Discussion in 'Toronto' started by Uncle Bill, Jun 24, 2011.
Pity none of the employees wanted to continue the business.
Ah, I haven't seen Mike in years (I think about 20 now) ... ah the legacy of the Yonge St. camera stores is coming to an end.
I remember when we had many stores within that block (I always though Jerry's was the best place).
Hmm, I just realized they moved to the store. When did it move from Elm St ?
Ok, I really have not been downtown in a while.
Hate to see old photo camera shops close.
Guess that's why they're folding...
Hmm, I should go downtown more often to keep the camera stores open ... hmm.
Elm St. Camera
For film shooters, the local stores are becoming less and less important, alas. The less they stock, the more we tend to order by mail. The more we tend to order by mail, the less they stock. Except for heavy liquid chemicals, there is little need to use a local shop for film photography anymore.
I brought a few too few rolls of Velvia to Nova Scotia this week. I popped into a Henry's (a well known Canadian chain with a large store in Toronto and smaller stores everywhere else) and was told that I could order some from Simon's Camera in Montreal, because Henry's didn't stock slide film at any of its locations anymore. I'd be disappointed if it were true that the flagship store had taken that attitude, too, but that's indicative of the market these days. (I ended up finding three rolls of Sensia at a local competitor down the street, at a high price but at least they had it.)
I'm feeling slightly discouraged by this but the reality is that I haven't been in my local store back home, which stopped processing E6 film last fall, in a year. I used to have reason to go to get my E6 stuff done and now I pop it in an envelope to Toronto instead. It's kind of amazing how much money I used to put into local stores and how the shift in the market has meant that I now pump all that money into the Internet mail order establishment instead. (In fact, I pump more now than I did then, but almost none of it is spent locally. The only thing I do locally now is get C41 film processed. Sad.)
What drives me nuts, there is a market for looking after the analogue market in Canada, it's just Henry's and Vistek just don't care to serve that market.
I do think a Blue Moon Camera like store could survive nicely in Toronto and do a tidy mail order business. Eight Elm's Achilles heel was the out of the way location being steps away from University on Elm St. and not raising awareness amongst the local photography community. An active FB presence like Glass Key Photo out of SF does would go a long way to build a following and in turn regular customers.
Actually they do care ... at least Henry's.
I know that they provide analog process services using there outlab (I personally know the lab).
The problem that I have heard is the volume is very low ... example, they do not get enough E-6 to keep the machine continuously running so keeping chemistry balanced becomes a chore ... other analog services are very low in volume.
These larger labs require volume to keep their machines running properly and also to maintain a profitable company ... and that is not happening so there is only one choice for them if they cannot be profitable.
Never got that much love back from Henry's aside from a few long-time employees who either quit or got canned over the past couple of years. Business appears down and their relocated outlet in Mississauga is even more dismal than the old spot on Queen.
After Brown's in Mississauga dropped processing last summer, I now have to schlep my 120 to either Silvano or TIW. Silvano's QC is spotty--literally--with occasionally cruddy b&W and so-so C41 negs the result of up to a week's wait for processing. Haven't used TIW recently but will if they hold to their "in by 11 out by 3" processing service. David Nardi gave up on his "garage" E6 biz due to Kodak's discontinuation of small batch E6 chemistry and, I suspect, poor response. Have a bunch of E100GX in 120 I'd love to shoot up.
Cheap 35mm dev/print has mostly vanished except for a few sloppily-run Loblaws Fuji-equipped labs in the westend GTA.
I'm not certain there will be much left, lab-wise, by next year. Low volume is killing quality.
Has anyone tried Burlington Camera on Guelph St in (obviously) Burlington?
They still have film (though s little less) and staff that were there during film's best years. They have a decent used section too.
Worth a stop in if you're in the area.
At least Henry's still has chems & paper. Fix, Rodinal, paper and so forth. The last time I was in the shop they even had some B&W film.
Some of Henry's paper is old however. Stuff that doesn't move fast like warmtone (so popular here I don't understand but only occasionally stocked in the Toronto Superstore) and 16x20 is obviously quite old, given that they have the 2009 Ilford commemorative/APUG stuff still in stock! I tried a pack of the 2009 stuff recently and it is already obviously a bit less than fully fresh as compared to stuff I buy from B&H, I have to test strip each on their own unfortunately as the 2-year old stuff has already lost a bit of speed
Agreed, low volume has killed quality in local labs. I used to get same day service up until recently in Guelph (Pond's Fotosource) and then BJ Photo in Waterloo but they ended it in 2009 and it was sadly for the best as the last slides I had processed there came out very badly (not sure how old the Velvia was in the first place either). C-41 locally has gotten bad too, now Pond's only process a few times a week and BJ Photo when they have enough rolls and this is so infrequently that my Tetenal/JOBO home processing is much, much better.
Both Pond's and BJ Photo seem to be surviving well, switching to digital sales and printing. Many of the people who have worked there for 20 years are still there which is nice to see but sadly unless I want to buy expensive backpacks and film, cheap tripods or digital prints I don't have any reason to stop by. In a pinch BJ Photo has some chemicals for the University students, being a closer walk than Henry's so "in season" they have some paper and chems.
Pond's sends E6 to Toronto or did last time I asked but I'm just into printing now so I do everything, developing and printing of B&W and C-41 at home. Of course it is cheaper to buy from B&H than to buy in Canada and in fact the shipping is faster and cheaper too. The only thing I buy in Canada is the Kodak Ektacolor RA RT 10L developer replenisher and blix kits as I can't seem to get it shipped from the US; still mail order though, from DarkroomCentral/PhotoCentral out in Calgary (if they stop carrying it then I'll have to try the more expensive 5L Tetental RA-4 kit which B&H wil ship me). The Canadian distributor prices are just too high, I don't think they get it wholesale here for B&H's retail price.
I think Pond's sends their B&W to a guy to do on his weekends so when he feels like it is when it gets done. BJ Photo lost their B&W basement guy last year.
They aren't bad, I do buy my chemicals there if I'm not headed downtown. I do like the fact they have darkroom gear in the basement and they still care about the business.
I still rely on outside labs for my C-41 work (don't shoot slide anymore) and process and print my black and white workflow at home.
Once Canada Post returns, I've gotta get going on big auction site shopping for some SS tanks and reels for B&W developing. I'll just have to suck it up, though, for C-41 and E6. Think I've shopped at Burlington 2-3 times in the last 10 years. It's not that close and I'm downtown fairly often. Film resources in Mississauga suck.
Yeah, I am starting to get back into my own B&W processing, and a film scanner. I have already started the purchasing process ... though now I regret not keeping all of it (sold it off 10 years ago).
My scanner and tank is delayed due to the strike ... hopefully it will be over soon.
Once you start processing your own black and white, you won't go back because you will do a better job than the labs usually do.
Try Montreal if you want to be even more depressed. There's essentially zero photography here, let alone analog. Not even any half decent galleries. It's probably most dead large North American city for photography.
Toronto is better for galleries/exhibits/general interest in photography.
That said, the analog scene needs some love. What drew me to the Toronto APUG board was the prospect of building a GTA analog community. I'm still hoping we can begin doing that over the summer.
Well, so far GTA wise with APUG functions this sumer I took in the Distillery District walk, and the Hamilton Harbour walk, and enjoyed my time at them.
Good locations, good weather, a bit of socializing, and not all the time spent talking gear.
I have some nice images to work on printing up from those outings.
I have processed all my B&W work for 25 years; c-41 and RA-4 and E-6 have been home processed for the last 5-6 years.
JD Photochem's closing will ultimately crimp my style, since the Formulary can't ship some of the DIY chems.
I may feel the need to visit a pal who now lives in Idaho just for a US shipping address for a few weeks close to them.
I order Kodak colour chemistry from Unisource and pickup from a warehouse here in Mississauga. This was discused in a thread here about 6 months ago.
Sorry, I was supposed to set something up in Elora but have yet to put out the call. Just too busy... sorry again.
No worries, Harry. There's lots of summer left after this weekend. I'm still willing to set-up something in the west-end of the GTA next month or whenever.
I was in Montreal last year in October and found a wonderful camera shop in Old Montreal called Photo Service, and they had film that I had a hard time finding in Ontario.
What a shame. It was the go-to place for photo students at OCAD.
Their colour processor broke not too long ago and they are not going to invest in its' repair due to the fact that they are closing. It was cheap, only $2 for a roll of 135. Alot of students like us will now be out of a place to process C-41.
This will hopefully strengthen the case now to introduce hand colour processing at my school, not just B&W. The profs there have shyed away from it citing it was too dangerous and difficult when it really isn't.
So what's left of C-41 in the GTA? I think Downtown Camera still does C-41 but is more expensive. Henrys might, but I haven't checked (I think they send their stuff out), and maybe a few pro labs (again expensive) and minilabs which are quickly being phased out.
West Camera, Toronto Image Works, a lab in Dragon City Mall ( I think) in Chinatown on Spadina, (can't remember the name but it's second floor close to entrance opposite Sullivan St)...
Separate names with a comma.