Young people popularize “electronic waste” CCD cameras: the price has increased by 10 times, and the country is out of stock

  Tech Planet (WeChat ID: tech618 )

Text Xi Rui

Cover Source Figureworm Creative

The once “electronic waste” CCD camera has become the new favorite of young people after more than ten years.

The so-called CCD camera refers to a digital camera that uses a CCD electronic sensor. Due to the increasingly mature camera function of smartphones, CCD cameras were eliminated by the times as early as around 2010, and the digital cameras on the market today all use CMOS sensors.

But young people who pursue the retro atmosphere of photos have brought “electronic waste” CCD cameras back to the market. The shortcomings of the past just happened to be the style that young people like.

No one would have imagined that CCD cameras, which were originally uninterested in the second-hand market, are now “hard to find”, and the price has generally increased by 4 or 5 times, and some “stars with the same model” have even increased their prices by more than 10 times.

But how long can the hotness of CCD cameras last? Will it really become a new trend?

The CCD camera popularized by stars is out of stock nationwide

As a practitioner for many years, Benjamin, the founder of Benjamin Camera Studio, did not expect that CCD cameras would come to the public again.

CCD camera, also known as card machine. Around 2010, due to the popularity of digital SLR cameras and smart phones, CCD cameras became “electronic waste”, and major manufacturers no longer produced them. CCD cameras are also starting to become a regular at second-hand flea markets.

Before the fire, more photography enthusiasts still preferred CCD cameras. They look for a used CCD camera online or at a local second-hand market.

Benjamin is a photographer. Five or six years ago, he sold second-hand digital products in his photography studio, including CCD cameras. “At that time, CCD cameras were not popular, and film cameras were mainly sold at that time,” Benjamin told Tech Planet.

Compared with mobile phone cameras and SLR cameras, CCD cameras have obvious color cast and large noise, and the flash will also cause overexposure. These were once considered to be the shortcomings of CCD, but they have become the hazy and atmospheric sense of photos that young people are now pursuing. Since last year, under the blessing of celebrities, CCD cameras have been sought after by young people again.

In January last year, female star Ouyang Nana shared the CCD camera she used on social platforms. In May of this year, Ouyang Nana once again introduced the CCD camera she often uses in the video of the Internet celebrity “Late Night Teacher Xu”. These directly make “Ouyang Nana’s same CCD” a search term on Xiaohongshu.

Apart from Ouyang Nana, celebrities such as Shen Yue, Yao Chi, Yi Yangqianxi, Song Yanfei, Zhang Zifeng all love to use CCD cameras on social platforms or by fans in private. For fans, spending a few hundred yuan can easily get the “star same style”.

Celebrities have attracted a large number of fans to pay attention to CCD cameras, and also let bloggers from all walks of life smell the traffic. Since last year, all kinds of bloggers, such as beauty makeup and photography, have begun to share photos taken with CCD cameras on major social platforms such as Douyin, Xiaohongshu and Weibo.

On Xiaohongshu, there are more than 1.4 million notes related to “CCD”. From camera model selection to purchase channels, from shooting effect feedback to photography skills sharing, more and more people are joining this “retro” feast, making “tears of the times” a “current trend”.

Last year, Liu Xin, a college student, often saw recommended videos of CCD cameras on social platforms. Go to second-hand platforms to buy CCD cameras.

When taking pictures of guests, Benjamin occasionally uses a CCD camera to shoot. The Hong Kong-style tonality in the photos often makes customers want to buy one.

He also mentioned that many junior and high school students choose CCD cameras to record their lives at school, but the school does not allow them to bring mobile phones. “Polaroids or other cameras are very expensive, and CCDs are a substitute to a certain extent,” Benjamin told Tech Planet.

The traffic generated by stars + bloggers, the characteristics of CCD itself and the lower price all brought CCD back to the public’s vision last year. A boss who has been selling second-hand digital products in Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen, for more than 10 years told Tech Planet that during the Spring Festival this year, CCD cameras even went out of stock nationwide.

The price of CCD cameras has increased by 10 times a year, and the purchase volume of “Generation Z” has increased by 20 times

CCD cameras have been discontinued, and the quantity on the market is extremely stable. After the surge in demand, there was a phenomenon of “hard to find a machine” in the market. “The price of several models that have been popularized by stars has doubled by 10 times,” Benjamin told Tech Planet.

Before the fire, as a second-hand product, you can own a CCD camera for only tens to one hundred yuan. But now, it costs 1,000 yuan to own a “star model”.

On second-hand trading platforms, the price of CCD cameras has stabilized between 400 and 1,000 yuan. Individual popular cameras may not be available for more than 1,000 yuan. “Canon’s models are basically four or five times the price,” Benjamin told Tech Planet.

During the Spring Festival this year, some of Canon’s CCD cameras were even fired up to 2,000 yuan. “During the Spring Festival, it was really crazy, and I lost my mind a little bit,” Benjamin sighed.

After buying a CCD for a few months, Liu Xin unexpectedly discovered that the camera in her hand had increased by 300 yuan on Xianyu. So Liu Xin sold the CCD camera that had been used for nearly half a year. “It was already idle, but I didn’t expect it to be profitable,” Liu Xin told Tech Planet.

The increase in demand not only increases the terminal sales price, but also increases the purchase price.

Xiaonan Digital is a digital store that has sold second-hand products for more than ten years in Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen. The boss, Nanxin, recalled that since August and September last year, the purchase price of CCD cameras has been increasing. “There are only so many CCD upstream companies in the country, and the price increase is natural.” Nanxin is not surprised by the cost increase.

“In the past, a camera could cost tens of dollars”, Benjamin told Tech Planet, but now a batch of Canon CCD cameras imported from overseas may cost 200 yuan each. “All the shipping costs, the taxes, the damage rate, it’s really costly right now.”

But the skyrocketing price did not hinder young people’s pursuit of CCD cameras. once released a set of data: In the first half of 2022, the sales of CCD cameras increased by 15 times year-on-year, and the purchase of CCD cameras by the “Z generation” increased by 20 times year-on-year. According to data from the idle trading platform Xianyu, in March this year, searches related to CCD cameras rose by nearly 20% year-on-year.

Benjamin returned to Chengdu from Wenzhou two years ago and reopened a digital product store. His sales are mainly online, and offline mainly to ensure after-sales service. Nationwide, Benjamin has more than one hundred first-tier agents. And these agents will also have secondary agents across the country. “Many live broadcasts on Douyin and Xiaohongshu sell CCDs from me,” Benjamin told Tech Planet.

Most of these agents are college students, in love with photography or looking to do a side job. They publish CCD-related content on major social platforms, then attract traffic to WeChat, and finally go to second-hand trading platforms for transactions.

Relying on the national agency network, during the Spring Festival, Benjamin Moonlight CCD cameras can sell thousands of units. About 500 units can be sold in March and April this year. He also told Tech Planet that before, CCD was only sold incidentally, but now it has become the main force of sales.

Nanxin is so busy every day that he has no time to count shipments. “It is really difficult to count the purchases and shipments every day,” Nanxin told Tech Planet. But he is very sure that the little girls who come to the store are all looking at the CCD camera. “I used to come to buy film cameras, but now I basically come to see CCDs.”

Nanxin does not do online business, and there are already too many offline customers to receive. We are introducing various models of CCD cameras to different customers every day.

Shenzhen Huaqiangbei, the national digital product concentration place. Before, there were only 3 or 4 stores selling CCD cameras in Huaqiangbei, and Xiaonan Digital was one of them.

After the explosion of CCD, Huaqiangbei has more than a dozen stores specializing in the sale of CCD cameras. “Some of them were newly opened this year,” Nanxin told Tech Planet. “Originally there was only one floor selling CCD cameras, but now there are shops selling CCD cameras upstairs and downstairs.”

CCD camera is just a gust of wind?

With the explosion, there are more and more people in the market who just want to take the opportunity to make a fortune. On major platforms, many online merchants who have no supply at all will sell driving recorders instead of CCD cameras, and many young people have no ability to distinguish.

“CCD cameras are also digital products, and now they attract novice users. Many people don’t know how to distinguish them, so they will be deceived,” Benjamin explained.

The sales of CCD cameras have always been mainly online, so some sales scams are prone to occur. Even if it goes out of the circle again, there are very few offline physical stores dedicated to selling CCDs in the country.

Benjamin told Tech Planet that this is because the size of the CCD camera itself simply cannot support an offline store, even if it explodes now. “In the end, users will return to rationality, and now their emotions have dropped a little.”

As a second-hand product, CCD cameras mainly rely on some upstream merchants to receive goods across the country. “Some of them go to other people’s homes to receive goods. This is a very traditional way,” Benjamin told Tech Planet.

Most of Huaqiangbei’s goods come from domestic sources, and resources are relatively concentrated in coastal areas. Most of Benjamin’s sources come from overseas. “Many people in foreign countries have better storage habits, and many second-hand mobile phones are in good condition.”

The total market volume of CCD cameras is actually relatively stable, and the industrial chain is also very simple, so the overall volume does not have much room for expansion. Benjamin believes that the industry has now reached the end of its development, and it is no longer recommended for everyone to enter this industry. “In the past nearly a year, the enthusiasm has actually consumed the industry a bit too much, and it will become more and more difficult to enter in the future.”

And this carnival is gradually coming to an end. At present, on social platforms such as Xiaohongshu and Douyin, more and more young people are “persuading” netizens to buy CCD cameras. In the hands of most ordinary people, CCD cameras are not as easy to use as mobile phones.

Liu Xinhui chooses the CCD camera he bought from the shop because it is already idle. Although the CCD camera is said to be an “artificial tool for taking pictures” on the Internet, Liu Xin can’t take good-looking photos with the CCD camera.

“The camera can’t take selfies, and it’s a special test of photography skills.” Liu Xin explained the reason for being idle. “It needs a very good environment to take pictures. I think the beauty camera is good after using it a few times.”

Some photography enthusiasts explained to Tech Planet that if a digital camera using CCD components wants to shoot the so-called “retro” effect, the premise is that the shooting light is sufficient. “If CCD components really have great advantages, they will not be eliminated by the times. There must be a reason for the disappearance of CCD cameras.”

But for the entire industry, the emergence of CCD cameras this time has objectively driven more young people into the field of photography. A digital boss told Tech Planet that now other camera categories are also starting to increase in price, and the demand is increasing.

CCD cameras will not be the last “electronic antiques” on this electronic retro trend, and there will be another electronic product waiting to become popular, waiting for young people who pay for their feelings.