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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Camera Store Rip-Off
Old 03-09-2018   #1
PKR
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Camera Store Rip-Off

This Camera Store Receipt Will Make You Mad

From PetaPixel

"Like many other types of businesses, camera equipment stores can make a lot of money by upselling, or convincing a customer to also purchase additional products and services. But how far can this upselling go before it becomes unethical? A new camera store receipt published online has many photographers furious and some crying “scam.”

https://petapixel.com/2018/03/09/cam...will-make-mad/

Personal note:

Since others on here tout their favorite camera stores, here are mine:

1st choice.. Fotocare NYC https://www.fotocare.com/

2nd choice B&H https://www.bhphotovideo.com/

I've never had a problem with either of these vendors.
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Old 03-09-2018   #2
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I saw that too!

That place has had a shady rep for decades!

I've had good luck with both B&H and Adorama.
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Old 03-09-2018   #3
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That's one of those places on fifth ave. that sell everything like cameras, luggage
and the like. Let the buyer beware.
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Old 03-09-2018   #4
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Seems excessive,

My first thought... money laundering.

Grandma cleaning up some drug money for little billy.

With a little kickback to the salesman.
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Old 03-09-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
Seems excessive,

My first thought... money laundering.

Grandma cleaning up some drug money for little billy.

With a little kickback to the salesman.

I may be wrong as, it's been a long time but, I think some of those stores are money passageways for the diamond business. That business is all cash as I recall?
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Old 03-09-2018   #6
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Back when I lived in the city, early 1990's, everyone avoided that store because it had the reputations of being a dishonest/rip-off place. Because it was near Times Square it got a lot of tourist traffic and it always seemed like they preyed on tourists who didn't understand the subtleties of camera buying. People from out of town seemed to think, "I bought a camera in New York, it must be a good deal, I've always heard so much about buying photo equipment in the Big Apple." They didn't realize that all the photographers in the city shopped at B&H (and sometimes Adorama).

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Old 03-09-2018   #7
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I got the impression that 42nd. St. Photo was trying to capitalize on the similarly-named 47th. St. Photo, which used to have a good reputation. Also IIAC, 47th. St. Photo closed 1995-ish.
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Old 03-09-2018   #8
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IIRC Cambridge Camera was reputedly the worst.

Chris
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Old 03-09-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
IIRC Cambridge Camera was reputedly the worst.
I know I sometimes wax nostalgic at the camera shops I knew when I first got in to serious photography.

Yes, Cambridge had a very bad reputation! All the kids who were into photography used to stay away.

Quote:
I bought a camera in New York, it must be a good deal
There were lots of very good dealers in Manhattan back then. When I would go into the city on Saturdays I would usually stop at Spiratone and Willoughby, which were across the street from each other. I befriended one of the people working at Willoughby's but we lost contact when I went away to college.

I bought my Pentax Spotmatic (the {blow on fingernails, wipe on blouse} black "press" model) at Minifilm, which was near most of the others. I shopped a few times at Olden, but they were closed Saturday, and IIRC, 47th. St. Photo was as well.

There were and still are good photo deals in NYC if you know where to look.
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Old 03-09-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmr View Post
I got the impression that 42nd. St. Photo was trying to capitalize on the similarly-named 47th. St. Photo, which used to have a good reputation. Also IIAC, 47th. St. Photo closed 1995-ish.
I am wrong, I was thinking of 47th St Photo, but I disagree about their reputation. None of the photogs that I hung with would set foot in the place. Being by Times Square, they were usually full of tourists.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 03-09-2018   #11
Emile de Leon
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I bought my Leica M6 back in 1990..from a questionable camera store in Manhatten..but for a great price..called the order in from MA to save tax...they actually came up with the cam..got it a few days later..I miss those days...
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Old 03-09-2018   #12
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I bought my first camera from 47th Street Photo. A brand new (back then) black Nikon FE. It took awhile to get, I remember calling and asking what was taking so long, and the reply was "you wanted a black one right?" and came away with the impression that they were holding onto my money for as long as possible. I did eventually get the camera though and still have it, somewhere.

But I never bought anything from them again.
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Old 03-09-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
I am wrong, I was thinking of 47th St Photo, but I disagree about their reputation. None of the photogs that I hung with would set foot in the place. Being by Times Square, they were usually full of tourists.

Best,
-Tim

There was a 47st photo, I think they were on 47st between 6th and 7th ave.
I think if my memory serves me correct.
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Old 03-09-2018   #14
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Long ago, I bought a lot, I mean a lot, of photo gear from Wood's Photo on Nathan Rd. in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Everything arrived in great shape and it was dirt cheap. All gray market of course. I think they are still in business?

Someone has the name, I just did a search.

T. K. Wood, the owner (a Brit?) always enclosed a nice personal note with my orders. I didn't have much money back then and Wood's allowed me to get enough gear to begin working.
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Old 03-09-2018   #15
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Some of my early purchases were from various major Manhattan camera stores.
IIRC not a single one ever honored a price published in their magazine ads.

Later I patronized nearby Nassau Camera in Franklin Square Long Island.
Their prices were competitive with Manhattan stores but they were honest.
I miss dealing with the older couple who ran the business.

Chris
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Old 03-09-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Some of my early purchases were from various major Manhattan camera stores. IIRC not a single one ever honored a price published in their magazine ads.
Actually, Minifilm beat their advertised price by a few $$$ and ate the sales tax on my first Pentax, in exchange for buying now and paying cash.

Willoughby's gave me a great deal, a bit lower than their Modern Photography listed price, on a 28mm Vivitar lens, which I still have, actually, but I was friendly with one of the employees and may have gotten more of an employee price.

My brother talked Olden down on a lens, and the one shop over on Park (Cameracade, I think) on a flash unit.

Back then many of the shops would deal with you, particularly to close the sale then and there, and they loved cash.

I do know that Spiratone would not deal with you. Posted price was what you paid.
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Old 03-09-2018   #17
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Cambridge was a total rip-off store. I once ordered a Soligor 80-200 zoom and got a Kalimar 80-220 with the Pentax screw mount so messed up that the iris actuator pin was at the top once the lens was mounted and the box looked like it'd been used to swat flies- I sent it back and it took 3 weeks to get my money back.

I once tried to buy a Beseler 67C enlarger at Olden's. in person....the ad in Pop Photo said "complete-condensers and baseboard and negative carrier". When i got to the store, I was told buy a clerk that wouldn't even bother to look up from the NY post-" Oh the ad's a misprint...the baseboard and the condensers are extra" The price he then quoted was about twice what the ad said. I went over to Camera Barn and got an Omega 700 with lenses and carriers for both 2&1/4 and 35mm for less than what Oldens had advertised the 67C for. I never when in Olden's again.

There was a very large number of crooked camera stores in NYC in the 70's and 80's. I just hope they all went bankrupt.
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Calvera FTW
Old 03-09-2018   #18
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Calvera FTW

Dear Board,

"If God did not want them sheared. He would not have made them sheep."

I know that's awfully cynical, but things in the retail world seem to worsen each day?

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Harrisburg, PA
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Old 03-09-2018   #19
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This is a copy and paste from a post I made on the Adorama thread..

The last time I did business with Adorama was in the 80s. I ordered 3 Nikon F3HP bodies and 2 MD 4 motor drives from them. What I ordered were Nikon USA products with the US warranty included. When speaking to NPS about my order, they told me that no F3s had reached the US market yet. They asked that I bring in my cameras and Adorama paperwork as soon as the cameras arrived.

I took all the gear to the Nikon office the day the shipment arrived. Nikon ran all the SN and told me the gear was all gray market and that the warranty cards were not legitimate. I paid about $1500 over gray market pricing for this equipment. Nikon took possession of the equipment and paperwork and replaced my Adorama order with USA warranted products in a couple of weeks. This was all done as I was an NPS member.

I was told that their infractions were so bad that they were in danger of loosing their Nikon contract.

Pretty shady folks I think. I haven't done business with them since.

pkr

Edit: I should add that, when helping with a friend's estate (a former Nikon executive) Sammy's in LA ripped the estate off. I didn't do business with them, but the people at NPS selected them for handling the gear. The money went to my pal's nephew's education fund. I shipped them several very large boxes of equipment, one of which they claimed never arrived. It was signed for by a Sammy's employee. I got no where with my angry protests. My pal's sister told me to drop it. The family was still grieving, so I did. F Sammy's, they knew my friend and screwed his family. Done with rant..
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Old 03-09-2018   #20
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You had to be very careful with the NYC camera shops back in the day...all of em..if you didn't do your homework...well...you got burned..
I got my brand new M6 at AAA...definitely a gamble in 1990...they were one of the real bad guys..lol...but they had the cheapest advertised price in the city by far..and actually honored it..I just looked at the receipt...$1699.95..I still have it today...a bargain..!
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Old 03-09-2018   #21
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In the 90’s I shopped at these NY camera shops in person and let me tell you they were all one big rodeo. “Hey ya buyin or not- get atta heeere”. I ended up buying most of my Nikon gear used from Charlotte Camera.
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Old 03-09-2018   #22
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To me it just seems so counter intuitive that the shops paying the highest rent would have the best deals. I suppose they make up for it in volume?

Anyway, my favourite camera store is Camera Exchange, in Box Hill, Melbourne, Australia. So much cool old stuff intermingled with new Leica, Hasselblad, Fuji, Nikon, and I think they dabble in Canon and Sony too. Honest guys who are just plain old interested in cameras. Like ye olden days.
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