Good Bye Camera Landmark - Franks' Camera in LA

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by frank_skomial, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Remember those years when Frank's Camera held photo contests? The
    most pretty model girls were posing, photographers were crowded and
    shooting... and shooting.... those days are over, how sad.

    Frank's Camera in Highland Park, Los Angeles, is for sale. I wish
    them good luck, but asking price of $5,000,000 for an old ungly
    building in deteriorated area is perhaps reflection of lost touch
    with reality.
  2. I'm totally not impressed with the place, it was dead years ago and no one would admit it.

    I went there on a special trip about two years ago and it was really wierd.

    There were sections, like the darkroom area, that were closed off with chicken wire with all the outdated stuff on the shelves like some museum display.

    Digital? pfft! they barely had autofocus stuff. The entire inventory was picked over clean but I think you could maybe find parts for really old cameras and enlargers. Oh, and offbeat filters that no one else wanted.

    There were two old latina ladies leaning on the counter who barely noticed that I walked in, and then they didn't really care.

    I was the only other person.

    Now, you wanna go out with a bang, I was at Pan Pacific the day they got liquidated, by sheer coincidence.

    I went home with all kinds of goodies, like 20 boxes of Polaroid at 1/2 price, and fresh dated. A Bronica wide angle lense for SQAM for 450$. ahhhh.... sigh
  3. To understand the wonder of Franks you would have had to be there in the days when Nikon F2a's were THE camera, and the Canon AE1, and Pentax MX were new and hot. I remember going to the store in Pasadena in the early 70's for the first time. Frank barking at people to dig through a certain pile of goodies for Kodak flash paper that a customer wanted, people clicking away with new demo cameras, and me buying my first Sunpak auto flash. I also bought two new Rollei B35 cameras for $138...for the pair. There were literally piles of used cameras on tables throughout the store. It was a fast paced, but fun place for a young photog. Tri-X was about $7.50 a hundred. It was great.
  4. I bought My Rollei E3 from Frank himself in his store; about 2.5 decades ago; for 500 bucks. I shot film in the store; and outside; then drove home and developed it; and printed it; all using ethol blue as the developer!. I wanted to check for light leaks; and focus accuracy at F2.8; which was excellent. Then I went back and bought the camera for cash. I paid more for a working camera; that had a good shutter; and required no CLA. It still has not required one today. Milan ; Franks son; is in real estate; and has had the building for sale for at least a year. I think the buildind was once a Sears or Woolworths; or something.
  5. Ok brain fade; Franks in Highland Park SoCal was an old S.S.Kresge store. Kresge started in Detroit; then morphed into Kmart. When the first Kmart opened in 1962; we drove down from Bloomfield Hills; to Garden City Michigan; to buy a sleeping bag; one I still own today.
  6. I attended Franklin High school between 74 to 77 and would stop into Frank's camera to buy film and accessories for my Nikon F. For some reason, I really enjoyed walking around the store then and chatting with Frank and one of his daughters (her name I could not remember)and sometimes playing with his dog (it was a large light brown dog). Anyway, in the mid 80's, I purchase a Minolta X700 from Frank because it looked cool and shot with that for many years before selling it in the early 90's, which I now regret because the one I had had a double digit serial number. I guess the thing I really like about the store is that everything is stacked in disarray and that kind of fits my personality. Thanks for bringing the sale to my attention, for I will certainly trot into the store one last time before it gets sold. The last time I visited the store was probably 5 years ago and I remember it being dark and dingy but I did get some off brand B&W 72mm and 77mm filters for a great price. For those of us that grew up in the area, a landmark filled with memories will indeed be lost.
  7. I lived in Highland Park 30 years ago, and Frank's was my favorite store. Discount prices,
    big inventory, no NYC-style BS. Learned how to use fill flash at their model shoots (anyone
    remember Mary?), usually at an old Western-movie ranch in Agoura.

    Still using a Micro-Nikkor and other Nikon stuff that Milan had recommended. Frank was
    gruff, but the staff was great to deal with. I still think of them often....

    "Brandon's Dad"
  8. I'm surprised to hear they were still in business. I remember Frank's from it's heyday in the
    late 70s, early 80s as well and it was THE place for things photographic. I went there a
    couple of years ago and (as has been said) it looked like a poorly maintained museum.
    Dark and dusty as I recall. Makes one wonder what happened.
  9. Hm.. never heard of Frank's.<br>
  10. I also purchased photo equipment from Franks back in the 70's. I visited the store a couple of years ago for the fun of it and to see if there were any valuable items that might have been missed by others. The store is full of stuff but I couldn't find anything of any any value. The darkroom section was jammed with old paper probably 20+ years old. Even the telephone order desk contained a foot high pile of orders, also probably 20+ years old. It's like the store was in the twilight zone.
  11. For the Nikon F/F2 Franks had this totally cool screen selector. One could attach any Nikon F lens; and slide the "screen selector" slide; and check out the focusing effects of each screen.<BR><BR> In Omega B; C; and D series of enlargers; Franks had mess of oddball negative adapters one could paw thru and buy. Instamatic; minox; 16mm; halfframe 35mm; baby TLR 4x4cm; Bantum/828; 116/616; etc. I think Franks daughter was Jana; and wive or sister was Vera and sone was Milan. <BR><BR>I used to park in the back; and use the back door; ie the darkroom stuff end.<BR><BR>The modeling events would be advertised in the Franks catalog; with location in several places. <BR><BR>Once I dug and found some old oddball Omega enlarger film holders; missplaced in the zoo of old camera bags. When at the cash register; Frank asked be were I had found them!

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