Porter's Camera Store?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by railphotog, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. I clicked a link I had for Porter's Camera Store and it brought up a site for another business with the Porter name. I assume the firm is no more?
    Don't really have a need to contact them, just curious. Used to deal with them way back in film days, remember they had a lot of neat photo gadgets. Also recall that they would include a free gift with mail orders. One gift I remember was a box of three plastic film cassettes with screw on tops and a clip that would hold them on a camera strap or belt.
    Don't remember much what I actually did buy from them, but one item sticks out. It was a clear plastic cylinder used to hold rolls of film. Think it held 5 or so rolls, had easy off caps at both ends. Used the few I got several times, loaded unexposed film in them, then exposed rolls in the bottom. It was easy to see what you used and had left.
    Nowadays I assume such digital devices are available on eBay, know I've picked up a few here and there.
    Anyone else have any info and/or memories of Porters?
     
  2. Here's the story from 2013
    http://wcfcourier.com/business/local/porter-s-camera-store-to-close/article_be2015f9-93b9-5ae1-9a94-318d2ef3a4fc.html
    They weren't quite as innovative as Spiratone, but they always had a bunch of really intriguing gadgets:
    00dsbd-562347884.jpg
     
  3. Wow, a trip down memory lane! Bought some things from Porter's over the years.
    Still remember the excitement when their flyer (actually, more like a newspaper, IIRC) hit my mailbox. Spent many hours poring over the latest and greatest in camera accessories, etc.
     
  4. Here in Eastern Iowa, when I grew up we had 3 camera stores. Up in Cedar Falls you had Porters, Cedar Rapids had Linn Photo (and later, Photo Pro) and Iowa City had University Camera. Linn Photo was the first to go, back in the early part of this century. They chose to promote and feature Agfa film, so perhaps their demise was somewhat tied to the decline of that film brand. I recall taking the bus downtown to visit their great camera store. Loved looking at all those camera bodies I'd never be able to afford. I din't make a pilgrimage to porters until 2002 or so, when I bought a lighting kit for use in my nascent wedding business. They eventually opened up a branch location down here in Cedar Rapids, but it failed or went out of business just before the main Porter's closing. Not sure if anything serves the Cedar Falls area now. Photo Pro still soldiers on in Cedar Rapids, and University Camera still sits exactly where if has been. They both had a visit from KEH not too long ago and all their used inventory dried up. University Camera has of late been refusing all film bodies, so what little they have used sits unexplored and is usually way overpriced.
    My only real memory of the local, Cedar Rapids branch of Porters was horrible film developing. I got a film camera from them and it came with a card with $xx worth of photo printing. I took exactly 1 roll there. Even though I knew the store was closing and my card would soon be worthless, to me it already was. Photo Pro earned my business and have always delivered top notch results. My last visit to the main Porter's Store in Cedar Falls must have been 2010 or so. Bought a neat little self-timer gadget that attaches via a velcro strap, so you could have a self timer on even the cheapest disposable. I may open it some day and actually use it.
    I think that was a big bit of their history - gadgets that sounded good but then turned out to be of limited - or no - use.
     
  5. I think that was a big bit of their history - gadgets that sounded good but then turned out to be of limited - or no - use.​
    That might describe the contents of a lot of camera bags at one time or another. When I was in high school, I'd shop for gadgets I could afford and looked interesting. On of the gems was a camera mount that would screw into a tree or fence post. The real things were beyond my means, but fun to look at.
    I was in University Camera Store, Iowa City, a few times while in graduate school, but was never much impressed.
     
  6. Can't believe that newspaper story managed
    to completely miss the fact that Porters was a
    nationally known operation that sold from
    coast to coast and was known to possibly
    millions of photographers for decades. I'm a
    former reporter and it pains me to see such
    poor reporting.
     
  7. Craig Shearman [​IMG], Apr 12, 2016; 08:24 p.m.
    Can't believe that newspaper story managed to completely miss the fact that Porters was a nationally known operation that sold from coast to coast and was known to possibly millions of photographers for decades. I'm a former reporter and it pains me to see such poor reporting.​
    The overall worldwide quality of journalism in general is declining. Barely literate hacks are replacing seasoned veterans, all to save money. It's my opinion that the loss of newspapers correlates directly with the acceptance of people who can't use they're, their nor there correctly to save their soul. Not to mention then and than. :)
     
  8. I always thought I'd order from them one day but just waited too late. Thanks for sharing the article.
     
  9. There's a Porter's Cameras on Etsy, selling legacy analog gadgets and cameras. Possibly a digital remainder of the original shop, but not certain.
     
  10. I, too, miss Porter's and Spiratone. Does anyone know of a similar operation that is still in business?
     

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