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Vintage Cameras and Photographica

Taking photographs is something that most enjoy, whether it be with our mobile phone or a camera...

18/01/2024     Blog

Taking photographs is something that most of us enjoy whether it be with our mobile phone or a more professional DSLR camera. But have you ever thought about the history of photography and cameras?

The history of the camera can be traced back to the Middle Ages with the first pin hole known as a “Camera Obscura” where an image was projected onto a screen and was invented by a physicist called Alhazen.

In 1822 a French inventor called Nicephore Niepce took the first known photograph a view from a window at his house using a process called heliography.

One of the earliest cameras was the Kodak box camera and was invented in 1888 by a gentleman called George Eastman and was one of the first cameras to use film. It was a simple box camera with a single shutter speed and a fixed focus lens.

After WW1 Germany took the lead in camera development. Here at Sheffield Auction Gallery we sell a wide range of cameras and a couple of years ago we had the pleasure of selling a large collection of several hundred cameras and lenses many from the well known and highly collectable brand Leica.

The Leica company was founded in Wetzlar, Germany in 1869 by Ernst Leitz and firstly produced microscopes and binoculars. The name Leica was based on the first three letters of the founders surname and the first two letters of camera. In 1913 the first 35 mm film Leica prototypes were built by Oskar Barnack and was intended to be a compact camera for landscape photography. Several improvements and modifications were made and eventually in 1925 this camera was taken to market and was an instant success and was more portable than other cameras available at that time. Here are a few interesting facts about Leica. Leica cameras are often used in official Royal portrait photographs, the Leica camera 1G was used by astronaut John Glen to capture the first human operated photograph of the earth from space and Leica is as big as other famous German brands such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi.

Leica cameras and lenses are always sought after at auction and fetch anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds. Condition is always important and if there is the original box and instruction manual this always adds value.

So if you have any old cameras hidden away in the back of a cupboard, do bring them down to us to take a look at.