How to chose an antique or classic camera:
Buying rare pieces from the beginnings of photography history can represent a significant investment. These pieces are reserved to some wealthy collectors and camera dealers. They can also be subject to some heavy speculation that are far beyond a collector's interest and means. Sometime, you can also find some expensive copies that would mislead an expert or an auctioneer.
I recommand to give up this world to dealers, and to concentrate on nice decorative and affordable pieces. Collection must remain a hobby and a pleasure You don't need to spend significant amount of money to own some nice and ormamental camerasJ
To choose a camera, you should attach a great importance to its condition. An antique camera in poor condition is very difficult to repair. You will search spare pieces for years, without ever finding exactly what you are looking for. Eventually, if you rebuild an antique view camera, you will end up with a set of odd and deceiving pieces. My main advice would be: buy complete cameras, with lens, ground glass and original plate frame.Make sure that there is no bolt missing, you will never find them. Control the bellow condition, there should not be any rip or hole. For the lens, look to the wood stand, to find small screw holes that would reveal that the lens has been changed, and that it is not the original one.
In the camera fairs don't hesitate to discuss with other collectors, it can help you and give some useful tips and informations.
And don't forget that in the camera fairs, some collectors became real professional dealers, that are not any more animated by the passion of collecting authentic object..
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