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Most Interesting Film Cameras

By Dillon Wallace

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, what’s a camera worth? Priceless? 


That seems to be the price we pay when it comes to capturing and cherishing our most memorable moments. But not every camera was or is created equal. And in the last plus century, since the invention of the first camera, there have been some pretty innovative and interesting models among the bunch. 


So, let’s find out what cameras had the most interesting impact on the film industry as we know it today.


The First Movie Camera

Imagine the year is 18901 and you’re George Eastman. You’ve just partnered with Thomas Edison to bring his Kinetograph camera to life. The first movie camera to record true motion pictures on a moving strip of film – a celluloid film you invented. The world as you know it. How you view it. Capture it. Is about to change forever.


Introduction of Color

While color started to gain serious popularity in the 1930s, the first commercially successful color photography/film process actually dates back all the way to 1907. The French Lumière brothers, who were already well known in the world of cinema, created the Lumière Autochrome. With their invention, they used special plates (which were a pretty penny more expensive than the black-and-white plates of the same size). Several decades later, Kodachrome film would become the color film of choice for decades until it’s demise in production in 2010.


The Polaroid

Immediate gratification is something ingrained in our DNA as human beings. That’s why the Polaroid camera (Model 95) was such a huge hit when it was released in the late 1940s. Simply point and shoot and within a minute or so you could witness the “real-time” photo development process take place. It was the fastest way to go from shooting to viewing. To this day, it’s still a somewhat widely adored way to take pictures.


The Disposable Camera

A decent camera was something that not everyone could or wanted to buy back in the day. However, that didn’t stop people from wanting to capture memorable moments. Luckily, disposable cameras like the Kodak Funsaver, Fujifilm QuickSnap and many others in that same “shoot and toss” vein offered shutter-enthusiasts the ability to snap and capture the moment without the hefty price tag of a nice camera. Consumers could buy a disposable camera that came ready to snap a set number of photos. Then, when they were finished using it, they could simply take the film to get developed and toss the camera.


The (Pre-)Digital Age

Although the digital film era didn’t gain serious traction until after the millennium, the first digital camera was actually invented way back in 1975 by Kodak engineer Steve Sasson. Although it was just a prototype that would later be retooled (paving the way for what we know today), Sasson was able to create the initial design using spare parts and leftovers of various camera kits around the factory. It was a giant, bulky thing that took almost 25 seconds to capture a single image at a whopping 0.01-megpixel quality. It’s easy to laugh at now but back in the mid-70s it couldn’t get more cutting edge.


Film and Digital Hybrid

While film has taken a backseat to digital over the last couple decades, one thing is certain – film isn’t dead. In fact, film now more than ever, is on somewhat of a cultural comeback. Sure, it’s more expensive and time-consuming to shoot and develop, but there is no replacement for the authenticity of film. It’s why new cameras like the PONF and Fujifilm’s X-Pro 3 are looking to incorporate analog ideas in a digital camera. Do you want to shoot on film or digital? Hopefully, you’ll be able to switch between the two on a whim.


It’s easy to see how there've been so many interesting and innovative film cameras over the past century. But if you’re really interested in film cameras, then there’s nothing you should be more interested in than getting your analog media digitized. All that old film is degrading from old age and improper storage. Don’t let those memories fade away over time like the film (format) industry has in the last twenty years. Get them digitized today at KODAK Digitizing.

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