There were a huge number of photographic innovations in the 1880s. For example, silver gelatine dry plate negatives were in use by then. These were faster and much more convenient than the earlier wet plates. By faster, I mean that they reacted to light more quickly so you could have shorter exposure times. Judging from the picture of his 'portable camera' I'd say it probably was an 'uncover the lens and count to 10' but the photographer may well have been counting to 1 by then. I'm not sure when the first automatic shutters came into use.
Originally Posted by kaishowing