It's been a long time since I was on the vanguard of anything, but I did have one of these things (a digital camera) years before everybody had one in their pocket (in the form of a smartphone, or "pocket computer" as I prefer to call them). I came fairly early to the party of taking pictures digitally and storing them as files and posting them online for the amusement of others.
This is my first digital camera, a Kodak DC210 Plus, which I still have and which still works and which I bought on the same day as – in fact, just a few minutes before – my first date with Anna, more than twenty-three years ago, on August 11, 1999. And here are a couple of the first pictures I took with this camera, one of me in the Nissan Sentra I was driving then, and one a couple hours later of Anna standing in front of the place we met that day (though not in front of the actual restaurant where we ate):
I didn't buy the camera because I was going on a first date, but going to buy the camera – at an Office Depot on Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell – may have given me a certain confidence that I didn't otherwise have. I had been thinking about getting a digital camera for a while, and had done a little bit of research on what kind to get – though back in 1999, opportunities to easily do "research," at least online, were not what they are today. In any case, having a first date at a Chinese restaurant (Marco Polo; it's not there anymore, and neither is the Office Depot) that was near a store that sold cameras was the impetus I needed to go ahead and make the purchase.
I wanted a digital camera mostly to supplement the up-until-then all-text travelogues that I loved writing and sending out via e-mail when I went on trips; I wanted to post my travelogues online, with photographic evidence. I put the camera to use in that capacity just a few weeks later when I went to the TechLearn conference in Orlando for ExecuTrain – the third year in a row I had gone to that particular conference. I spent all my free time on that trip at Epcot, as I had the year before, and took lots of pictures, some of which I posted to an AOL-hosted page I created. That post is now available on Planet Burdett.
Even though I enjoy looking at the Orlando-trip pictures, I'm very happy that among the first pictures I took with this camera, besides the "selfie" of me in the driver's seat of my Nissan Sentra (though the term "selfie" didn't exist then), is the picture I took of Anna that night after we had dinner. There's even a date stamp on it! (I hadn't yet learned how to turn off that date stamp.)I also used it just a few days after buying it to take pictures at Zoo Atlanta, when Anna and I went on our second date the following Saturday, and also when we went to Savannah and Rock City and Amicalola Falls and lots of other trips Anna and I went on back then, when we were young and hadn't yet become parents (or even gotten married, for many of these trips). I created online travelogues for some of them.
Hey, look: this camera has a whole megapixel! That was a lot of dots back then. It also has a 2x zoom, which also was quite respectable in 1999. It takes four AA batteries, and records its images on a CF (compact flash) card, the SD card having not been invented yet.
A couple of years later, I replaced this camera with another Kodak DC model, which I don't remember and no longer have (I think it might have been a DC3400, but I'm not sure), but which made two megapixel pictures, and then a couple of years after that, when I was ready to get really serious about photography, with an Olympus Camedia E-10 (which had four megapixels, which probably really was just about enough). These days I take the majority of my pictures with my pocket computer, a Google Pixel 5a, but I also have a Canon 60D and a Nikon P7800, both of which I like and use sometimes.