San Francisco Camera Stores

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by nick_young|2, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. Hi,

    I'm visiting San Francisco shortly & am after some tips about any stores worth
    looking at that stock a good range of new & used Nikon gear. Is there anything
    similar to B & H of New York in the SF area ?


    Nick from new Zealand
  2. The biggest photo retailer is Keeble & Shuchat in Palo Alto, a small city about 35 miles south of San Francisco. They aren't as cheap as B&H, though. They are closed on Sundays.
  3. ky2


    Calumet, at 18th and Bryant. Will meet B&H's prices (+tax). No used stuff-- but neither did K&S carry any serious 2nd hand gear last time I checked.
  4. Let me cast another vote for Keeble & Schucat in Palo Alto. There simply is no other
    camera store like it in California. Frankly, I can't imagine a camera store I'd like better,
    unless they were giving the stuff away for free. The prices are usually full retail (but not
    rigidly so); many other local places with better prices have surly staff or staff with
    questionable ethics. Where K&S excels, is in the knowledgeable staff, integrity, selection,
    and customer service. You would be hard pressed to find a better sales force at any
    camera store anywhere else; most of the people have worked there for decades. I know
    more than one Nikon (and Leica and Hasselblad) user who have bought nearly all their
    gear from K&S over the past few decades (often, the slightly higher cost paid at K&S over
    B&H is offset by the shipping costs from B&H, and any problems can be resolved right
    there at K&S's counter). If you have any interest in Leica, they have a fantastic collection of
    Leica offerings, with examples of most of the cameras ever made by Leitz/Leica. K&S has
    two locations, each across the street from each other. K&S is located on California Avenue
    in Palo Alto, two blocks east of El Camino Real (highway). One store has all the new Nikon
    gear, while the other store has several cases full of used Nikon gear. Their phone number
    is (650) 327-8996, and they are open Mon-Sat, 9:00 - 5:30. I do not (nor does any
    member of my family) work at K&S. Enjoy your visit!
  5. ky2


    There's no doubt that K&S are stocked well. For what they charge, they should be (Only Adolf Gassers in SF charges more)... Professional? They certainly have some highly qualified sales people, but also some spiff-driven. I myself go there to research, and if I'm approached by a real pro, then I often make the purchase. I still have mixed feelings about the place.
  6. ky2


    Nick-- if you want B&H, there's only one. You can have them ship you the goods to SF before you even leave kiwiland.
  7. nick,

    k & s is a good place. there is also the san jose camera in san jose. they are cheaper than k & s but fewer stocks. they sell used stuff at reasonable prices. the biggest drawback is 4 out of 5 sales rep there are the most arrogant people in the consumer field.......

    but i get some stuff there ;-)
  8. The used Nikon shelf is pretty well stocked at K&S, or at least it was on Saturday.
  9. ...and K&S is a comfortable commuter train ride from San Francisco.

  10. A word of warning - avoid the shops around Fisherman's Wharf. The touts outside will tell you anything to get you into their store and the sellers are incredibly aggressive (and rude if you display any knowledge of your subject) - a thoroughly unpleasant experience. If you're travelling further North, I had the best service ever in a shop in Eureka in Oregon.
  11. There's nothing like B&H in the San Francisco Bay Area or elsewhere in the United States.
    B&H is quite unique. But as others have already stated, Keeble & Shuchat does offer a very
    large selection of camera equipment.

    While it's not as large as B&H in total scope, Keeble & Shuchat is still a very well stocked
    store. And its prices are competitive with most other Bay Area camera stores (they'll try to
    price match if you find a lower price locally). In my experience of shopping there for over
    25 years, I found that their salespeople vary a great deal in camera knowledge. Some are
    outstanding, others are just o.k..

    As mentioned already, Keeble & Shuchat is an easy 35-mile train ride from San Francisco.
    It's located a short two blocks west of the California Avenue Train Station in Palo Alto.

    For the lowest camera prices in the Bay Area, you might want to check out San Jose
    Camera located in Campbell, Calif (about 50 miles south of San Francisco). They also do
    mail order. Their web site is:

    The salesmen at San Jose Camera (and the last time I checked, they were all men) tend to
    be more opinionated and outspoken about their likes and dislikes of particular camera
    equipment. They tend to ruffle the feathers of customers who have different opinions
    about the equipment than they do. They can also be curt and to the point when they're
    busy dealing with a lot of customers. (But no more curt than how B&H treats its

    Still, I've found all of their salesmen to be very professional in how they treat their
    customers and also very knowledgeable about the equipment they sale. A lot of their
    prices are very competitive with B&H.

    (Overall, I've found the salespeople at San Jose Camera to be, on the whole, more
    knowledgeable than the salespeople at Keeble & Shuchat, but the salespeople at Keeble &
    Shuchat to be friendlier.)

    Also, as someone else had already mentioned, Calumet Photographic in San Francisco is
    another good place to buy camera gear in the Bay Area. Their prices tend to be similar to
    those of Keeble & Shuchat.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Another vote for Keeble and Shuchat in Palo Alto. Their prices are indeed high but sometimes you can get discounts. My wife's sister was visiting for 2 days earlier this year and she needed some Gitzo QR plates quickly. The two of them went to K&S, which had them in stock. They even managed to get a 10% discount.

    Please keep in mind that K&S has two stores across the street from each other. At least IMO their stock of used equipment is not bad. I see everything from pre-AI lenses that I haven't seen since I was a kid to F5, F100 bodies.
  13. Los Gatos Camera is another. They used to have better pricing and more knowledgeable staff than the a-holes at SJ Camera & Video. SJ Camera & Video used to have a wide range of camera and accessories, but over the years they have dwindle and are a niche market seller now. Their prices arfe okay, but B&H is much better.

    Bear Images Photo, Inc. in Palo Alto (not to far from K&S) is a high-end supplier of digital imaging equipment.
  14. The Calumet chain store is the only decent shop in San Francisco proper shop. Adolph
    Gasser's is a relic with too high prices. Forget any of the shops downtown. Discount
    Camera on Kearney just north of Market has a nice window display of old cameras at
    ridiculous prices. As the other poster said, forget anyone on Market St or in Chinatown --
    they are all tourist shops.

    You're also paying over 8% sales tax in California.

    Today, you really can't beat B&H and Adorama or any of the other major internet retailers.

    If you go to Los Angeles, Samy's Camera is still a really good store that compares to B&H,
    but still charges over 8% sales tax.

    So sorry, no world class photo store in SF.

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