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500 Cameras: 170 Years of Photographic Innovation Paperback – Nov 1 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
While 500 seems like a lot of cameras, narrowing it down to "only" this many from thousands of arguably worthy candidates in the collection was a difficult task, but one I think the author did well. Serious collectors could quibble with some inclusions and omissions, but that would be so no matter who did the choosing. The text is well written, does not assume the reader has camera history expertise, and the production quality is excellent.
If you are interested in how photography evolved to where it is today, you absolutely should own this book...and I'm not biased just because my own collection includes a mint Bell & Howell Foton like the one embossed on the cover.
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However it is still a useful book for camera collectors, but should not be regarded as gospel.
Other than the dry nature of the book, it is chock-full of information, with occasional vignettes that expand beyond specific camera details (like the 2-page article about the history of Leica). The pictures of the cameras are very matter-of-fact. I kept wishing for sample photographs created by that model of camera. That, to me, is even more interesting than the cameras themselves. Its kind of like having a history of potter's wheels, without ever showing a finished pot.
It is written by a guy who worked and catalogued for the Eastman museum so it features ALOT of Kodak equipment BUT does balance it with everybody else, Germany, Japan, Britain, France ...
Worth the purchase although I now am haunting eBay looking at these classic beauties ... be warned!