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.
Last edited by FiatluX; 10-08-2011 at 07:52 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Wolfe's Camera in Topeka, now a computer and digital camera place.
This is truly sad...
The old Kodak processing plant in Toronto.. Just one of several closed, and going to rubble...
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?
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Right now in Spain they're holding the Running of the Bulls,
followed by the Soiling of the Pants, and the Burying of the Idiots.
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!
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.
Originally Posted by CGW
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.