Compact cameras are making a comeback as demand for Nikon Coolpix soars by over 8,000% – and it's little to do with cameras

Pink Nikon Coolpix S6900 camera on a pink background
(Image credit: Nikon)

It's 2024, and retro-styled digital cameras like the new Fujifilm X100VI are very much in, but research by musicMagpie has delivered surprising findings about the genuinely retro tech that people are really searching for online.

While film photography is certainly in vogue, with Gen Z turning to point-and-shoot cameras like the Kodak Ektar H35, it turns out that digital compact cameras from the 2000s and 2010s, like the Nikon Coolpix S6900 (pictured above), are making a comeback.

TikTok, eBay and Google search analytics put Nikon Coolpix streets ahead of tech including the Motorola Razr, iPod Nano, Sony Walkman and Nintendo DS – all of which are themselves highly popular – with Coolpix soaring over 8,000% year on year on Google, and around 700% on Tiktok and eBay (you can see the full results below). 

The Nikon Coolpix S6900, which was launched in early 2015 and received a 3-star rating in its TechRadar review – and which is far from being one of the best compact cameras – is the leading model in this retro revival, with eBay searches for it up 37,567% and Tiktok searches up 34,543%.

Visual date depicting search volume for trending retro tech

(Image credit: musicMagpie)

Image quality is certainly not a cause for the spike in demand for the Coolpix S6900 – your modern smartphone takes better photos. More likely it's the neat design, which includes a flip-screen for selfies and a built-in rear stand (see below) – something we recently saw in the Canon Powershot V10 vlogging camera – which incidentally was the first new Powershot model for some years, with Powershot being the name for Canon's compact camera line, which left us wondering if Canon had reopened its interest in compacts. 

I'd hedge a bet that the S6900 being available in pink is a bigger reason – according to the research, pink is the most popular color in this particular retro tech revival. However, I might have to concede another somewhat shallower factor, too – celebrities like Kendall Jenner popularizing the old school by recently posting selfies using vintage digital cameras.

I'm taking the research with a pinch of salt though. Not the numbers, but the conspicuous absence of Canon Powershot models and other camera brands like Sony and Olympus, who were active during the 2000s and 2010s when digital compact cameras were still a thing. Surely there's search volume for those brands too? Nonetheless, it's striking how Nikon Coolpix is outperforming other popular retro tech like flip phones, MP3 and cassette players.

Pink Nikon Coolpix S6900 with rear stand opened up, on a white background

Pretty in pink: the Nikon Coolpix S6900 (Image credit: Nikon)

Camera companies have long since given up on producing new point-and-shoot compact cameras, simply because the best camera phones outperform them and all but wiped out demand. However, it appears that such cameras, now labelled 'vintage', are becoming popular once again – and despite their poor image quality, some of them have neat design features that we don't really see in today's best cameras, like the S6900's built-in rear stand.

Now's the time to ask a family member, or rummage through drawers at home in the search for vintage digital compact cameras like the S6900. Besides standing to potentially cash in given the rising value of such models, you might just rediscover what the fuss was about all those years ago, or find joy in using a simpler point-and-shoot model.

  • eBay is a popular place to find vintage digital compact cameras, but there are also approved secondhand retailers that we recommend, including MPB, Adorama, B&H and KEH in the US, while UK shoppers can also try MPB plus Wex Photo Video and Park Cameras.

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Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.