Podcast: Camera Collecting and Photography Auctions


Is your Leica M7 worth more than what you paid for it? How about the value of that Brownie in your grandfather’s closet, or even your first digital camera from 1995? With Heritage Auctions preparing to host its first-ever auction of collectible cameras, we take time to talk camera and lens collecting with Nigel Russel, of Heritage, and Gabriel Biderman, of B&H Photo. Russel is a world-recognized camera expert and photo historian, and discusses the criteria that make a camera retain or increase in value, the possibility of finding a collectible camera at a garage sale, and the general ins and outs of a camera auction. We also chat about Ansel Adams’s 4 x 5 camera that is currently up for auction, as well as the “cult” of Leica and even about a camera from the 1860s that uses water between the lenses to create a panoramic wide-angle view.

A well-respected night photographer, Gabriel Biderman is also a camera collector whose first rule of collecting is to only acquire cameras with which he can actually take pictures. His collection includes cameras from each decade of the 20th Century, and he actively uses these film cameras, in addition to his growing list of digital cameras. Join us as we take on the subject of camera collecting from two distinct points of view and revel in the shared pleasure of classic photographica.

Guests: Nigel Russel and Gabriel Biderman

Ansel Adams's Arca-Swiss 4x5 View Camera used from 1964 to 1968 | Estimate: $70,000 - $100,000

Ansel Adams's Arca-Swiss 4x5 View Camera Outfit used from 1964 to 1968 | Estimate: $70,000 - $100,000

Willard D. Morgan's Leica IIIc Camera Outfit | Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000

Reid III Type 1 Rangefinder Camera. English c. 1951 | Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500

Kodak Ektra Rangefinder Camera Outfit - American, c. 1946 | Estimate: $1,200 - $1,800

Kardon Signal Corps PH-629/UF Rangefinder Camera - American, Premier Instrument Corp. c. 1946 | Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000

Leica I Camera - German, 1926/27 | Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000

Nigel Russel, Allan Weitz, and Gabriel Biderman




Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves


Thank you for the comment Jose, it really makes our day when we get positive feedabck like this.

I have some vintage  8mm &16mm movie cameras.

Is is there a market for these?

Dan...I would think there certainly is a market, especially for the 16mm, depending on model/condition, of course. A quick glance at ebay should give you a rough idea of going rates. If you have a model that is particularly unique, perhaps its worth reaching out to an auction house.  Thanks for listening and reaching out to us.   

I own a Minolta SRT101 it is in mint condition , I purchased this camera in 1971 at a cost off$152 Au  . It was used about three years ago to photograph my granddaughters, photo's turned out great....

Thank you for the comment Kevin and thanks for listening.  Did $152Au break the bank for you back in '71 or was that an affordable option? 

I enjoyed listening to the podcast.

Beware of eBay. I agree; I buy from B&H and KEH.

Gabe: You answered my question. You're not looking for "shelf queens". You want to use your cameras.

I don't have the collection of you or Allan. I still shoot with my Canon A-1 that I bought new in 1980.

In 2013, my wife and I were traveling back from a trip to Charleston. I mentioned to Paula "KEH has a used Canon F-1 for sale and with a few accessories (AE Finder FN, AE Motor Drive FN, and two focusing screens), it's $400."
She asked "That's their flagship?" I answered "Yes, for the 80's". She said "Buy it."

With Canon FD gear, I'm on the lookout for unique lenses and gear. I don't remember when, but I found a rare Canon lens for sale at B&H: a Canon Macrophoto 20mm f3.5. The Macrophoto lenses are rarely found on eBay. I already had the Canon Auto Bellows, so this was a natural fit. I brought it to the local camera club and they were blown away with the magnification of the lens when looking at a quarter.

I want to get medium format systems, Mamiya 645 and RZ67, and a large format system, but with a purchase of a 5D III in 2013, I need to get EF lenses and Paula will probably say no unless I win the lottery.

Ralph...Thanks so much for the comment and for continuing to engage with the podcast. Sounds like your collection is doing pretty well, what's your favorite camera at the moment?


My favorite is the F-1. It's a nice solid camera. But with two film cameras, I have the A-1 loaded with B&W and the F-1 with color.

The Leica 1 as shown should be dated 1925 or 1926; i.e., mushroom shutter button.

Steve: Thanks for the comment and for listening to the podcast.  That date came form the Heritage Auction catalog  but after a bit of research, it would seem that your dates may be more accurate.  I will email with Heritage and confirm as soon as possible.  Thanks again!

Steve-- Confirmed. It should be dated 1926/27.  Thanks for pointing that out.


I started my Canon FD lenses and compatable Canon cameras (F-1, bellows, etc).

I have a lot of used Canon equipment in excellent condition, if interested contact me at [email protected].

Visit my website, many images are taken with Canon manual cameras. WEBSITE: alansieglephotography.com