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 Very Fine & Large Petzval Portrait Lens By Derogy, Paris - Brass Wetplate Fine London Stereoscopic Co. 1/2 Plate Brass & Mahogany Vintage Wooden OutfitSanderson Junior Vintage Mahogany Brass Quarter Plate Camera Bausch & Lomb LensSeneca 8x10 Large Format Camera With 5x7 Bausch & Lomb LensRolleiflex Camera Planar Dbgm Dbp 2.8f 2403854 Carl Zeiss Lens Franke & HeideckeVoigtlW I Chadwick Box Form Hand Camera (detective Type) C.1891Polaroid 195 Instant Film Range Finder Camera/working & Tested / 180,185,190Houghton Ensign Cupid Roll Film Vintage Camera - Best Example You'll Find!Hugo Meyer & Co Goerlitz Doppel Anastigmat No7 F7.7 360mm Lens Brass BoundCla'd Nov. 2014.   Voigtlander Bessa Ii 6x9cm Color-skopar 105mm 3.5.Vintage Rolleiflex 2.8f Tlr Camera Zeiss Planar 2.8 80mm Lens Prism ViewfinderStereo Auto Graflex 5x7 Camera With Eastman Anastigmat 7.5" F4.5 Projection LensAntique Folmer Schwing Eastman Kodak Stereoscopic Graphic Stereo? Camera VintageRollei Rolleiflex 3.5f With Planar Lens 120 Tlr For RepairGoerz Luxus Tropen Tenax Plate Camera In Stunning Matt Gold & Red Leather FinishVoigtlander Bessa Rf Camera (e Messer) Heliar F/3.5 10.5cm Lens/6x9 120 FilmGraflex Camera, Rb Super D W 4x5 BackCanon Ivf Rangefinder + 50mm F1.8Hugo Meyer & Co Goerlitz Aristostigmat F4.4 18cm Lens - Brass Bound Vintage Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8d 80mm Film Camera - Nice!Victor Model 3 Cine 16mm Camera, Dallmeyer 3" F4 And 1" F2.9 & Kodak 20mm & CaseBeautiful Wray London Wide Angle Rectilinear 3" A Brass Lens, No.236, Very EarlyGraflex Speed Graphic 4x5 W/raptar Wollensak 135mm F/4.7 & Kalart Range FinderLeica M3 Ss Camera Body (1100 132) With Summicron Lens Minolta Autocord Rokkor 75mm F/3.5 Lens Camera 120 2 1/4" Tlr Medium FormatDarlot Petzval LensRare Coin Operated Stereoviewer With NudesZeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 531/2 Folder Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 6x9 On 120 Good CondOld Vintage Rolleiflex Tlr Camera 1271192 3.5 H. Crouch, London No.4 6 Inch F16 Brass Barrel Lens, No.117, Very EarlyCorfield Periflex 1 With Lumar-x 50/3.5 Needing ClaMeyer Optik Gorlitz Orestor 100mm F2.8 Medium Telephoto Lens -m42 Fit -very RareAn Original Sharan Classic Miniature Of The Rolleiflex 2.8f, For Minox FilmOlympus 35rc 35 Rc Compact Camera - F.zuiko 40mm F1.7 Lens + Filter + Cap + CaseZeiss Ikon Super Ikonta Bx 533/16 Folder Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar Lens Ok Cond.Two! Kodak Medalist & Medalist Ii - Get The Pair! Vintage Rolleiflex 3.5c Planar 75mm Carl ZeissCanon 85mm F2 Serenar Screwmount Ltm Rangefinder LensVery Nice Aldis Bros Anastigmat No.2 5.75 Inch F6 Brass Bound Lens On PanelNice Vintage Rollei Rolleiflex Range Finder CameraVintage Canon Iif 35mm Rangefinder Camera With 50mm F1.8 Lens 1953-55Vintage Rolleiflex Tlr Film Camera Franke & Heidecke Compur Rapid + CaseMid-century Voightlander/voigtlander Prominent Camera With AccessoriesRare Goerz Photomaton 3" F2 Lens In Shutter - Dallmeyer Super Six AlternativeVintage Agfa Flexilette In Original Leather Case 35mm CameraLeica 5cm 50mm F2 Summicron For Leica M Collapsible & NiceContax Iia Rangefinder 35mm Camera Silver W/zeiss Sonnar 1.5 50mm Lens Cla'd737* Mamiya Sekor 60/2.8 Macro Lens* Rare*m42Canon Vintage Fl Mount 55mm F/1.2 Lens W/cap,filter In Excellent ConditionYashica Mat-124 G (rolleiflex Tlr Competitor) Looks Unused - Beautiful CameraMinolta Xm Body - Spares/repairVintage Kodak No. 3 Folding Brownie Camera With Red BellowsCarl Zeiss Contax 35mm F3,5 Planar F/rangefinderLeica M3 Ds Camera Body (1100 132) With Summicron Lens Zeiss Ikon Contax Iiia + 50mm SonnarCorfield Gold Star Periflex With L39 Thread Lumax 50mm F1.9 (double Gauss Type)An Original Minox Classic Camera Miniature Of The Leica M3 (v1.3)Olympus 35 Sp W G.zuiko 42mm F1.7 All Works Cla'd, ExLeitz Black Chrome Md-2 Leica Body

Recent News: Cameras

Source: Google News

A camera museum that offers a history lesson in every click
Business 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 status
Jamestown 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 Machine
Core77.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 holidays
The 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 in
Pocono 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 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

How To: Start a Vintage Polaroid Camera Collection
Popular 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