25 Ideas of What You Should Do With That Old Camera Collecting Dust

25 Ideas of What You Should Do With That Old Camera Collecting Dust

Lots of people have old cameras they never use. These cameras might be collecting dust, degrading, breaking down, or simply taking up space on shelves and in closets. While you could just throw them away, they may be nostalgic, valuable, or meaningful to you or a family member.

If that’s the case, then you surely want to know what to do with an old camera to put it to good use. Capture archival experts are here to provide you with 25 ideas to give your old camera a new life.

Keep reading to discover all the best ways to use old digital cameras, film cameras, and video cameras including reusing, repurposing, selling, donating, or displaying your old camera.

Breakdown of 25 ideas of What to Do with an Old Camera

Display Your Old Camera

1. Shadow Box
2. Wall Mount
3. Display Case
4. Bookshelf Display

    Repurpose Your Old Camera

    5. Camera Strap Keychains
    6. Camera Lens Photo Frames
    7. Camera Body Bookends
    8. Camera Flash Lamp
    9. Camera Shutter Magnets
    10. Camera Film Canister Pencil Holders
    11. Camera Strap Belts
    12. Cameras as Personal Gifts

    Use Your Old Camera

    13. Use it as a Backup Camera
    14. Use it as a Learning Tool
    15. Use it for Experimental Photography
    16. Use it for Nostalgic Purposes
    17. Use the Parts

    Sell Your Old Camera

    18. Research Online
    19. Check with a Local Camera Store
    20. Consult a Camera Appraiser
    21. Check Camera Collectors' Websites or Forums

    Donate Your Old Camera

    22. Local Schools or Community Centers or Libraries
    23. Charitable Organizations
    24. Historical Societies or Museums
    25. Donate to a Friend

     

    Evaluate Your Camera First

    Before deciding what to do with an old film camera or any other type, you should evaluate it to determine its value to you and others. The first thing you should clarify is the type of camera you have. The use for a 10-year-old digital camera will be much different than older cameras that use 8mm or 35mm film photography.

    In addition, having something unique like a vintage Polaroid, historic Olympus model, or currently popular Canon EOS may help you decide the best plan of action. Some cameras are worth a lot of money, even if they are not working. They may have valuable DSLR lenses and historical significance, or be a sought-after camera body by photography enthusiasts and collectors.

    The next thing you should decide is whether it has sentimental value to you and whether you would rather keep it or not. Since our 25 ideas are broken down into displaying, repurposing, using, selling, and donating, if you decide you want to keep it (or vice versa), then you can quickly narrow down your options.

    Once you know what type of camera, whether it works, and how much it’s worth to yourself and others, you can finally decide what to do with your old camera!

    Display Your Old Camera

    For a vintage aesthetic and unique décor, you can choose to display old film cameras and even old digital cameras. Plus, vintage cameras can be a good conversation starter or offer additional benefits when displayed in certain ways.

    1. Shadow Box

      A shadow box can display all your camera gear while also protecting it from moisture, dust, and damage. Plus, you can display the old camera alongside old photos, memories, artwork, and more. Plus, shadow boxes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles so you can match your other décor while adding a bit of personal nostalgia.

      2. Wall Mount

      You can also display cameras by mounting them directly to the wall. This offers a more minimalist look while also saving more space on the wall for other decorations. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can simply hang it by the camera strap or, if the camera isn’t worth a lot of money, you can screw, glue, or otherwise attach the camera to your wall.

      3. Display Case

      This is a good option if you have lots of photography gear that you want to display, but can also be good if you have an old camera that you want to display with other items, decorations, keepsakes, photo albums, and anything else. Display cases, like shadow boxes, will also protect your old gear from moisture, dust, debris, pets, and children.

      4. Bookshelf Display

      A camera can spruce up a bookshelf and even act as a functional bookend at the same time. This is the easiest way to display your old lenses, parts, and camera bodies as well. That way you don’t have to send your cameras to the landfill, but also don’t have to spend time or money on another display option.

      Repurposing Your Old Camera

      You can also repurpose your old camera, which means you simply use the camera or the camera parts for something entirely different. There are several options including creating artwork, using the camera parts as a lamp, repurposing the strap, and much more.

      5. Camera Strap Keychains

        Camera straps can be great keychains because they are sturdy enough to hang on your wrist or at home, can hold lots of different keys, and many smaller ones are already the right size. You can even decorate it to add some personality so that it isn’t just plain with “Nikon” printed across it.

        6. Camera Lens Photo Frames

          You can put your old lenses to good use by turning them into photo frames. The way to remove the portion you can use and utilize it as a frame is different for each camera type. However, there are a couple of options to consider. First, use only the shutter portion to display photos, which is cool because it can open and close. Second, use the glass portion to magnify old photos and hang them up on the wall in a creative way.

          7. Camera Body Bookends

            As mentioned earlier, you can also use the camera body for a bookend. This is easy, effective, and brings your bookshelves to life. Vintage film cameras look great this way because they give off the classy, antique style that many associate with private libraries. However, digital cameras can also be used to add a modern touch.

            8. Camera Flash Lamp

              If your camera has a large camera flash, like the flash attachment component of the Kodak Duaflex, then you can create an awesome lamp. While it will depend on the specific flash, in general, you will probably have to remove the electrical components from the flash and replace them with modern wiring that can connect to your wall outlet. Just be careful with electricity and make sure the connections are safe and correct. You can then use the flash as a lamp on its own or as part of a complete camera body lamp setup.

              9. Camera Shutter Magnets

              Old camera shutters use magnets to open and close, so if you have a camera that uses one of these then you can use the magnet to hang up stuff on your fridge. You can even use it as a children’s toy because kids love magnets. Finally, you can also use it to remove batteries from devices or to pick up other metal items by attaching it to the end of a broom.

              10. Camera Film Canister Pencil Holders

                You can use SLR lenses to hold pencils, paper clips, staples, and other stuff. You may have to remove the aperture or deconstruct the lens, but after doing so it makes a perfect container. You can even use them as a flower vase or coffee mug but will need to make some modifications to keep the liquid in the container (or simply place a plastic cup or vase into the lens).

                11. Camera Strap Belts

                Depending on the size of your camera strap, you may be able to use it as a belt. In fact, it’s almost a belt already, you will just have to add a buckle. Then, you can decorate it with pins, fabric, paint, and more to create a camera strap belt that’s 100% original.

                12. Cameras as Personal Gifts

                If you don’t like other ideas for yourself, a friend or family member might love them. Repurpose your old cameras as a gift. You can try creating a camera lens necklace or bracelet, paint and decorate the camera body, or use any one of our ideas. If you don’t find an idea you like on our list, click here to discover more ways to repurpose your old camera!

                 

                Use Your Old Camera

                There are plenty of ways to use your old camera in the way it was intended that you might not have thought of yet. In fact, even if it doesn’t work, it still may be possible to use it for some of these ideas we have in store for you!

                13. Use it as a Backup Camera

                While this idea is only relevant if your old camera still works, you can use it as a backup camera just in case something ever happens with your new camera. That way, you are never left without a way to capture your precious memories (plus, you can still display your old camera in the meantime!).

                14. Use it as a Learning Tool

                  You can use your old film cameras for tutorials on how to use a vintage lens, the parts of a camera, how to load film, and much more. It can even be used to teach how a darkroom works or about the history of film for photography classes. Even if you have a newer digital camcorder, it can still be useful to younger students who may have only used the cameras on their smartphones.

                  15. Use it for Experimental Photography

                  Some photography projects require the most crisp, high-resolution megapixel image possible, but you can still use a vintage camera to experiment with different film types, lenses, flashbulbs, and more. The difference between an analog and digital camera can be exciting and you may find that you actually prefer the old one to the new camera.

                  16. Use it for Nostalgic Purposes

                  Sights, smells, and feelings can be a catalyst for comforting nostalgia. If you have used your old camera for a long time, then you may want to consider keeping it just to look at, take a few pictures, share with friends, and reminisce about times long past.

                  17. Use the Parts

                  Even if your camera doesn’t work, you may still be able to use the parts for other cameras. For example, you could remove the strap and lens to use with a modern camera while repurposing the camera body for other uses. In some cases, you may be able to sell these parts as well, which brings us to our next category on what to do with an old broken digital camera, film camera, or video camera.

                  Sell Your Old Camera

                  Some cameras are basically worthless, but others are very valuable. Even if your camera isn’t worth much, you may be able to get something for it from photography enthusiasts or film camera collectors. So, how do you sell old cameras? Keep reading to find out.

                  18. Research Online

                  While it may take some research to find someone who wants to buy your camera, especially if you prefer to sell locally, you might try browsing social media, Amazon marketplaces, eBay, Craigslist, and other areas of the internet to see if anybody is either looking for or having success selling cameras. This can also give you a better idea of how much your specific camera model might be worth.

                  19. Check with a Local Camera Store

                  You can also check local camera stores to see if they buy used or old cameras. Even if the store itself doesn’t buy pre-owned cameras, the employees are likely to be interested in photography gear and may be able to point you in the right direction or even buy the camera themselves. In addition, check with pawn shops, thrift stores, and second-hand stores in your area as well.

                  20. Consult a Camera Appraiser

                  If you have a valuable camera, particularly an antique type, then you might want to contact a camera appraiser about the true value. That way, you know how much you should get for it when you do sell it. Plus, a camera appraiser may know of an auction or collector to help you sell the vintage camera.

                  21. Check Camera Collectors' Websites or Forums

                  Another place to look for buyers is on forums and websites designed for camera collectors. Places like CameraCollector.proboards.com and Photrio.com are good starting spots. This can connect you with potential buyers and other people who can tell you more about the camera you own.

                  Donate Your Old Camera

                  One final set of ideas for what to do with an old 8mm camera is to simply give it away to someone else who will cherish it, enjoy it, or give it a new life.

                  22. Local Schools or Community Centers or Libraries

                  Local schools, libraries, and community centers that offer photography classes will likely be interested in your old cameras. You never know what these places might be looking for to lend out as borrower cameras for students either, so it’s certainly worth a phone call to see.

                  23. Charitable Organizations

                  There are charitable organizations that you may want to donate your camera to as well. Some of these will recycle the cameras, like Recycle Right NY, Canon Consumer Products Recycling Program, or Sony Take Back Recycling Program powered by Electronic Recyclers International. You can also donate certain camera types to Conservation Equipped to support wildlife conservation.

                  24. Historical Societies or Museums

                  If you have a vintage camera that offers some historical value, then check with local museums and historical societies. They may be interested in starting a photography exhibition or using the camera for a children’s section of a museum.

                  25. Donate to a Friend

                  Just because you have a new camera or simply don’t want a camera at all doesn’t mean that a friend might not want your old camera. Sometimes we overlook the simplest things when trying to decide what to do with an old camera, but don’t forget to call loved ones to see if they might want your camera or camera gear.

                  Conclusion

                  There are lots of ways to recycle, upcycle, and reuse an old camera including displaying it, repurposing it into décor, giving it away to charity, or selling it to collectors. If you have a different idea of what to do with an old camera, we’d love to hear it!

                  Regardless of what you decide to do with your old camera, it was probably used to capture priceless memories. It’s a good idea to preserve those memories while you still can before they start to degrade. Capture can turn your precious photo memories into high-quality digital copies that are easy to share, enjoy, and cherish for years to come. Click here to learn more about our photo transfer services.




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