Nostalgia for the old camera store?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, May 23, 2009.

  1. Uxbridge Photo in Uxbridge Middlesex and Campkins Camera in Cambridge were always worth visiting: stuffed full of gleaming chrome Leicas. My first real camera I bought at Vic Odden's on London Bridge. I've a shot of Uxbridge photo somewhere. I got my M3 kit there in 1986.
  2. Ah, there's a blast from the past! I'd forgotten all about Campkins. I think they had a branch in Worcester where I bought a Nikon F2. About 40 years ago.

    Last time I was in London I went looking for the site of 'Brunnings of Holborn' purveyors of used cameras and assorted optical bric-a-brac. Where I spent quite a few hours browsing, and occasionally buying.
    Long gone, and now a characterless coffee shop.
  3. First time I was in London and Cambridge, I noticed wonderful old cameras in window displays.

    You can't go home again, I guess. When I got back in the 80s, I couldn't find any of them
  4. I'm reminded nearly every day that the family camera shop is long gone as I pass by its first location (1974-79) and second location (1979-1993) every day on my way to work. But I'm not sad, just feeling that sense of nostalgia.
  5. The downside of those old shops is that it was too easy to get suckered into buying something from their window display!

    Probably my worst buy was an AGIflex 120 SLR. The lens was really terrible and its wind-on mechanism broke shortly after I bought it. I did manage to repair it, which led me down a path of DIY camera repair that's stayed with me. But if there's one camera I regret buying, it's that nasty old Agiflex. I don't think I got a single worthwhile picture out of it. But it looked charming at the time.

    Of course, there's online temptation these days, but I don't think it's as strong as seeing the actual object-of-desire in all its 3D glory, separated only by a pane of glass.
    Then walk through the door; ask to handle it..... and you're hooked!
  6. Here's a story about the original Jessop's store in Leicester, with a picture of people queuing to get in, I think to take advantage of some special offer or other.

    LINK -------- Jessops returns home to Leicester

    The building to the right was the Princess Charlotte pub, which became a well known rock music venue, where many top bands made early appearances. Now that's gone too.
    rodeo_joe|1 likes this.
  7. Same story as you. My first store was 1969, Pan Pacific Camera on the corner of La Brea and Melrose in L.A. No photos. Never thought of it until it was too late. I look for photos of them all the time on the web....nothing. Here is a list of stores that were in and around L.A.... Bob Gamble - Santa Monica Blvd? Mel Pierce - 5645 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028 near Hollywood and Western Blvd. Pan Pacific Camera - La Brea at Melrose Blvd. Photo Center - Beverly Blvd. Near Fairfax Samy's Camera The Darkroom - 5370 Wishire Blvd. L.A. Max? Wilshire Blvd. Bellaire Camera Frank's Highland Park Hollywood Camera? Highland Blvd Henry's Camera Downtown L.A. Morgan Camera shop 6262 W. Sunset Blvd. Hollywood. Freestyle I have collection of camera store photos. But this forum does not like photos unless the person shot them. So too bad, can't post them or could give you a ton of them. Here is one they may not complain about since it is art and I did the scan of the postcard. (And if not then remove it.) Humor post card D.D.Teoli Jr. A.C..jpg A couple years ago, before the virus, it was a rainy afternoon in NYC. I stepped into B&H and shot for about 20 minutes. All invisible infrared flash. Never got caught. Didn't expect to get caught. Maybe shot 75 - 100 photos. Still have not looked through the photos. Maybe someday. I'm backed up 10 years with my photos. Archival work eats up all my time. If anyone has some good hi res photos of old camera stores I'd be glad to trade scans with you. Let me know. But no garbage. I only collect hi grade material. Here is a freebie for you guys and gals... Film Stored In Cooler D.D.Teoli Jr. A.C. : D.D.Teoli Jr. A.C. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
    Julio Fernandez likes this.
  8. Nice. Put up a hi res copy at the Internet Archive.
  9. Yes, same story more or less. But mine was an old Minox I bought from my buddy. Maybe he stole it? I don't know. It was beat up. Paid $11. Film processing was $5, so that spurred me onto learning how to develop film to save $$.
  10. Yes fantastic stuff. I have tons of material. No time to scan. Hundreds of thousands of pages to scan, all sorts, not just cameras. Here is a fraction The Golden Age of Film Photography – I – Photography & Cine' related ephemera from the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection ( I got 40+ more websites under time.
  11. I think Jessops would have gone bust without the help of the Internet.

    There was a time when the chain was buying up, or buying out, any competition they could get their hands on. Including small minilabs that only sold cameras as a sideline. Most towns often had at least two of their shops, and big cities would have half-a-dozen, and often within 5 minutes walk of each other.

    It got to the point where their individual branches were only competing with each other. That's not a sensible and sustainable business model.

    Needless to say I didn't shed too many tears to see the Jessops near-monopoly go under.

    Tecno and Jabobs, OTOH, I really miss.
  12. Yes. Dixon's went down a similar road, at one time we had three of their stores within five minutes walk of each other.
  13. The store that I bought much film and other supplies from, Lee-Mac in Pasadena, is now closed.
    I never bought a camera from them.

    It seems, though, that the store I bought my black FM and AI 35/2.0 lens in 1979,
    Samy's in Los Angeles, is still around. I do remember that they wouldn't quote prices
    over the phone, but would quote price differences. So with the right questions, I knew
    the price they were going to be.
  14. Sadly, they closed the one in Santa Barbara about 2 years ago. Was the last one after Russ Camera closed many years ago.
    I bought my black FM and AI 105/2.5 that same year - in a small store called Foto-Ecke in Trier, Germany; about 50 miles from where I lived. As a teenager, I couldn't afford the F2AS I really wanted and had been playing with in that store a few times before. My local store at the time (which is still around) didn't carry Nikon - Konica and Praktica are the only brands I remember being sold there.
  15. A few more images from family camera shop:

    old 16mm projector on table is a WWII 16mm projector used Army. The exciter lamp (for optical sound) was powered by an amplifier in a separate box (bigger than projector).
    from our shop's first location- my dad serving a customer
    Store front of first location
    This building was once the office for the Selective Service Board.
  16. Besides getting to use the display cameras and lenses, another perk I enjoyed from those days was vendors would often give use sample products (film, photo paper, etc.) to try and my dad usually gave me the task of testing the sample products. I remember testing a roll of Fujicolor N100 when I was still in high school. It was a couple of years before we stocked Fuji and by then our runaway best seller was the Fujicolor 400 (which debuted before Kodacolor 400). I remember testing some Agfapan 100 and 400. I also got to try a few rolls of GAF ISO 500 B&W Super 8 movie film as well. Fun times.
    invisibleflash and James Bryant like this.
  17. Here was a nice window display I bid on. But got too high for my budget. It was a 35mm neg.
    I wrote the seller to see if they would sell a scan for $20, but not interested. Camera stores can go for big money on eBay.

    camera store neg.jpg
    James Bryant likes this.

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