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Top Ten Most Expensive Photo Cameras

You would probably be saving money all your life to buy one of these photo cameras. It’s even hard to bring yourself to call them ‘gadgets’ – maybe masterpieces for crowned photographers. Who knows?

Each of these photo cameras is distinguished with its specifications, design or history, so everybody will find something interesting here. And if you’re going to rob a bank, to marry a billionaire’s daughter or to win a million dollars in a lottery then welcome to the world of unthinkably rich photographers and collectors!

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We have also included in the list the most expensive current cameras, which are used only by professionals because of their prohibitive cost. These are true powerhouses with the latest technology, speed, and highest resolution available and are being used for top dollar projects around the world.

Note: This post has been updated to reflect new camera auction sales and prices.

 

Top 10 Most Expensive Cameras List:

1. 1923 Leica 0-series serial number 122- $2.97 million

2. Susse Frères Daguerreotype Camera- nearly $978,000

3. O-Series Leica No.107- $500,000

4. Phase One XF IQ4 150MP Camera- $55,000

5. Hasselblad H6D-400C MS- $47,995.00

6. Leica 10715 M9 “Titan” Set Digital Camera– $34,999

7. Hasselblad H6D-100c – $33,000

8. Mamiya Leaf Credo 80MP- $29,000

9. Leica S (Typ 007) Camera- $20,000

10. Leica S3 camera- $19,000

 

Detailed information:

1. 1923 Leica 0-series serial number 122 -$2.97 million

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Photo: WestLicht

This Leica tops our list of most expensive cameras as it had the highest sale price of any camera to date. It was sold at an auction in Vienna to a private collector from Asia.  It was a preproduction prototype, hand-made in 1923.  Interestingly, the lens cap was attached on a cord since the focal plane shutter was not self capping on the early models.  It has an aluminum body with a black lacquered brass top plate, base plate and nickel plated knobs.

Video footage from auction of the Leica:

2. Susse Frères Daguerreotype Camera- nearly $978,000

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Photo: WestLicht


Susse Freres daguerreotype camera is the oldest camera ever built (1893). Moreover it’s one of the first two commercially-produced cameras. It was made by Alphonse Giroux and signed by Jacques Mande Daguerre. For enthusiastic photographers it might be the real masterpiece of art.

The camera was built for making whole plate daguerreotypes and optimized for landscapes. Much of the cost of this camera was in the lens handmade by opticians.

Here is a video by Jerry Spagnoli about daguerreotype:

3. O-Series Leica No.107- $500,000

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O-Series Leica No.107 is one of the earliest portable cameras which was created in 1923 by Oskar Barnack. There were produced nearly 20 cameras to know the competitiveness of portable cameras. This one was taken off to the New York for getting a patent in the United States, therefore becoming the first Leica to be exported.

 

4. Phase One XF IQ4 150MP Camera- $55,000

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Ever wonder how those images with never ending detail are captured?

This system delivers an incredible 151 megapixels (a world first) making it possible to print large scale images many feet in size with great detail, give you a 14204 x 10652 resolution. Its new backside illuminated Sony (BSI) CMOS sensors improve the color, detail and noise handling. An ISO sensitivity of 50-25600 and an exposure length of up to 60 minutes are a long way since digital medium format cameras that topped out at 1600 ISO. It has professional photo editing software built in.

There are 3 versions of the Phase One IQ4 camera: the IQ4 100 megapixel Trichromatic ($47,990), the IQ4 150 megapixel ($51,990), and the IQ4 150 megapixel Achromatic ($54,990) for black and white shooting.

Here is a video with Lau Nørgaard about this camera:

 

5. Hasselblad H6D-400C MS- $47,995.00

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Featuring a 100 megapixel image sensor, what makes this camera special and to many professionals worth the price are its ability to shoot up to six sequential high resolution images and composite them automatically into a 400 megapixel frame with improved color detail and non-existent aliasing or moiré . This results in a 2.4 gigabyte still TIFF file. The dynamic range of up to 15 stops can be appreciated by professionals and it even shoots UHD 4K and Full HD video.

Below is a video about this camera with Günther Egger:

 

6. Leica 10715 M9 “Titan” Set Digital Camera $34,999

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Don’t you think that this photo camera and Volkswagen cars have something in common? Walter de Silva, the head of the design division at the Volkswagen Group, participated in its creation.  It was limited to 500 cameras worldwide.

All visible metal parts of this fashionable camera and lens are made from solid titanium, inlays on the camera body are made from genuine leather. There are not so many photography gadgets in the world of such quality, that’s why the price is very high.

 

7. Hasselblad H6D-100c – $33,000

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This camera has a 100 megapixel image sensor along with 15 stops of dynamic range and UHD 4K and Full HD RAW video at 30 fps. The sensor is 50% larger than a 50 megapixel image sensor found on the top SLRs. The ISO range is an amazing 12,800.

Here is a video about this camera with Vienna-based filmmaker Christoph Tilley:

8. Mamiya Leaf Credo 80MP- $29,000

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This medium format camera system consists of an 80 megapixel Leaf Credo Digital Back and a Mamiya 645DF camera. The system has a dual core microprocessor much like your computer and handles like a 35mm, but has an image area three times the size at 56 x 41.5 mm. The ISO only goes up to 800 so have good lighting ready.

Below is an in-depth look at the Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 with Lance Schad:

9. Leica S (Typ 007) Camera- $20,000

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This Leica camera features a 37.5 megapixel CMOS sensor, a 921,000 dot LCD monitor and predictive autofocus. What differentiates it from many Leicas is the responsiveness of a 35mm camera (while the processor is 50% larger than 35mm), the Cine-4k movie mode, and fast continuous shooting (3.5 fps) at high resolution.

Here is all you need to know about this camera in a video:

 

10. Leica S3 camera- $19,000

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This Leica comes with a 64 megapixel image sensor (double the size of many DSLRs), ISO sensitivity up to 50,000, DCI 4K and Full HD Video, 4:2:2 color. Its in a class of its own due to its smaller size and 35mm like versatility.

Below is a closer look at the Leica S3:

 

11. Hasselblad H6D-50C $15,000

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The Hasselblad H6D-50C is a well rounded medium format camera with a 50 megapixel image sensor, Full HD 1080p video, ISO of 100-6400, 14 stops of dynamic range, 2.3 fps of continuous shooting speed. It can transfer photos at an amazing 5 gigabytes per second and even has HDMI for connecting to large external monitors.

Check out the H6D-50C described here:

 

 

12. Linhof Technorama 617s III- $10,259

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It is a great medium format panorama camera which can embrace the whole world. The Technorama is a hand-held rollfilm camera with a picture format of 6 x 17 cm combining three 6 x 6 images in one shot, that’s why it is the perfect panorama and vertical shot-camera for great views in landscape, architecture and industry.

Part of its uniqueness is the rugged die-cast construction suitable for the most extreme conditions without the need for batteries. It offers large format quality in a handheld model.

Here is a closer look at this rather wide camera:

 

13. Fujifilm GFX 100 Mirrorless- $10,000

 

This is Fujifilm’s top large sensor camera, with 100 million pixels and mirrorless design. The sensor is 1.7x bigger than a 35mm full frame sensor while the body is the same size as a flagship DSLR, pretty impressive. Not only that, its image stabilization system allows up to 5.5 stops of stabilization. On top of that it can record 4K30P video.

Below is an in-depth look at this camera:

14. Hasselblad X1D-50 $9000

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Hasselblads “lower priced” mirrorless entry comes with a 50MP 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS Sensor, 14 stops of dynamic range, and full HD 1080p video. Not too shabby.

Below is a quick look at this camera:

15. Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera- $8800

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This is Leica’s digital smaller rangefinder camera. Its unique because it is compact, as slim as an analog Leica, has an extended ISO range of 100-50,000, features a simplified design with only 3 buttons on the back, 5 frames per second continuous shooting, and of course everything else Leica’s are known for- tradition, design and quality.

Here is a look at this camera and its features:

 

16. Leica M10 Monochrom Digital Rangefinder Camera- $8300

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This is Leica’s black and white photography specific camera. Combined with a 40 megapixel sensor and other technical breakthroughs, it elevates classic black and white photography to a new level. The sensor is exclusively designed for black and white photography. Because there are no color filter arrays inside, the result is less glass and filter layers, giving more light and less deflections. It has an incredible ISO range of 160 to 100,000.

Here is a look at this camera by Matt Granger:


17. Hasselblad 907X Special Edition- $7500

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This is a medium format commemorative camera created based on the Hasselblad camera used by Aldrin and Armstrong in 1969 on the moon for the 50 years anniversary. Its very thin, lightweight, and includes a 50 megapixel sensor and 14 stops of dynamic range.

Sam McGhee talks about this camera here:

18. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III- $6500

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This is Canon’s flagship full frame DSLR that features a completely redesigned imaging system. It offers an unprecented ISO range expandable to 800,000, battery life of up to 2800 shots, 4K video recording, built in wifi, as many as 191 autofocus points, 20 fps maximum frame rate for stills for up to 1000 images, weather resistance, 20 megapixels and a life of up to 500,000 exposures.

Here is Jared Polin’s look at this camera:

 

19. Nikon D6 DSLR Camera- $6500

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This is Nikon’s flagship full frame professional camera, with ISO expandable to 3,280,000 (not a typo), 14 frames per second continuous shooting, 20 megapixels, and 4K 24p video. It can even shoot lower resolution stills at 60 frames per second. You can also shoot long exposure photographs up to 900 seconds within the camera itself. 60P video lets you shoot slow motion and electronic vibration reduction makes sure your shots are not blurry. One battery will let you take 3600 shots in one charge.

Here is a first look at the Nikon D6:

 

20. Fujifilm GFX 50S- $5500

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This camera has 51.4 million effective pixels, a small lightweight body (for a medium format digital camera), a maximum shutter speed of 1/16,000 when using an electronic shutter, and a Full HD 24p movie mode.

Here is a look at the GFX 50S:

21. Pentax 645Z camera- $5000

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This medium format entry from Pentax has an impressive ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 204800, 51 megapixels, weather sealing, dual memory cards, a build “like a tank”, and a height no larger than a Nikon D810 DSLR. For this price its definitely a competitor.

Below is a look at this fine camera:

And thats it, we have gone from a $3,000,000 camera to a $5,000 camera.  Still out of range for amateur photographers.  If your mouth is watering like mine was after writing this and you are interested in purchasing any of these marvels, click on the camera names below to buy (only the ones currently available for sale are listed):

Below we have added some specific categories since the topic of most expensive photo cameras is growing:

Most Expensive Rangefinder Camera

The most expensive rangefinder camera is the Leica 10715 M9 “Titan” Set Digital Camera at $34,995.

Most Expensive DSLR Camera

The most expensive DSLR camera not including medium format cameras is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III at $6499.  Including medium format cameras it is the Hasselblad H6D-400c MS at $47,999.

Most Expensive Nikon Camera

The most expensive Nikon camera is the Nikon D6 at $6496.

Most Expensive Canon Camera

As of this writing, the most expensive current Canon camera is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III at $6499.

Most Expensive Leica Camera

The most expensive Leica camera is the 1923 Leica 0-series serial number 122 sold for $2.97 million.  Currently its the Leica M10 at $8800.

Most Expensive Sony Camera

The most expensive Sony Camera is the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless at $4498.

Most Expensive Panasonic Camera

The most expensive Panasonic camera is the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H Mirrorless  at $3997.

Most Expensive Medium Format Camera

Currently the most expensive medium format camera system at $55,000 is the Phase One XF IQ4 150MP.

Most Expensive Camera Brand

In terms of collectible and antique cameras, Leica definitely has a dominant position when it comes to fetching the highest prices. The camera which was surpassed in 2018 for the highest price by our number one pick was also a Leica in 2012 (Leica 0-series, serial number 116, auctioned for $2.6 million)

Leica is also an expensive camera brand as it makes some of the most expensive cameras and lenses in the world. Some people swear by them due to their name, great image quality, build, and feel, while others hate them. Those people often bring up the features such as video and autofocus which are lacking. After all, a manual focus Leica (body only) will run you at least $4000. And so will a fast Leica prime lens that would cost you $200 if made by Canon.

Some of the reasons Leica cameras (and lenses) are so expensive are not what you think. Yes, they are hand made in Germany but their marketing and uniqueness (aka being different) has more of an effect on price.

Below is a video of a Leica camera creation process:

We hope that you like this “top 10” list of the world’s most expensive cameras. Enjoy another fantastic article from this category – Best Laptops for Photography

Nicholas Mitchell

Nicholas Mitchell

Nicholas is a staff writer at Photodoto. His interests include photography, collecting cameras old and new, video editing, and all things 3d. If a new gadget comes out on the market, he's sure to be the first to try it. He enjoys experimenting with low light photography, very long exposures and high speed filming.
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