A UK used dealer to avoid like the plague...

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by steven_moseley|1, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Hi,

    The following is my own personal experience which was posted on the web at the
    time (about 18 months ago) of visiting NICHOLAS in Camden Town London (UK)..

    My experience of Nicholas... I had noticed the ads by Nicholas in AP (Amateur
    Photographer) magazine for ages and noted they seemed to have lots of rare
    items. The prices though are without any doubt the highest by some margin in
    the whole of the UK. In fact the prices, frankly are a complete rip off and
    have no basis in reality.

    I was in London early this year so went to find the place. I had a shock when
    I got there. It is a tiny old victorian shop front in Camden town. The front
    looked like it had not been painted since the last war. I looked in the shop
    window...no prices on anything and cameras & lenses were haphazardly strewn
    along old chipboard shelves. More worryingly there was a thick, approx half cm
    layer of thick black dust over all the gear. I was shocked..it looks like the
    place NEVER gets cleaned.

    I looked inside and saw (at 3pm) one assistant with someone and the other
    standing behind the counter eating a chinese takeout from one of those foil
    trays...I was wondering if this could get any worse at this point...so I
    looked through the door.. ....there was a huge pile of boxes, tripods, other
    equipment and assorted rubbish heaped up in a 'bonfire' style. it was about 3
    feet high and about SIX feet across.

    I was stunned. It filled the floor of the shop as you went inside. There was
    only a narrow corridor of free space on the floor about 18 inches wide in
    front of the counter. The shelves inside and the counter top was covered in
    cameras and lenses..they were just scattered all over the place and heaped up
    on top of each other. The storage and safe keeping of all the stock in there
    was abysmal. I shudder to think what condition items are in after the
    treatment there.

    Considering the prices and the impression the ad's give, I was just gobsmacked
    at what I found. I seriously considered contacting the local health & safety
    officer as I am convinced several laws were probably being broken ( I have
    retail management experience) I was later at the camera fair in
    London..photographica and got talking to an old chap during lunch. I mentioned
    Nicholas and he said I should steer well clear, that they had an awful
    reputation in the trade.

    I have since been told the same thing by about seven others. the AP forum on
    their website has had several mentions of this shop, all saying the same.
    Others are taking the shop to court for reasons they would not say. So, be
    very very wary. No one believes anything the owner says..from my own best
    guess having been there, I would guess they actually have about a tenth of the
    items they claim to have..and as to the condition....


    cheers Steve.M.
  2. We have some "great" ones across the pond in Brooklyn too. They're usually just storefronts for Internet scams though.
  3. The best place for a report like this is in the photo.net "member recommendations" area:

  4. I'm so sorry, but I could not help but chuckle at the
    idea of a camera shop full of stuff all covered with
    "approximately half centimeter" of "thick black dust".
    Thats about 5mm of dirt! They must be situated next
    to a coal plant. Thank you for the story.
  5. Steve,

    You have just given me advice about the value and rarity of the rokkor lenses, i thank you also for this info! I emailed this store today as i was curious about what SRT bodies they might have... I havent heard back from them yet obviously, but either way, i will not buy from them now. thank you for your story... it really is disgusting considering the items they have there!

    Thank you,

  6. Hmm, sounds a bit like my corner "office" - PC, camera gear, radio gear, uni work, all in big heaps and covered in dust ;)
  7. Isn't that the kind of place that comes under the heading of "quaint"?
  8. Steven, I have looked through the window of that shop before when they were closed. I am glad I never made it inside.
  9. When I was last in London I went to Camden specifically to look in Nicholas. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) they were closed.

    I did find Aperture though. An excellent combined caf頡nd camera shop.

  10. I called in at Nicholas after a shoot last December. Yes it was dusty. Just dusty, not titanic quantities.

    I looked at the place and thought it was an Aladdin's cave, treasures everywhere.

    It's a single outlet, not a santitised branch of a faceless chain, it sells second hand camera gear for the most part, but can get you new kit in it's box. The owner said they had bought up all of Jessop's second hand kit when they moved out of the used market.

    Nicholas enable you to handle the gear you're interested in and remember, there are no prices marked, you have the option of haggling the price.

    My 2p

  11. In my one and only 'Nicholas' experience I went to the Camden shop in some anticipation as Nicholas advertises an amazingly wide range of interesting lenses at low, low prices. I asked to see one of their advertised lenses. I was told it was 'at the warehouse' but 'how about this one instead, much better, blah, blah, blah.' The offered lens was not only completely different to the advertised len but was also covered in the above mentioned standard thickness of grime and dust. The shopkeeoer (Nicholas himself?) then proceeded to remove that layer of dust from the glass front element by firmly rubbing it with the end of his (also dusty) tie. Round and round went the thumb and tie together, round and round, many times until he was satisfied that it was all removed. I declined his kind offer but stayed out of curiosity to watch the same process applied to the next custmoer. It was 'Bait and Switch' in action but with added dirt.

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