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    

Antique #6 Brass Portrait Orthoscope Petzval Lens Mccollin & Co PhiladelphiaHalf Plate Thornton Pickard Ruby Stereo Camera For Restoration Brass MahoganyC. 1875 British Tailboard Camera * Mahogany, Cherry, Brass, Glass * Half PlateMeyer Optik Gorlitz 100mm F2.8 Trioplan In Exakta MountBlack Nikon Fm2n 35mm Slr Camera With A Nikkor 50mm F1.4 LensVintage Air Ministry Pentac Dallmeyer F/2.9 F8" Aerial Camera Lens With Mount*rare* Angenieux Retrofocus Type R11 F/3.5 28mm Prime Lens Exakta Mt.wide AngleVoigtlander Bessa Ii Rangefinder Camera W/heliar LensNikon F2a 35mm Slr Body With Dp-11 Prism Finder/light MeterEastman Kodak Master View Camera 8x10 Vintage Leica M3 Dbp 35mm Camera With 1.2/50mm Summicron Lens, Meter Mc & CaseRolleiflex Tlr 2.8 C (type 1) Camera W/ 80mm F/2.8 Schneider Xenotar LensTaylor Hobson Cooke Series Ii 8.2 Inch F4.5 5x7 Hd Taylor's Patent Lens, NiceHermagis Brass Petzval Lens Paris France Apl No.5 Serial No. 26,613 Dallmeyer Pentac F2.9 8 Pentac 8" Large Format Rare Tropical Watson Stereo Tailboard Camera Whole Plate Mahogany Brass WoodRare Adams & Co. Stereo Tailboard Camera Half Plate Mahogany Brass Wood C. 1887Canon Iii Leica Copy 35mm Rangefinder Camera Body, ClaPolaroid Sx-70 Land Camera Vintage Metal Folding Sx70 For Instant Film Old U.s.aVintage Antique Brass Suter Basel Stella Camera Lens No. 44656 F=36 C/m F:5Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 532/16 Rangefinder 120 W Zeiss Opton 80mm F2.8 Tessar375* Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 Lens*red Mc*m42 Hasselblad 500cm Camera W/carl Zeiss Planar 80mm, F/2.8 T* Lens, HoodSummilux 1.4/35mm For Leica M Contax/yashica Carl Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28mm Wide Angle Lens Condition: Mint-Vintage Polaroid Land Camera Model 180 As-is Bad Shutter Rollei Gray Baby Rolleiflex Automat 4x4 Tlr W/ 60mm F3.5 LensZeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 532/16 Zeiss-opton Tessar 80mm F2.8 Synchro Compur, CaseVery Old Folding Plate Camera - Unusual Rollex Film Back - Very Rare - Klimax Wrayflex 35mm Slr Camera With Wray 50mm F2 Unilite M40 Standard Screw Mt, CaseVintage Salyut Camera. Medium Format Cameara Made In Kiev Ukraine. Yashicaflex Yashica 635 120mm Or 35mm Film Camera Twin Reflex With Case VintageLeica 50mm F1.1 Noctilux-m E60 (no.3956715, With Built-in Lens Hood + Makers CapLeica Cl 35 Mm Rangefinder Camera With Summicron-c 2/40 Mm Lens And AccessoriesMassive Brass Lens: Cp Goerz Berlin Doppel Anastigmat Series Iii # 8 480mm. Vintage Yashica 635 ~ 120 Or 35 Mm ~ Twin Lens Reflex Camera ~ Sx 7082023Canon New Fd 85mm F/1.2 L LensNikon F Black Limited Version Sharan Megahouse Sub Mini Classic Japan CameraCanon Rangefinder Lens, 50mm / F1.8 Leica Screw Mount (ltm).Polaroid Land Camera Model 180 VintageGraflex Speed Graphic Pacemaker Large Format 4x5 Camera Lot With AccessoriesCrown Graphic Graflex , Kodak Ektar Lense, Wwii PhotographerBausch & Lomb Brass Petzval Lens Magic LanternRare 1880’s Photosphere Camera By Compagnie Française De PhotographieContax Zeiss Sonnar 85 Mm F/2.8 Lens For Contax Yashica MmKodak Ektar 1.9 In (47mm) F2 Coated Yellow And Brown Dot High Quality Lens CellGraflex Crown Graphic Camera 4x5 - Top Rangefinder, Optar 135mm F/4.7 Lens031* Yashica Auto Yashinon-ds 50/1.4 Lens*m42Vintage Graflex Folding CameraVery Rare Antique Voigtlander & Sohn Braunschweig Euryscop Iv No. 5 Brass Lens Nipon Kogaku Nikkor-d 40mm F/4 Lens For Graflex Xl Medium Format CameraVoigtlander Prominent Contax Zeiss Distagon 2,8/35mm Lens For Contax Yashica MmKodak No.2 Folding Pocket Model A Red Bellows CameraLeica Ernst Leitz Summaron F/3.5 35mm Screw Mount M LensGraflex Speed Graphic Miniature 2-1/4 X 3-1/4 Camera With Kodak Ektar LensGraflex Speed Graphic F/4.5 Press Camera W/ Rangefinder Circa 1940Zeiss Biotar 1,5/7,5cm Red T For Exakta #2759604Zeiss Ikon Contax I Rangefinder. Sonnar F2 5cm. Outstanding Condition For A I.Taylor-hobson Rank Taylor-hobson Arriflex Kinetal 100mm Serial No. 602690

Recent News: Cameras

Source: Google News

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
BLOUIN ARTINFO, March 26th

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
SaukValley.com, 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