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

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Smartisan T1 - An iPhone4 Reincarnation With An Android Soul
Forbes, October 21st

A rather lofty goal he set for iPhone4– No all vintage cameras have the markup of a Leica M4 or look nearly as sexy. In our world where recycling is the fate for almost everything ever being made, Leica's ageless charm is so rare that few can match...Read more

A snapshot in time: Vintage film found in antique camera
Uniontown Herald Standard, October 1st

When a Fayette County native purchased an antique camera from a yard sale, he got a bit more than he bargained for — a roll of exposed film nicely preserved in its metal confines. Now he is hoping to find the family and return their aged photos...Read more

Vintage cameras donated to museum
Williams Lake Tribune, September 30th

He used the cameras up until 1945 when he had to mail the film away to Winnipeg for development. In those days it cost 25 cents to get a roll developed. Teichroew would put a quarter on a roll of film and mail it in. Originally from Altona, Man., where...Read more

Beautiful Short Film Profiles a Classic Camera Collector
Popular Photography Magazine, September 30th

The film itself is extremely short, but it profiles a classic camera collector the film maker met while shopping in an antique store. He has more than 1,000 older cameras in his collection, including a couple amazing field cameras you can briefly see...Read more

Woouf vintage camera cushion at Urban Outfitters
Retro To Go, September 29th

Fans of old school photography (and especially the creations of Lomography) might just want this Woouf vintage camera cushion around the house. Yes, a cushion, as opposed to the numerous beanbags by the company we have featured in the past...Read more

Prof's 220-Kg Vintage Camera Steals the Show
The New Indian Express, September 28th

CHENNAI: Standing tall at the weekend Camera Fair 2014, where new technology in the space of photography and cameras was being explored, was Dr Arun A V, whose passion had shifted from photography to collecting vintage imaging equipment. Dr Arun ...Read more

#PictureBelfast: Can You Tell the Difference between a Filter and a Vintage ...
Fstoppers, September 26th

Let's face it, smartphone cameras are getting better and better with every release. Mobile photo editing software is getting better too, and with the rise in popularity of Instagram over the last four years, sharing vintage-looking photographs have...Read more

Vintage camera shutterbugs will appreciate this light meter app for Google Glass
Gigaom, September 24th

Need a light meter to help figure out the right camera shutter speed based on lighting conditions and film sensitivity? Check this app for Glass which cleverly uses the camera sensor in Google's wearable display to help you out. CameraLens...Read more