Collecting vintage cameras has become a hobby of sorts for me. Old point and shoot cameras from the middle part of the last century are generally plentiful and cheap. Perfect to collect on a photographers budget!
They also make great subjects for light painting.
They can be easily found on eBay and at garage sales. When searching for vintage cameras on eBay try searching for “Bakelite camera” or “art deco camera”, those are my favorite searches.
What I love about cameras from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s is camera companies truly used the esthetic design of the camera to market the cameras. All their cameras did about the same thing, you pointed them at something and clicked a button. It took a photo at about 1/60 of a second at roughly F11. Good enough for an outdoor exposure. So to stand out from the crowd the camera manufactures started using design to help sell their newest cameras. Cameras today are just the same old boring black or silver and pretty much look the same.
The Brownie in the middle of this photo was a 1930’s brownie that was designed
by Walter Dorwin Teague for Kodak. Those brownies have become known as the “Art Deco Brownie” to collectors. They came in many colors. Because they are really popular with collectors I can only afford the less expensive brown Art Deco Brownie. I think I paid close to 100 dollars on that one; it’s the most expensive camera in my collection.
Most vintage cameras go for 10 to 20 dollars. A red Art Deco Walter Teague can fetch over a 1000 dollars at auction. Not bad for a camera that was only a couple of bucks at the time.
My fantasy is to find a red Art Deco Brownie someday at a garage sale!
To see the first shot I did in this series check out my blog post on light painting.