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Let's Hear it for Local Camera Stores!!!!
Old 02-08-2006   #1
xcapekey
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Let's Hear it for Local Camera Stores!!!!

I'd like to start a thread on Local Camera Stores...Don't know if there's one already. What spurred this on is the fact that so many independent camera stores are closing down, and with them, a wealth of information is lost. Try asking a kid behind a Ritz counter what the difference is between D76 and Rodinal.

I've made friends at my local camera store and they've been great to me. Always willing to answer questions, even obscure ones (how to pull the leader out of film with a piece of scotch tape and extra film, how to get those darn fiber prints flat, etc.,). They've let me tinker with some exotic equipment that I otherwise would have never had a chance to play with. They've also found odd ball things for me that are hard to find (japanese drying cabinet, 34mm-39mm adaptor for my summar, kodak medalist, etc.,).

Sometimes their prices aren't necessarily the rockbottom lowest, but I try to buy from them as much as possible to keep them in business. Sort of a payment for all their help. Every Sat. morning there is a small group of photogs that meet there every morning for coffee and doughnuts (on the house) and we chit chat, trade tips, play with each other's newest acquisitions, bring photos to critique.

Frankly, if they close, I'll be at a big loss. Somehow I doubt the "photo" dept. at Bestbuy or Walmart will be much consolation.

So, let's hear about your local camera shop and keep them in business!

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Old 02-08-2006   #2
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You probably believe in the tooth fairey too.
My town (actually a decent sized town) no longer has ANY independent camera stores. Ritz is it. There is a small chain the next town over with good people despite the Ritz Wannabe slant the ownership seems to push, and there is a bona fide real honest to goodness CAMERA STORE about an hour away in Durham with crusty geezers type cameras and buckets and bins full of miscellaneous unsorted stuff where you just MIGHT find a piece for your 283 or a Mamiya strap or something odd like that. Guess Rd & Carver St. (I think it's Carver - just down from the geodetic pizza dome).
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Old 02-08-2006   #3
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I first went to T&B Camera shop in Romford (London) thirty years ago and if I were still clsoe by (and if they are still there) I would 100% go there nowdays.

I was a teenager with almost enough money for a camera, not enough but almost enough. I showed them an ad in a magazine which was slightly cheaper than their price and they sold me the camera for less. Then they asked about film, and I replied that I didn't have the money for film, and they gave me a film.

That sort of service kept me loyal there for many years, and I recommended them to many people.
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Old 02-08-2006   #4
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Quote:
So, let's hear about your local camera shop and keep them in business!
The only remaining real camera shop in my general area is Rockbrook Camera:

http://rockbrookcamera.com/

They have 2 stores in the area, both about equidistant from me, but I've only actually been to the one that is about a block off the expressway as I drive to/from work.

I'm probably what you would call an occasional customer and not a regular, but I've always been happy with what I've bought there. I've never bought anything big, just accessories, film, and the occasional DO-CD. The service has always been good, although I learned to not go there Saturday afternoon as the wait to get served can be long just because they are popular.

Real good supply of film, both green and yellow boxes, but unfortunately higher than the retail outlets.

I do know they have a good supply of darkroom type stuff, but I'm not the "wet" type so I couldn't really enumerate what they have and don't have.

Prices for accessories are competitive, I guess, considering the fact that there's not much competition anymore.

Yes, they have been going more and more digital the past few years.
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Old 02-08-2006   #5
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I'll add to this :

Local, I live in Seattle and do not consider Glazer's to be the best place to business (they have a couple great people there, but mostly I don't like buying from them).

In Los Angeles, on the other hand (my other home), Samy's Cameras is local and wonderful to deal with. Really honestly a good place.

I dislike Ritz, but it seems that alot of enthusiastic young people work there (who would otherwise have been working at a real camera store) - which makes it nice.
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Old 02-08-2006   #6
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I don't have/need(?) a car, so I seldom make it to the local store I like too often... I am getting more and more interested in developing/printing my own stuff (I have access to a 'darkroom') and they have everything I could ever need, so I may become more of a regular customer... They are the only place I know of who will do 120 film without sending it out for weeks... Last time I dropped off some 120 I even found that they had reloadable film casettes! Who knew they still existed...(shows how much I know!)... lots of cool bags, accessories, etc, etc, etc...

Oh, the store's called Denver Pro Photo (link)

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Old 02-08-2006   #7
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Wing's cameras on Briarcliff road in Atlanta is super. Mike Warren and Casey are great to deal with. Have lots of used stuff---they want to be the last used equipt retail dealer in Atlanta and they probably will be. Not counting KEH which for sure is no retail store! Bought some Leica stuff from them and they have a nice m2 and 50 cron there now in addition to a bunch of Hassy stuff. Seems like people are running to dump Hassy.
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Old 02-08-2006   #8
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Only a few days ago I had the sad experience of "loosing" _my local shop_. I didn't go there often, and mostly only for some bits and ends. I probably spent not more than 300 euro there over 5 years. But I got my dev tank there, my Rodinal, my flash, my Eos 3000 battery pack, my neg sheets, passport photos, etc. And also some nice chats and some useful advice along the way.
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Old 02-08-2006   #9
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Cool

Cliff's Camera in Enid Ok. Great shop and great people! Cliff is in his 80's as is Wally who is his custome b&w printer and does a bang up job btw. I have two of his prints that are just stunning. He taught the Leica guys in the 1950's how to do custom printing. Well, I trade with them as much as possible, even buying a d'tal camera from them. Interesteing twist, Cliff asked me if I would like to work there. It would make me feel like a young one at 59. Great shop, if you are in N.W. Ok stop in.
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Old 02-08-2006   #10
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From the UK can I just pay tribute to college cameras in Walthamstow which went web-only about a year ago. I used to to live just up the road and it was a real pleasure to visit - good old fashioned camera shop with friendly staff and lots of interesting gear.
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Old 02-08-2006   #11
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As my local, across the praša, camera shop has morphed into a wedding studio the standard of their film processing has gone really bad.

A few years ago they had a window full of film cameras and their develop and print service was good. Today they have just a handful of digital cameras, and although they still accept film for processing they have doubled their prices and the quality control and customer care are entirely absent.
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Old 02-08-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcapekey
Try asking a kid behind a Ritz counter what the difference is between D76 and Rodinal.
Gee, it might be a prudent example if they sold D76 or Rodinal there. I don't think that's something you should have a legitimate expectation to have answered there. That's like asking the bicycle people at Wal-Mart if they can tell the difference in two consecutive model years of a Ferrari without looking it up.


I'm not a fan of most local camera shops. Terrible prices and bad attitudes greet me everytime I go into one. I have only ever been in one small shop that hasn't made me put down what I was going to buy and leave (and I've been in many, and no, I'm not even discussing Ritz). The one good one I've been in is in Elmira, NY on Water Street. They are really nice, willing to order anything, ajust prices, and they actually talk people out of buying things they don't need like UV filters and extra chemicals.

Ritz doesn't count. It's not a camera shop. It's a chain that specializes in 1-hour photo and accesories for people who can't go anywhere else.
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Old 02-08-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulbe
Wing's cameras on Briarcliff road in Atlanta is super.
I recently purchased a 24mm Zuiko lens from Wings via ebay. They sent it to me for exactly the sale price...... no shipping charge or taxes! (I live in GA) When I spoke to the gentleman on the phone, he said they're having a camera show on 1 April and I hope to make it.

The ONLY true camera store in Middle GA that I know of is Coke's in Macon. They've been in business many years but often the things you want are not in sight. Ask and it often appears from deep in the bowels of the store, sometimes dusty after a long period of just sitting there. I enjoy going there and talking to George who can tell some interesting stories. They'll develop my color negatives for $1.95 and not require that I have prints made. I give them as much business as possible.

IF I happen to be at the mall and need a camera strap or some such, I'll go to Ritz. Otherwise, I prefer to pay a little more to help keep Coke's in business.

Walker
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Old 02-08-2006   #14
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I gotta give a plug for the Wings cameras in Atlanta too. Great guys, know the old stuff, know the new stuff, good selection of old gear, rangefinders, enlargers, lenses, filters, bargain table too. They do consignment or Ebay sales and shipping for you too. They can even rent you a post office box! They have only been in operation for about 90 years(for real) now original owners son owns it and has added digital stuff. They even have a camera show in the parking lot where you buy or sell your stuff..
http://www.wingscamera.com/welcome.htm
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Old 02-08-2006   #15
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Seattle

The Store:
Sorry shutterflower but Glazers is a great place.
http://www.glazerscamera.com/
They are always friendly and never pushy, with a very knowledgable staff. Atleast for this rookie.
I have bought several things from them and they have always given me a good deal, free stuff and have never tried to push something I didn't need. They also have always treated me with respect...and that is big, cause I ask some dumb questions.

Digital / Wet Darkroom Rental:
Photographic Center NW
http://www.pcnw.org/
If you have never been, the place kicks ass. We are truly lucky to have such a place in Seattle. Support It!

Film Development:
Panda on Lower Queen Anne
The will develop your film to any specification and do it at a great price. No question is too stupid for them...I ask a lot of em.

This is a great thread and I hope that you all support as many local stores (photographic or not) as possible. Go Local!

Cheers.
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Old 02-08-2006   #16
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http://www.leoscamera.com in Vancouver. They are always helpful and friendly and usually have what I'm looking for.
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Old 02-08-2006   #17
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I love local (non photo) stores and already in 2006 I've seen three nearby close down.

The baker was maybe a cent or so more expensive than the supermarket, but he opened at 6.30AM or so and was ready to chat. He's gone. And two others too.

I have a car and can go to one of the supermarkets on the edge of town. But I really don't like using the car for short journeys and I really don't like walking around a giant supermarket when I just want some bread.

Also, when I go to local shops I can buy 500g of carrots or whatever. In the supermarket they come packed as 2500g which is way too much for me.
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Old 02-08-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Claremont
I love local (non photo) stores and already in 2006 I've seen three nearby close down.

The baker was maybe a cent or so more expensive than the supermarket, but he opened at 6.30AM or so and was ready to chat. He's gone. And two others too.

I have a car and can go to one of the supermarkets on the edge of town. But I really don't like using the car for short journeys and I really don't like walking around a giant supermarket when I just want some bread.

Also, when I go to local shops I can buy 500g of carrots or whatever. In the supermarket they come packed as 2500g which is way too much for me.
Unfortunately, it sounds as if everywhere the small "mom and pop" shops are being killed off by big-box chain retailers.

While its true that prices are usually lower at the big boxes, they are in many ways so soulless and depressing to shop at.

But last night, walking home from work (ah, the joys of living in NYC) I saw a "little shop of everything"!

What caught my eye was the cabinet of film hanging from a post. They I looked inside more closely and this shop offered shoe shines and repairs, watch repairs, magazines etc. This tiny shop was a mini-Wal Mart !

Gotta get a picture of it someday - after they take down the scaffolding (building facade is under repair) that kind of "blocks" it.
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Old 02-08-2006   #19
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Two good places in Iowa: University Camera in Iowa City and then there's another one in Des Moines that's also good to deal with. The guy in Des Moines can repair anything you take to him.
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Old 02-08-2006   #20
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Hey Rob and Walker! If you make it to Wing's on April fool's day we ought to meet for a few minutes. We could at least swap stories about the great deals we're gonna get! Wing's is about a mile from my house---hard to stay away from...
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Old 02-08-2006   #21
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My local camera store used to be great. There was an oldel gentleman who would let me come in and ask all kinds of questions, play with anything I liked... And who would actually deal with. Their prices have always been high... Not just a little, but this gentleman would work with me. Bought my first camera from him.

Now, however, it seems that they have changed ownership or something. Almost everyone who works there is unfriendly and rude. There prices are higher then ever, and they won't deal. Period. I w looked at buying my Canon 50 1.8 mk II from them... Yeah, they wanted $130. I got it brand new off evil bay for $80. Hard to pay that much more.... I pretty mcuh avoid the place.

On the other hand, the used camera store that is next door is awesome. All the guys that work there are great, will answer any kinds of questions... I sat in there one day playing with lenses for over an hour, just trying to get an idea of what I wanted.

So that's my 2 cents.
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Old 02-08-2006   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by copake_ham
Unfortunately, it sounds as if everywhere the small "mom and pop" shops are being killed off by big-box chain retailers.

While its true that prices are usually lower at the big boxes, they are in many ways so soulless and depressing to shop at.
Well, as sad as it is, people shop for price. The old cliche' "The bottom line is the bottom line."

Kind of ironic, a thread on another network quite a while back was griping about some of the legacy camera shops (Willoughby's, Spiratone, etc.) being run out of business by places like B&H and Adorama undercutting them.

Quote:
But last night, walking home from work (ah, the joys of living in NYC)
Hmmmm ... I though you were upstate. (Up river, at least.)
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Old 02-08-2006   #23
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It's one block from my place to the LIRR station here,
then one block from Penn Station to B&H.

I guess that makes B&H my local camera store!

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Old 02-08-2006   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmr
.....Hmmmm ... I though you were upstate. (Up river, at least.)
Divide my time b/w NYC (weekdays) and upstate (weekends) except when we are out in Tucson (not often enough!).
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Old 02-08-2006   #25
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I am fortunate to have a professional/ Wedding studio photographer that also runs a lab. he does his stuff so he knows what he is doing. Robinson's Photography, they will develop only my 35 and 120 color and will print to 40x60 for me and give me the pro rates.
I also do alot of business with Dee's photo. they have been in the same location for 60 years and have recently opened two new locations. they have an onsite lab and a rentable darkroom. They also rent all photo equipment. Henry is a second generation owner and very knowledgeable photographer. Unfortunately it is 126 mile away but I do go about once a month to the VA hospital there and they pay my milage so I get to visit for free.
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Old 02-08-2006   #26
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Living in the suburbs of Chicago one has a pick of "local" camera stores to choose from. There are six within a 15 minute drive of my office, so I can go browsing on my lunch hour. PJs Photo in Glen Ellyn is probably my favorite. La Grange Camera and The Photographic Depot in La Grange are both good choices. Helix Photo and Lincoln Photo in Lombard are worth stopping at once in a while and there's a small chain called Holiday Camera with stores in Geneva, Oak Park and a couple other places that are also fun to browse in. There are three or four shops in the area that have closed in the past five or ten years, but overall those of us in the 'burbs are pretty much in hog heaven. Then there's downtown Chicago ...
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Old 02-08-2006   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulbe
Hey Rob and Walker! If you make it to Wing's on April fool's day we ought to meet for a few minutes. We could at least swap stories about the great deals we're gonna get! Wing's is about a mile from my house---hard to stay away from... Paul
Paul, that would be nice. I'll be the old man with the old Leica hanging around his neck. Won't know which model until that day!

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Old 02-08-2006   #28
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Paulbe, Doubs43...I might make it there but I would have to borrow a rangefinder to hang around my neck, I am out of them as they have gone to the folks in RFF lately.
Wings is 15 minutes from me. If you guys have stuff to sell, I think the tables are reasonable to rent. Bring cameras you want checked out as Alan(or his son) from Peachtree camera should be there to give a free checkup....
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Old 02-08-2006   #29
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Iris Photo in Northampton, Massachusetts, where you can get E6-in MF or 35-developed in 3 hours. Or traditional B+W, in 2. Of course, there's Dark Horse one town over that specializes in B+W, but will do E6 same day.
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Old 02-08-2006   #30
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Bob: What is the name of the shop in Elmira? Not that I go to Elmira, but hey, it would be a good excuse for a road trip.

Currently I don't purchase much, but here in Rochester we have several independents. Hahn Graphic is the one I like the most, Rowe is not bad but has gone digital and audio/video, and Wright Images, which has had a decent used/consignment section. Hahn has the most knowledgeable staff, IMO.
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Old 02-08-2006   #31
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Local Camera Stores
Old 02-08-2006   #32
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Local Camera Stores

National Camera Exchange has a franchise here. One in Golden Valley where I live, one in Minneapolis where I work. Others around the Twin Cities where I shop. <a http://www.natcam.com There is also West Photo where I buy other things. Umbrellas, etc. There is no Minolta equipment here, apart from light meters. http://www.westphoto.com

I am lucky, although I have seen the demise of Custom Camera Repair and a couole of other small camera shops. Fortunately I can buy film, lenses, used gear, and accessories at both of the shops listed above. The staff are knowledgeable. I took a work colleague to WestPhoto last week. She bought her spouse a D70s and rare 18-200mm VR Nikkor for his birthday. It was a blast watching someone spend that kind of money for new equipment.

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Old 02-09-2006   #33
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Rob---doesn't matter what kind of camera you have---or don't have. And Walker--I'll be older!!
As the date gets closer maybe we can arrange a time to meet--unfortunately that's the ONLY corner in Atlanta without a Starbucks but there's one not too far away...looking forward to it!
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Raleigh - Durham
Old 02-09-2006   #34
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Raleigh - Durham

I live in the Raleigh/Durham area of NC. We're forutunate enough to have a few Independent Camera Stores that sell everything from digital to Holga and everything in between.

Camera Works on Carver Street in Durham was mentioned in a previous post. I've done a lot of business with them over the past several years. As a matter of fact I just picked up a sweet Canonet QL 17 GIII from them when I dropped my Bessa R off for repair. It's a great little independent shop.

Peace Camera is in downtown Raleigh. Good shop as well.

Southeastern Camera has 2 locations that I know of in the Triangle - Cary and Raleigh, and also one location in Wilmington.

We have more than our share of Ritz Camera as well. One in every mall and strip plaza.

The local shops seem to be doing OK though. They do plenty of digital business and also sell, service and repair film cameras. They're also well stocked in the darkroom supply departments as well. I hope they can all hold on and stay in business - they are all great folks to deal with.
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