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Closed Camera Stores - We Miss You!
Old 01-07-2012   #1
CameraQuest
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Closed Camera Stores - We Miss You!

Perhaps I am just feeling nostalgic today,
but I realized many of my favorite camera stores are long gone.

To make matters worse, there is no place to remember them except the back issues of old photo magazines.

This new forum is to celebrate camera stores of days past, before the internet when your local camera store was your life line to the photographic world.

Maybe some of you have pics of the old stores?

Then and now shots of their old buildings?

Scans of their old ads?

Have fun remembering the Good Old Times!

Please start threads on each store!

Stephen
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Old 01-07-2012   #2
Vics
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I don't have any pics, but I sure miss Unruh's Photography Shop in Santa Rosa, CA. I bought a ton of Nikon F gear there, bought my first Rollei there, tons of darkroom supplies,etc. They once let me take a Hexar AF out for a three day try-out. Didn't buy. They showed me an M3 with collapsible 'cron, collapsible Elmar 90, and a 35 of some kind. Didn't know what I was looking at (except it wasz a Leica) and it was $1200 for the kit, so I passed. (ugh). I did finally get an M3 and 'cron. The body and the collapsible 'cron were $1200. Live and learn. I sure miss that store. Nice people, too.
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Old 01-07-2012   #3
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I have fond memories of Brooks Cameras on Maiden Lane in San Francisco... long gone, now, but not forgotten.
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Old 01-07-2012   #4
whitecat
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Thank God for Central Camera in Chicago. I was there 50 years ago and still go today.
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Old 01-07-2012   #5
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Adray Photo in Dearborn, Michigan. I bought my first quality 35mm camera at Adray's back in 1971 (a Canon FTb) and my Leica MP in 2005. There were a full-line camera store (analog and digital) right up to it's closing back in 2009. The store was successful too, even in today's economy, but the owner got tired of the grind and decided to retire. Our loss.

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Central Photo Service
Old 01-07-2012   #6
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Central Photo Service

Sigh. Central Photo Service, on Chicago Avenue, East Chicago, Indiana. My first job, in the 1970s (from age of 12, yes, 12, a legal and paid position). Andy Adams (nee Adamchik), proprietor. The store is long gone, as is the shopping street.
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Old 01-07-2012   #7
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I was just at Central Camera in Chicago about 10 minutes ago. Picked up a used handgrip for M cameras. What a great shop they have. However I do miss several camera shops that once were located in Grand Rapids, MI. Ardens Photo, and The Camera Shop over in East GR.
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Old 01-07-2012   #8
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The place seems like it has a good following..........The last time I was there they had no Kodak Fixer??????? I'd love to visit their basement!
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Old 01-07-2012   #9
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Another goodie is Helix in Chicago but they have changed so much over the years.....They still have some familiar faces there from years ago. I remember when they were on Superior Ave.....
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Old 01-07-2012   #10
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Here's a shot of a Canon demo taken at Adray Photo back in 1974 (or so). I do remember that the pic was taken with a just-introduced FD 24mm F1.4 lens wide-open at F1.4, on my FTb. Talk about a trip down memory lane.



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Old 01-07-2012   #11
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I don't know if there is a closed store I'm fond of, but I did processing and printing at a camera store in Dallas. There are several memories associated with it.

There is only one store I go to on a fairly regular basis. I hope they find a way to survive.
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Old 01-07-2012   #12
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I never took any pictures there, but The Snap Shack in Glastonbury, CT was the place that really fueled my interest in photography (and supplied my used gear habit). Frank Slade, the owner, was a great guy (still is; he retired and closed the store) -- and his daughter and wife also worked there a fair amount.

The other local store, also now closed, was MK Photo in East Hartford, later Glastonbury. I got several really great deals on gear from Bill Holden, the owner, and he did fast and inexpensive developing and printing of my medium format stuff. He, too, retired.

These guys were "lifers" in the business and treated every one of their customers like they were special.
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Old 01-07-2012   #13
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Some in the United Kingdom:

Vic Odden's just by London Bridge Station;
Clark's Cameras in West Wickham High Street (West Wickham being the London suburb where I grew up);
A small camera shop, name forgotten, in Market Harborough by the Museum.

Regards

Andrew More
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Old 01-07-2012   #14
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Here in Chicago...


Altman's
Darkroom Aids <-- this one I miss the most
Shutans
Camera Exchange
Wolk's
plus many more

...all gone
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Old 01-07-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vics View Post
I don't have any pics, but I sure miss Unruh's Photography Shop in Santa Rosa, CA. I bought a ton of Nikon F gear there, bought my first Rollei there, tons of darkroom supplies,etc. They once let me take a Hexar AF out for a three day try-out. Didn't buy. They showed me an M3 with collapsible 'cron, collapsible Elmar 90, and a 35 of some kind. Didn't know what I was looking at (except it wasz a Leica) and it was $1200 for the kit, so I passed. (ugh). I did finally get an M3 and 'cron. The body and the collapsible 'cron were $1200. Live and learn. I sure miss that store. Nice people, too.
What a shop it was. I bought a ton of Kodachrome and Ektachrome at Unruh when I was living in Santa Rosa. They let me borrow a tripod once without payment or a deposit. Great place, great people, great loss.
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Old 01-07-2012   #16
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Mackinaw--great picture!
Unfortunately, I am more than old enough to remember the "out there" styles!
Thanks for posting...
Paul
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Old 01-07-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bingley View Post
I have fond memories of Brooks Cameras on Maiden Lane in San Francisco... long gone, now, but not forgotten.
I miss Brooks as well Steve, both the SF and San Mateo stores. I remember ogling the Contax SLRs when I was really getting into photography.

My first ever paycheck was from doing inventory at Brooks, still have the check

Other store I miss a great deal, though they're going strong in other locations, was Camera West in Monterey. They're terrific still in Walnut Creek and Palm Desert.
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Old 01-07-2012   #18
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In Canberra ,Australia Fletchers Fotographics.
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Old 01-07-2012   #19
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Fairhaven Camera in Connecticut was where I first discovered screw-mount Leicas (I never heard anyone call them Barnacks then). At the time everyone's have-to-have was Nikon F, so LTM gear was relatively undervalued. I picked up a 35/3.5 Summaron for $20, with another $20 for the 35mm brightline Leica finder; IIIg with 50mm collapsible 'cron was $160. Just within reach for a student.

P.S. Found this: http://www.fultonhistory.com/Process...20-%200450.pdf

Last edited by PMCC : 01-07-2012 at 15:33. Reason: Add link in P.S.
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Old 01-07-2012   #20
Stefan Wood
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Heller's Camera in Bethesda MD. THAT was a camera store!!
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Old 01-07-2012   #21
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Not really a store, but Kerner Optical closed it's doors late last year.
Kerner had originally been the practical special effects division of ILM.
Most of the major miniature based special effects from the last 30 years was shot there.
Everything was auctioned off, so when it came time to pick stuff up, I was able to get in and take a few photos




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Old 01-07-2012   #22
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olden and wall street are on my list
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Old 01-07-2012   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
Here's a shot of a Canon demo taken at Adray Photo back in 1974 (or so). ...
I'm glad that you put the date in, because the plaid jacket, paisley tie and low cropped sideburns never would have given that away. ...
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Old 01-07-2012   #24
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City Photo on Govt St, Victoria BC spent way to much money there back in the late 70's and 80's....tiny store but packed to gunnels
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Old 01-07-2012   #25
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definitely! my first decent camera came from Heller's - talked Leica with him a bit, but alas, I was on a Pentax budget.

Granted, these days the Leica usually stays home while the Pentax 67II goes out to play, but still.... wish there were still places like Hellers - and people like Mr Heller - around here.


Quote:
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Heller's Camera in Bethesda MD. THAT was a camera store!!
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