5 Weird Vintage Cameras: One of These Gave Photographers Headaches

Everyone lusts after a few specific vintage cameras, but it’s the weird vintage cameras that have really cool tales.

Amongst the oddest cameras you’ve seen and owned, ask yourself, “What did they think when they designed this?” It’s true today that no camera maker makes an odd or bad camera, but there are surely questionable decisions that were made over the years. Early cameras were odd. Russian fakes of various cameras were even odder. And some were just so weird to work with that they were bound to give a photographer a headache. Today, we’re looking at a few bizarre vintage cameras that some folks adore, and some are happy to have gotten rid of.

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This Kodak Brownie Commercial Doubled as a Pet Portrait Tutorial

Adorable portraits of our furry friends have long been part of the so-called Kodak Moment, as this 1950s commercial shows us! 

“Man’s best friend makes some of man’s best pictures,” goes the intro for today’s featured Kodak camera commercial from many decades past. As the trend with many of the company’s ads and commercials from the era, it came with some suggestions on how to get the best shots of the so-called Kodak Moment — pet portraits included!

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This Full Set of Gorgeous Art Deco Kodak Beau Brownie Cameras is Yours for $3,600

These Art Deco Kodak Beau Brownie cameras make lovely additions to a photographer’s vintage camera collection

Ready to grab another vintage beauty and grow your camera collection? How about a complete collection of beautifully designed Kodak Brownie cameras? That’s exactly what we have today for our latest ebay find: a full set of Kodak Art Deco Beau Brownie cameras from the 1930s. If you love both the legendary Kodak Brownie and all things Art Deco, this collection will definitely catch your attention!

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The Hawkeye35 Adapter Will Let You Shoot 35mm Films with the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye


If you still have one of those iconic Kodak Brownie Hawkeye cameras lying around, we have some exciting news for you. An adapter that will finally let you shoot 35mm films for with this vintage box camera is currently in the works.

Cincinnati-based photographer Mark Hiltz has decided to give this legendary box camera by Kodak a new shot at life with a Kickstarter campaign for a Hawkeye35 Adapter Kit. In 1995, the 620 film that the Hawkeye and other Kodak Brownie cameras were designed to use was discontinued. While this box camera can also take 120 films, you’ll have to sand off the spools since they are slightly bigger than 620 films. Also, the processing cost can be expensive (let’s admit it, you’d rather shoot those precious medium format films with a more advanced camera). With this adapter kit, you will be able to load your Kodak Brownie Hawkeye with your favorite, widely-available 35mm films.

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Good News! The Holga Camera is Coming Back!

For years the Holga was m known as a little toy camera with its own cult following. A plastic camera with plastic lenses which later influenced the design of the Lomography Diana F+, the Holga lacked the marketing and millions of designer customizations of the Lomography option. Couple this with a few really tough times in the photo market within the past few years and you’ve got a recipe for death. After being put to rest in 2015, it seems like the little camera which gave birth to things like the Holgaroid and one of the cooler pinhole camera options on the market is going to be making a return. This follows the whole load of really amazing things that are happening this year in the analog film photography community.

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The History of the Kodak Brownie

Kodak Brownie

One of the very first cameras to make photography simpler and more accessible to everyone was the Kodak Brownie. It was a fixed shutter speed camera with no aperture control or focusing abilities–and was essentially little more than a box with a fake leather exterior for gripping purposes. You could say it was one of the first point and shoot cameras.

The Brownie is an important camera to the history of photography because of what it did for the masses by making photography more commonplace and easier for the common man. This tradition would continue to be scoffed at by the more bourgeois amongst us with the Canon AE1, the inception of digital photography, and most recently the iPhone working in conjunction with Instagram.

According to Kodak’s history timeline, the first Brownie was introduced in 1900 and sold for $1. The film was sold for 15 cents a roll.

Eric Kim cites that Vivian Maier used one before upgrading to the more TLR style cameras that she was known for using.

More on the Brownie is in a video after the jump.

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