Good Brick & Mortar Photography Stores?

guzhogi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 31, 2003
2,936
796
Wherever my feet take me…
Earlier today, I posted that Calumet Photo (at least the US part) went bankrupt yesterday. I was wondering what brick & mortar photography stores you guys like? As good as online stores are, I still like being able to rent equipment versus buying, plus talk to someone face-to-face when I need advice. And not a specific brand store (as in Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc.). Just a general purpose photography store where you can get cameras, cleaning services, paper, printers, lights, etc.

Personally, I'm looking for a store in Chicago's western suburbs. Thanks!
 

steveash

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2008
477
199
UK
My closest is either Jessops (pricey) or London Camera Exchange. Actually I don't live that far from a Calumet, but have to confess I've never been.
Where a bouts are you? The Calumet in Birmingham is quite good, worth a browse but their prices aren't always the best. They do offer good advice though and their hire service is very useful. Jessops prices aren't bad these days but I rarely see anything in there that interests me - mostly low level stuff. Dale Photographic in Leeds is very good, the owner/manager can be a bit miserable but they are very knowledgable.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,266
725
Is Calumet's bankruptcy for sure Chapter 7 as opposed to 11? What a shame if it is the former. In my neck of the woods, they have been around a long long time. I have seen other major stores close over the years and this leaves just one major store left. I guess prices will go up there - sigh.
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
32,745
22,598
Behind the Lens, UK
Where a bouts are you? The Calumet in Birmingham is quite good, worth a browse but their prices aren't always the best. They do offer good advice though and their hire service is very useful. Jessops prices aren't bad these days but I rarely see anything in there that interests me - mostly low level stuff. Dale Photographic in Leeds is very good, the owner/manager can be a bit miserable but they are very knowledgable.
Not far from Birmingham. Near Dudley. I just travel in that way for work, so don't really want to on the weekends!
 

JackHobbs

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2009
103
0
London
For those of you near London, we have two great shops:
Cameraworld which is on Wells street just off Oxford Street and also a branch of the same store is in Chelmsford. Park Cameras has just opened a shop in Rathbone Place which is also just off Oxford Street. Park Cameras' main shop is in Burgess Hill. Both of these shops have a website.

My personal favourite though is WEX which used to trade as Warehouse Express. They used to be just a website but then opened a shop at their warehouse in Norwich. It's great.

All of the above places have knowledgeable staff who actually use cameras and take photos. One of the people in Cameraworld actually told me to save my money and not upgrade my camera as the new model was not a big enough improvement on the model I owned. I have bought equipment from all three places and can recommend them.
 

MacCruiskeen

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2011
321
5
The B&H retail store is larger and usually better stocked than Adorama's. Also, they have the funky overhead conveyor baskets to take your stuff to the register. Or at least, I assume they still have that (I haven't been in there since I left NY seven years ago).

Freestyle has retail stores in CA, but sadly, not here on the East Coast.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,594
376
Redondo Beach, California
..
Freestyle has retail stores in CA, but sadly, not here on the East Coast.
But Freestyle has a web site and you can order on-line.

Freestyle is great for film and darkroom supplies they even have their own brands or film and paper and are in Hollywood, CA off the 101. I think the big store in LA is Sammy's. They have several locations with a big rental department.

That said the last few items I bought were are KEH and B&H via their web sites.

There was (is??) a Calumet in LA/Hollywood too but the only things I ever bought there were their Calumet gear wraps with the velcro corners,
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,210
432
NY
The B&H retail store is larger and usually better stocked than Adorama's. Also, they have the funky overhead conveyor baskets to take your stuff to the register. Or at least, I assume they still have that (I haven't been in there since I left NY seven years ago).

Freestyle has retail stores in CA, but sadly, not here on the East Coast.
Yes, I was there a few weeks ago. Although I was disappointed in the monitor's they had on display. You would think being a pro photography and video store they would have good monitor's on display. Ie Eizo's or NEC, nope.. utter crap. :(
 

MacCruiskeen

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2011
321
5
But Freestyle has a web site and you can order on-line.
Well, yes, I order from them frequently, but the question was about retail stores. I also have bought more than a few things from KEH--almost all of my gear is purchased used (most of it is 20-50 years old). There's a local shop (EP Levine) that has a good selection of used gear, but their prices are generally much higher than KEH's, and their web site sucks.
 

compuwar

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2006
4,717
2
Northern/Central VA
Yes, I was there a few weeks ago. Although I was disappointed in the monitor's they had on display. You would think being a pro photography and video store they would have good monitor's on display. Ie Eizo's or NEC, nope.. utter crap. :(
Monoprice always has a good deal on QC'd IPS displays. Given the lack of manufacturer diversity on the actual panels, it's worth it IMO to look at those.

Paul
 

mofunk

macrumors 68020
Aug 26, 2009
2,400
154
Americas
My go to's are Adorama and BH Photo and a local photography shop that's been around since 1930s. Calumet was a little over priced imo Adorama and BH reps you can find hanging out over on Flickr, which is very smart selling point.

Both Adorama and BH Photos are goto for school and universities. Any business whether online or local has to get out in the community and sell their products. Customer loyalty is key.