Classic & Historical Cameras
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Spencer Grant a... Jan 28, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 0 comments
On the shelf in my home office I have a collection of press cameras I’ve never used to take a picture. That’s not what they’re there for. They’re a tribute to a generation of bygone news photographers whose professionalism and skill set a standard to which I’ve aspired for over 40 years.
Roger W. Hicks Jun 01, 2005 0 comments

Here's an accessory from the 1930s which is probably easier to use today, in the digital era, than when it was new. It's quite simply a click-stopped panoramic head (Panoramkopf), Leitz telegraphic code name FARUX, with--this is the good bit--interchangeable rings for different focal lengths. FARUX came with a 5cm ring but you could also buy the accessory...

Rosalind Smith Sep 01, 2006 19 comments

For the past 55 years what has captivated collector Thurman (Jack) Naylor about photography is just about everything. He has amassed a private collection that has extended from the pre-photography days of Chinese mirrors and the earliest daguerreotypes to a miniature digital camera used today as a spy device. It has been a labor of love for Naylor and an unforgettable experience...

John Wade Feb 07, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
America did not invent photography—that honor must go to the French—but US camera manufacturers can take credit for introducing simple ways of taking pictures and bringing photography to the masses. Along the way, many also came up with often strange and sometimes ugly designs.
Roger W. Hicks May 01, 2005 0 comments

The Baldessa 1 from Balda in the Schwarzwald is one of those cameras that quickens the heart of a collector simply by its looks: beautiful styling and a superb late-1950s West German finish. Unfortunately upon closer examination it turns out to be a bit of a bimbo (for the ladies, think of it as a himbo or dumb hunk--I don't want to be unduly sexist).

...

Roger W. Hicks Feb 01, 2005 1 comments

What determines whether a camera is collectible? Quality? Technical ingenuity? Commercial success (or failure)? All of these things--but some deserve to be saved from the scrap heap just because they are pretty. The Bilora Bella 44 has little else to commend it. The lens is indifferent; the shutter limited; the 127 film needed to feed it is hard to find; film counting is by...

Roger W. Hicks Jul 01, 2004 0 comments

Collecting cameras is all very well, but we can often learn more about the history of photography--and about the difficulties under which our photographic forebears labored--by looking at accessories. The Practos exposure meter is a prime example. It is one of the last of its kind, and...

Roger W. Hicks Jun 01, 2004 0 comments

Reloadable labyrinth-style cassettes are nothing new: they were launched with the original Leica when it became clear that darkroom loading and unloading was not going to be outstandingly convenient. This is why a standard load is 36; the original Leica...

Roger W. Hicks Jul 01, 2009 0 comments

It is very easy for collectors to get hung up on cameras and lenses, and to forget that photography is a lot more than this. Many small and not-so-small accessories are technically fascinating in their own right, and remind us how things used to be in an era less affluent but more diverse than our own. For the collector, or simply for those with an interest in the past, they have the twin...

Roger W. Hicks Mar 01, 2007 0 comments

One reason why digital camera users may hesitate to make the switch to film--better quality, proven archival keeping, and lower cost--is that the cameras aren't complicated enough. For example, my Nikon D70 has around 24 buttons, levers, knobs, dials, trap doors, and switches, many of them multifunctional, plus an LCD read-out and a screen on the back. For...

Roger W. Hicks Jun 01, 2007 0 comments

It's made to use with your classic Leica; it's a long-established accessory, first introduced in 1931; it's in gorgeous black wrinkle paint, exquisitely engraved with the E. LEITZ WETZLAR logo; there's a beautiful red safelight glass built into the back; it's in mint condition; it's boxed, with instructions; when it was new, probably 50 years...

Jon Sienkiewicz Jan 01, 2011 11 comments

Long before the Mind of Minolta popularized autofocus SLRs with the introduction of the Maxxum 7000 there was the XD.

The year was 1977 and Minolta Camera Company, Ltd. was riding high. Fueled by the success of the SR-T series and the inimitable XE-7, Minolta launched the XD family, beginning with the XD-11 (labeled simply XD in Japan and XD-7 in Europe). The XD-11 was the first...

Jason Schneider Aug 01, 2010 2 comments

A while back I had picked my top 20 cameras of all time, a topic that still draws comment on the Shutterbug Forums. While few Shutterbug readers venomously assailed my choices or impugned my historical accuracy, practically everyone posting on The Top 20 Cameras of All Time Forum was rooting for their favorite cameras, or complaining that their gems weren’t included.

This...

Roger W. Hicks Feb 01, 2007 0 comments

The Samoca 35 LE definitely wants to be taken seriously. The box is a classic piece of high 1950s design, and proudly announces "Exposure Meter Built-In" and "Lens - F 2.8." Open it up and there's a really classic leather ever-ready case with metal-rimmed, red velvet-lined removable top, so you can use the camera in the half case. Or you can take it...

Tim Verthein Mar 01, 2011 0 comments

If you’re a baby boomer (and even if you’re not) you might remember the ads in the comic books, science and handyman magazines that touted “Secret Spy Cameras. Fits in the palm of your hand…” And if you’re like me, you mailed off your allowance or lawn mowing money so you could take secret photos of your family and friends. The camera you received was barely...