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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Recent News: Cameras

Source: Google News

Bridgeport Artist Relies On 19th-Century Methods For His Photography
The Daily Voice, January 26th

That includes using a variety of old cameras he has bought or found or been given (he has hundreds of vintage cameras from the 19th and 20th centuries). "Right now, I'm using a 1907 Century View camera for the wet plate work," he said. He also uses ...Read more

Hosue to Home: Flea market treasures
The Daily News Journal, January 24th

I shopped the flea market and bought two different antique cameras, a vintage 8mm camera, as well as a vintage Kodak photo flasher. What did I do with these items? Well, they had two large bookshelves flanking their family room fireplace, and these...Read more

Photographer Documents Life In Bhutan
St. Louis Public Radio, January 23rd

“It is sort of based on an antique camera. It's quite a new camera, but it's an 8-by-10 field camera,” DeLuise said. “It's quite a simple arrangement, but it produces a large-format negative. So I have plates that are holding film that are 8 by 10...Read more

Big Beat: Andrew Wright's mind-messing photographs
Ottawa Citizen, January 22nd

For example, in Wright's “tin-type” photos of clouds, shot with a vintage camera, those clouds are actually crumpled paper towels that were used in the studio. Then there's the photograph shot with a modern camera, from a moving train, that ... Disused...Read more

Miss Your Disposable Camera? There's an App for That
Hyperallergic, January 22nd

There's Hipstamatic, an app that applies old-timey filters to photos to make them appear as if they were taken with a vintage camera. (The app's motto is “digital photography never looked so analog.”) There's Instagram, replete with filters that...Read more

Camera selfies: Turning the lens on themselves
CNN, December 29th

Prepping for their ultimate self-portrait, vintage cameras docked on old tripods pucker up for their own selfie against backdrops that bring out their best qualities. No filters necessary. These unusual photos offer a view of the oft forgotten film...Read more

Old cameras take center stage at Alice Austen House's Vintage Camera Day
Staten 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-Newsletter
The 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