At the moment of the birth of photography, it was enough to have recorded an image at all. But such is human nature that we are never satisfied and the race to improve the images started in earnest. Much of the early improvements were with the light sensitive photographic material itself, rather than the cameras. Improvements in glass and lens manufacture helped still further, but given the complexity and space required for the early processes, there was little pressure to improve the cameras themselves and they evolved into large folding plate cameras. The large size meant that they could in turn use a large sensitized plate, which gave a good image. The popularity of photography increased with the availability of the wet place process, but given that the equipment to prepare and process the image required, at best, a handcart to carry it, the size and performance of the camera remained little improved. This all changed with the arrival of the mass produced dry plate. Photographs could now be made with an instantaneous exposure, the quality consistent and processing had improved to give finer grain structure. Now was the time to address the inconvenience of the large plate camera.
Below are ten collections of cameras that illustrate the different paths camera development took, all aimed at making photography easier, more portable or immediate. Each collection is listed in date sequence, not by manufacturer, you can use the index room for that.
|Larger format folding cameras||Box cameras|
|6 x 9cm format folding cameras||127 roll film cameras|
|6 x 6cm format folding cameras||Larger format Single Lens reflex cameras|
|Rangefinder cameras||Twin Lens Reflex cameras|
|View cameras||35mm Single Lens Reflex cameras|
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