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.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

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]

George Eastman House

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

David Tristram Ludwig shares high resolution images of his in-depth personal collection of antique cameras, includi… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Huge Antique Victorian Brass Camera Lens, Emil Busch's Portrait Aplanat No 41863 Voigtlander & Sohn Large Petzval Brass Lens With Cap & 4 Waterhouse StopsRare Bessa Rf 6x9 Heliar Rangefinder Camera, VoigtlKodak Specialist Camera Vintage Folding Large Format Old Wood & Brass Plate FilmSmall Brass Petzval Lens By Fredk.j.cox , London. Circa 1880Antique Mahogany & Brass Plate Thornton Pickard Bellows Camera With LensAntique Watson Burke & James, Inc. Chicago Usa Portrait Plate Camera 5 X 7Leica M2-r Body- Rare M2r Camera! Eastman Kodak D2 8x10 Red Bellows {nlt} Camera 5x7 Back/ No Lens M42 Super-takumar 50/1.4 Rare Eight Element VersionGraflex Norita 66 Medium Format Camera With 80 Mm F2 Lens /manualsRare Old Rolleiflex Camera Case Bag Germany Franke Heidecke Schneider Dbgm Dbp Polaroid 180 Land Camera W/ 114mm Tominon LensGenuine Fast Dallmeyer Pentac 8" F/2.9 Lens /heliar DesignSuperb Beautiful Brass Lens For 8"x5" By Swift & Son, London, VictorianLeica Iiif Rd St + 5cm Summarit + Red BoxLeica M3 35mm Ds Film Rangefinder Camera Body Double StrokeSpeed Graphic 4x5 Camera W/ 135mm F/4.7 *auctionZeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 530 Vintage Rangefinder C1930s Camera With CaseDallmeyer Super Six 1 1/2in F1.9 Camera Lens Antique Brass Burke & James Ajax Cephaloscope Portrait No. 2 Camera LensYashica Yashicamat 124 Medium Format Tlr Camera 120 Film + Case + Lens CapVintage/collectible Rolleicord Franke & Heidecke Tlr CameraKodak Beau Brownie No 2 Art Deco Tan & Brown Box Camera Doublet LensVintage/collectible Hasselblad 500c With 80mm Cf Lens And Two 12 BacksRolleiflex Mx-evs Medium Format Tlr Film Camera Zeiss 75mm F3.5 Tessar 1954 ExRare Verascope 45x107 Transposing Stereo ViewerRare 1958-59 Asahi Pentax Model S Black Slr Camera Body Only!Graflex Xl W/ Zeiss 80mm F/2.8 Planar Lens + Polaroid & 120 Film Backs Ex. CondVintage Eastman No. 1 - 5x7 View Camera With Film Holder Very Nice ConditionAlpa Kern Macro Switar 50mm/f1.9 ArRollei 35 S Silver With Sonnar Lens 40mm F/2.8 HftLeica Iiia With Summar 5cm/2Vintage Rolleiflex Franke & Heidecke Synchro-compur Tessar 1:3.5 Zeiss Opton Voigtlander Perkeo Iiie W/ F3.5 Color-skopar - Rarer Than A Voigtlander Heliar !Rare Wood Vintage Folding Bellow Photography Picture Camera Wollensak OpticalVintage 1950s Leica M3 Double Stroke Dbp Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Germany Chrome BodyVoigtlander Prominent Ii Camera Nokton 50mm, Sko 35, Dyn 100 & Leather CaseHasselblad 1600f Camera W/tessar Zeiss80mm F/2.8 Lens,film Backs & Case*auction*Rolleiflex, Rolleicord Iii Type 2 Xenar 75mm W/ Case,cap & 35mm Film Rolleikin.Rollei Rolleicord 6x6 Schneider Xenar 75mm F/3.5 Tlr Film Camera In CaseAsahi Pentax Auto-takumar 105mm F/2.8 Telephoto Lens M42 Screw Mount Slrs JapanGrab Box Of Nikon F Cases And Accessories *auctionLeica Leitz 1930 1a Rangefinder Camera W/ 50 3.5 Elmar Lens, Bag, Filca, FinderCarl Zeiss Jena Electric Mc Flektogon 35mm F2.4 Wide Angle Lens M42 FittingHalf Plate English Mahogany Lancaster "the International" Camera Needs AttentionVintage/collectible Zenza Bronica S2 Camera With 75mm And BacksVintage/collectible Exa Exacta Praktiflex Cameras LotVoigtlAgfa Super Isolette W/ Lots Of Extras, Stunning, Late Serial Number!Zeiss Contax I 35mm CameraCooke Speed Panchro Lens, F2 - 28mmAntique Ticka CameraNikon F Apollo With F2 Standard Prism Plus Extras.Yashica D Tlr Camera *auction*Taylor Hobson 162mm F2.5 Cooke Anastigmat Series X Black Paint Brass Lens,***rare*** Polaroid 180 Land CameraLeitz Leica Lens Kit Ernst Leitz Wetzlar, Leitz Elmar, Meyer Gorlitz TrioplanPolaroid Sx-70 Land Camera W/ Leather Case, Film, Flash And Manual No ReserveGraflex Speed Graphic 4x5 W/ Ektar 127mm And Graflok Back **as-is For Parts**

Recent News: Cameras

Source: Google News

Antique shop aims to appeal to range of customers
Northern Virginia Daily, July 25th

The store also features a solid collection of keys, coins, antique cameras and jewelry. The couple frequently receive signs, too, like a rare Keystone sign currently on sale for $800, as well as old farm equipment and furniture. Right now they have a...Read more

Victor Landweber: American Cameras
Dexigner, July 25th

Victor Landweber: American Cameras, on view at the Joseph Bellows Gallery from July 26 to September 6, 2014, features a visually seductive group of vintage cameras isolated on a black background. American Cameras 01 · American Cameras 02...Read more

Midnight in Paris on Wheels
Huffington Post (blog), July 24th

Manac'h utilizes his vast life experiences and extensive research into the hidden treasures of the city to show visitors the best local spots in Paris -- all with the option of having an antique camera and a delicious bottle of champagne in a bucket...Read more

First Lady Susan Corbett announces recipients of Governor's Awards for the Arts
The Patriot-News, July 24th

museum visitors are invited to create their own screen test utilizing a computer touch screen, a moveable backdrop, a specially modified vintage camera, and twin studio lights. Upon completion, the visitor's screen test is transformed digitally...Read more

iPhone 6 Could Arrive with Apple Wallet
Discovery News, July 24th

As it protects your $800 phone, the very durable Polycarbonate Gizmon iCA iPhone Case makes it look like a less expensive vintage camera. It's a little kitschy, but very catchy. The real catch, however, is that it functions. In other words, it does...Read more

The Art Scene: 07.24.14
East Hampton Star, July 24th

his house, which include scuba equipment, kayaks, sterling and gold, lamps, bedroom sets, living room sets, china stemware, first editions and rare books, rugs, electronics, printers, a camera collection, clocks, pottery, collectibles, tools, and...Read more

RFA 16?s Marion Reneau: Expecting All-Out War in Opponent's Backyard
MMA Corner, July 24th

“I have a collection of antique cameras and actually prefer shooting with film over digital, especially black and white. I have 24 cameras. I guess my favorite would be the box camera. One time, I went to a yard sale and purchased an old film camera...Read more

Man uses antique cameras to shoot black-and-white landscapes
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, July 5th

Go to a weekend event around Whitman County and chances are Colfax resident Ty Boyd will be there. Boyd, 38, is easy to spot. He's the one bending down next to a tri-pod and peering through a large antique camera straight out of the early 20th century...Read more