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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Collection D'Appareils Photo

Collection D'Appareils Photo

While we couldn't read everthing - it's mostly in French - the images on this site speak for themselves. Its an ext… [read review or visit site]

Magic Mirror of Life

Magic Mirror of Life

Jack and Beverly Wilgus have put together a great trove of information and images of camera obscura-related photos … [read review or visit site]

Cameras and Co

Cameras and Co

An impressive collection of antique and vintage cameras, this site features high-resolution images of over 120 came… [read review or visit site]

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George Eastman House

This showcase of vintage cameras and photography is plainly designed, but the camera collection and related referen… [read review or visit site]

Antique Cameras D. Tristram Ludwig

Antique Cameras D. Tristram Ludwig

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Recent News: Cameras

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After a Parent Passes: The Big Cleanout (Part One)
Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 27th

Digging through his artifacts he discovered vintage cameras, comic books, military ribbons and other collections from days gone by, memorabilia that other more grandfatherly grandfathers might harbor in their attics too. I saved aside some of his...Read more

Colossal Camera Cafe in South Korea

While both are former pilots, Park is a photography enthusiast and serious camera collector — thus the building design. Inside out, the twin lenses of the camera building do double duty as large circular windows ... Lined with pictures of cafe patrons...Read more

Creative Commerce
Winston-Salem Journal, March 26th

At Christmastime, a mere week after the store's official opening, they featured, in succession, classic Southern décor, dazzling contemporary holiday decorations, and a display of antique cameras alongside Raines's own black-and-white prints—enough to ...Read more

Cameras that will never ever take a selfie
Cool Mom Tech, March 26th

He takes gorgeous finds that predate words like “selfie” and “untag me please” and incorporates them into these wonderful vintage camera bookends available through Uncommon Goods. It's the perfect way to bookend a collection of photography books or ...Read more

Sterling January Student of the Month: Jakob Oelrichs, March 23rd

I collect vintage/antique cameras and movie cameras. What's the one thing in your life you can't do without? My friends. What is your advice for surviving high school? Get your work done ASAP so that you have time to look it over and fix mistakes (and...Read more

Guess the Device: More vintage camera beauty
TechnoBuffalo, March 14th

There was a time in my life when all I cared about was photography, but instead of throwing down money on an expensive digital camera, I chose to make film my primary. I loved film—the quality, even the process of developing—which means I had a...Read more

Phonograph, vintage cameras stolen from Devon home
Newark Post, March 11th

Several vintage items were taken from a home in the Devon neighborhood sometime over the last few months, police said. According to Newark Police spokesman Cpl. James Spadola, the theft occurred sometime between Dec. 25 and March 8 in the unit ...Read more

This Gigantic Collection of 600 Vintage Cameras is for Sale on eBay: It's ...
PetaPixel (blog), March 1st

Want to start your own camera museum? There's a new listing on eBay that can put you on the fast track to doing so. It's for a gigantic collection of roughly 600 vintage cameras from between 1880 and 1980. The description claims the lot could be turned...Read more