50 Vintage Cameras: A Buyer’s Guide For Photographers

in Photography + Gear


Collecting vintage camera is a fun way to gain knowledge about history and photography. While people are upgrading to digital, 35mm film cameras are not old enough to be considered antique. In fact, it is still being used by some professional wedding and portrait photographers. One of the main reason most people buy used cameras is because they are substantially cheaper than the newer models. You will want to focus on SLR and Rangefinder cameras from any era before the early 1990s because they are well-built and sturdy. Major brands like Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Konica and Yashica are outstanding choices as many online buyers still exist, and you can almost be assured of a quality product. Understanding the process of buying is important if you know how.

Guide To Buying Used Vintage Cameras

  1. Determine what type of camera you want.

    Is it an SLR, a TLR, a rangefinder, or a box camera? Figure out also what brand of camera you are looking for. Some of them have a need for removable lenses and some of the film formats being used are no longer available.

  2. Make a research, join forums, and read reviews.

    Learning about how that vintage camera works and the features it has, you will know what to ask the seller or what to look for in the camera shop. You can check out a repository of information about camera brands and models here at Camerapedia or at Wikipedia. Find out about the history of photography here from pinhole cameras to the daguerreotype.

  3. Things to look for if you want a working camera.

    Don’t think that all cameras for sale are in working order. Ask when was the last time it was used. If it sit in the closet for so long, some parts of the camera will start to rust and stick.

    • - An even shutter advance
      – A back that completely opens and closes
      – Shutter that pops at all speed
      – Aperture ring that slides smoothly
      – Shutter speed dial adjustment is not getting stuck
      – No signs of molds and fungus in the interior of the camera body and lens
  4. Figure out where to buy and get to know the seller.

    Don’t be afraid to bargain and make sure the item is in good shape. Make a research about the seller’s reputation through forums and google search. By doing such, it minimize your risk. You can buy from Ebay, live auctions, camera shows, garage and estate sales to name a few.

50 Vintage Camera Design Collection

01-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-leica-M3-double-stroke-195601. Leica M3, Double Stroke, 1956

02-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-an-argoflex-trio02. An Argoflex Trio

03-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-kodak-happy-times-instant-camera03. Kodak Happy Times Instant Camera

04-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-mamiya-528-AL-outfit04. Mamiya 528 AL Outfit

05-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-star-wars-episode-I05. Star Wars Episode I Picture Plus Image Camera

06-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-rollei-rolleiflex-3-5E06. Rollei Rolleiflex 3.5E

07-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-batman-digital-camera07. Batman Digital Camera

08-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-imperial-mark-2708. Imperial Mark 27

09-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-ensign-ful-vue09. Ensign Ful-Vue

10-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-no-3A-folding-pocket-kodak10. No 3A Folding Pocket Kodak

11-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-ultra-fex11. Ultra Fex

12-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-kodak-startech12. Kodak Startech

13-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-super-altissa13. Super Altissa

14-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-ansco-camera-head-robot14. Ansco Camera Head Robot

15-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-kodak-brownie-vecta15. Kodak Brownie Vecta

16-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-sabre-620-cameras-1-valiant-62016. Sabre 620 Cameras 1 Valiant 620

17-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-dick-tracy17. Dick Tracy

18-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-dacora-daci-royal18. Dacora Daci Royal

19-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-haneel-tri-vision19. Haneel Tri-Vision

20-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-color-flex20. Color-Flex

21-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-zeiss-ikon-voigtlander-vitessa-500-AE-electronic21. Zeiss Ikon Voigtländer Vitessa 500 AE Electronic

22-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-univex-mercury-II-model-CX22. Univex Mercury II (Model CX)

23-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-bauer-88B23. Bauer 88B

24-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-polaroid-land-camera-automatic-34024. Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 340

25-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-tower-camflash-12725. Tower Camflash 127

26-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-ferrania-zeta-duplex26. Ferrania Zeta Duplex

27-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-brownie-beau-no227. Brownie Beau No2

28-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-spartus-rocket28. Spartus Rocket

29-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-univex-uniflash29. Univex Uniflash

30-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-coca-cola-brownie-starflash30. Coca-Cola Brownie Starflash

31-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-kandor31. Kandor

32-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-majestic32. Majestic

33-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-imperial-HD-70033. Imperial HD 700

34-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-kodak-no2-hawkette34. Kodak No.2 Hawkette

35-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-ginfax-can-camera-heineken35. Ginfax Can Camera (Heineken)

36-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-gilbert36. Gilbert

37-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-argus-model-m37. Argus Model M

38-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-zorki-c38. Zorki C

39-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-voltron-star-shooter39. Voltron Star Shooter

40-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-the-president40. The President

41-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-coronet-consul41. Coronet Consul

42-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-slick-for-rebollo42. Slick For Rebollo

43-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-anscoflex-II43. Anscoflex II

44-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-spartus-press-flash44. Spartus Press Flash

45-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-brenda-starr-cub-reporter45. Brenda Starr Cub Reporter

46-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-pentacon-penti46. Pentacon Penti

47-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-leica-R5-black-outfit47. Leica R5 (black) Outfit
48-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-almost-twin-brownies48. Almost Twin Brownies

49-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-imperial-reflex49. Imperial Reflex

50-vintage-cameras-a-buyer-s-guide-for-photographers-graflex-century-graphic-2x350. Graflex Century Graphic 2×3

Resources And Further Reading

    1. Camerapedia on Flicker
    2. John Kratz on Flicker
    3. History of Photography

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