The eight strangest and most original photo cameras in history

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Cameras are precise tools. The oldest models were authentic works of art with the same precision as a watch. A monument to mechanical beauty. But from time to time, we find models that stand out for their design or even their extravagance. let’s meet some of the most interesting models in the history of the photographic industry.

Old cameras are beautiful objects. When you can’t take pictures with them, you can place them as a decorative object and it will surely attract all eyes. Some can stand out for their shapes, others for the precision that engineers always stand out for, and some are so questionable, for one reason or another, that they also deserve a few lines.

We are not going to make a list of the best, or the ugliest, but those that have attracted the most attention for one reason or another, such as what they have meant in history or because of the design that has marked an entire generation.

photographic rifle

It is not a camera that we recommend carrying with you. It seems more like a weapon than a creative instrument. It was invented by the French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey in 1882. to capture the movement of animals.

strange cameras

photographic rifle

It had a mechanical shutter that allowed engraving on the same plate up to 12 photos per second, faster than some current cameras. It had a top speed of 1/720 which allowed birds to freeze in flight more accurately than ever before.

It is remembered today because the Lumière brothers used it as inspiration for their famous movie camera.

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kodak brownies

This camera was a revolution just like the first digital models. nothing was the same since then. Suddenly photography was for everyone. A small box with a simple meniscus lens as its sole objective made photography popular.

kodak brownies

Original Kodak Brownie (Viquipedia)

In their first versions came with a reel that allowed 100 shots. You had to send the camera and they returned it to you with your paper copies and loaded again. Nothing so simple did so much for photography.

In someway, this camera resembles the operation of current mobile phones. The only thing the user can do is choose the frame and the moment of the shot. And then see the result. It is the camera for which the slogan was born ‘You shoot and we do the rest’. It was a camera aimed at children, hence the name of a popular cartoon of the time.


One of the most interesting cameras of the 1920s that was overshadowed by the success of the famous 35mm Leica. It was a compact camera, with a bright f1.8 lens that allowed you to shoot discreetly in low light.

curious cameras

original ermanox

His main supporter was Erich Salomonwho used it to capture, as never before, politicians in their moments of relaxation, without being detected, thanks to the fact that he could hide the camera, despite working with 6×4.5cm plates. He became famous for hiding it in a briefcase and photographing one of the most mediatic trials of the moment.

We do not know what photography would have been like if this camera had triumphed over the ‘minuscule’ size of the Leica that would appear in the same decade.

Contarex Bullseye

One of the most beautiful cameras ever made. And perhaps one of the best in history. The Contarex Bullseye was a Zeiss Ikon bet to make the best camera of the moment. Legend has it that the screws are glued because they were convinced that it would never have to be repaired.

curious cameras

Zeiss Ikon Contarex 1 Bullseye

Its name comes from the size of the light meter on the top of the body. Not only was the body perfect, but the lenses are considered to be the best Carl Zeiss has ever made.

It was a camera ahead of its time, so its production was very small. It barely exceeded 30,000 units, compared to a Nikon Fof which more than 850,000 were sold. If you see it on the second-hand market, do not hesitate to buy it whenever your pocket allows it.

Chambers of Miroslav Tichý

This is a unique camera, only one copy exists. It is the camera of a homeless photographer who built a camera out of garbage to become a voyeur. It’s surprising that something like this works.

strange camera

One of its iconic cameras

Some call it crazy Miroslav Tichy, others as criminals and some as artists. He photographed the women he saw on the street with such a device and then revealed them on any surface. The effect she achieved has not yet been imitated.

It is difficult to understand how these cameras worked, how he managed to focus the photographs and what his obsession was. Today his work would not be accepted at all.

mickey mouse camera

This camera shows that the good photographer does not need a good tool, but to know how to think. Stephen Shoreone of the most important authors of the 20th century, worked for a long time with this camera.

mickey mouse camera

One of the strangest cameras we can see

It is a simple toy camera, with a fixed diaphragm like mobile phones and in the shape of the head of the popular mouse. Every year they take out different models but photographers always look for this mythical model.

Leica S1Pro

It is a camera that was presented as a prototype in 1996, but it was not commercialized until 1997. It was conceived to work in a studio, because more than taking a photograph, it scanned the scene. If you wanted to have a file, you had to wait more than 180 seconds. It only worked connected to the computer.

Leica S1Pro

Leica S1Pro

in return you got a 43×43 cm copy at 300 dpi, quite a feat in those prehistoric years of digital photography. On top of that you could equip it with the Leica R and M lensesThey also sold an adapter to work with the entire range of Hasselblad lenses.

The problem is that it cost over $21,000. According to the chronicles of the brand, only about 150 units were sold. It was a strange machine, with a ring on the sides of the body to hold it firmly, which gave it a totally different look than what we were used to.

Canon Ixus APS

A long time ago, just before the boom in digital photography, the APS system. Everything revolved around a kidney-shaped spool containing a roll of film in a format smaller than 35mm. It was impossible to put the reel wrong and allowed to take pictures with various proportions, from the classic 3:2 to the panoramic 16:9.

Canon Ixus Apps

original canon ixus

His problem is that the world was already digital. But in return, designs such as this Canon IXUS emerged, which set the trend for compact cameras at the time. It was so popular that a copy of this camera can be seen at the MoMa in New York and even in a music video for Lenny Kravitzvery fond of photography.

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Surely you remember many more strange and original cameras, but going to my memory I have come up with the eight models that we have seen in the article. In the end the cameras are another element within the photographic act. And the important thing is how you use it and the results you get.

Cameras are precise tools. The oldest models were authentic works of art with the same precision as a watch. A…

Cameras are precise tools. The oldest models were authentic works of art with the same precision as a watch. A…

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