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George Lucas' $625,000 Panavision camera: the second most expensive Star Wars item in the galaxy!

George Lucas' $625,000 Panavision camera: the second most expensive Star Wars item in the galaxy!
(Image credit: shotonwhat.com)

Happy Star Wars Day! As well as greeting fellow fans with the customary "May the fourth be with you," we thought we'd share a bit of trivia with you: did you know that the second most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia ever sold is none other than the Panavision camera used by George Lucas to shoot the very first film, Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope

George Lucas’ Panavision PSR-200 35mm camera was used to shoot the original Star Wars back in 1976 (before it had a the chapter and subtitle added to it). Some 35 years later, it was sold at an auction in Beverly Hills by Profiles in History (opens in new tab) fetching a cool $625,000 (£474,360 / AU$918,774) in 2011 (thanks, Robb Report (opens in new tab)).

Aside from the unique distinction of this particular camera, the Panavision PSR-200 was quite an exclusive camera in its own right, as only 29 of them were manufactured. Even a standard, non-Star Wars-related outfit (including Super Panazoom lens, tripod with gear head, magazine, matte box and motor) still commands $150,000 online (opens in new tab) (£113,846 / AU$220,506).

Still, despite its $625,000 price tag, somehow the actual camera used to film one of the most culturally significant movies of all time is only the second most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia. And the most expensive? That honor goes to the most famous Dark Lord of the Sith himself. 

Only 29 Panavision PSR-200s were made – and this one shot the original Star Wars!

Only 29 Panavision PSR-200s were made – and this one shot the original Star Wars(Image credit: Profiles in History)

While the PSR-200 enabled you to see through the same lens that filmed Star Wars, that's not nearly as cool as seeing through the actual helmet of Darth Vader. Which is why Darth Vader's helmet, from Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the most expensive Star Wars item ever sold, at a star-destroying $900,000 (£683,071 / AU$1,322,723). 

In fact, with auction fees, it is believed that the helmet (worn by Darth Vader performer David Prowse) actually fetched over a million bucks when all was said and done in its iCollector listing (opens in new tab).

If you would like to own (or gift) your own Star Wars camera, albeit one that wasn't used by George Lucas, you should check out the Mandalorian Polaroid Now (opens in new tab) camera and film. It may not have shot Episode IV, but it's a much more affordable Star Wars collectible! 

And of course, it's worth pointing out that you can watch A New Hope – along with The Mandalorian, and 7 Marvel movies shot on Canon cameras (opens in new tab) – on the Disney Plus (opens in new tab) streaming service.  

Christmas gift guides:

• Photography lover gifts for Christmas: Quirky & unusual Christmas camera gifts (opens in new tab)
• The 47 best Christmas gifts for photographers (opens in new tab)
• The best stocking stuffers for photographers (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.