Translation:Twenty years ago the whole world knew this camera.
Very odd sounding in English. The proper phrase would be "20 years ago the whole world knew about this camera" The way Duo constructs it leads me to believe the the whole world knew about that one individual camera. Like it was owned by Elvis and was auctioned for 50 million dollars... and everyone knew about that ONE camera.
Could be a specif model of camera that sold really well and a lot of people had back then.
Even then, "knew this camera" makes it seem like a specific, single device. Not a model.
It seems both ways because it could be more specific either way by saying "this type of camera", Этот тип фотоаппараты or "this exact camera", Этот точное фотоаппарат.
I thought it was a person talking about his camera, as in he took famous photographs. But I agree, it is odd wording.
Yes. Аппарат is for any piece of machinery, like a phone, an MP3-player, etc. There is also a name for any flying machine, that contains that word: летательный аппарат. To refer to a camera, you need to say фотоаппарат.
Is весь мир like tout le monde in French, meaning everyone perhaps in a small group, not literally all the world?
No it literally means the whole world. If you're referring to everyone in a particular group, you would use "все"
It can mean "everybody" without any restrictions. "Весь мир знает этот фотоаппарат" means that the camera is known in France, Japan and Chile etc. "Весь мир знает, что это ты украл деньги" rather means that everybody knows that. Not exactly everyone in US and China, but the fact is not a secret and is widely known.
Does that sentence even mean anything ? Maybe "knew about this camera" would make it sound less lame.
'Аппарат' surely comes from the latin 'apparatus' so by this, it makes sense that there would be a need to specify WHICH apparatus.