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Vintage Box Cameras

Despite the transition to digital cameras, there's still some fascination that comes with having a box camera in this time and age. Box cameras feature a plastic box or cardboard with a lens and a film at opposite sides. Whether for the nostalgic feeling it brings, or simply the incomparable image quality, vintage cameras are still worth it. Brands of reliable vintage box cameras you can find around include Kodak Brownie, Valiant 620, Agfa Ansco and Marvel S-20.

What are the different types of vintage box camera lenses?

Most box cameras come with fixed focus lenses. The vintage camera lenses are of two main types:

  • Meniscus lens: This kind of lens has a concave shape on one side and a convex on the other with light entering through the concave side.
  • Doublet fixed-focus lenses: In this type, the camera has two lenses constructed in a similar manner and with a shutter mounted in between them. These lenses are able to produce larger images as compared to what the meniscus lens.

What film formats are available for vintage box cameras?

The cameras have the following types of film formats:

  • 35mm format:  This is the cheapest format in the shooting film. Shooting is quite fast when using this format and it is possible to develop the film in a lab. The downside is that it is a small format with a much lesser resolving power than the medium or large film formats.
  • Medium format: In these vintage box cameras, images are recorded on media larger than 24 by 36 mm (as is for the 35mm format). Normally, they range from 6 by 6 cm up until 6 by 9. The resolving power is much higher than in the small format and it is possible to get a shallower depth of field. It is also modular and easier to scan. The large size comes as a disadvantage due to weight and inconvenience. It's also relatively costly to develop the films.
  • Large format:  This encompasses many film sizes. They start from 4×5 inches and anything bigger. The pro of this format is the large size of the photo and the quality. The downside is the bulky nature and the high cost.

Vintage Box Camera Material

The earliest box cameras were made from plastic or cardboard and wood but later on metal was also introduced. With the different kinds of material, you can choose a vintage camera that you will still use or keep for a while. For longevity and protection purposes, opt for a vintage camera case as well.

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