Going to Chicago... good shops, etc?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by holmburgers, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Hi y'all,

    So I'll be going to Chicago for the 4th of July weekend and I'd like to know if there are any really cool camera shops that I should check out. I asked a similar question before going to Washington DC and found some great places, so I'd appreciate the favor again!

    I'm not too interested in big, corporate type stores, more like holes-in-the-wall with lots of vintage gear and that kind of stuff.

    I know there's a very well-traveled website that has a lot of LF stuff located in Chicago. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?? I can't seem to recall the name....

    Thanks!
     
  2. blind_sparks

    blind_sparks Member

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    Central Camera at Wabash and Jackson. Tons of vintage equipment.
     
  3. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I agree—Central Camera. Maybe the name you are trying to remember is Calumet?
     
  4. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    No, I did think about Calumet, but that's not the one I'm searching for. Hmm...

    Thanks for the tip on Central Camera though, I'll definitely check it out.

    This website I'm thinking about gave the impression that they have a 'brick & mortar' location. They have tons of information on ULF tripods and stuf like that.

    UPDATE! here it is! http://www.glennview.com/ That's the one
     
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  5. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    This is the first that I've heard about the Glennview people.
     
  6. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    That looks interesting, but still don't pass up Central Camera.
     
  7. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    Glennview isn't a brick and mortar location. Central Camera is a must see. The shop is small, but they have lots of old cameras and a good vibe due to the great salespeople and photographers that hang out there. Hint: They'll bargain with you on the cost of used equipment. Don't miss the Museum of Contemporary Photography a few blocks a way at Columbia College--it's free and the exhibits are usually interesting.
     
  8. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    You're thinking about Helix on S Racine Ave...EC
     
  9. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I was just at Central Camera at lunch today. I went to Helix yesterday at lunch and they didn't have tri-x or TMY in 120. Central Camera had plenty of both. They even have a Besslar 4x5 color enlarger in the back. Forget Helix and Calumet...go to Central. Central Camera is in walking distance of Millennium Park, the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
     
  10. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Another vote here for Central Camera. An amazing place with helpful and friendly service.
     
  11. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Since you're an APUPer, go to Columbia College. The have the finest photo museum anywhere. The Museum of Contemporary of Photography.

    Here's there website:

    http://mocp.org/
     
  12. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Now if there were only a museum of un-contemporary photography for us throw-backs. :smile:
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I'm a bit of a throw back too

    I'm a bit of a throw back too. Chicago is a great museum town for every interest. If MCOP is too rad, you could always go to the Art Institute. Saw a great Harry Callahan. A great master photographing the love of his life Eleanor. BTW this guy is the one that shoots with a camera not Dirty Harry :smile:
     
  14. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    That would be the extensive basement photography galleries at the Art Institute. :smile:
     
  15. hspluta

    hspluta Member

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    Another vote for Central Camera, very cool atmosphere. When I worked in the loop I used to walk over there at lunchtime. After you are finished shopping make sure you duck into the Exchequer Pub for a cold one and lunch, it is right down the street on Wabash.
     
  16. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Awesome, thanks everyone. Central Camera it is! And the MOCP is a must. I didn't know about it, so I'm very glad you all said something.

    As for Glennview, yeah, no brick & mortar, but that's ok.

    Thanks!
     
  17. John Jarosz

    John Jarosz Member

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    Unfortunately you are about 20 years too late to see Darkroom Aids, possibly the best store of used & abused anything photographic. It was one of my most favorite stores in the world.

    Do check out Central Camera. The old LF stuff is in the case immediately to the right of the entrance door. It's usually obscured by stuff in front of it in the aisle. Close to the Art Institute.

    The photography at the Art Institute is worth a look, particularly if you schedule your trip on a free day. The admission fee is somewhat outlandish. Even though I'm a member, I feel the daily rate is pretty high.

    There really isn't much at Calumet, I only go there if I'm desperate. Very underwhelming store.

    Helix doesn't have their used stuff out anymore, they sell all of it via ebay these days.

    Columbia usually has some interesting photography on display. Close to the Art Institute too.

    Have a good trip

    John
     
  18. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Central is about all there is left in Chicago. Helix was one of the big stores for years, easily competitive with Central and Darkroom Aids.
    I think they keep shooting themselves in the foot, Used to be able to find anything there. Now it's "we can't sell it". Can't sell it if you don't stock it! DOH!
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Central Camera is a great place. Walked in there last time I was in Chicago looking for TXP 4x5" and there it was. Had my Technika on my shoulder, and the kids at the film counter were totally interested in checking it out.
     
  20. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I was in Central Camera yesterday buying film, and it was as good and fun as ever. Helix appears to be on the way out and I don't bother going there any more. The last two times I went I was the only customer in the store. Calumet has less and less for the silver based photographer–the darkroom section is now one small shelf display off in a corner. I agree that Central is really the best of what's left in Chicago and is a treasure to be supported.
     
  21. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    It's sad that a city like Chicago has only one good place left. I'll definitely go in and buy something, regardless of if I need it :wink: I'll be going to the Art Institute hopefully, but definitely Columbia since free is my favorite vocabulary word.
     
  22. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I would also recommend central. I take the train downtown to pick stuff up there when I don't feel like getting it shipped (or can't get it shipped). They have an interesting selection of old stuff from the photograhper's formulary in the back which appears to have been untouched for quite some time (sadly). I almost picked up some packages of amidol, just to try it out, last time I was there.
     
  23. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    I'll be in Chicago next year sometime, around Melrose Park.
    All I need to do is Bribe someone to drive me into town and..........

    My credit card is gonna cry :cry:

    Once I'm tooled up with film and stuff, whats good to shoot around there?

    Edit: Good prices on Delta 100 / 400 / FP4+ in 120 :smile:
    Does anyone know if they do processing there, as given a choice shipping developed negs back through customs would be preferable to risking getting undeveloped stock zapped, as the Hand examination option won't apply to me as I'm not a US passport holder
     
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  24. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Museum admission in Chicago is on the pricey side, in my opinion. The new Modern Art wing isn't worth any price you pay including free in my opinion unless you really like "art" made with trash, paint cans, etc. The old part of the museum is definitely worth a stroll through and you can photograph (without flash). Like analog photography, the original part has wonderful old master examples of analog art. The restaurant on the west side of the new wing is gourmet and the prices reflect it. Here is a picture taken from a lunch table on the outdoor dining area of the restaurant.

    I found this display to be the most interesting part of the modern art exhibit. These are two engines from the Looking Glass aircraft. Google it if you are not already familiar with that chilling bit of Cold War history. In the background you can see the music shell designed by architect Frank Gehry and constructed of Titanium sheets. Grant's and Milleneum Parks are free as is the Lincoln Park zoo with plenty to photograph. Take the bus to Lincoln Park using the CTA pass (see below).

    Free, is the tour of the Chicago Cultural center that is across the street and a block or so west of the Art Museum. This is the original Library and it contains a huge-maybe the largest-Tiffany domed ceiling. If you are there on Wednesday (check the days to be certain) at 12:30 there is a free concert given in the center under the dome, in the large room that was originally the reference reading room. You could do far worse by selecting and paying admission to a concert elsewhere.

    Free, is museum admission at the Art Museum and I believe the Field Museum on one evening per week from 5:00 - 9:00. Check at the Cultural Center to find out details and to determine what is happening during your visit. That said I suggest you begin by taking the EL into the Loop (see below for pass information), and then begin at the Cultural Center to plan your days.

    Directly across Michigan Ave. from the Art Museum is the Russian Tea House. It's great for dinner, or for high or low tea if you can afford the price of admission. If not, then continue a block or so beyond the Tea House on the same side of the street to Bergdorff's cellar where you can get good German food and lager. The cellar is open at noon for lunch but the restaurant is open for dinner. Prices are reasonable and the food is better than your average pub.

    For transportation in Chicago, go to any of the currency exchange stores where you can buy a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) pass. Get a CTA route map while you are there. The cost is around $20 for three days and the pass is good for any CTA bus, or train (called the EL for elevated). You can get on/off as much as you like and the pass begins and ends from the time you first use it. There is an on/off bus that is privately operated and costs about $25 for a one-day pass. It runs a fixed route and is marginally worth the cost. I say marginally because the wait for another bus can be long and in season the double-decker open-top busses are often full.

    The two towers are the places to see the city providing the weather is clear. There is the Hancock tower and also the Sears tower (now renamed Willis for the current lesee that is I believe a UK insurance company). Admission to both is about $20 but is worth the price for photography in CLEAR WEATHER. The Willis tower is probably the best for its slightly higher viewpoint and "open air" balconies for which there is no extra charge.

    Just off Michigan Ave. toward the lake (Huron St. I believe) is the Elephant & Castle pub. Good food, decent prices, and English ale on tap. We ate dinner at one of the outside tables and were astonished by the number and frequency of emergency vehicles passing by, until we realized that the next block from the pub contains a major hospital with its emergency room entrance.

    Finally, the place to go for a Chicago Dog is any one of the Potrillo's chain of restaurants. You can always find good and relatively inexpensive food in Chicago. Don't forget the US custom of tipping about 20% (before tax) for service given in any restaurant that provides table service by waiters. No tipping for cafeteria-style self-serve places.
     

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  25. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    All good stuff there. Thread now bookmarked, and notes taken
    Not been to an American version of a British pub. As long as the beer is served at the proper temperature, it sounds like a home from home
    (Note to the colonies, ice cold is NOT acceptable for beer, except for fizzy lager) :D