Credit: Lily Tenner / Mustang News

Digital cameras, with their blurry photos and date stamps, are making a resurgence among Gen Z. On the Cal Poly campus, many freshman students use digital and other vintage cameras to capture their first few weeks of school. 

“I take my digital [camera] with me everywhere,” journalism freshman Ava Acuesta said.

She always keeps her Sony Cybershot in her back pocket to capture everyday moments. 

“If I find something that makes me happy, I just take a click,” Acuesta said. “I love handing the camera to different people throughout the night to get their angle.” 

Jade Cohen, an architectural engineering freshman, bought her Sony DSC-W800 off Facebook marketplace about two years ago. Ebay, Facebook marketplace and many thrift stores sell digital cameras at a low price for students interested in purchasing one. 

“Whenever I go out, I definitely take my digital [camera] with me,” Cohen said.  “I take pictures of everything…it’s definitely become a habit.”

Ava Acuesta / Courtesy. Acuesta uses her digital camera to capture moments with her roommates.

Cohen used her camera to capture many of her favorite moments from the first weeks of school. 

“During [WOW] weekend, my friends and I went to the beach and took pictures of each other,” she said. 

Many students with digital cameras enjoy the relief from their phones these cameras provide. 

“We have our phones on us at all times, but they’re never going to catch the best moment,” Acuesta said. “Digital photos look better than my phone.” 

Biological sciences freshman Audrey Nicholson said she likes having her Canon Powershot A560 separate from her phone.

“I like having a camera separate from my phone,” she said. “I like being the photographer and taking pictures on my [digital] camera because it feels more natural.”

Having recently re-discovered her family’s old camera, Nicholson “fell in love” with the look of digital camera photos. 

“Not only are [digital cameras] such a conversation starter, but you can look back at the pictures when you download them later…and relive those moments,” she said.

For those who enjoy the aesthetic of digital and other vintage camera photos, but are reluctant to invest, apps like Lapse and ProCCD-Retro Digital Camera are easily accessible. These apps allow users to recreate digital and disposable-style photos from their mobile phones to capture the nostalgia of vintage photography. 

In a world dominated by smartphones, some students are turning to digital cameras to develop tangible photographs of their experience at Cal Poly.