Antique and vintage cameras are valued by collectors for many reasons, from the historical significance of 19th century wood cameras to the fine optics of classic vintage Leicas. Kodak and Polaroid are two other big names in camera collecting, as is Bolex in movie cameras.
The principles of the camera obscura - a simple light projection box - have been understood for thousands of years, but it wasn't until the late 18th century that Thomas Wedgwood discovered he could make simple prints using silver nitrate exposed to the sun. Over the next 100 years, a series of technical advances brought cameras into everyday life.
Nicephore Niepce and Louis Daguerre formed a partnership in 1829, and figured out a new chemical bath for prints, which shortened the exposure process to eight hours. Daguerre continued this research until he perfected the Daguerreotype, a print made on silver that was used up until the mid 1850s. Daguerreotypes and other formats (e.g. cyanotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes) were made with wood cameras, which were essentially camera obscuras with lenses, allowing for clearer image refraction.
It wasn't until George Eastman's 1885 invention of film that cameras got smaller - with his Kodak film loaded in, you would send the whole camera back to the factory to have it developed. Oskar Barnack began experimenting with 35 mm film in 1914 and built some prototypes of what eventually become the Leica I, the first practical 35 mm camera, released in 1925.
More improvements came when Kodak introduced the Retina I, the first camera to use a modern 135 film cartridge. Photography soon became affordable to all, even before the 1947 introduction of Polaroid's instant camera.
Development of movie cameras kept pace, building atop the basic slide projection technology (magic lantern) which had been in use since the 1500s. The first movie cameras were developed around 1888, and Thomas Edison produced the first copyrighted film in 1894. In 1895, the Lumiere brothers of France first showed off their 'Cinematographe,' a handheld combination projector and camera, in the first commercial public film screening.
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A camera museum that offers a history lesson in every clickBusiness Standard, December 18th
“It's only when people like us actually see vintage cameras and photographs that we realise how skilled olden-day photographers were,” says Aditya Arya, veteran photographer and curator of Museo Camera, the only vintage camera museum open to public ...Read more
Judge Bye enters senior statusJamestown Sun, December 17th
"I decided I should take the opportunity while I was still in good health to throttle back and enjoy life," Bye said in an interview in his chambers, decorated with family photographs and his camera collection. "I'm going to stay on as long as I can...Read more
Photoshop, 1940's-Style: The Adams Retouching MachineCore77.com (blog), December 16th
The photographs here are from an Adams machine that was sold on Etsy by John Sargent Barnard, a vintage camera shop owner. The machines were apparently well-built; Barnard told The Daily Mail that while going over the machine after first acquiring it, ...Read more
East Sacramento home mixes tradition with urban chic for the holidaysThe San Luis Obispo Tribune, December 15th
Another tree is studded with vintage cameras and clocks including one pulled from a 1960s Buick. "That tree captures time," she added. So far, the question this design team hears most? "What color is that gray?" said DesJardin of the living room walls...Read more
Mom and pop store closes near Scranton as big box retailers move inPocono Record, December 14th
A visitor can see some personal touches, such as Roman's collection of hundreds of antique cameras, including many Leicas, which Roman says are like jewels. Hobbyists travel from out of town to look at his collection. The Romans found old inventory in...Read more
Old cameras take center stage at Alice Austen House's Vintage Camera DayStaten Island Advance - SILive.com, November 9th
Old cameras and lenses from the colection of Geoffrey Berliner who is co-developer and executive director of the Penumbra Foundation are on display during Vintage Camera Day at the Alice Austen House Saturday, November 8, 2014.(Staten Island ...Read more
Video E-NewsletterThe Atlantic, November 5th
In this delightful animation by photographer Scot Hampton, antique cameras are disassembled and transformed into farm animals, bird flocks, the surging tide of an ocean, and other steampunk-tinged sights. If you're a gear nerd, pay close attention: the...Read more
How To: Start a Vintage Polaroid Camera CollectionPopular Photography Magazine, May 12th
These SX-70 factory lab camers are from the Waltham Factory in Massachusetts and were used by engineers to test film and accessories. Each has a unique nomenclature. Photo: Erik Karstan Smith. Enlarge ...Read more