While many of us today use our cell phones as cameras, "point and shoot" had a very different effect when your camera was shaped like a handgun. Here are some of the weirdest vintages cameras, from cameras shaped like pistols and watches to one that could photograph an entire train at once.
This realistic automatic pistol-shaped 16mm camera was developed for police and surveillance tasks in 1954, and was produced until 1956. It was sold with 17/2.7 (Polymar and Hokutar), 17/2.5 (Doryu/Dorymar) and 15/2.2 (Dorymar Wide Angle) lenses, but was compatible with some other lenses with C mount as well.
Flash cartridge and cartridge magazine
Trigger mechanism and firing sequence
This happy, roll film-eating metal box camera was made in Italy in the early 1940s. The Duplex in its name means it can take pictures in dual format, 6x9 and in 6x4.5.
This awesome multi-function device includes a 110 camera, a flashlight, a clock, a stopwatch, a dual time zone indicator, an AM/FM radio, and a small storage compartment. The Weekender was produced from 1983 by the Harrodsburg, Kentucky-based Hendren Enterprises, but it had serious quality issues and it was expensive (sold for $75 in 1983, that's $176 in 2013 dollars!), so Hendren wasn't in the Weekender business for very long.
(via John Kratz/Flickr)
Only 250 units of this camera were made in 1954 for police training purposes, and it was never sold to the public. It had a single-speed shutter and a 45mm Sekor f/5.6 lens. This extraordinary pistol camera produced half-frame images on 35mm film.
This medium twin lens reflex stereo camera made from bakelite was introduced around 1955, and produced by the Leningrad-based GOMZ (later: LOMO) until 1974 in 86,000 units. It had Lomo-T22 75/f4.5 lenses without a filter thread.
(via Wikimedia Commons/Bilby)
The Nishika's ugly monster from the late 1980s isn't a really interesting camera – it has a fixed focus and exposure, but it takes four 35mm photographs after pushing the shutter button, one with each of its four 30mm lenses. But why are we still loving this? Because of the model's promotional video with the real Dr. Phibes, Dr. Robert Morgan, and Frederick Loren: Vincent Price himself.
The world's largest camera was manufactured by the J.A. Anderson Company in 1900 to capture a complete photograph of the Chicago & Alton Railway's train with all of its cars. The photographer, George R. Lawrence wanted to photograph the train in sections and fit the picture together during the printing process, but the railway company's director wanted only one photograph, which ended up being at least 8 feet (2.44 m) long.
The 900-pound (408 kg) camera had a 8x4.5 feet (2.6x1.4 m) plate and the desired photograph was born.
The most popular tiny watch-type camera was made by Houghton in England between 1906 and 1914, designed by Magnus Neill and sold in 10,000 units. It used 17.5 mm roll film and could take 25 16x22 mm images.
This camera was manufactured by the Swiss Le Coultre et Cie for Compass Cameras Ltd., London, between March 1937 and 1941. The solid aluminum camera used special 8-exposure films, but later a 828 roll film back was available. The Compass had two optical viewfinders, three filters, an extinction meter, a spirit level, and a 35/f3.5 Kern anastigmat lens.