I did a double-take when I learned that acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-wook (Old Boy) shot his latest 30-minute short entirely on an iPhone 4. That this little black rectangle could capture something that will be seen in actual cinemas is surprising to me, though it's probably no big deal to the younger generation or in tech-hungry Asia.
For comparison's sake, I looked up some old-school portable movie cameras. Placing the form factors next to an iPhone, if you didn't know better you would not assume these devices had any functionality in common. Let's take a quick look at a few:
First off, as a reference point here's a non-portable studio camera. This is Charlie Chaplin's Bell & Howell 2709 camera, which Christie's auctioned off a few years ago:
Bell & Howell also released this Filmo Sportster model, which was vastly smaller, at least for the 1930s; it was reportedly popular among private eyes at the time, as they could hardly lug around the 2709.
Another surveillance model was this 16mm camera manufactured by a company called Keystone:Photographer Ruslan Kudrin has documented three portable cameras of unknown origin on the Fotolia website:
This nifty Austrian Eumig C3 model recently sold on eBay for just 12 bucks Canadian (in non-working condition):
A Czechoslovakian brand named Miopta made these A8LLA Cini cameras, which almost look like clock radios with the lenses removed:
Lastly, if you want to browse tons of vintage cameras both motion and still, check out the Flickr page of Raul M., the guy who shot this Kodak Brownie.