Voigtlander daguerreotype camera, 1840.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Voigtlander daguerreotype camera, 1840.

© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Replica of a camera designed by Peter Wilhelm Friedrich Voigtlander (1812-1878). It was one of the earliest practical portrait cameras and one of the earliest cameras made of metal. It was the first camera to incorporate the newly designed Petzval lens, the large aperture of which enabled satisfactory portraits to be made with an exposure of under a minute. The body consists of two cones, the longer of which forms the camera itself and contains the lens. The smaller cone contains the focusing screen and eyepiece. In the Daguerreotype proces, invented by Louis Daguerre (1789-1851) and made public in 1839, a picture made on a silver surface sensitized with iodine was developed by exposure to mercury vapour.

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