When most people are given an antique, it’s thrown onto a shelf as a nice dust-collecting decoration. Not me. I took my vintage 1924 Brownie camera completely apart to see how it worked, researched and found the out-of-production film, took some photos and found someone to process them. Today I’ll take you along for the ride as I go through the entire process so you can see how easy it is to start your own collection of vintage cameras that actually take photos!
Didn’t hear about Photo Premium? You can find out more here. It’s an additional, in-depth article, published each week just for our Premium subscribers (on top of all our regular free content!)
The Birth of an Obsession
When I visited my Grandparents for Christmas this year I received a rather peculiar present. “Hey, do you want an old antique camera?” my grandfather asked. I’m not much for antiques but I thought maybe an old camera would look good on a shelf in my office, so I replied “sure!”
My grandfather then handed me something that I didn’t expect. This camera wasn’t just old, it was really old. My digitally-leaning brain’s first reaction was that surely this thing wasn’t ever capable of taking pictures. It was little more than a box with a hole in it!
I very quickly realized that this was most certainly not just going to be a shelf decoration. Not satisfied with abandoning the camera to dust, I would definitely have to get this thing working. Once I made that decision, I was hooked.
Finding and Buying an Antique Camera
The first step in your vintage photography journey is to find an old camera. In this premium tutorial, we’ll walk you through where to buy one from, and the important things to consider when choosing an antique model. There’s a lot to consider here, and you need to plan ahead to ensure you don’t end up spending a fortune on film and processing.
We’ll explain the pitfalls that you could encounter, and how to make sure the hobby stays relatively inexpensive!
How Does it Work?
If you’re a digital camera junkie, starting with an old-fashioned camera can be a daunting experience. We’ll use the example of a Kodak No. 2A Brownie Model C to explain the basic things to look for, and walk through the process of understanding how older manual systems work.
We’ll even strip the camera down so you can take a glimpse inside and see how everything works. Much of this advice will apply to any antique camera, and it’s fascinating to see the core basics of how a camera functions without all of today’s digital wizardry.
Taking the Photos
Here we’ll take you through the process of actually taking photos with this type of equipment. It’s admittedly quite strange to take a photo without seeing the result right away and very easy to make a mistake and ruin everything!
We’ll then move on to discuss getting your photos developed (without spending hundreds of dollars!), and showcase a few of our own results!
Join Premium and Expand Your Photography Knowledge!
This is a really interesting hobby to immerse yourself in, and this Premium tutorial will help you get started with ease. The few dollars it costs to subscribe to Premium will be more than recouped by not falling into the various pitfalls we highlight!
For those unfamiliar, the family of Tuts+ sites runs a premium membership service. For $19 per month, you gain access to exclusive premium tutorials, screencasts, and freebies from Phototuts+, Nettuts+, Psdtuts+, Cgtuts+, Activetuts+, Aetuts+, Audiotuts+, and Vectortuts+! For the price of a pizza, you’ll learn from some of the best minds in the business.
What Do You Want to See on Premium?
Is there a specific technical aspect of photography that you really want to learn more about? How about a very advanced technique that you could never quite grasp fully?
We really want to make our Premium content as relevant and useful to you as possible, so do send through your comments and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what you want to see, and we’ll commission top-notch photographers to teach you!