500 Cameras - 170 Years of Innovation


Todd Gustavson

Link to resource:

Review of resource

I found this on the sale cart at a B&N a few years ago and grabbed it quick. There are so many quirky and iconic cameras in this that it’s almost too much to take all at once. Instead, I dip into it from time to time and read about a few models and marvel at the mechanical wonders they were.

It’s organized according to format or camera type such as Twin-lens Reflex and Snapshot, 35mm and even a section on Toy Cameras. Delightful to be sure. On page 278 is an entry on my workhorse of 20 years - the Olympus OM1. And at the end the author touches on digital cameras like the Kodak DCS and the iPhone. I think you can still get a copy at a reasonable price if so inclined.

Image of resource:


Looks like a fun retro resource, Kris. Thanks for posting it.

Thank you for the tip. I wonder if it has my dad’s old Exakta from the 40s.

I just flipped through and didn’t see it, Igor. It’s a 35mm camera, right? That’s my recollection.

Yes, it was a 35mm with a huge shiny shutter release button in the front. It predated the SLRs. It was papa’s baby, until he bought the Prominent. Jimmy Stewart is using the Exakta in Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

The book does feature a Prominent -
ca. 1952
Voigtlander & Sohn AG, Braunschweig, West Germany

“The Prominent was a coupled rangefinder 35mm camera with interchangeable lenses and flash-synchronized Synchro-Compur leaf shutter with speeds to 1/500 second. An unusual feature was the top-mounted focus knob on the left side, instead of the usual knurled ring on the lens. Several lenses were available for the camera from 35mm wide angle to 150mm telephoto. Voigtlander made the Prominent from 1951 to 1960.”