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

Source: Google News

Unearthed millstones spark interest
Idaho Statesman, February 5th

From its antique camera collection to a Wurlitzer organ, the mill is a haven for history buffs. Flour sacks, handwritten ledgers and unique milling machinery are part of the four-story tour, along with an old-time photo parlor. Van Vogt and his wife...Read more

Did movie legend Jimmy Stewart own mystery camera found in Columbia Gorge?
OregonLive.com, February 4th

The vintage camera is inscribed with the words "Made in East Germany/U.S.S.R. occupied." Field has shipped the weathered film canister retrieved from the camera to Portland's Blue Moon Camera & Machine, hoping some photos can be retrieved. The two ...Read more

View From The 50: Super Bowl babies choir is ... wild
NFL.com, February 3rd

So yes, the scene was already a bit jarring for a rookie and there was freakin' Seal walking around the Giants locker room snapping photos with a vintage camera with a big smile on his face. Nobody was paying much attention to the famed pop star, he...Read more

Watch: Oregon hikers find mysterious Soviet-era camera in Columbia Gorge
OregonLive.com, February 2nd

When Field pulled the object out of the mossy muck, however, he realized he had actually discovered a Cold War-era relic from the other side of the world -- a vintage camera inscribed with the words "Made in East Germany/U.S.S.R. occupied." Two weeks ...Read more

Relics of the 'Stone' Age Unearthed in Southeast Washington
Centralia Chronicle, February 1st

From its antique camera collection to a Wurlitzer organ, the mill is a haven for history buffs. Flour sacks, handwritten ledgers and unique milling machinery are part of the four-story tour, along with an old-time photo parlor. Van Vogt and his wife...Read more

8 Classic Viewfinder Designs in Vintage Cameras
PetaPixel (blog), January 12th

What's in a viewfinder? The view within a viewfinder has always been an opportunity to display additional information to the user. In this post, we'll take a quick look at 8 film SLR and rangefinder camera viewfinders...Read more

Lawrence resident's antique camera full of century-old mysteries
Lawrence Journal World, December 25th

Lawrence resident Conrad Altenbernd holds up a glass negative of the Kansas River and many buildings along the south bank that no longer exist today. Altenbernd discovered the slide in an antique box camera that he bought at a Lawrence garage sale...Read more

Vintage cameras celebrated at Alice Austen House
SILive.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