Got an old school camera you don’t know what to do with?
It’s difficult to know the difference between a vintage camera and a camera that’s simply outdated and useless. If you’re looking to start a vintage camera collection, or want to know if the camera you currently have is worth anything, you need to know what to look for to determine whether or not it’s junk.
Here’s a quick checklist guide of what to look for with vintage cameras, and whether it’s worth putting to use, selling to a collector, or leaving it to remain part of your personal collection.
Does it still work?
If the camera still works, it’s considered more valuable. This isn’t always the case, but a safe general rule.
If film is available and it still takes photos, a photographer somewhere is likely dying to test it out and observe the unique traits that each old camera has, not to mention the interesting qualities of developing film after it has expired.
In the digital age, it’s tricky to find even still-relevant film types in most stores, but don’t get disheartened- old film is still available at specialty shops and through photography hobbyists. Collectors often stockpile old film for exactly this reason!
What year was it made?
Basically, the older it is, the more valuable it is. Even if the camera doesn’t work, it could fetch a hefty price from the right collector, or even a museum.
Photography is still a fairly new, but since our technology has come so far since the first camera was invented, every old camera is itself a historical vignette of the growth of a new artistic medium. Simply put, if it looks old, look into it; you may have a prized piece of the past!
What brand is it?
When it comes to cameras, brand is everything. Certain brands that are known for taking finer photos, having unique design or functions, or being particularly long-lasting will be worth more.
Brand is what is recognized first by more casual hobbyists, as it is the most identifiable feature.
If you have a Leitz camera, have it checked out by a specialist! These are worth big bucks, along with some specific models of Nikon, Lieca, Hasselblad and of course, old-school Polaroids.
Does it have nostalgia factor?
Some cameras can be easily resold due to the fact that the newest generation of established photography hobbyists remember using the camera themselves. Many people would love to hold onto a fond memory from their past, or possibly the model of camera that sparked their passion of the art.
Polaroid is an extremely popular nostalgic camera, credible for its unique ability to let you instantly reminisce with a hard copy photo, moments after taking it. With production of Polaroid film recently restarting, these cameras are definitely not junk and will likely only appreciate with time.
Considering all these factors, you should now at least have a good idea if it’s time to take it to the camera specialist, or send it away with Junk It!