Inspired by a recent post on Photo.net we decided to compile a brief history of the strangest photography devices of all time.
Feel free to list your favourite camera contraptions if you disagree with the choices made in this list! Now, in no particular order:
1. The World’s Largest Camera
In 1900, commercial photographer George R. Lawrence, who perfected the use of flashlight photography ten years prior, built the biggest camera in the world to take a picture of the Alton Limited locomotive.
At the time, if you wanted a big photo you would need a big camera and this one weighed 1400 pounds (640 kg) and used a 4.5′ × 8′ glass-plate negative!
2. Williamson Aeroplane Camera
Introduced in 1915, this British invention would take aerial photos by being hooked to the base of an aeroplane with the propeller at front. The gears would turn the film within the camera through sheer wind power and advance the film roll.
In the 1980’s, Nimstec Atlanta created a stereo pocket camera capable of churning out 3D lenticular pictures using 35 mm film in 135 film format cartridges.
The Nimslo would use its four lenses to take four separate images simultaneously to create a 3D photograph using 2 full 35mm exposures on the film, essentially halving a roll of 36 exposures to 18 3D shots.
4. Leica S1
Leica introduced their first digital camera in 1996 with the S1. Each image was a perfect square crop at 5140 x 5140 resolution and took over three minutes to capture. The camera would need to be mounted in order to pull off perfect still images.
5. Tessina Camera
In 1956, Concava created a camera that was small enough to wear on the wrist! 35mm film could be loaded into the subminiature camera using special cassettes.
6. Doryu 2-16
In 1955, a pistol shaped camera was introduced, I guess in those times concealing a camera was more dangerous than a gun! The pistol camera weighed 582g in total and shot at focal lengths lower than 30mm. The flash cartridges could be carried around like bullets in a special magazine and detonated with large audible bangs.
7. Echo 8 and Camera-Lite
This camera was made by Suzuki in 1951 and was not only a practical lighter, but also a functioning camera thanks to a discreet hole that housed a 17mm f / 8 lens.
8. Game Boy Camera
In 1998, Nintendo released a camera accessory that would insert into the game cartridge slot of a Game Boy essentially transforming the gaming device into a really crappy camera. Still, it provided kids with lots of fun memories and the black and white pictures could even be developed with a Game Boy Printer.
9. Summa Report
This press camera was provided to reporters around 1954 by Tiranti of Rome. The device features many components dedicated to one individual action; i.e. viewing, focusing, and taking the photograph…its all rather confusing to be honest. Probably the reason why this camera is a one of a kind mess.
Not quite a camera, the Visoflex was essentially a mirror box (with a viewfinder) that would attach to Leica M-series rangefinder and converted it to an SLR in the weirdest way possible.
Proving that weird stuff never goes out of fashion, the Bokeh Chinese website went just a step further to provide a glimpse at the odd cameras people can buy right now. Scroll to the bottom of their write-up to see if what’s strange today may just be the norm tomorrow!