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Old 01-06-2013   #81
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I don't have any pics, but I sure miss Unruh's Photography Shop in Santa Rosa, CA. I sure miss that store. Nice people, too.
I spent lots of dollars and many hours chatting with Bill, John and the crew there in the '90s. They always took good care of me. I still have a fair amount of gear I bought there. Just the other day I smiled when I found a package with an Unruh's price tag on it. I didn't know they'd closed. How sad.
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Old 01-06-2013   #82
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Who remembers Cass Carr's basement camera store in NYC? Full to the ceiling with ancient equipment.

The only problem was he liked everything he had and if you wanted to buy something, he wouldn't give you a price, and then decided he didn't want to sell it.
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Old 01-06-2013   #83
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Back in the late seventies it was always a treat to drive in from the mountains to 47th St Photo. A zoo for sure but the energy was like 3 cups of coffee.
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Old 01-06-2013   #84
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I know it is not a "store" but I miss perusing through Shutterbug when it the "place" for all national used camera sales.
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Old 01-06-2013   #85
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I was reading through this thread and decided to check up on my favourite camera shop when I lived in my home town of Kilmarnock (Scotland). I was really sad to see that it had been forced to shut down at the beginning of 2011. The store was called Hector McDonald Camera House and it had been in operation for nearly 100 years. In my time it was run by Archie Niven who was an absolute legend in photographic retailing. He was a real enthusiast and one of the nicest men you could ever meet. He was the exact opposite of a high pressure salesman and was happy to let you play with the merchandise and talk for hours on end. As a result of his lack of pressure I bought loads of stuff from him. I always used to say that when I moved away from Kilmarnock the only two things I missed were the local library (the Dick Institute) and Hector McDonalds.

When I retired I was given some money to spend on something photographic and I took it down to the store to spend. Archie's son David was now running the store (although Archie was still working well into his eighties) and he was continuing in the friendly approach started by his dad. At the time he explained about the difficulty he was having getting stock from the major brands as they seemed not in the least interested in dealing with the small retailer.

I feel really sorry for the family as it must have been heartbreaking to shut up shop after so many years. It was the best type of camera shop and I know that I won't be the only one feeling the sadness.
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Old 01-06-2013   #86
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Sailor, I echo your sentiment: as a young teenanger in the 80'sI bought photographic supplies from Cameracraft in Palmers Green, North London - then a well appointed area with lots of independent shops now all sadly gone. It is amazing to think that such a fully equipped shop could survive selling chemicals, papers, cameras and lenses in a suburban backwater. It closed about 10 years ago, having operated for more than 40 years.
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Old 01-06-2013   #87
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Sailor, I echo your sentiment: as a young teenanger in the 80'sI bought photographic supplies from Cameracraft in Palmers Green, North London - then a well appointed area with lots of independent shops now all sadly gone. It is amazing to think that such a fully equipped shop could survive selling chemicals, papers, cameras and lenses in a suburban backwater. It closed about 10 years ago, having operated for more than 40 years.
I remember Cameracraft. They used to advertise in Amateur Photographer. In the eighties they were selling off the remaining stock of Topcon cameras and I picked up a Topcon Super DM and lens for £99. I still have them.
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Old 01-06-2013   #88
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I remember Cameracraft. They used to advertise in Amateur Photographer. In the eighties they were selling off the remaining stock of Topcon cameras and I picked up a Topcon Super DM and lens for £99. I still have them.
That was a great deal. I bought a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 which I still have. My Durst enlarger and all the developing kit is long gone, but I spent hours there asking the usual stupid questions which they answered with great patience. It would be nice to find such a shop these days when I could really appreciate it!
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Old 01-06-2013   #89
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Frank Foster of Photodesign Studio over in Woolacombe (UK) was as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable camera salesman as I've ever come across. He retired some time in 2009, I think. It was quite costly speaking to him (he had a way to absolve all hesitation). With hindsight though I seem to have landed a couple of terrific deals.


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Just thinking today how much "I Love Film" added to the RFF experience when he was behaving. I miss Marvin, talked to him every weekend for many years. The days before eBay were so great.
I remember his posts (under all iterations) and I agree. He was bringing knowledge, common sense, humour but also a rather short fuse.
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Old 01-06-2013   #90
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I miss the "old" KEH--first on Spring St in Atlanta and then an absolutely GREAT store on 14th street. Many days, you could even talk to King Grant, the founder.
They had cabinets full of old Nikon and Leica, that you could see, feel and touch--and of course, even buy! Lots of knowledgeable folks working there, too.
Was a great retail store--next door, almost, to the big pre-Ritz Wolf camera on 14th street. Wolf's also had a great used dept. Days long gone...
Paul
Right there with you, Paul. KEH on 14th was my personal....ahem...photography "loan" shop when I was a starving student attending Georgia State University in the late '70s. I rotated so many cameras in and out through there that I thought they would 1099 me! Great folks and great used gear, too. Although at that time in my life $200 was about the same as $2000 is now, so I couldn't really take advantage of any of the killer deals. Thank goodness they still have their mail-order operation up and running.
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Old 01-06-2013   #91
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Can't forget Kominek's on Yonge St in Toronto. I dealt with Mr. Kominek once back in the very early '80s, and he tried to help me out with my Exakta VXIIa (unfortunately his 'fix' didn't work). Then Russ Forfar and Hugh Cooley took it over in about 1990, and I had the extreme pleasure of dealing with them for quite a number of years. Hugh unfortunately passed away, and I lost touch with Russ a number of years ago.

I do see that there is a Kominek website, but I don't know if it's still a going concern or not.
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Old 01-06-2013   #92
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The reason it is gone is you buy online and the local guy is left without sales. Some will go so far as to look over the merchandise locally and then buy on line.

That and nobody buys print & processing which were high profit margin items.

You all just screwed yourselves trying to save a few $.
It is not a whole lot different from Walmart, Costco, etc. You local who gave good service went out of business and left the big box who buys from China so now your job is gone too.
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Old 01-06-2013   #93
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Ronald, funny you should say that. I have felt that for a while. I also feel the internet is a part of the issue. Whenever I am back in Chicago, I will go make the pilgrimage to Central and buy something-even if it is just a brick of TMAX 400

BTW the owner is a great guy.
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Old 01-06-2013   #94
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Optechs in Seattle. Opened around 1981 by a couple (he worked at Boeing as I did). Small store on the fourth floor of a cool office building downtown. saw my first Nikon rangefinder there, a chrome dial S2 with 50mm 1.4. Clyeds and a small shop on Aurora near our house were also my haunts then, 1979-1983.
I used to shop at Optechs when they were on Fairview Avenue--haven't been in to see them since they moved down to Sodo. The staff at Clyed's were always supremely patient with me when I was a beginner.

Don't forget Warshal's on First Avenue. They had good prices and selection. Their gun department (the other half of the store) had a cameo in that John Wayne detective flick, "McQ." (If you want to see what Seattle used to look like, there's your movie.) The Duke bought a machine pistol from them in the movie--they didn't really have a firing range in the back room, however.

I'm glad Glazer's is still around.
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Old 01-06-2013   #95
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OMG that polyester plaid coat! Those polyester shirts! Those polyester ties! Brings back the bad old days
Back in the day, known as "the full Cleveland." Shades of Herb Tarlock!
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Old 01-06-2013   #96
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Unfortunately just heard that Bonsers Photographic in Newcastle upon Tyne is closing in the comming week, very sad, I bought my first Billingham bag there in 1985, and my first Pentas MX in 1986, Ive been going there for years
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Old 01-06-2013   #97
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I remember Nobi's Camera in Seattle, great custom film lab. They did sell some gear, I could not afford much then.

All these great places are all gone now.
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Old 01-06-2013   #98
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I remember Nobi's Camera in Seattle, great custom film lab. They did sell some gear, I could not afford much then.

All these great places are all gone now.
I mentioned Iveys to a guy who worked at Glazers and he didn't know what I was talking about.
(Glazers is a store. Iveys was a custom lab. They were so close they shared a wall. In all fairness, I think he was actually surprised to hear that name.)
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Old 01-06-2013   #99
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The first camera store I ever remember being in, with my Dad, was Lochart's Camera Exchange here in Toronto, Ontario, which was where he bought most of his cameras and supplies from the 40's on. It closed sometime in the early 70's, I think.
Someone mentioned Jerry's, which I patronized myself, and Alt Camera on Queen St E., where I bought my first Nikon AF there, and many other things till they closed late 90's or early 2000, I think. Dealt with a great guy at Alt's named Don for most of my purchases.
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Old 01-07-2013   #100
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Growing up as a teenager in NYC in the mid 60's, an enthusiast had an incredible amount of stores to shop in. Saturday mornings always involved a trip to Olden Camera on 32nd st in the heart of the camera district. I spent many a day looking and fondling old Exakta, Nikon and Contax cameras. Bought my M3 there (still have it!), a rare Canon black VI L rangefinder which I later traded in for a brand new 50mm 2.8 Elmar (list price $86.00, I think I got fleeced on that deal). There was also Camera Barn, where I'd search for outdated film and paper, Minifilm Camera where I bought my first accessory lenses for my Mamiya Sekor 1000TL SLR. Some years later I discovered my favorite vendor, Ken Hansen Photographic, located on lower Broadway. His shop was the best! I bought several cameras there, a Bogen tripod (still works) and my first medium format cameras. Ken is still active, I believe, but no longer has a public showroom to the best of my knowledge. This thread is a wonderful trip down memory lane.
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Closed CameraStores- We Miss You
Old 01-30-2013   #101
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Closed CameraStores- We Miss You

Camera Corner, in Newcastle, NSW AUS, last there more than fifty years ago! What a blast from the past. . . bought a little Robot 24X24 there in early 1960, then an awful Edixa SLR, (no prism, just ground glass) and passed that store almost daily when I was attending Newcastle Teachers" College. Used to drool over the Leica 111G in the window until I bought my Canon 1VS2 at Camera Corner's competition, down the block on Hunter Street, in late 1960. Wow!. . . Thank you. Still buying cameras, new and used, but now digital, and have bought two Fujis recently- X-100 and XE-1. But I still cherish the RF era of my youth. Craigs List eBay and Kijiji provide the camera, but absolutely sans atmosphere- like drinkintg fine wine out of a jam jar. . . closed camera stores. . .

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Old 01-30-2013   #102
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Am I the only one that regrets seeing this thread bumped up in the "Recent Threads" List?
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Old 01-30-2013   #103
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Helix Camera in Chicago is closing - honestly I'm not too sad to see it go, their prices were way too high vs other local stores, and the service was slow.

now we are left with Calumet - good service and nice modern facility, and Central Camera (don't stock much professional equipment, used film cameras way overpriced, and facility looks like a poorly organized garage sale)
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Old 01-30-2013   #104
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I miss a little shop called Camera Corner in Oakland CA. It was located next to the Oakland Tribune newspaper. In its day, the little shop was filled with a great assortment of used camera gear and accessories, I assume much of it from the photographers working for the news paper. I miss being able to simply dig through the boxes of equipment that they didn't have room for in their display. It was the best form of treasure hunting.
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Old 07-25-2013   #105
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Another that I think deserves mention, is Spiratone. They were mainly a mail order store, but I believe they also had a retail outlet. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
You are correct. They had two walk-in shops, the main one out in Flushing and a branch in Manhattan. I was most familiar with the Manhattan shop and was a semi regular there when I was in my late teens. I bought mostly film and odds and ends there and used them for my Processing By Kodak for Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides.

I only remember visiting at the Flushing shop once.

My brother bought this huge and ridiculously cheap telephoto for his Pentax there. It had this very funky two-ring aperture stop-down thing which I have never seen on any other lens. It did actually work quite well.

Fred Spira passed away a few years back and his son posted some recollections on one of the boards (APUG I think) about the business. They were bought out by somebody who ran the company into the ground.

An interesting aside is that the family name was pronounced "Spear-A" but the business was pronounced "Spy-ra-tone", or at least that's the way they answered the phone.

I also liked Willoughby's up the street from Spiratone and Minifilm where I bought my Spotmatic. I wandered into Olden a few times. Those were all very good shops. (LOL -- Cambridge was considered the shady one of the bunch back then.)

I do miss the "real" photo shops of the era!
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Old 07-25-2013   #106
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Back in the seventies and eighties, I lived deep in the rural areas of the Appalachian Mts. No camera stores near by. Shutterbug classifieds was my camera store.
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Old 07-25-2013   #107
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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
I remember them well. Altman`s was the best.

Shutan opened in a northern suburb. Central Camera is still in Chicago

Nice store was on South side of Chicago Ave near State. Can not remember the name . I will come as soon as I hit submit.

Now we have Calumet which is a hugh store near north side with a parking lot. Also a suburban location in Oakbrook. La Grange Camera & video is a great store.
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Old 07-27-2013   #108
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I am so old I remember Freestyle Photo's old location, before the moved to Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. I can't remember if it was on Western Ave. or Vermont in Hollywood. It was a junked up kind of war surplus store. Then they moved to Sunset Blvd. near my favorite Akron store.
And Spiratone. Great stuff that a guy could actually afford. So maybe the 105mm f2.5 lens was preset, it still took great photos. I got some fine photos of the Beatles with one of those, at a "secret" press conference in 1964.
I miss Porter's Camera in Cedar Falls Iowa. If I didn't know what a whatyamacallit was called I could look in their great big catalog. Like the twin gummed set of numbers -- you put one on the roll of film and on on the caption sheet so you could keep it all straight. I'd buy some today if I knew what the darned things were called.
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Old 09-07-2013   #109
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I'm a Leica user and when I lived in Los Angles the Morgan Camera Store was my favorite. Morgan was the co-author of The Leica Manual.
A great store.
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Old 09-07-2013   #110
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Spiratone... several pages each month in the back of Pop Photo and Modern Photo... and the place to go for wild and wonderful gadgets when you were in the Apple!
I'm staring at a photo taken with a Spiratone preset 400mm. It's been on my wall for almost 40 years. Wish I still had it.
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Old 09-07-2013   #111
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I miss Yellowknife Photo, which I worked at when I was sixteen and bought in 1983, after graduating with my degree in photography in 1983. Ran it for twenty five years (probably three years longer than I should have...). I was the second owner; the business ran for fifty years total. It was heartbreaking to have to shut it down, but the business model didn't work any more. Computer stores and category-killers cut the margins to the bone, there was no photofinishing revenue once digital hit, and the internet was the final nail. Manufacturers weren't at all interested in supporting small retailers, either. Glad to hear others miss the old-style camera stores too. We owners loved running them.
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Old 09-07-2013   #112
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I have fond memories of Brooks Cameras on Maiden Lane in San Francisco... long gone, now, but not forgotten.
Ahhh...many was the lunch hour spent there...
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Old 09-11-2013   #113
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I have about a 20+ year collection of camera-related ephemera, and remembered that I had this. For all you Torontonians:


Gallery Cameras Ad by Vince.Lupo, on Flickr
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Old 09-11-2013   #114
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I was a darkroom salesman at Camera Barn Stores in New York City from 1978-1982. I worked the main store on camera row, 32nd street, between 6th and 7th avenues. Willoughby's, Olden, were just down the block. Spiratone was around the corner on 31st, as was Executive Photo. I met a lot of interesting characters working behind that counter and sold darkroom supplies to many a famous photographer at the time, Friedlander, Winogrand, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, to name a few. Real gentleman all. Tons of fond memories! That's me in the middle circa 1979-80.
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Old 09-11-2013   #115
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I lived in Dayton Ohio from 1987 to 2006 and what a wonderful time it was for visiting camera stores. Everywhere I turned there was a great store. B K Photo in Troy Ohio, these people loved Leicas and had one of the giant M3 display cameras hanging over their counter (wonder what ever happened to that). Fairborn Camera in Fairborn Ohio, they were Leica dealers and I went to several Leica days there with Leica reps and plenty of cameras to play with. Malone camera in Dayton, this store was about four blocks from my house and I could always drop by when I was bored. Provident Camera in Cincinnati with their big front window and just about everything imaginable inside. All those stores are now gone and are greatly missed. The other great thing about living in that area was making the pilgrimage to Columbus to go to Columbus Camera Group and especially Midwest Photo. In the 90's they had tons of used equipment and you never knew what they would have. If you were patient sooner or later everything showed up there. Before it became so easy for us to sell our used stuff on the internet places like this were a easy outlet for people to sell or trade their equipment and they had tons of it. Midwest always had ten to fifteen Leicas in their case and probably that many large format cameras hanging from the ceiling. Best of all was going into Midwest's bargain basement (now closed) and digging around, I spent hours in that place and came away with many a bargain.
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Old 09-11-2013   #116
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Wall Street Photo in NYC was great. I would go into work with my dad, and spend most of the day there. Saved my money forever, and bought a Nikkormat body and several lenses. I remember riding the bus with a bunch of those Nikon yellow plastic bags.
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Old 09-11-2013   #117
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How about some good news here? The last locally-owned, full-service camera store in the East Bay (Berkeley and Oakland) is thriving and EXPANDING. They are moving to a new larger store, with two, count-'em TWO, brand-new public darkrooms.
http://www.lookingglassphoto.com/

One of the staff told me that the owner had purchased a refrigerated rotating cake display for the new store. "Whatever for?" I asked. "For FILM, of course," was the reply.
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In California...
Old 12-16-2013   #118
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In California...

In California, Monterey, was Russell's Camera West. Great selection of gear. Burned down I think twice. It was on Alvarado Street. Russell in the past couple of years is selling B&W prints.
Bought a used Nikon F3, 80-200mm nikkor, Rolleiflex and various other equipment. Fun place to go meet other photogs and chew the fat.
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Old 01-08-2014   #119
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Who remembers Nikon House in Rockefeller Center?? The "house" looked over the plaza where the skating rink and the tree is. One could go there and "play". The technicians there would adjust your Nikon for free!
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Old 01-08-2014   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MISH View Post
I lived in Dayton Ohio from 1987 to 2006 and what a wonderful time it was for visiting camera stores. Everywhere I turned there was a great store. B K Photo in Troy Ohio, these people loved Leicas and had one of the giant M3 display cameras hanging over their counter (wonder what ever happened to that). Fairborn Camera in Fairborn Ohio, they were Leica dealers and I went to several Leica days there with Leica reps and plenty of cameras to play with. Malone camera in Dayton, this store was about four blocks from my house and I could always drop by when I was bored. Provident Camera in Cincinnati with their big front window and just about everything imaginable inside. All those stores are now gone and are greatly missed. The other great thing about living in that area was making the pilgrimage to Columbus to go to Columbus Camera Group and especially Midwest Photo. In the 90's they had tons of used equipment and you never knew what they would have. If you were patient sooner or later everything showed up there. Before it became so easy for us to sell our used stuff on the internet places like this were a easy outlet for people to sell or trade their equipment and they had tons of it. Midwest always had ten to fifteen Leicas in their case and probably that many large format cameras hanging from the ceiling. Best of all was going into Midwest's bargain basement (now closed) and digging around, I spent hours in that place and came away with many a bargain.
I worked at Fairborn Camera much of the time you were in Dayton, and remember BK and Malones well (check page 2 of this thread for a few Leica day pics). Columbus Camera Group is still there, though their inventory is a shadow what it used to be. I make semi regular trips there and over to Midwest. Mainly hoping to converse with the other "oldtimers" about days gone by.

The big M3 display piece belonged to Roy Baker (owner of BK) he sold it soon after the store closed, via the Cincinnati Camera Show. One of the used dealers offered him a ludicrously large sum for it.

Here's Roy right before he let it go..
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