As a photographer, I always interested with photography history and its technological development in time.
For a long time ago before cameras are get their well known body shape design and long before all cameras were started to look same, there were many different cameras, with different shapes which were produced for lots of purposes like spying, military drills, peeping, wildlife photography etc.
And I am not talking anything like today’s futuristic prototype cameras. There were mass produced and used.
French, "Physiograph" binocular stereo camera by Leon Bloch, circa 1896. The camera has the 45 x 107mm magazine rather than the single shot version and comes with the original binocular case. The left lens barrel houses the deceptive angle viewfinder, while the right lens barrel houses the magazine for the plate. A good example of a classic detetive/spy camera.
A disc format subminiature camera. c1980s. 6 exposures on 47mm film disk, with Color-Ennit 2.8/20mm.
The Reflex-Jagd-Ango (Reflex Hunting Ango) is an SLR camera made by Goerz in between 1909-1912 and using Ottomar Anschütz' focal-plane shutter, with speeds up too 1/1000 second (the name Ango is a contraction of Anschütz and Goerz). It is a special camera for wildlife and similar photography. It has a long-focus Lynkeioskop lens (not technically a telephoto) mounted on a long rigid body.
This is about as far removed from a traditional camera design as it’s possible to get. It’s the Mark III Hythe Machine Gun Camera, made in 1915 by English manufacturers Thornton Pickard. The camera was an exact replica of the American Lewis Gun, which was adopted by the British military during the First World War. But instead of shooting bullets, it shot pictures. Its purpose was to train pilots in air-to-air combat. The camera was the same size and weight as the real gun, and handled in a similar way. So when an airman ‘shot’ at another plane, the position of the resulting image on the film told his instructors how accurate his aim had been.
Very rare all metal camera made for tropical conditions. Several versions exist: 8x9cm, 9x12cm, 13x18cm And No4, with Stereoscpoe function is being extremely rare. Photographs at the image belongs to rare camera
c.1911 Disguised (sometimes known as detective) cameras had an enduring popularity with the amateur market. This example, used during the First World War, featured a Cooke lens in the side of the monocular and a right angle viewer in the eyepiece, enabling the photographer to disguise his true subject. It used glass plates.
Thompson's Revolver Camera, designed by Mr Thompson and manufactured by A Briois in France, 1862. It takes Four 23mm diameter exposures on 7.5cm diameter wet plate. Pistol-shaped camera. A formidable 1:2/40mm Petzval lens served as "barrel". It was an early solution for achieving an image series in a short time. In 1862!
This camera for the daguerreotype process was introduced by Peter Wilhelm Friedrich Voigtlander (1812-1878) in 1841. The focusing screen was positioned at the widest part of the camera, and there was a magnifier in the shorter of the two cones to aid focusing. Once the picture was sharp, the photographer had to go into the darkroom and swap the focusing screen for a daguerreotype plate.