Cameras are the technical heart of film shooting. In a lightproof cabinet, the single frames of a celluloid strip covered with a light-sensitive layer are moved along a lens / shutter and are exposed. 170 cameras of the collection are shown in Cameras
Recording devices from the early years of film were boxes made of wood and the "operateur" had to turn the crank manually to record a scene. Among the rare wooden models contained in the collection are
- a Kine-Messter camera from around 1900 (serial number 250)
- the oldest known device of the Pathé Professionel camera series, made in 1905 (serial number 18)
- a Kinemacolor colour camera built around 1908 by Alfred Darling in Brighton, that was restored in 1998
- a Geyer filming system
(1921) - a replica of the Pathé B.
The range of 35mm cameras produced by Heinrich Ernemann AG Dresden is well documented with the types A, C, C II and E.
With the advent of sound film between 1928 and 1930, professional camera technology became more complex: besides the recording of images, sound recording had to be carried out using so-called photographic sound recording cameras. Studio cameras, which became increasingly heavier, were now equipped with a blimp, an oil fluid tripod and a reflex finder. Cameras for silent film recording developed into easy-to-handle, "liberated" devices.
The collection comprises the most significant cameras used by the DEFA studios in Babelsberg between 1946 and 1990, e.g.,
- the Parvo G as well as models from the Super Parvo series (Normal, Reflex and Color) by André Derbrie Paris
- the Studio Eclair (converted into a DEFAFLEX 35), the Camé 300 Reflex and the hand-held camera Caméflex 35/16 by Eclair Paris
- Russian / Soviet import cameras (Moskwa, Rodina and Konwas Automat as well as the 70 mm models 70 SK and 1 KS SCH R)
- Arriflex hand-held and studio cameras for 16 mm and 35mm film stock.
Among the collections rare unique items is the only 70mm camera made in the GDR by DEFA engineers, the DEFA Reflex
, as well as accessories home-made by directors (e.g., the blimp of nature filmmaker Siegfried Bergmann).
A substantial part of the collection consists of special cameras (e.g., the ZL 1 made by VEB Zeiss Ikon for slow motion shots) or of test models and prototypes respectively. Among them is the 16 mm sound film camera Ikophon, a device made predominantly for amateur use by Zeiss Ikon Dresden in 1939.
Approximately 70 cameras contained in the stock can be considered amateur devices. The types AK 16 or Pentaflex 16 were produced in large quantities during the 1950s and 1960s and were used, e.g., by the numerous company film studios of the GDR.
A final category of cameras that is instructive regarding the proliferation of film as a medium mostly consists of 8 mm or 9.5mm cameras used for the documentation of familiar events, holidays and leisure time. Devices made by Agfa, Bauer, Bolex, Lomo, Meopta or Siemens conquered the living rooms during the 1950s. They are the precursors of todays home video and digital technology.