From Cabbage Patch to Canon Digital

I remember my first camera. It was a Cabbage Patch Kids cartridge-loading camera with a detachable flip flash. It was a gift from my parents in 1990 (or 1991). That compact film camera taught me the basics of photography—from caring for negatives to the proper use of flash and natural lighting. It helped me produce many (and mostly overexposed) photographs of my family and friends. I remember giving it away to my younger cousin many years later (Teta, I want my Cabbage Patch camera back!).

Polaroid Sun 600 (instant film camera, launched in 1983)

Polaroid Sun 600 (instant film camera launched in 1983)

Kodak Star 235 (film camera, launched in 1990)

Kodak Star 235 (film camera launched in 1990)

My fascination for photography grew as I got older. I switched from one idiot camera (photographers’ nickname for auto-setting cameras) to another. As a teen, I spent hours making photo albums and scrapbooks. Relatives would give me their old cameras, such as my Lola (grandma) Cora’s Polaroid Sun 600. It’s too bad I threw out and gave away some of my retro cameras that now have a high reselling price and sentimental value.



Minolta Freedom 50n (film camera, launched in early ’90s)

Minolta Freedom 50n (film camera launched in the early ’90s)

In Ateneo de Manila University, I took my first formal film photography class under Filipino photographer Pancho Escaler. I considered doing photography fulltime, but my passion for writing and acting took over after college.

As I immersed in the magazine and newspaper industry, I met editors and famed photographers who taught me some tricks of the trade—from determining which compositions work to learning to take my own professional photos.

Vivitar Big View BV35 (film camera, launched in late ’90s)

Vivitar Big View BV35 (film camera launched in the late ’90s)

Pentax Espio 160 (film camera, launched in 1996)

Pentax Espio 160 (film camera launched in 1996)

Nikon F60 (film camera, launched in 1998)

Nikon F60 (film camera launched in 1998)

These days, everybody’s a photographer. From Instagram filters to iPhone camera apps, it seems like anybody can come up with a perfectly edited photo. But I’m glad I’ve had the honor of working and interacting with legendary photographers who can perfectly compose a raw and unedited photograph using only a basic film camera.

Cheers to dark rooms and rolls of unexposed negatives!

Kodak Max Water & Sport (disposable film camera, launched in the early millennium)

Kodak Max Water & Sport (disposable film camera launched in the early millennium)

Polaroid I-Zone (instant film pocket camera, launched in 1999)

Polaroid I-Zone (instant film pocket camera launched in 1999)




Nikon Coolpix SQ (digital camera, launched in 2003)

Nikon Coolpix SQ (3.1 megapixel digital camera launched in 2003)

Canon PowerShot SD 1000 (digital camera, launched in 2007)

Canon PowerShot SD 1000 (7.1 megapixel digital camera launched in 2007)

Do you have a stash of vintage cameras hiding in your attic? Share your gallery links below!

Disclaimer: The photos in this post are slightly photoshopped by yours truly. I didn’t say I was a professional photog!



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