Sourcing a Significant Object

Inquiry Question: What is the story of my camera?


My camera is a primary source as it’s existence and state directly relates to the question of what is it’s story. If the question were something along the lines of “what is the story of the photographer who owned this camera”, then it would still be a primary source as it would have been used by that photographer and show direct traces of usage such as faded out buttons. It was made in Thailand around the end of 2016 in a factory.


This item was developed as an upgrade to the previous camera in this lineup, the D3300, with bluetooth support and a slightly better sensor. Around the time of this camera’s conception (2016), entry level camera sales were declining due to the popularization of smartphone cameras for daily usage on placed like Instagram and Facebook. The inclusion of bluetooth meant one could transfer photos from the camera directly to a phone for sharing online, which enticed many more people to buy an actual camera rather than use their phone camera.


The camera itself looks in relatively good condition which shows that the owner took good care of it. There are some subtle details on it however that make it different from other similar cameras. The dial is a bit faded away at the top, indicating a lot of use as well as some buttons and switches. In addition, there are a few dust particles on the internal mirror which is evidence of lots of lens changes as that is the only time when dust can get in. As well, the diopter adjustment is also calibrated off of 0 which shows the user of the camera doesn’t have perfect vision.

Inferences about perspective:

The designer of the camera was a group of people from the Japanese company Nikon. It was created in order to fit the needs of people who wanted to start photography, or those that wished to improve their photography for social media. This source was influenced from by other competing cameras such as from Canon or Sony.

Inferences about inquiry question:

From examining the source, the main thing I’ve learned it how unique it is when you look for fine details that are normally overlooked. For example the on and off switch is extremely faded due to my habit of always turning the camera on and off between shot to save battery. While I know the story of my camera as I am the owner of it, it would be hard for someone else to get a concrete idea of the type of shooter I am based on the camera alone. Going through this process confirmed what I already knew about my shooting style and how that changed my camera, but going through it the other way would be a challenge. Some further questions I have now are how exactly it was made and what was the development process like.

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