Agfa ePhoto CL18

Agfa ePhoto CL18 – A digicam from the year 2000

I am Eduardo Vecchio, 38 years old, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Back in the 90s, the photos that I took were merely mementos of birthdays and holidays, taken without much thought using a compact 35mm film camera (a Canon Snappy 20 and later a Vivitar PS25).

I started taking photos in a “conscious” way not so long ago, around 2012, with my first DSLR, a Nikon D5100. It was with that camera and its manual control, that I learned the basic techniques of photography and began to make the effort to capture photos that are aesthetically appealing or at least interesting in some way. Spoiler Alert: I am still struggling and usually do not achieve that goal.

But this article is not one about a fully fledged DSLR, nor of a 35mm film compact camera. Instead, I am going to write some lines and show you five recent pictures taken with a digicam from the year 2000. The camera in question is the Agfa ePhoto CL18.

It was my family’s first digital camera and the very first one that I ever used. A small camera that serves as an example of the transitional technology from film to digital, having the limitations of both and the advantages of neither.

Bronze sculpture of David head, fragmenting
1 – “David fragmentándose (De Grecia al Renacimiento y con amor)” Bronze sculpture by Marta Minujín, 1972

The camera

The Agfa ePhoto CL18 is a compact automatic digicam manufactured by Agfa. It features a 7.2 mm (45mm equivalent) f2 fixed lens with free focus (50 cm to infinity) and a shutter speed of 1/10000 sec to 1 sec. It is equipped with a 640 x 480 CMOS sensor (0.3 megapixels) and has 2MB of internal, non-expandable memory, allowing you to capture a whopping 16 “High-Quality” low-compression or 32 standard compressed JPGs. It includes a built-in auto flash.

According to Agfa’s announcement of April 12, 2000, which can be found in DPreview, it was supposed to have auto flash / fill-in / red eye reduction / disable, but in mine only has Auto Flash On/Off. The user manual does not mention these options either.

The only other control is Timer (ON/OFF).

A small LCD display shows the camera’s configuration, the remaining number of pictures and the selected quality. From there, you can delete the last photo taken or all the photos stored. It also has a green LED next to the viewfinder, that blinks when the flash is loading or when a picture is being taken and saved. It stays solid green when it is on and ready to shoot.

To frame your shots, you only have a small optical viewfinder. There is no screen, so you must transfer the pictures to a computer to view them.

An advertising clock in the front wall of a Rolex store
2 – “Rolex” (not an original Rolex, but on time)

Alternatively, you could connect the camera to a TV, using a mini video output plug to RCA, choose PAL/NTSC and enter the “play” mode. This allows you to view your pictures on the TV and create a basic presentation.

When connected to a computer by USB, the camera can also be used as a 640 x 480, 15fps webcam for videoconferencing, or saving videos directly to your PC.

The CL18 operates on 2 AA batteries. With sparing use of the flash, the batteries should last long. While connected to a computer with the USB cable, it is powered by the PC and does not use battery power.

Old harbor cranes, and distant skyscrapers of Puerto Madero
3 – Old cranes and buildings of Puerto Madero (the old port of Buenos Aires, now one of the newest and wealthiest neighborhoods in the city)

Connection Issues

The Agfa ePhoto CL18, like many cameras and scanners from that era, uses TWAIN driver, which is not natively supported by Windows since Vista. I tried using virtual machines without success. To download the pictures I had to rely on another vintage piece of technology, an Asus Eee from 2007 netbook running Windows XP. Even then, the process involved trial and error. The driver and Corel House Print can be found on the internet, but TWAIN refused to connect with the camera. After fumbling with device management, at one moment, the machine recognized the camera and pictures suddenly appeared.


It is small and lightweight (less than 180 grams), it uses AA batteries and can double as a webcam. I am afraid that these are all the pros.

Now for the cons. The most annoying issue is the significant lag between pressing the shutter release button and the actual capture. This is even mentioned in the manual. To avoid blurry images, you need to hold the camera steady, like a sniper rifle, before, during, and slightly after you believe the photo was taken.

Not to mention in low light situations, as the shutter will go to 1 second if needed. Also there is no indication of under or overexposure; it always allows you to take the picture.

I did not notice much of a difference between the two qualities, but even in standard, 32 pics are too few, considering that you cannot just put in another memory and that you need a computer to download the pictures already taken.

The resolution and dynamic range are poor to say the least, and the images are plagued with chromatic aberrations.

Modern suspension bridge, called "Woman's Bridge" in Puerto Madero
4 – “Puente de la Mujer” (Woman’s Bridge) designed by Spanish architect and structural engineer Santiago Calatrava
Monument in the shape of the front of a ship with a human face. It is the Monument to the Merchant Marine.
5 – “Monumento al Marino Mercante” (Monument to the Merchant Marine) with some interventions


The Agfa ePhoto CL18 is completely obsolete and has more drawbacks than advantages, even for the year 2000. Prone to shakiness; less pictures than a roll of film; less quality and less dynamic range; still cannot see the picture immediately after taken. For all these reasons is that we were still using of film for a couple of years.

Despite all its limitation, it was the first digital camera I ever used, and for that reason, it will always hold a special place in my memory.

Eduardo Andres Vecchio

PS: This Agfa ePhoto CL18 was not technically the first digicam in my family. The first one was another CL18 that malfunctioned before a year of use (started to show artifacts and weird colored lines in the JPGs). Agfa honored the warranty and provided us with a new CL18, which is the one I used to capture the photos for this article.

More of my photos, mostly digital on and just film at


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About The Author

12 thoughts on “Agfa ePhoto CL18 – A digicam from the year 2000”

    1. Eduardo Andres Vecchio

      I apologize for any errors. English is not my primary language, and despite my best efforts, mistakes were bound to happen. I’ll do my best to write and proofread better next time (and also to correct this post).

    2. Your comment is so negative and pointless. The first line of the article should be enough to deduce the author’s first language isn’t English, and the sarcy little comment, what’s that all about ??

  1. Why not focus on the content of the article? It should be fairly clear from the 1st line of this article that English is not the first language of the author. This comment makes you look like a real arse. If you have nothing to offer regarding the article, why comment? I’m not so sure English is your first language either judging by your comment

  2. Thank you, Eduardo, for a very interesting article. I still have my very first digital camera too – a Canon PowerShot G2, which came as a ‘special edition’ with a 1MB Microdrive. I occasionally use the G2 and enjoy the sense of nostalgia, but I do appreciate many of the advances made in digital photography since those early days.

    1. Eduardo Andres Vecchio

      Thank you, Alan, for your comment. It’s remarkable how quickly technology evolves, as we find ourselves already feeling nostalgic for older digital cameras.

  3. So interesting to see what a 0.3 MP camera can do. The main problem seems to be an attempt by the camera to over-sharpen the image resulting in bright edges in certain captures. At that time, other than convenience, novelty, and not having to pay for processing, film was still the answer. I think even Polaroid delivered a better output.

    1. Eduardo Andres Vecchio

      Thank you for your comment. Concerning the generated files, the Twain driver interface offers the choice of downloading the picture as it is (like the ones posted here) or downloading it with an automatic ‘Agfa quick fix’ applied. Based on my observations, this ‘quick fix’ enhances shadows and corrects magenta tints to a normal blue. However, it doesn’t address issues related to sharpening or other color aberrations.

  4. Great article! There is something to say about nostalgia as a wondering filter. While quite obsolete, it must have been fun to try this camera a matter of fact, over at Reddit, there is a growing community of Vintage Digital Camera enthusiasts. You should post some of your shots there, too. 📸

    1. Eduardo Andres Vecchio

      Nostalgia filter, beautiful concept. I’ll search Reddit for the community you mention.
      Thanks for your comment.

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