Types of Cameras


Box Cameras, this is where Photography became a worldwide and house hold hobby. With the introduction of the Box Brownie in the early 1900’s photography became affordable. Kodak produced many models and these were copied by a whole range of manufactures. Initially many of these cameras took 120 film, however Kodak later introduced (in approx. 1930) 620 film this is the same film in width as 120 however it ist on Spools that have a thinner core spindle. 620 film was withdrawn in 1997, however by winding a 120 film onto a 620 spool the 120 film can be used in the camera. The majority of Kodak Box Cameras use 620 film, box cameras by other manufacurers for example Ensign and Agfa use 120. Box cameras are great as a collector item as they differ greatly in style and can start from a very low price. Look out for the art deco designs, special editions and the coloured models. From a user point of view quality is never going to be high but interesting results can achieved. 


Folding Cameras: From the birth of Photography camera designers were looking a methods to save space. The aim to produce small easy to carry quality cameras. Models range from Large format studio cameras to small miniature models.  Folding cameras started by using sheet or glass plates while latter models took film. The quality of folding cameras ranges from the basic to high quality models with some of the top lenses ever produced. The week point with many of these cameras are the bellows. Post war agfa cameras have wonderful lenses but used a type of synesthetic material which nearly always leaks despite looking in a good condition. From a user point of view models produced by Ensign, Zeiss and Voigtlander are good reliable cameras. Prices range from £20 upwards.


Twin Lens Reflex: TLR In order to make it easier to focus Rollei bought out in the 1920’s a Twin Lens Reflex. This two  lens camera used one lens for focusing and the second lens to take the photo. Other manufacturers soon bought out other models. These cameras were usually of high quality. The most collectable being Rolleiflexs.


35mm Cameras: Portability and Quality were continually qualities looked for by Photographers. Developments in film quality meant that film could be enlarged and not just contact printed. Thus it was possible to produce cameras that took a small size film that could then be enlarged. To start with the small roll film 127 were popular then 35mm (film from the movie industry) started to be used. Lecia is often credited as being the first in this field and certainly these camera are often the most sought after. The biggest difference in 35mm camera is often the type of view finder used. Most basic models have a viewfinder above the lens with no focusing aids.

Then range finder cameras have viewfinders that are linked to a focusing mechanism usually in the guise of a mirror system that produces a ghost/second image, when the two images are bought together through moving the lens then the image is in focus. Classic rangefinders models have been produced by all the major camera manufactures including Leica, Zeiss, Canon, Nikon and many more. 


The final type of 35mm camera is the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) This type of camera uses a prism so that you can look directly through the camera lens. Early models were introduced in the early 1950’s and by the 1980’s were the most popular serious camera. Prices from £15 upwards.


Cine Cameras : Before the advent of video and computer technology movie images were produced on film. Movie cameras date back to about 1905 while amateur models start to appear from 1922 when both Kodak and Pathe in introduced types of film that were affordable. 

The first popular format was 16mm introduced by Kodak and 9.5mm produced by Pathe. In 1932 Kodak started to sell 8mm film this was 16mm that was exposed as a 8mm frame so was exposed through the camera once then turn around exposed again, developed then split. This again made the format cheaper. 

In the 1950’s Standard 8mm became a big seller but consumers did complain about having to turn the film over half way therefore Kodak brought out a new format called Super 8mm in 1964. This is film in a cartridge which was simple to install. Super 8mm is still available but is expensive. We can advise regarding supplies for this film. Key manufactures for cameras were Kodak, Bell and Howell, Eumig and Bolex. The design and different features on cameras make collecting these very interesting. Early models were clock work with battery motors being introduced latter and also lenses changed from being single to turret, finally zoom lenses became the norm.


The cine world began to decline in the early 1980’s, the advent of video was to eqd to its almost complete dimise. However a number of enthusias continue to make true film. Both standard eight and Super 8 film can still be obtained