In 2006, esteemed camera company Nikon declared it would quit producing film cameras, as they had accounted for only three percent of the company's sales the year before. Clearly, we're living in a time when all things digital are dominating the market and film is on its way to extinction, to the dismay of many a photographer.
Photography was never a simple—or inexpensive—hobby, as the many accoutrements required to make an image look “just so," even before the film is developed, attest. These accessories include holders or backs, motorized film winders, flashes and flash guns, light meters, light filters, prism and view finders, lens hoods, and various lenses such as zoom, telephoto, and wide-angle. And what self-respecting photographer would be with the tripods, timers, and other devices used to get a camera positioned and clicking in exactly the right place at precisely the right time?
During the 20th century, popular camera-makers including Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Voightlander, and Pentax produced a wide variety of lenses, view finders, and film winders that could be used interchangeably with their different camera models. But accessories are not a modern invention. Even the earliest pre-film cameras—the 19th century ones that used calotype and cartes-de-visites (paper), collodion wet plate process and ambrotype (glass), photogravure, tintype and daguerreotype (metal)—all had specialized accessories, which today are coveted by collectors.
More recently, accessories for digital cameras, which have been on the consumer market for barely two decades and whose technology is changing at a break-neck pace, are becoming collectible. In particular, some contemporary photographers look for accessories such as lenses and flashes for their early digital cameras.