Even in the age of digital photography, some photographers are still interested in finding great vintage camera stores. If you're interested in revisiting the days when film ruled the art form, LoveToKnow Photography can help you uncover some classic cameras.
What Qualifies as Vintage?
In some fields, determining what makes something vintage can be relatively tricky. For example, if someone is looking for a vintage Fender Stratocaster guitar, for example, how far back do they have to go before the guitar becomes a vintage? Does something have to be obsolete today for it to qualify as vintage, or does it just need to be old enough? These questions can complicate the idea of a vintage market from the outset and can make qualifying something as vintage a bit tricky.
In an industry like photography, however, the major innovation of digital photography has made the line between contemporary and vintage a bit easier to see than in other markets. When people refer to vintage cameras, they are referring to film cameras. That being said, a five-year-old 35mm point-and-shoot camera could hardly be said to be a highly desirable vintage camera.
What exactly makes a camera vintage? To begin with, the camera must still possess a use value, whether as a functional camera or as a collector's item for camera enthusiasts. If you want to be able to use the camera, you'll need to determine whether or not the film is still readily manufactured for it. If you're just interested in collecting an eclectic relic from the olden days, your options are much more open as to the types of vintage cameras available.
Most camera enthusiasts are interested in well preserved cameras from much earlier eras that have a certain noteworthy quality to them. Sometimes, the best vintage camera stores have cameras that just seem to jump off the shelf and tell us that they have to be purchased.
Where to Find Great Vintage Camera Stores
Some of the following resources have physical locations in addition to their web site. If you find one that is near where you live, taking a drive to check out the cameras in person would be well worth the effort.
- Adorama - Adorama is a rich source of vintage photography equipment online. They carry 35mm, medium format, large format, collectibles, and more.
- Craigslist - Craigslist is the 21st century version of the newspaper's classified section. The site continues to grow, and now serves big and small cities in the United States and around the world. Log in to find the site closest to you, and under the For Sale section, check out both the Collectibles link and the Photo+Video link. If you are really looking for something in particular, make sure you browse other Craigslist sites. Even if the site is on the other side of the world, many sellers will gladly ship you their items.
- eBay - Without question, eBay is the largest vintage camera store on earth. Clicking on this link will take you directly to the special Vintage Photography section. Thousands of items are available with more and more being added every day. If you know what you're looking for and are patient, you will eventually find it on eBay.
Keep Your Eyes Open
With digital technology becoming the standard for all types of media today, many high quality vintage items are getting lost in the shuffle. A camera that might have cost thousands of dollars a few years ago could be seen as worth a fraction of that today. Keep your eyes open when passing by a yard sale or browsing through a thrift store, as sometimes some great vintage finds can present themselves when you least expect it.