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Photography Question 
Courtney Lawyer

Are OLD cameras still useable???

Does anyone know much about REALLY old cameras??? Like 1800's? I have been asked to photograph at a local historical park and we got into this discussion about how it would be so cool if I could somehow use a period camera. I had two ideas. Either find one that took decent pictures and use that or (and this would probably work better) find a larger period camera that I could take the insides out of and mount my digital canon G5 on the inside. So my question is: 1. Does anyone know if the really old cameras still work decently and 2. Does anyone know of models that are larger?


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11/25/2005 10:31:36 AM

George Anderson   I think you're making things way too hard, and I certainly wouldn't gut a valuable or historic camera simply to stuff a digicam inside it.

The problem with using an older camera lies in its mechanical condition and film or plate availability. For example, it won't take good pictures if the bellows are full of pinholes or the shutter is stuck from years of dirt and disuse.

If you simply want to present a 'period' image, why not rent a modern 8X10 field camera, they still make wooden-framed models that look very 'old-time'. Image quality will far exceed that of your digicam.

If all you're looking for is an antique look to your images, try using sepia tones for your prints. This is easy with a film camera as well - use C41 film and print on color paper. I've seen some very nice 'antique' vignetted sepia prints using a $15 plastic Holga camera and Kodak 400CN 120 film.

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11/25/2005 11:51:34 AM

Courtney Lawyer   I can easily do sepia on the computer. The value of the older camera was for the park. So that I would "fit in" with all the historic building and dressed up period characters. But yes it probably wouldn't be worth it to take apart the camera. You mentioned renting one, do they make modern cameras that look like the old ones??? Also, if I were to use a real old one, where would be the best place to look that would be affordable, reasonably priced?


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11/25/2005 12:58:37 PM

Tom Walker   If you want to know about old large format cameras, log on to APUG.ORG, many of the members don't own a camera less than 100 yrs old, and they use them daily.

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12/2/2005 8:24:49 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Faking it could probably be done with making a wood box with the black cloth on the back to drape over yourself. Or making a bellows out something stiff but flexible.
Brownie cameras looked like a box with a lens.

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12/3/2005 6:37:06 AM

Courtney Lawyer   Thanks you guys! That was helpful!


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12/17/2005 6:57:59 PM

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