View Full Version : Darkroom supplies in Chicago area

11-19-2011, 05:23 PM
For the unhappy bunch of people coming from the European East, visit to a big city in the West is always an opportunity to browse local shops for whatever goods are impossible to buy back home, and photography goods are not an exception. Of course, you can always order these things over the internet now, but feeling is just not the same - at least, you get the chance to chat with the fellow enthusiasts you meet at the shop.
Visit for the RSNA show this year brings me a chance to explore Chicago's offerings in darkroom supplies which is to precious to miss.
So, I was wandering if someone can someone recommend me a shop with usual photo and darkroom stuff - film, paper, chemicals, etc?
I will be stationed around center/Loop area, and will be spending my days at McCormick place, so if it's located nearby, it's certainly a bonus.

Thanks in advance.

Chan Tran
11-19-2011, 05:26 PM
Calumet Photographic is decent.

Chan Tran
11-19-2011, 05:26 PM
Helix used to have a lot. don't know now. Helix is nearer to Mc cormick place

11-19-2011, 06:08 PM
Sorry, but no place in Chicago has more then a pittance of DR stuff. I have more in my basement than all the Chicago stores combined..a real shame..Calimet and Helix ised to be fun to visit..EC

11-19-2011, 06:53 PM
Welcome to Chicago! Like all said, darkroom supplies are pretty scarce in the loop, but Central Camera is a must visit, they have lots of used cameras and other odds and ends. Don't forget to check out the Art Institute of Chicago while here!

11-19-2011, 07:42 PM
Don't forget to check out the Art Institute of Chicago while here!

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the world's truly great museums. They have a small collection of Joseph Cornell's media boxes that I think are some of the most sublime works of art ever created.

Is Darkroom Aids still open? I have a film washer I bought from them about 20 years ago. Still has the sticker for that -- ahem -- poorly named photo supply store. Darkroom "Aids"? Ouch, sounds painful. :(

Mark Fisher
11-19-2011, 09:04 PM
Central Camera is downtown. They have some stuff, but it is a cool place to check out. Their darkroom selection is a bit meager and their prices on used stuff is a bit high, but worth going to anyway. Helix has a lot less darkroom stuff than they used to, but have a decent selection of the necessities. They have a used department also. Make sure you spend some time just shooting.

Kevin Caulfield
11-20-2011, 05:45 AM
Central Camera is awesome. Please check it out. It's on Wabash Avenue.

11-24-2011, 04:54 PM
Thanks for all the replies, I will surely mark all these places on my map.
Unfortunately, I probably won't have much time for some street photo-trip, since RSNA show closes well in the evening, but I will take camera with me.

12-08-2013, 10:42 PM
Central Camera on Wabash is still around and carries darkroom stuff. Helix Camera is no more but you can find them on eBay.

12-10-2013, 08:51 AM
Central Camera hands down! I was there in November and realized that I was out of fixer, and there was my needed product! They have a full range of Kodak, Ilford, and Photographer's Formulary chemistry. Not to mention paper.