Camera collecting can be a lucrative investment or an enjoyable hobby. You won't often find an expensive antique camera at a garage sale or flea market. Perhaps, try estate sales and auctions for that truly exciting find. Just remember, that if value is what you are looking for, then condition is the most important feature. A 1950s Polaroid instant camera, may be more valuable than an 1890s box of scrap and metal that used to take pictures. Cameras come in many formats, and you'll have to decide if you want to expose film through one, as you will likely not find a supplier, depending upon the age of the item. Even modern 35mm cameras are being pressured by the technological advancements of the world of digital cameras. Watch out for units that were produced in quantity for the home market. Their true value may be considerably less than the asking price. You'll have to know your subject and establish a collecting gameplan, before you start spending large amounts of money. Your best investment may be books on antique cameras that will give you the knowledge you require.
Secondary products have also appeared in the collectible market. These include photo mugs and photo T-shirts, but the process is still primitive and the colors can fade if not carefully protected. In years to come, family heirlooms in this form could reach the same degree of interest as the daguerreotypes, especially if the original photograph is lost, or if the image is historically significant , like soldiers in uniform from the American Civil War, or if the subject is even a minor celebrity.
Cameras have advanced significantly since the first crude machines were introduced, all the way up to the present with digital technology. Just keep in mind that yesterday's innovative technology will be tomorrow's antique, so don't throw away those old cameras. There has also been a return to the quality of the analog image, so even those 35mm SLR has-beens of the 1970s have captured the attention of today's artists.
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