What’s A Good Way To Repurpose An Old Digital Camera?

What’s A Good Way To Repurpose An Old Digital Camera?

We’ve looked at several ways to repurpose old technology, but one gadget that doesn’t get much of a second life is the digital camera. What are some ways you’d repurpose an old digital camera to keep it out of the garbage?

Photo by Razor512

If the camera still has basic functionality, it could work well enough as a card reader. Maybe it’s a bit bulky for that, but we’ve also found that it’s best to format your SD cards in-camera so you could use it to format cards when your main camera’s in use. These uses are pretty niche, so share your (hopefully better) ideas in the comments!


  • I would think a webcam would do the trick, higher quality than some $20 thing you can buy from the market, and if you have remote software, take snapshots at certain intervals? say perhaps like time lapse security?

  • Hmmmm interesting question.
    If you’ve got a shiny new camera you’re protective of and aren’t too fussed about the old one it could be for taking to locations that might be risky for a new camera – down the beach, to the snow, at the pub or get a waterproof bag and risk it for underwater etc.
    With phones nowadays most people always have a camera with them but there’s a good chance an old digi will be better than your phone so if you don’t always have your new camera with you, you could keep the old one somewhere so you’re always ready – in your car, at work etc
    Other than that you could give it to young family members or friends kids or even a local after school care centre, having worked at one for several years kids love taking photos, especially with the instant world of digital photography and they don’t care about resolutions and image quality
    And finally you could modify it for creative projects – permanently mount an infra red filter on the front, mount it on a tripod and set up some time lapse, tie a balloon to it leave it on a seat with a return address and see if people return it with photos – your minds the limit on this one.

  • The biggest difficulty with repurposing an old digital camera is the battery dependence. It’s not always possible to provide always-on power – even if they have a USB connection chances are they won’t recharge from it.

    The other biggest difficulty is the firmware – some of the older cameras aren’t as hackable and are not supported by custom firmwares such as CHDSK.

    I have a 4MP Canon Powershot G2 and a 2MP Canon Ixis v2 from circa 2002 that would be brilliant as webcams if only I could solve these problems.

  • Turn it into a scanner, there are plenty of instructions around to show you how to build a frame for it to make the “scanning easier”.

    You can also turn it into a book scanner and turn your existing book collection into ebooks, if you’re that way inclined.

    If it’s a Canon point and shoot, reflash the firmware with CHDK and turn it into a stopmotion camera, or a better movie camera, or hang it from a weather balloon and sent it up into space.

    Nothing liberates you more than having a digital camera you’re not paranoid about breaking.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!