Adorama & B&H, worth checking out? In person?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JMC1969, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    I am going to be in NY (staying in Brooklyn) for a couple of short days with lots to do. Any benefit to making a special trip to walk into these two stores?

    Are there any other suggestions to a smaller store I might enjoy more?

    Looking for interesting deals on used equipment, B&W film, maybe some darkroom accessories, overall interesting. Plus it could make the difference as to how much film I bring with me, though I will be shooting a TLR as I don't have the time for LF.
     
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  2. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    I live in NYC and visit both stores about once monthly. I don't think either is worth it to explore good deals on used equipment. IMHO, Adorama is slightly better when it comes to pricing and rating some of their used gear. B&H is not good at all on used gear.

    But I would still choose B&H if you only had to visit one. Much, much bigger store, and vastly more interesting and fun shopping experience. You can (and many do) spend hours and hours there just playing with stuff. The "hands on" shopping and browsing experience at B&H is without peer in the U.S., I think. Also, B&H still refrigerates film, the last I checked. Adorama does not.

    Prices on new gear are about the same in both stores, and both are extremely reliable and trustworthy if you choose to buy. B&H has a slightly better return policy.
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    The inventory handling at B&H is an attraction in itself.

    IDK it was cool once to see all that junk in one place but... it's mostly new wizbang stuff.

    If you do stop in got to the darkroom section and chat up the personnel there.
    Every little bit helps.
     
  4. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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  5. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Thank you for the opinions. I mainly ask because I split from my group of peeps to travel a pretty good distance away from where I was, while in San Francisco to visit the Calumet store. Had I known........................
     
  6. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Barry, I just did a quick look around at the page (link you provided), is this entire store nothing but photography books? That's just plain cool.
     
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  7. LudditeJay

    LudditeJay Member

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    I have been to both locations and echo Shawn's comments as they match perfectly with my experiences.
     
  8. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    It's nothing but photography books--and it is a very cool store. They have all sorts of small edition books and not the common books you see everywhere. The ICP is also worth a visit and they have a great bookstore. The only problem is it's very small and usually crowded, so it's not a pleasant browsing experience. Dashwood is not so well known and larger--a real gem.

     
  9. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    It's the wife's birthday trip, so crossing town for hours of eye candy might not happen. I need a "good" excuse, you know? So far I'm not finding it.

    So, any small spots in Brooklyn to check out? At some point Saturday I will be near or in McCarren Park.
     
  10. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    And note that they close at 2pm on Friday.
     
  11. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    With Daylight Savings in effect, Adorama now is open until 5pm on Fridays.
     
  12. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Sorry, I meant B&H.
     
  13. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I go to adorama often, since its only about 10 blocks away, but they have a really tiny corner in the back for chemicals and paper, everything is a bit mixed up and stacked behind each other. the film outside is not refrigerated (btw they only keep out 2 of those ilford buy1 get 1 free hp5+ packs at anytime lol).

    The people there dont know much about darkroom processes when I asked and didn't know their products they carried (asked about halo-chrome bottle on display) so its mostly self help (was looking for benzotriazole, but their photographers forumlary section is unorganized and a mess, was told to look for it myself, didnt find =[).

    They do have a cool selection of film cameras to oggle. I only go there because I can make a side trip to union square and shoot a bit there.

    As a visitor try out BH. And if a 1st time visitor, please check out some of the museums around like the Met you'll love it.

    Barry- cool find, I had no idea a store like that existed, I will check it out!
     
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  15. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Tough decision. I sure do like to just roam around checking out cameras I have not seen before (older), but I may just need to search around for some smaller spots and at least something closer to pick up a few rolls of film. Thank you for the input everyone.

    Newt, I've been to the city quite a few time and there is just not enough time w/o living there, but I do try to make the best of it. As far as museums go, I will be checking out the Guggenheim and the Whitney this time around.
     
  16. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I live close by, but almost never go into either store, but, if I'm going to one its usually B&H (I buy from both though). I'm waiting for a film/chemistry delivery from B&H today in fact.

    Some tourist/photog things to do (depending on your photographic interests):

    Prospect Park
    Botanical Gardens
    take the ferry to Governors Island (http://www.nps.gov/gois/index.htm) - it's Army Heritage Weekend (Saturday) but it's also punk island weekend (on sunday - part of a city wide music festival)
    There are nice views of the Statue of Liberty from Red Hook (or from Governors Island)
    Just noticing your latest post above, if you're in the vicinity of the Guggenheim, that area of Central Park has some great opportunity)
     
  17. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Not quite around the corner, but drop your wife at Strands used bookstore, if she is at all a reader.

    Then go to B&H, as others have suggested. I have not hit Adorama myself.

    Then go back to Strands, and find your wife, and she will say, oh, back already?
     
  18. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Last time I was in NYC I went to B&H, Adorama and Calumet. Calumet is the smallest of the stores, and though it has a lot of specialized items in its inventory, as a store it's nothing different from your midsized-city store. Adorama is welcoming because they have a used equipment counter on the way in, which makes for interesting gear fondling and meetings--I got seriously hammered on an evening out with someone I met over there, in the friendly tradition of Montreal-NYC cultural ties.

    But B&H is a trip unto itself because it's so damn big, has the largest counters, a huge darkroom section, and the funniest system of suspended monorail to move the stuff around the store (every section has its checkout counter, and all of your material eventually converges to the cash registers towards exit). And then there's the oddity of being served by Hassidic staff.

    In the end, there's maybe nothing you couldn't buy off the online catalog of these stores, but the pleasure of being surrounded by all of that is unique.
     
  19. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Of course if you buy from the store as oppose on online you can inspect right there.

    Jeff
     
  20. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Mike, she is a reader and I may stop in that book store myself. As for her, this trip is for her 35th b-day and she got a Nook from me. It seems I am the one with a problem of being stuck in the past. I like books with pictures:smile::smile:
     
  21. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    I think I am going to figure a way to get over to B&H. I have not stepped foot into a real camera store since Copenhagen.
     
  22. JamesMorris

    JamesMorris Member

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    Check out Lens & Repro, not far from Adorama. Lots of interesting old stuff, there.
     
  23. segedi

    segedi Member

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    I fear I'd spend way too much time/$ in either photo store...
     
  24. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Lens & Repro is way cooler in some ways - it's a camera museum by itself, piled floor to ceiling with camera junk. And most of it you can buy and take home! But B&H is by far the better of the two stores. Just go if you can during the week in the middle of the day when it's a bit quieter (if such a thing can be said of B&H - it seems like it is ALWAYS a zoo in there, especially on Sundays).
     
  25. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    My wife is not all that interested in photography, but she enjoyed going to B&H. The inventory management system has to be seen to be believed. You'll hear it before you see it, most likely.

    I popped into Adorama a few days later to pick up something I'd forgotten at B&H and the service I got there was excellent. It's not a spectacular store but it's very good as far as what is carried.
     
  26. HelenOster

    HelenOster Member

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    Thank you; really appreciate the feedback.

    There was mention above of store hours - these are Adorama's, currently:
    Sun. 9:30am to 5:00pm
    Mon. - Thurs. 9:00am to 8:00pm
    Fri. 9:00am to 5:00pm
    Eastern time.
    Saturday we are closed

    I can't pretend that Adorama is anywhere nearly as big as other stores - and we don't have the little train system overhead.....

    So for those of you who may never come to see us:

    This is the store:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/trips/2009-08-nyc/19b.htm

    This is our warehouse:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKwydXTTIKo&feature=related

    And this is our brand new Pro depatment which opened just a couple of weeks ago:
    http://www.adorama.com/alc/blogarticle/13080