Photographs Of Cameras And Lenses – Why Are They So Popular?

Before I reset my Flickr photostream a couple of years back, I had something approaching 5000 photos there.

To my eternal chagrin, the one with most views by far was a picture of a handful of 80s compact film cameras.

A sequel picture to that one is my second most viewed, and some 17 of my top 20 most viewed images are of cameras and/or lenses.

On the upside, I do quite enjoy making pictures of beautiful old cameras, and of course any attention one picture gets will possibly, if not probably, lead the viewer to explore more of your other work.

Much like blog posts – the most popular ones are often the entry ticket to your archives.

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I’ve gradually re-released some of my older shots into the public stream again on Flickr, and again, those of photography gear seem to reap the largest audience.

But why? What do you think? Why are pictures of cameras and lenses so popular? 

Do you have any of your own experiences with posting these kinds of images online, and how much attention they receive?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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6 thoughts on “Photographs Of Cameras And Lenses – Why Are They So Popular?”

  1. It is quite likely that people have seen your wonderful photos and are curious how you made them because they are hoping to do the same.

    1. Thank you Burt, that’s very kind of you to say so. I do remember when I was very new to film photography in 2012, I looked at hundreds, perhaps thousands of photos on Flickr I liked, and was keen to seen the equipment used. The trouble was, the best photographers I followed seemed to be able to eek out a wonderful photo with anything from a cheap old point and shoot to a high end SLR, so it didn’t help much! That was an early lesson about it not mattering much what gear you had, but what you did with it.

      It did aid me in finding some of the particular lenses with distinctive character I was curious about though, like the Helios 44s.

      So I guess I’ve mostly followed this practice myself to return the favour, tagging my images on Flickr with the camera (which happens automatically with the EXIF data) and lens (sometimes in the EXIF, but not usually as I mostly use old manual lenses), and putting them in related albums, so anyone curious about the particular look of photo can see what lens was used.

  2. I am guilty : ) I found you precisely through that photo, by searching by one camera. Certainly the other 79 cameras were looked for too. In my case I look for two things: if the looks and ergonomics of a camera would entice me to take it with me and be comfortable in my hand; and if the lens of that camera has a certain rendering I would like. And about personal experience although my blog is rather of personal experiences my most looked at and searched post is my review of the black beauty: the Canon EF film camera, a beautiful manual Canon FD mount that sadly was not working properly.

    Speaking about photos of gear by the sake of the gear… I find that cameras a bit since 80´s are not that interesting to look at, they don’t look like marvelous machines. Older cameras instead look like handmade clocks almost, you can see the mechanisms and they actually are interesting to the eyes, even when I don’t have intention to get them as those cameras can be a bit heavy and somehow the photos of posterior plastic photos usually are better to my needs for less cost.

    1. Interesting Francis, I didn’t know that! Like I said, one of the upsides is it does at least provide the entry point into your archives, so even if people first find you because of a picture of a camera, they might at least browse your other photos and like what they see.

      Yes I agree that many old cameras look like (and are!) masterpieces of design and engineering. With modern cameras it’s all in the electronics and software so there’s not much to see and appreciate on the surface.

  3. Every now and then I take a picture of a camera or lens that I bought or hope to sell.
    One such picture – a boring picture of a lens by the window – is the only picture I ever had “explored” by flickr in over a half decade of using the platform. As a result, it has by far the most likes and probably has more views than all my other pictures combined…
    I like to joke (semi-joke?) that it is the best assessment of my photographic ability…

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