Cameras of the 1950s

Art Scene

Cameras of the 1950s

Every year new cameras are released. They promise to be a better quality and more stylish than their predecessors. However, it is important to consider where these cameras came from and one way of doing that is by looking into cameras from the 1950s.

The post-war era was a time when people had to group together and rebuild their towns. Manufacturing had to continue in order to help rebuild the economy. During this time, cameras became popular because they were a way to capture history and remember the  the rebuilding process.

The cameras of the 1950s were much larger than those we see today and because you could not see how the photo would look before developing them you had to trust your instincts and photography skills.


One example of a 1950s camera is The Button Camera. In the beginning these cameras were extremely large and heavy but were used to capture candid shots. Because of their size they needed to be used with a strap and the photographer had to wear a large, heavy coat (similar to a trench coat) to hold the equipment. A benefit of these cameras was that a lever was placed in the pocket of the jacket and you could quickly take still images without anyone seeing too much. They were the perfect option for private investigators and intelligence personnel.

In the 1960s, a lighter camera was developed for the same purpose. This one could be placed on the belt buckle, which made surveillance much easier. The problem with these cameras was that they were expensive and extremely difficult to find. If you had one, you were lucky. Today these cameras are even smaller and lighter and can capture video as well as still photography.


It is amazing how cameras have developed over time. Many are still designed with the old 1950s style in mind. The antique cameras from the 1950s remain to be popular collector’s items and they can be found all over the world. Even popular auction websites will sell them.

Some 1950s camera names:

Ful-Vue Super
Selfix 16-20
Perkeo I
Isolette 1
Vito B
And more!

Check out this cool site of other Vintage Camera’s from the 50s



What kind of camera do you have? Do you have any vintage cameras?