For part three of our Inspired by the Lens series, we are enjoying some vintage cameras that inspire us, not only for their craftsmanship, style and originality, but also for the way they make us remember, that all things begin somewhere, and photography is no different. Features and options that are available in even the most basic cell phone cameras today can be taken for granted or not appreciated for how awesome it is to have these features. OK, I get it, we cannot live in the past all the time and constantly think about all the steps that came before, to make life as it is now…so perhaps let’s just take a couple moments and enjoy a few of those steps now, with some cool cameras.
Recently a friend of my was reading The Invention of Photography, a Discoveries book written by Quentin Bajac. Hearing his stories from the book reminded me that when photography was introduced to the general public in the early to mid 1800’s it was perceived in many different ways. Besides the reactions and public perception of photography and what it would become to us now, I can not help but admire the people who were behind the science and mechanical workings of photography’s creation. This brings us to a few of the cameras we have in our collection.
Let’s start with this small but fully functional Hit Subminiature Camera that was made in Japan, starting in 1950. This little cutie is referred to as one of the first spy cameras, well at least with antique dealers and people outside the camera community. Honestly I think spy’s would have had better choices then the little Hit to capture the secrets of the day. The one we have in our collection still has the film in it which is really fun.
The roll of 35mm film in the background gives you an idea of the cameras size. Sneaky little thing! I like it!
Moving onto one of my favorite cameras in our collection is the Kodak No. 2 Autographic Brownie Camera that was in production from 1915 to around 1926. The camera folds down into an easy carry size. The interesting thing about the film used in this camera, was that the autographic system was a roll film that was launched by Kodak in 1914, and it allowed photographers to add written information on the film at the time of exposure.
The next beauty to enjoy is a movie camera, the Kodak Brownie Turret. It was introduced to the public in the mid 1950’s and featured, not one, not two, but three lens and three ways to shot your movie. All at a reasonable price. 🙂
This commercial from 1957 sums it all up with style.
Moving on to the next camera, it’s the Rolleiflex Baby TLR Camera. Rolleiflex is the name of a long-standing and widely diverse line of quality cameras originally made by the German company Franke & Heidecke, and later Rollei-Werk. This camera is smaller than the regular Rolleiflex and took a smaller film, the 127 was a roll film format for still photography introduced by Kodak in 1912. The film is 46 mm wide, placing it between 35 mm and 120 “medium format” films for size. The image format normally used is a square 4 cm × 4 cm.
The last camera that we will enjoy today is the Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 Camera. This camera was introduced in the 1940’s and was considered to have the Art Deco design. The camera uses film type 620, which gives you a 6 x 9 image. It is considered to be a box type camera and was very popular in its day.
We have many more cameras in our collection and I would love to go on about them all, but that is good for now. Another day, another blog. Perhaps you have discovered a camera you have never seen before or just enjoyed a blast from the past, either way the journey of photography has been an interesting one to say the least and we are happy to be constantly inspired by the lenses that have come and gone.
Here is a gallery you can enjoy of the cameras we featured and some extra gems!
written by Michelle Lee 2018