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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On 52nd anniversary, Dallas visitors reflect on JFK assassinationDallas Morning News, November 22nd
Daniel Beale (left) of Boston browsed Kenneth Zediker's camera collection as Zediker, of Titusville, Fla., set up to film the ceremony at Dealey Plaza in Dallas to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the JFK assassination...Read more
Three-dimensional program honors Weston Woods film studioThe Weston Forum, November 22nd
The exhibition will also display the vintage cameras, production equipment, and storyboards that were used and that foreshadowed the digital age. Literacy Caravan. The Weston Historical Society invites preschool and elementary school children to the ...Read more
48 hours in LeedsThe Sun (subscription), November 21st
The 19th-century Corn Exchange is a hub of indie shops, selling everything from Chinese tea sets to vintage cameras (Leedscornexchange.co.uk), while the marble- and mosaic-adorned Victoria Quarter tempts overdrafts with Louis Vuitton, The Kooples and ...Read more
Using sight and sound to trigger dementia patients' memoriesCentre Daily Times, November 18th
A vintage camera is display in a replica mid 1900s living room Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at The Easton Home in Easton, Pa. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are increasingly using sight, sound and other sensory cues to stimulate memory in people...Read more
Vintage cameras celebrated at Alice Austen HouseSILive.com, November 8th
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.— Vintage Camera Day at the Alice Austen House on Sunday drew more than 80 visitors who got a chance to see how Alice Austen would have worked; saw a cyanotype demonstration; got their old reliables checked out and had a ...Read more
5 best bets for a Staten Island Sunday: Vintage cameras to the PhilharmonicSILive.com, November 7th
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
Finding a home: Much like her camera collection, Skaneateles artist gets her ...Auburn Citizen, October 29th
Finding a home: Much like her camera collection, Skaneateles artist gets her own place. See it in Print. Saved. Save Article; My Saved Items · Print Email. « Finding a home Much like her camera collection, artist Stacia Landsberg gets her own place Buy...Read more
This $15500 Device Turns Your Vintage Hasselblad Into a Digital CameraBloomberg, August 27th
covers and Calvin Klein billboards. While it's not a complete camera on its own, Hasselblad's CFV-50C digital back is an attachment that turns vintage cameras and lenses into high-resolution digital cameras that compete with today's very best...Read more