage cameras from that era, as well as an elegant and well-balanced design, very advanced for its time, with a curvaceous body panel design that mimics the outline of the hands when the camera is held up to your eyes in the shooting stance. A joy to behold and shoot with!

Digital Cameras

Canon EOS 300D

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Canon EOS 300D

The Canon EOS 300D (EOS Digital Rebel in North America, EOS Digital Kiss in Japan), a 6.3MP APS-C sensor digital SLR camera, was the first user-grade entry-level DSLR introduced by Canon in 2003. Seen here with a Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5A, a lower priced version of the standard Canon 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 EF mount wide-to-normal standard zoom lens, the EOS 300D comes with a 7-point wide-area autofocus (AF) system, Continuous Shooting at approximately 2.5 frames, and record images in six different JPEG formats or a 12-bit RAW file.

A perfect starter camera to start with, a very low-cost approach when compared to the ever-increasing cost of film and its related development charges in film photography, the EOS 300D is very well built, felt solid as a rock, and at over 20 years in age in 2023, is still a youthful, and bashful experience. Go get one for yourself!

Olympus E-PM2

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Olympus E-PM2

The Olympus E-PM2, fitted with a proven 16MP CMOS Four Thirds sensor similar to the one found on the Olympus OM-D E-M5, a 3.0 inch touch-sensitive LCD with 460,000 dots, with In-body image stabilization, was still one of the smallest mirrorless cameras on the market when it launched in 2013. The camera does not have much of a button or extraneous switches to turn or fiddle with and excels in its use as a pre-programmed point-and-shoot, yet versatile enough to be fitted with an EVF and mounted with the whole range of Micro 4/3 or other OEM lenses available.

A lightweight at only 260 grams body, the camera is a versatile performer, small enough to fit in your pants pocket or purse, yet capable enough to capture images at up to 4608 x 3456 pixels. Images can be recorded in RAW, JPEG, and MPO (3D Still). The camera has a shutter speed range from 60 to 1/4000 second, with an Auto ISO speed range of 200 to 1600, or from 200-25,600 when set manually.

Nokia Asha 300

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Nokia Asha 300

My great go-to camera, the Nokia Asha 300, has only a rear 5MP digital camera but has always given me sharp and excellent images, especially in clear and bright light, as well as when the shutter speed of the camera is stretched to its maximum 1/8 second in twilight and well-lighted evening shots. The candy bar handphone, introduced in 2012, was revived from the storage bin after it was left unused for a few years, and I have been using the camera function since 2018. The camera still looks like there is still plenty of life in it, and it may last me for a few more seasons.

Small, slim, and petite, the Nokia Asha weighs only 85 grams and will fit just about anywhere you can find a slot for it in your shirt or pants pocket, purse, or handbag. Go here for a quick look at a short list of 'Nokia Asha' posts as found on this website.

Digital Cameras With CCD Sensors

One theme I picked up in 2023 was the concept for 'Re-Living the CCD Sensor,' a series that looked at digital cameras built with CCD sensors. These cameras are definitely vintage, as they were produced more than 10 years ago with technology that has been bypassed. Production covers the whole range of digital camera products, from compacts and ultra-compact to digital bridges, as well as professional models. 

CCDs were the standard for camera sensors from the early 80s till the late 2000s before they were replaced by the CMOS variety. Though more expensive to build, and uses more power, the sensor is acknowledged for the higher quality low-noise images, and better image homogeneity, with renderings that some say are more film-like. CCDs are still used, however, in areas of specialized photography such as Optical Microscopy, Space Photography, and Near-Infrared Imaging.

Nikon D200

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Nikon D200

The Nikon D200, a 10.2MP CCD sensor vintage digital SLR camera, launched by Nikon in 2005, was a replacement for the previously introduced D100. Built with a Magnesium alloy chassis, the very robust camera is more of a 'professional' rather than it being a 'prosumer' model, with features and functions enough to keep you occupied up the learning curve. An advantage to have is the ability of the D200 to be used with both AI manual focus and essentially all other Nikkor lenses manufactured from 1977 onward. The D200 is also fitted with an intervalometer for time-lapse photography.

Images are excellent, the body is compact with a true pro feel, power on is instant, very responsive with very short black-out time, very fast media write, excellent five frames per second continuous shooting, fast 'smart buffering,' fast and accurate eleven-point AF system... the list just goes on and on.

Pentax K-m (K2000)

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Pentax K-m

The compact and full-featured Pentax K-m (K2000 in the US), an entry-level model digital SLR camera fitted with an APS-C sensor and a KAF2 lens mount, was launched by Pentax in 2008. The KAF2 mount enables the K=m to be used as well with film-era Pentax-A lenses with automated aperture control and in-focus confirmation. Exposure modes include the familiar P (Program AE), Sv (Sensitivity Priority), Tv (Shutter Priority), Av (Aperture Priority), and Manual, complemented with automated selections for Auto Picture, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, and Flash Off.

Having the advantage of being powered by a set of four (4) AA Alkaline, rechargeable Ni-MH, or Lithium batteries, the K-m is just like an older autowind and autofocus film SLR camera, with the film box replaced with a 10MP CCD sensor, a very good one at it.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Lumix DMC-FZ35

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 is the next best thing compared to a camera bag laden with whatever you can stuff in it. More affordable than DSLR cameras, the lightweight is best for the family photographer for images of family life, love, and travel, as well as for the newbie enthusiast who is out to learn more about image-making on a free range of focal lengths without the need to change from one lens to another, I have been through the DMZ-FZ18 and the DMZ-FZ28 to get here, and will probably look at the DMZ-FZ40 nest, which are all fitted with CCD sensors.

As a comparative study, take a look at another CCD sensor digital bridge camera that might be of interest to you, the Pentax X-5, which was also reviewed.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5

10 Great Camera Picks For 2023, Lumix DMC-S5

My super find of the year, a 16MP CCD sensor Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5, is now used exclusively as a product-shot camera, replacing the series of Four/Third digital SLRs I have been using since the blog's inception. While the DMC-S5 is equally competent as a general-use camera, its ability to delineate product images, as you can see from the images on this page itself (except for the Nokia Asha 300) is better than most others that I have tried. This image itself was also shot with another unit of the same.

For what it is worth, the DMC-S5 is a less than US $20 buy on the auction market, complete with a battery, battery charger, USB data cable, instructions, and CD ROM.

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