The Henry's in Ottawa seems to be more interested in up-selling digital cameras than actually providing service.
Vistek here still has a couple die-hard analogue darkroom folks on staff - it's a pleasure to talk shop instead of being hearing how brand x super-duper printer inks are superior etc.,
Yes, a personal relationship can help a lot, and just makes the whole thing more human. One of the things I like about Beau, is they have staff dedicated to answering analog inquiries. I know who I'm talking to on the phone, having met them when I've been in Vancouver.
My experience with Henry's is not all that bad. Granted, I don't ask them for advise on film or darkroom related things. I do my research online and then check who has the product(s) I'm looking for. Henry's has a good website so I check whether they have what I'm looking for. If it's not on their website, I think that you can safely assume that they don't/won't have it. If it is on their website but not in the store of your choice, you can have it delivered at the store at no additional charge within a few days. This works for me and I still buy things at Henry's without frustration.
An other decent source for film in Ottawa is Galaxy Camera on Bank St (near Catherine St). They still have the largest selection of (mainstream) film, nothing exotic though and of course not as cheap as the big US stores like B&H. But not to the extend that I won't buy my film there. Overall, Canada is a bit of a sad country when it comes to availability of darkroom materials. Ilford products are still fairly good available but other than that you'll have to shop cross-border. Although Argentix.ca is a new store in that has a refreshing assortments of products. I recently ordered there and it was on my doorstep a few days later.
I had a problem at Henry's recently when I ordered and paid for a litre bottle of HC110 and got a 473ml bottle. The catalogue number had changed up, so they simply used up the old inventory without realizing that they were gypping their customers. It took over 2 MONTHS, many emails and several phone calls, (some of which were never returned), to finally get it through to them that they had screwed up.
While staying in Victoria, I went to a great shop called Lens and Shutter, I believe. Knowledgable staff and a pretty good inventory of analogue supplies and equipment. Have you tried them?
I was in Lens and Shutter today. I do shop there when I'm in Victoria. It's 2 hours from home; not a casual drive.
The store was pretty empty today and the stock was low. I commented, and was told the owner had filed for bankruptcy, and had just been bought out. Not by a big chain, but by a couple who want to keep it going. Will have to see how that pans out. If anyone has any further info on this, us west coasters would like to hear....
I like to keep my orders local when possible. Was only looking into Henry's because of the sale item I was interested in.
I'm sorry to hear that, but hopefully the new owners will make a go of it. It was a good shop.
Henrys - once a great shop.
Now a crap shoot, even when shopping in person.
My last interaction there was about 5 years ago when I dropped in to buy c-41 120 roll film at their Oakville location. Yes not the downtown store, yes had product I wanted though.
Did not have a full brick that I asked for , and stung me almost $9 a roll selling me indivudual rolls foil packed broken out from a brick.
That spurred my first B&H mail order. Safer to mail order for me from them.
When I set foot there when visiting NYC I wanted to buy everything I saw there, and that is saying a lot of stuff.
For Toronto and the more personal approach for those in the west end, try Film Plus.
A smaller shop, with Guy and maybe three usually working photographers working to supplement income also there as employees.
A few are still very keen film users.
Yes, the location is a bit out of the way to drop in on, but they make a reasonable effort to support b&w.
Their main push is a as a rental house for camera and lighting and grip gear.
Not a huge pool, so if your heart is in getting a bit of gear when you drop by to try out, call ahead to book it, and it will be ready to go.
Good weekend gear rental rate, too.
I used to be a big Henry's shopper.
I loved the folks at the Oakville Store, always friendly, many of the CSRs knew me by name, even could spell my last name without asking, and knew my phone number. When you're dropping off film and picking it up (twice a week) for a year, you get that. They would bring stuff in without any sort of question, back lash, or pushiness. They'd be honest when something wasn't in stock. Even the manager called me "The Film Guy" in fact I met Bill Smith in the parking lot of that store.
Then the lab they used to process film closed. So I started looking for new labs (settled on Burlington Camera and Toronto Image Works). But they would happily keep me loaded up with film, but soon even that became harder so I switched to Burlington Camera and the Film Photography Project to keep my stores up. I then moved to a new office, in Mississauga. I needed some film before the weekend and wasn't able to get to Burlington Camera so I figured let's just call the Henry's here in Mississauga, it's close to where I work and they should be able to get the film into the store before Friday. I picked some simple items, 5 rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 and 2 of Tri-X in 35mm. When I call them up, I get this. "Kodak Doesn't make film anymore" "Excuse me, yes they do." "Well then they don't make that film stock anymore" "Um...fine, I'll live without ordering from you, and get it from a place that knows their stuff."
Yep, bye-bye Henry's. It's sad because the people at the Oakville Store were wonderful! I will have to go back and see if any are still around and say hi.
Originally Posted by Axle
I have found Burlington Camera good as well.
If you are in the Mississauga area, there is what looks to be a small Mom & Pop operation at Millennium Photo on Erin Mills Parkway at Folkway just South of Hwy 403. They did some E6 120 processing for me, and offer C41 & E6 for 35mm, 120, 220 (if you still have some...), and 4x5.
They may not process daily, but can usually get it back in a week.
Might want to give them a try.
Hope that helps,
Downtown Camera (around the corner from Henrys) or FilmPlus (Symington and Dupont area) would be good choices for film and darkroom supplies if Henrys frustrates you. I found the film counter/checkout staff at Henrys were usually young and most likely students studying photography and thus usually had a clue. usually...