50 Vintage Cameras: A Buyer’s Guide For Photographers

in Photography + Gear

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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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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

jo ann

i am trying to find out if the carmra i have is worth anything and i dont know just how to find out could u help me or point me in the right direction? i have a olan mills 77inch lense uses film

Reply

julia

you create a guide of vintage cameras and doesn’t put a Diana on the list?!?!? oh god why

Reply

Anne

Do you know where I can buy an Ansco Camera head robot?

Reply

Creative Director

You may check out Ebay.

Reply

myve santy

are these cameras for sale?

Reply

Creative Director

Images are part of the article. You may check out the link and contact the owner. Most of them collect it and don’t intend to sell it.

Reply

Alix Kerr

No Diana? List is weak.

Reply

Bruce Miller

Very cool stuff for an old camera buff! Gotta love the history! Now, my digital camera and computer based ‘darkroom’ do so much better! Digital is such a bargain – old timers, like myself, used to record each shot on paper, lens settings, aperture settings, focal settings, lens used, lighting, subject matter, intent of shot, film type,film brand, ASA film speed, time of day, date, camera used. Imagine doing all that with digital – you would need a textbook sized note-pad.

Reply

Paul

Photography is changing in many ways. Let’s try to keep the fun and inspiration alive. Thanks for the tip!

Reply

Archie

There are many copies and fakes of Leica coming out of the old Soviet block and are usually Zorki cameras which are a copy of the Leica 11 and no slow speed dial in the front with fake engravings. They would not fool a collector but to the untutored eye could be taken for genuine.

Reply

Brad

I agree!

Reply

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