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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Photography stores are a dying breed
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10/21/2019 03:45:37 PM · #1
Obviously cameras are ubiquitous but .......
Today at lunch walked over to my local camera only to realize there was a giant void in its former place. I've been shopping there for six years and there was no indication it was in trouble.

So I walked down the street to another camera only to realize is no longer there as well. As a last resort I hit up Henry's (Canadian chain) to see it's floor space is a quarter of what it was two years ago. Unfortunately they didn't have want I wanted so now I need to wait patiently for my online order.

Is it the same where you live?
10/21/2019 04:19:29 PM · #2
We have two camera stores left in the metro area, not counting places like Best Buy that do sell cameras, but are not specialists. Both of these stores have been around a long time, and actually I wonder how one of them has made a go this long. The last time I bought anything from them was about a decade ago, as their prices (at least at the time I last shopped them) were nowhere near competitive.
10/21/2019 04:38:20 PM · #3
There are a lot of Photorama USA shows these days where dealers and store owners buy and sell new and used equipment. This appears to be the trend.
10/21/2019 07:01:04 PM · #4

Same here in New Orleans area. A friend went shopping for a lens, the Nikon 200-600 at a popular photography store which was still open at the time but only doing printing and other photography services. Seems customers came to get the feel for the camera or lens then bought online for a better price.
10/21/2019 08:46:42 PM · #5
Same. Best downtown Victoria store suddenly closed awhile back. Last purchases made on-line and at the very fine used camera store, Camera Traders.
10/21/2019 09:02:48 PM · #6
It looks like Looking Glass Photo in Berkeley is still open, as is Samy's Camera in San Francisco. I assume B&H still has a facility in New York ...

Message edited by author 2019-10-21 21:04:36.
10/21/2019 10:26:27 PM · #7
Originally posted by crik:

Seems customers came to get the feel for the camera or lens then bought online for a better price.


I buy a lot online, but if I go into a local store to see the item hands on, I will buy it there if I decide its what I want.
10/24/2019 11:17:02 AM · #8
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Originally posted by crik:

Seems customers came to get the feel for the camera or lens then bought online for a better price.


I buy a lot online, but if I go into a local store to see the item hands on, I will buy it there if I decide its what I want.


If I really want to kick the tires on something, I will go into a brick and mortar store. If they have made the effort and their price is reasonably close to on-line, I will buy from them. I do like to support local business. But I won't pay a high premium to buy locally, and really should not have to.
10/24/2019 01:50:16 PM · #9
UPDATE
They moved a block down the street and their web server happened to be down the day I tried to visit them. They doubled the size of their store and it looks amazing inside.

Website is up and running again.

Finally got the Gordy strap I was looking for.
10/24/2019 03:41:59 PM · #10
TBH, both the camera stores that were here for years got driven out by online stores and good riddance. They were snotty and arrogant and would try to tell you what they thought you should do/have rather than accommodate what you want. There was a nice little Mom n' Pop the next town over but they just couldn't compete. I bought a few things there, but truly, it was a support thing rather than pricing. I haven't shopped local in over a decade.
10/24/2019 05:15:54 PM · #11
Maybe I'm an exception but I won't buy online unless there's no other option. Thankfully there are a few good camera shops around here so I've never had to make any major photographic purchases online.
10/25/2019 10:35:02 AM · #12
Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Maybe I'm an exception but I won't buy online unless there's no other option. Thankfully there are a few good camera shops around here so I've never had to make any major photographic purchases online.

Okay, but are you willing to pay 50% more for the same item? That's where my loyalty crumbles...
10/25/2019 12:37:39 PM · #13
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Maybe I'm an exception but I won't buy online unless there's no other option. Thankfully there are a few good camera shops around here so I've never had to make any major photographic purchases online.

Okay, but are you willing to pay 50% more for the same item? That's where my loyalty crumbles...

50% would be steep, but by the time you factor in shipping and (lack of) customer service buying online doesn't always save as much as you might think.

Plus, when Amazon manages to drive all of the locals out of business, they'll be free to raise prices as much as they want.

Also, at least the local stores are paying taxes -- I doubt Amazon wants to donate to your town for street repair or other essential services.
10/25/2019 01:15:22 PM · #14
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Also, at least the local stores are paying taxes -- I doubt Amazon wants to donate to your town for street repair or other essential services.

It goes further than this.
Local shops create jobs, which statistically lowers crime rate, more facilities and infrastructure, taxes at all levels of government, ....

It percolates to other facets. It's why I shop local for everything that I can.

Message edited by author 2019-10-25 13:15:59.
10/25/2019 01:47:02 PM · #15
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Maybe I'm an exception but I won't buy online unless there's no other option. Thankfully there are a few good camera shops around here so I've never had to make any major photographic purchases online.

Okay, but are you willing to pay 50% more for the same item? That's where my loyalty crumbles...


I recently bought an adapter to put a vintage lens onto my M50. As it wasn't available locally I was forced to order it from Amazon. The shipping fee was almost as much as the adapter.
10/25/2019 06:34:18 PM · #16
Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Maybe I'm an exception but I won't buy online unless there's no other option. Thankfully there are a few good camera shops around here so I've never had to make any major photographic purchases online.

Okay, but are you willing to pay 50% more for the same item? That's where my loyalty crumbles...


I recently bought an adapter to put a vintage lens onto my M50. As it wasn't available locally I was forced to order it from Amazon. The shipping fee was almost as much as the adapter.


Yikes. It's easy to forget that getting free two-day or even one-day delivery is not the norm.
10/25/2019 07:23:43 PM · #17
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Maybe I'm an exception but I won't buy online unless there's no other option. Thankfully there are a few good camera shops around here so I've never had to make any major photographic purchases online.

Okay, but are you willing to pay 50% more for the same item? That's where my loyalty crumbles...


I recently bought an adapter to put a vintage lens onto my M50. As it wasn't available locally I was forced to order it from Amazon. The shipping fee was almost as much as the adapter.


Yikes. It's easy to forget that getting free two-day or even one-day delivery is not the norm.


I've also ordered another adapter about a week ago. This one offers free delivery. It comes from China though and is only expected to arrive between the middle of November and 10 December. The wait is really frustrating.

Our local sites do offer free delivery on higher priced items, but I just checked the price of a lens I was looking at a couple of days ago and it was cheaper in the shop!
10/26/2019 06:32:13 PM · #18
We have a wonderful local Camera store on Cape Cod that totally fits the bill IF you shoot Canon or a few examples of P&S from other manufacturers. Great tripods, camera cases, all that stuff. Knowledgeable people. Very customer-oriented. They also do professional, large-format printing and have a gallery/workshop that shows exhibitions of local photographers and has classes on photography and photoshop. Their prices are competitive enough that we shop with them for most stuff, except obviously not for the Sony a7 line 'cuz they don't stock that.

And oh yeah, they are good at sensor cleaning and simple repairs, plus a hotline service with Canon for more extensive work.

But that's a rarity these days innit? :-( I used to own a fishing tackle store in San Diego for a few years between when I wrapped up my photography biz and when I started cheffing, but I got involved at exactly the wrong time. The Japanese swept in with GREAT advanced-design composite reels and rods and bypassed the whole distribution network basically by selling to the big chain stores at distributor prices. End result? I could drive a couple of miles and buy gear off the shelf at the national chain store for the same price my wholesaler had to pay to get the stuff ion stock, but the manufacturers wouldn't deal with me because I was too small and specialized. That was the end of that. Lost quite a bit of money on that one :-(

The point here being, this was before the WWW and Amazon and so forth. We were still swiping credit cards in triplicate and depositing the receipts nightly in the bank. So the erosion of small, specialized stores was already well underway. Now Amazon etc are basically doing to the large chain stores what the chain stores did to us. Kinda bittersweet. It's not a great world when the profit motive outweighs all other considerations :-(
10/26/2019 06:54:32 PM · #19
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

It's not a great world when the profit motive outweighs all other considerations :-(
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