Monday, February 15, 2010

What to Do With Old Cameras

QUESTION: I just purchased a good digital camera, and I love it. Besides my 35mm camera, I have several other older cameras. What can I do with them? Are they collectable?

ANSWER: Now that digital photography has become firmly a part of people’s lives, what should everyone do with their old cameras? Even though photography has been around for well over a century, it’s taken a long time for photographic gear–cameras in particular–to become part of the collectible scene.

Last summer, as I was browsing a local church flea market, I saw an entire table full of cameras of every type and description. Most were 35mm castoffs, but a few were older. With the ease of taking photos with a digital camera, let alone not having to buy film, it’s no wonder the dealer had so many cameras and lenses on hand. But are these recent castoffs worth anything in the collectible market? That’s the big question.

Unfortunately, in the world of photographic memorabilia, recent 35mm cameras aren’t worth much unless they’re classic cameras or rare or unique models. Sure, in perhaps 20 years or so, their value will climb, but for right now their only value remains as used cameras.

So what types of cameras can you collect without breaking the bank? There are lots of modern cameras that have long ago outlasted their usefulness that can create an interesting camera collection. You can pick up a decent 100-year-old Kodak box camera for about $25 to $35 at flea markets. Folding cameras go for a bit more. There are also lots of other cameras, like Kodak’s Brownie that you can buy to start a modest collection.

The biggest problem with collecting cameras, however, is where to put them. Ideally, you should display them in a glass-doored cabinet to keep them from getting dusty. If you can’t display them, buy one of those large plastic storage bins at your local discount store and wrap each camera in bubble wrap. Be sure to put some drying agent in the bin to keep moisture from building up.

For more information on collecting cameras, read Collectors Snap Up Old Cameras.


Anonymous said...

your post answered all my questions about old cameras. To bad;if you look a the craftmanship of these cameras it would cost hundreds to make today.

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