The whirr of the camera ejecting the photograph and the bated breath anticipation as the photo develops brings back memories of Grandma's Polaroid camera. Some families had simple Instamatics, easy to use, and the cartridge went to the film developer, returning as a set of negatives and photographs. Other photographers preferred to use a 35-millimetre camera with manual adjustments for focus and exposure. No matter which vintage camera brings back memories of family, outings, and posing for photographs, there are several models available on eBay.
With over 15,000 listings in the "sold" category, Polaroid tops the list of most popular vintage cameras on eBay. Established in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, Polaroid introduced instant film in 1947 and the first commercially produced instant camera, the Land Camera, in 1948. While there are many different Polaroid instant camera models, three types remain solid sellers, in part because of the Impossible Project, which manufactures instant film for the SX-70, 600, and Image/Spectra cameras.
The first SX-70, introduced in 1970, is a folding single lens reflex camera. It folds into a small rectangle, and then pops up into a full-size instant camera with an easy-to-use focus. Among the many SX-70 models are the OneStep, Presto!, and TimeZero.
The Barbie, OneStep 600, and Supercolor 600 cameras are among the many models of the 600 SLR folding cameras. Introduced in 1982, the 600 has a built-in flash. It is the most common Polaroid in the vintage camera category.
With autofocus, automatic exposure and a slightly larger image, the Image/Spectra cameras provide an easy introduction into instant camera photography. Among the many models are the Image, Image Pro, Spectra, and Spectra Onyx.
Founded in 1888, Eastman Kodak introduced its first box camera the same year. The small camera took 6.4-centimetre round pictures. A roll of film produced approximately 100 exposures. Relieved of the bulky cameras and film used by professional photographers, amateurs could take their own photographs. With over 6,800 "sold" listings under "Vintage Cameras", Kodak holds second place among the most popular cameras listed on eBay.
In the early 1890s, Kodak introduced the first folding cameras, and in 1897, a pocket-sized model became available. The folding cameras use a bellows mechanism, allowing the photographer to fold the camera so it takes up less space. Kodak manufactured approximately 200 different models between 1890 and 1960.
In the first year of production, Kodak sold more than 150,000 Brownies. Manufactured from 1900 to the 1980s, the Brownie camera evolved from a cardboard box camera with a fixed lens to an automatic model, the Starmatic, which sold 10 million cameras in five years.
The introduction of the 126 Instamatic and its new cartridge film in 1963 made loading film a snap with no risk of light infiltration. The three new film types, Kodacolor-X, Kodachrome-X, and Ektachrome-X, produced colour prints and slides. By 1970, sales of the 126 Instamatics exceeded 50 million.
In 1972, Kodak introduced the 110 Instamatic, with accompanying black and white, colour, and slide films. The small camera is easy to tuck into a handbag or pocket for family outings. Kodak sold more than 50 million 110 Instamatics in three years.
Known for its high-quality 35-millimetre cameras, Canon cameras are popular items in the Vintage Cameras section on eBay. Founded in 1937, Canon is a Japanese company known for its imaging and optical products, including cameras, camcorders, and copiers. It developed its first 35-millimetre prototype between 1933 and 1936 but didn't introduce its first camera, the Canonflex, until 1959.
Introduced in 1976, the Canon AE-1 revolutionised 35-millimetre photography with its microprocessor, shutter speed priority, and through-the-lens metering. The AE-1 allowed the photographer to use the auto function or manually set the focus and exposure. The AE-1 was in production for seven years. There are still many AE-1 cameras in good working condition, some complete with accessories and a camera bag, ready for a novice or experienced photographer.
How to buy vintage cameras on eBay
With a plethora of listings on every eBay page, it is easy to locate vintage cameras when you use the convenient search bar. You can start by typing in the camera manufacturer and model, and click on the search button to view a wide variety of descriptions and photographs. After reviewing the seller's feedback and ratings, finalise your purchase. When your vintage camera arrives, you can step out with the family and record new memories with your new, yet old, camera.