any other sentimental sobs out there?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by brianentz, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. brianentz

    brianentz Member

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    There was a great little camera shop (not that little, really) that I frequented when first starting out in photography. Claremont Camera in Claremont, CA. I bought my first serious camera there an Nikon FE-2 when that was a new, cutting edge camera. The store was a happening place. Always busy. And the staff there was very knowledgeable. You could get about anything there. It was a candy store for me. Like a lot of camera stores it fell victim to the changing times. It dwindled, split into two stores and then closed its doors altogether about three years ago. It's genuinely sad for me. I wish I could visit it again or somehow bring it back, but I don't even have any pictures of the place.

    I'm just wondering if anyone else has a camera store like that that meant a lot to you and now is gone. Anyone else pine for the old camera store that has slipped away in time?
     
  2. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I remember a wonderful store in Adelaide, that was an Aladdin's cave for anything you could think of. I dealt in both new and used equipment, and I kitted out my entire darkroom with used gear from these guys.

    Every Saturday morning, I'd drive the 30 minutes into the city, to dig in amongst the treasures they'd uncovered the previous week. I traded in my black AE1 Program with drive and 50mm f1.8 for an original F1 and drive - it had a ding in the pentaprism, and some brassing but it was a joy to use!

    As digital became more prevalent, the need for all that analogue gear slowly dissipated, and they had a *huge* garage sale - unfortunately I was out of the country at the time. :sad:

    They packed up from that wonderful store and moved 15 minutes closer to me, but the magic was gone. No longer did they have the gems they had before and about 3 years later, they closed up again. They were still listed in the Yellow Pages a couple of years back, but travelling nearly an hour kept me from heading to their new store(?). The loss of their mojo from the first move, meant I didn't have the same drive to visit and alas it probably means they are no longer around.
     
  3. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    There used to be a wonderful shop in Helsinki called EP-Kamera. Bought my first F3 there while I was an exchange student in Finland 3 years ago. They had -everything-. 4x5s, 8x10s, Hasselblads, Mamiyas, Leicas, Nikons, and all sorts of other exotic gear. It was a really lovely little place. The owner retired in Spring of 2009, unfortunately.
     
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  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    The little mom and pop camera shop just off-campus in Lock Haven, Pa, "Wolfe's" Ed sold me a ton of paper and assorted gear, and my OM-4. He wanted to retire in the mid 80's, asked me to take over the shop. I should have, alas had no interest in setteling down at the time.
     
  5. barbara ann

    barbara ann Subscriber

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    Well, I had a camera store in Springfield New Jersey where I could bring my ailing Nikon for repair. The store is still there, but guess what! They no longer repair film cameras! Actually laughed at me when I brought it in and told me film cameras have gone "bye-bye". Oh, I can pack it up and mail it into Nikon and they will repair it if parts are available, but it's not the same...
     
  6. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Back in the mid 60's, when I 1st got interested in photography, there was a store called Fedco in San Diego. Open only to federal employees at the time. They sold everything. Food, clothes, appliances, furniture and you name it. One thing they had was a fully stocked photo department. Cameras, enlargers, developing equipment, film, paper, chemicals and more. For a small chain store they had it all and I bought everything from them. They are still around but the photo department only has a few digital cameras now.
    A few other great stores in San Diego were Nelson Photo and George's Camera. Both are still around but they don't offer near enough for the film shooter today.
     
  7. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Still around? Fedco is long gone. Are you saying the store's still there with a different name, or is someone using the Fedco name, too?

    I always liked their photo dept. I picked up Kodachrome processing mailers there cheaper than anyplace else, though I could get Kodachrome locally for about what they charged.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    There was a strange one near me. One of my father's friends was a fashion photographer in the 1960s and 1970s. He inherited a shop which I suppose in the US would be called a drugstore. When he took over, one side had cameras, film and all of the other usual photographic accessories whilst the other side displayed soap, talcum powder, shampoo, etc. It seemed quite a strange mixture.

    A few years ago he decided to retire and sell the building. My father bought a Rolleiflex and a Yashicamat from him and I had a few things too.

    Less than two years after retiring, he died whilst on holiday in the south of France so unfortunately did not get to enjoy his retirement.

    This is the sad look it had once closed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21094292@N02/5224668752/


    Steve.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Franks in L.A. It was the Samy's of the east side. A real powerhouse, top notch store. Now it has to be seen to be believed.
     
  10. foc

    foc Member

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    I remember a camera shop in Dublin, Slattery's beside the Carlton Cinema on O'Connell Street. It was a tiny shop and had the look of Olivanders shop from Harry Potter films inside. It had the smell of film and photographic paper that you only get in old camera shops. It was stacked full to the ceiling with everything photographic and they had a ladder on a rail which they would move along the shelves and climb up to get to the top shelf.

    I bought my 1st 35mm developing tank and Ilford ID11 from them to develop my first Ilford HP4 (that's giving away my age :smile: )
     
  11. FiatluX

    FiatluX Member

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    There was a little shop in Copenhagen, Denmark which only carried used and "obsolete" pro stuff, rare items.. What a goldmine and it was cheap too! Closed for years now, but still I wish that I could go there and sift thru the shelves for some hours. Bought myself a mint Kodak Master View in 1989 or so, on which I took my first B/W 4X5s.
     
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  12. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Wolfe's Camera in Topeka, now a computer and digital camera place.
     
  13. mikendawn

    mikendawn Member

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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    This is mawkish and a bit untrue. Most camera stores were like Aladdin's cave. They were also pricey and not always friendly towards students or anyone else who couldn't pony up the cash for regular substantial purchases. Discounts were hard to finagle on new gear; used stuff was over-priced; requests for price matches were taken as insults. I don't recall getting much love from these places.

    So-so service, too much attitude, and widening discount options brought by online shopping were all to blame. Getting mint NOS gear online for 1/5 of a store's asking price isn't a hardship. What's to miss?
     
  16. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Strangely for me, most of the stores I went to are still around.

    I grew up in Burlington and Burlington Camera has been there since 1959. Don't live there anymore though.

    When I came to Guelph in the '80s there was and still is Pond's Fotosource; I still go there once in a while. Pond's doesn't sell any chemicals anymore sadly or darkroom paper so I don't go there much unless I'm in dire need of some film. Mail order is much cheaper of course.

    And in Waterloo near where I work, BJ Photo has been there since the early '80s as well and I still buy some film, paper and DD-X from there, Rapid Fixer when I need it, some frames.

    Of course there is Henrys. Better chemical and paper stock than BJ Photo but not much film in stock.

    All three are mostly digital now of course.

    Some small Black's Photography and Japan Camera shops are no longer around or have moved but really, the stores I always went to are still around, still selling and processing some film.

    I process and print all my own now since none of these stores are fast enough for me anymore. I was always impatient so you think I'd mostly shoot digital, and I did for a couple of years, but I still prefer film.
     
  17. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Here in Richmond, Va. There is Richmond Camera(surprise!) they have slowy been droping film stuff. They don't develop film any more.

    Jeff
     
  18. mablo

    mablo Member

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    In -91 or so I loaned a very nice Minolta 7000i from my brother. I almost trashed it during a wild midsummer party (fire, water, liquor etc.). I took it to a small repair shop in Helsinki near where I was living. The guys in the shop told me my camera is more than half dead but they'd try to rescue it. But I needed a camera right away (another wild party coming along I suppose) so they sold me a simple black Olympus Mju soap box thingy.

    Fast forward 20 years. Those two guys are still repairing cameras in their small shop. I'm a regular customer of course. My funny Olympus soap box is still working and believe it or not my brother told me sometime ago he has the Minolta 7000i and it's still working.
     
  19. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    My local shop, Kenmore Camera, is still around and thriving (I think). They still have film, paper and chemistry, plus a HUGE used gear department. The loss I feel most keenly are the photo processors that have gone toes up. Jet Color Lab was the closest, and my favorite; they actually shut down before the advent of digital.

    edit: Now that I think about it, there are a couple of shops that I miss; one was the photo counter at JCPenney (bought my T90 there), the other was the photo counter at Warshall's Sporting Goods. What a great place to browse.
     
  20. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    There was a really awesome camera shot in East Town - a cool part of the inner city of Grand Rapids, Michigan - that was a veritable *gold mine*. Unfortunately they also wanted too much gold for their cameras and standard MSRP for other new items. Rarely had sales as the local art/design school required film stuff and this was the *only* venue in town so they scalped at every turn. I did buy an occassional body/lens cap for my Minolta SRT cameras and lenses as well as a bit of film, but that was about it...

    Eventually the internet eclipsed their semi-monopoly and since they failed to remain competitive in other ways they also went the way of the Dodo. The last time i was in there and asked about their diminishing stock i was told they were moving to a warehouse and doing an on-line/big-auction-site store to clear everything out. I asked about in-store discounts on current merchandise and was told to seach out their auctions - too bad they couldn't adjust/adapt - they were and East Town icon and close to an awesome coffee shop!
     
  21. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Wow! So totally opposite from the store I loved. Whilst there were one or two staff who could be a bit "cold", even they warmed up once you'd been in a couple of times.

    I guess in some ways, the internet has hit hard - a "virtual" store doesn't have the same overheads as the real thing, and staff? Who needs them, if you're able to list the gear online and never have a shop to sell from?

    I think that stores need to embrace both worlds - that way they can access customers they may never have dreamed of, whilst still keeping those who want to visit and "play" with the gear before buying too. :D
     
  22. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    We had several in the Omaha area but they have all closed except for one where the offerings are 99% digital, although they still have a small corner of darkroom supplies, chemistry and film at outrageous prices compared to Freestyle or B&H.

    Dean's Camera was the store I bought my first serious camera (Nikon FA and lenses) and all my darkroom supplies. Even after I could buy most of my materials and supplies for less online I still bought some items there because I liked the people and wanted to help them stay in business. I think it has been about 5 years since he closed.

    Walmart, Target and stores like Office Depot as well as local mega retailer Nebraska Furniture Mart did in the camera stores. One person at Dean's told me NFM bought and sold more digital cameras in the three weeks before Christmas then all the film and digital cameras he has sold in 10 years. You simply can't compete on pricing when competing with a retailer that can buy that kind of volume from the mfg.

    There are a lot of things I could be nostalgic about from years ago. Record stores and video arcades and locally owned bookstores come to mind. Heck, I'm even nostalgic over Borders and they just locked the doors 3 weeks ago.

    But if one can get past to nostalgia of place and think about the product you went there for, things have never been better. While the number of products for film photography have declined I could never get the variety locally that I can find online at Freestyle. If I wait a few of months on a new book I like I can find it for pennies on the dollar on a used book site. Same goes for most music in CD or vinyl form.

    The real loss is a sense of community that was shared through a physical location.
     
  23. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    Terry's Camera on Long Beach Boulevard was always friendly. They were housed ina 1950s bank building, had a great selection of gear, and were also friendly toward talking shop. I came in once with a B&L Protar lens and asked for caps for it. The guy behind the counter took out a pair of calipers, measured my lens, and pulled out two generic caps. Then he looked at my lens, smiled at me, and said, "Where'd you find this?" "From a guy online" I replied. "Want to sell it?"

    It was so nice to see someone liking my 100 year old piece of glass instead of rolling their nose up at something not digit@l. I miss that place a lot.
     
  24. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Paramount Camera in Downy was the local shop for me for 45 years, family owned and operated until the owners son retired and sold it to Al who worked for them. Al is a good guy and very helpful to the local collage students taking analog photo courses. Bought my first enlarger there in 1967 or 8.

    Mike
     
  25. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Memphis photo supply is still in business but they are the only ones out of the six or seven that used to be here. I used to know all of the guys behind the counter at most of the stores, when I walked in just about all of them knew my name and what I was there for. The guys at MPS are great, infact I bought my Nikkon S2 and F from them recently. I pretty much have the run of the place when I'm in there, they know they can trust me behind the counter and they also know not to try and sell me on digital, but that didn't stop Dirk from trying to sell me a $3200 Leica MP :laugh:

    Years ago, I used to haunt the Wolf camera stores, now there is only one and the kids behind the counter either want to sell me on digital or a Holga, ugh.
     
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  26. jscott

    jscott Member

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    Someone else mentioned so-so service and too much attitude, that's been my experience with Kenmore Camera FWIW. I bought a Rolleiflex 6x6 there for a retail price ($350), then had to pay Krikor $160 more for a CLA. Obviously KC just buys stuff cheap, then puts it on the shelf as-is (without telling you about "as-is"). I had assumed that they, as "serious professionals", would go over the used gear, check it, and repair it before putting it up for sale. Not so, my mistake! Damaged Goods! Beware!



    "Kenmore Camera, is still around and thriving (I think). They still have film, paper and chemistry, plus a HUGE used gear department."