11 of the Most Expensive Cameras Ever Made
August 29, 2015
Take a look at our breakdown of 11 cameras that would certainly leave you feeling out of pocket, including the most expensive camera ever sold at auction.
1. Leica Q
First up, an honourable mention has to go to the Leica Q. While it’s nowhere near as costly as the other cameras on the list, at £2,900 it does hold the distinction of currently being the most expensive compact camera on the market, edging out the Sony RX1R, which originally retailed at £2,599.
How much? £2,900, or about the same price as a used 2007 Ford Focus
2. Doryu 2-16
This rare, police-issue Japanese camera went under the hammer for thousands back in 2013. It was apparently designed for policemen to use for photographing protests, which presumably calmed volatile situations right down.
How much? £9,000, or about the same price as 79 actual rifles from Walmart.
3. Leica S (Typ 007)
A bit more of an investment, the freshly released version of the high-end Leica S comes packing a 37.5MP sensor, with no low-pass filter for optimal image quality. It’s somewhat appropriate that it has the same code number as James Bond, who not only was known for his expensive tastes but in the novel Goldfinger is even described as using a Leica!
How much? £12,900, or the same price as 645 martinis at London’s Ritz Hotel.
4. Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 Digital back
Now we’re talking. Packing a hefty 80MP of resolution to play with, the Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 uses a 53.7 x 40.3 mm CCD sensor to produce images of superlative quality, which it can capture at maximum speeds of 1.2 frames per second.
How much? £19,996, or about the same price as 2,221 of these necklace things I found on Etsy that look a bit like a leaf.
5. PhaseOne XF IQ3 Digital Back
Capture 60-minute, 80-megapixel exposures with the Sensor+ in PhaseOne’s obscenely pricey IQ3 digital backs. Or if you prefer, you could plump for the 50MP version and enjoy up to 14 stops of dynamic range. Either way, you’re shelling out tens of thousands for the privilege.
How much? £24,799, or the same price as 506 Hurricane disco smoke machines from Phase One DJ and Disco supplies (no relation).
6. Hasselblad H5D-200c
Hasselblad’s multi-shot medium format system uses pixel-shifting technology to allow its 50MP sensor to capture 200MP images, and if you order off of B&H for £25,000 you’ll also get a copy of Lightroom chucked in with it, which will save you a few quid. Bargain.
How much? £25,000 (originally $45,000), or about the same price as 298 years on the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.
7. Diamond Canon IXUS
We’re getting into the weird stuff now. In 2006 Canon celebrated ten years of Digital ELPH by auctioning off a diamond-crusted IXUS 65 for charity, providing one lucky and wealthy person with some serious photographic bling.
How much? £29,381 (€40,000), or about the same price as 391 Silver 0.10ct Diamond Sapphire Cluster engagement rings from Argos.
8. Hasselblad Space Camera
An American amateur photographer named Wally Schirra, who also happened to be an astronaut, snapped this one up in 1962, and thereafter it became the first Hasselblad in space. Auctioned off last year, it was snapped up by a ‘space historian’ who promised to take good care of it.
How much? £178,212 ($281,250), or about the same price as 5,942 of these ‘Spaceman’ fancy dress costumes.
9. Gold-plated Leica Luxus II
How much would you pay for a one-of-a-kind gold-plated Leica camera? Your answer may have disappointed the Hong Kong auctioneers who sold it back in 2013, raising a pretty price but falling far short of their $1.2million target.
How much? £380,000 ($620,000), or about the same price as 23 Leica S Typ 007s.
10. World’s oldest commercial camera
The discovery of a daguerreotype camera in a German attic led to be it being auctioned off for almost $800,000, which is as good an argument for getting around to cleaning the loft as we’ve ever heard. Experts deemed it was likely built before 1839, and was therefore possibly the oldest surviving commercially produced camera in the world.
How much? £502,689 ($792,333), or about the same price as 25,147 rolls of loft insulation.
11. Leica O-series
And finally, we have the 1923 Leica O-series model that went for literal millions back in 2012 at the 21st WestLicht Camera Auction in Vienna, smashing both the record for the most expensive camera and specialists’ estimates that it would go for around $775,000. One of only 12 that survive, the O-series camera was bought by an unnamed collector and will presumably end up in his or her loft somewhere.
How much? About £1,767,870 (originally $2.79 million), or about the same price as four and a half gold-plated Leica Luxus IIs. (Though their value may depreciate when they’re cut in half. We haven’t checked.)