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First mass-produced camera heads to auction

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An extremely rare model of the world’s first commercially produced camera will be auctioned later this year.

Daguerreotype_01

The Daguerreotype originally cost 400 French Francs - an average yearly salary in 1839

The Giroux Daguerreotype camera was designed by Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre and produced in 1839. It will be auctioned on 29 May in Vienna for a starting price of €200,000 (£173,027), though auction house WestLicht Photographica Auction warned that the camera could fetch as much as €700,000 (£605,594).

Unofficially referred to as the Daguerreotype camera, the shooter has a sliding or “double box” body.

The photographer achieves a fixed focus by pulling the smaller inner box away from the front-mounted 15in “achromatic landscape lens”.

Image exposure time takes anywhere between three and 30 minutes – depending on light intensity – and greyish stills are the standard.

The camera is described as being in “excellent original condition” and comes with the original 24-page instruction manual, written in German.

If you can’t stretch to 600 grand for a camera that doesn’t even feature facial recognition, geo-tagging or interchangeable lenses, fear not. The Daguerreotype’s manual will soon be translated into numerous languages and published alongside the original blueprint. ®

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