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Monday, July 10, 2017

McKeown's

I have a couple shelves heavy with books about the age of film photography.  The most useful reference has been McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras.  I found my 7th Edition copy in a Las Cruces used book store about ten years after it was published and paid $7.50 for it.  I used to come across later editions fairly often, but the content did not seem to change enough to make replacement useful.  I do not see McKeown's any longer on used book shelves, but you still can find reasonably priced copies on line.  The last 2005-2006 edition, however, seems to have become a collector item and is priced at several hundred dollars.

McKeown's coverage of the film camera world really is exhaustive and pretty much unique.  Every camera entry is accompanied by a clear illustration along with model history, production dates, features, and average used-market values.  While "Price Guide" figures prominently in the title, by the time of the 7th Edition that aspect of the publication was very soon to be superseded in usefulness by up-to-the-minute price listings available on line.

Another interesting fact to note is that the prices listed in McKeown's from two decades ago are very little different from those seen today.  In fact, if you take inflation into account, most old cameras have substantially decreased in value.  A few iconic brands like Leica, Nikon and the Rolleis are selling now for two or three times the amounts listed in my 7th Edition, but again taking inflation into account, there has been only minimal increases in real value.  I think what that reflects mostly is the phenomenal effect of the rise of auction sites on the World Wide Web. On line accessibility just overwhelmed the market.

4 comments:

James said...

I have the 6th edition... which I picked up on bookfinder.com for about $25. I found it so useful, I sent my copy away to a scanning service I use to turn it into a PDF. Now I have a copy on my iPhone and iPad... and its word-searchable, too. An invaluable resource, if not for prices anymore, for camera information, model numbers, lens variations, etc...

Mike said...

It is great to have an authoritative base line for starting discussions about such a vast landscape. It is not uncommon to see on line exchanges in some of the forums which veer off into strange territory because there has been no initial agreement on exactly what model camera is the subject.

JR Smith said...

Even though I keep saying I'm not going to add any more old cameras to my collection, one of these would be useful for me...just in case I fall off the wagon again...and again :-)

Mike said...

The book is a big help in sorting out ebay listings which often feature poor photos and worse descriptions. "Voighander accordion camera with Compur lens" leaves a lot to be desired. All that aside, it is great fun to be able to browse thorough the whole history of camera making.