If you thought brick-and-mortar camera stores were a thing of the past, think again; from Chelsea, NYC, to Boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris, to Shinjuku, Tokyo, traditional camera shops are thriving.
Many have been around for decades and are steeped in history; others cater to newer, up-and-coming communities of photographers. What they all have in common is a commitment to the craft; in addition to cameras and lenses, several offer workshops, classes, lectures, and panels for locals.
With so many options available both online and in-person, it’s never been easier to find a camera shop that suits your needs. Maybe you’re looking for a small, family-owned destination, or perhaps you’d prefer a giant superstore with all the brand names you can imagine. Your choice of camera store isn’t one to take lightly; in an ideal world, you’ll find one you can return to again and again as you progress and upgrade your gear.
In this brief guide, we’ve tried to include a little something for everyone, from specialty stores to massive, multi-story powerhouses. Of course, these are just a few trendy shops located in cities around the globe, so we encourage you to use it as a starting point and add your own picks in the comments.
Best Camera Stores in North America
For New Yorkers, B&H has been a staple of the photography community since its founding in 1973. It’s a giant store (with almost half a million items in stock!), but thanks to their signature conveyor belt, you won’t have to carry everything with you as you browse. You can buy used (and tested) or new, and their product specialists know their stuff.
Whether you’re looking for the latest tech or a rare vintage find, there’s a good chance B&H has you covered. If you change your mind, you have 30 days to return your products and gear.
If you’re not in NYC, don’t fret; they also take millions of online orders and ship gear and accessories to 179 countries.
Offering everything from classic film cameras, paper, and chemistry to cutting-edge digital gear and printing, this Tribeca dealer has something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, their friendly staff can help you find exactly what you need, even if you aren’t sure yet yourself.
Founded in 1976, K&M is also well-known for its outdoor gear, including drones and heavy-duty accessories for the adventurous photographer. While they started off being a camera and photography store, they’ve expanded to include top-of-the-line video and audio equipment plus apparel and more. If you’re not sure whether you want to buy, they have a vast Pro Rental Department to explore.
Also founded in 1976, this full-service retailer has several locations throughout California, including a massive three-floor flagship store in Los Angeles. With departments for both new and used cameras, they offer the latest and greatest from all the leading manufacturers, plus some rare finds and unexpected gems.
Samy’s also has a dedicated Pro Department for top-notch cameras, accessories, and lighting. Their Film and Printer Department has everything you need to get started in the darkroom (or with a digital printer), while the Video Department also has a lot to offer. The staff at Samy’s is knowledgeable and friendly, and they offer one-hour, one-on-one consultations with certified trainers who will teach you how to get the most out of your purchase. As an added perk, they also offer in-store financing.
This Toronto-based store has been around for more than four decades, boasting additional storefront locations in Mississauga, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Calgary. They have cameras and accessories from all the world’s best and biggest brands, and they offer professional consultations and tech support for pros and hobbyists alike.
Plus, their rental service, Vistek Rentals, is the nation’s largest photo/video rental service, and their pro-imaging trade show, ProFusion, is the biggest in Canada. Visit the Vistek Learning Center throughout the year for workshops and seminars, or head to their Professional Photo Lab for paper and canvas prints.
Best Camera Stores in Europe
With shops in London, Chelmsford, and Stevenage, this award-winning store offers online and in-person services, as well as an impressive array of gear, cameras, lenses, and accessories at great prices. They’re known for their customer service, and many of their team members are photographers themselves, so they have the expertise to help you find the right match for your workflow.
CameraWorld also specializes in used equipment, so if you’re looking to sell or trade-in your gear, this is the place to go. On top of that, they host London’s biggest annual photography event, CameraWorld Live, where visitors can try the latest gear, attend demonstrations and seminars with experts, go on photowalks with pros, trade-in old gear, and more.
Located on Boulevard Beaumarchais, known colloquially as the “boulevard of photography,” this store has been around since 1949. Today, it comprises three buildings, each devoted to a different specialty: still cameras, video equipment, and second-hand gear.
As it’s one of the largest camera stores in the city, they stock products for everyone from newbies to seasoned pros: cameras, lighting, accessories, studio gear, and more. They have all the big brands and a huge array of accessories, representing a total of more than a hundred different brands.
Plus, Le Cirque has a team of specialists who can help you with everything from camera calibration to video editing. If by chance you don’t find what you’re looking for here, and that’s unlikely, you’ll find plenty of other fantastic camera shops in the area.
Founded in 1969, this photo shop is home to a professional photo studio and laboratory; they have everything from entry-level cameras to state-of-the-art video cameras, and they have tons of options for both the digital and analog photographer.
Their rental department offers a variety of lighting systems, equipment, and accessories, and their support team handles repairs, sensor cleaning, tech solutions, and much more for pros looking to take their gear (and workflow) to the next level. Foto Meyer is an active part of the photo community in Berlin, organizing multiple fairs, workshops, and lectures throughout the year.
Best Camera Stores in Asia
Xing Guang Photographic Equipment City (Shanghai)
You’d be hard-pressed to find another spot like this six-story, two-building photography market, where you can shop everything from the latest digital SLRs to vintage film cameras. Inside, you can browse hundreds of shops—even if you come in with one camera in mind, you might just find a rare accessory or lens to go with it.
The first two floors include all your big name brands; move up, and you’ll get into second-hand gear, accessories, repair services, books, and much more. Dig around, and you can discover rare film stocks, large-scale printing services, and gorgeous old-school lenses. At the top, you’ll find what might just be this market’s crowning glory: a stunning selection of vintage Seagull cameras.
Located in Shinjuku, this four-floor camera store is one of the largest in Tokyo. They have a huge selection of both used and new gear on offer, with floors cleverly organized by brand. The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming, and local photographers are particularly fond of their impressive rangefinder section and rare Leica collection, found on the basement floor.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at this shop (again, unlikely!), there are many other great stores to browse in the area.
From second-hand cameras and lenses to shiny new drones, studio lighting, and video gear, this lifestyle and photography equipment store has almost everything you can imagine. Plus, you can trade-in your old gear.
In between browsing for accessories, remember to check out some of their rarer lenses and diverse array of film cameras.
Best Camera Shops Online
Adorama has been a staple of the photo community since it first opened the doors to its original New York City store in 1974. Today, their flagship store is located on W. 18th Street, and they deliver to over 200 countries worldwide via Adorama.com.
Since 2011, this full-service store has expanded its offerings to include more than just photo gear, with the best in computers and home electrics hitting their shelves (and online store).
Adorama has hundreds of thousands of products to browse, representing a whopping 2,200 brands. Plus, they have a great rental program, with a wide assortment of inspected and tested gear, equipment, and accessories.
Based in Smyrna, Georgia, this camera store was founded in 1979 and has since grown to become the planet’s largest online used camera dealer (55,000 items in stock). Through KEH, you can browse a huge selection of affordable, graded, and certified equipment, ranging from newer cameras to rare vintage treasures.
In some cases, you can expect to spend 40% less than you would at retail price. In case that isn’t enough of an incentive, they have a 14-day “no questions asked” return policy and a 180-day warranty. If you’re looking to upgrade your camera, you can also sell your old gear via KEH; you’ll save money, and you’ll help the environment by buying second-hand. To date, KEH has served more than 1.5 million customers, making it a trusted name in the industry.
Currently based out of Brighton and New York, this store also focuses on top-quality used gear for photographers and filmmakers; in fact, they trade thousands of lenses and cameras across the United States and Europe on a weekly basis. You can find almost anything you need on MPB, as they regularly stock flashguns, filters, tripods, memory cards, and much more.
Thanks to their meticulous grading system, you’ll get a solid idea of what you’re buying, and if you need help deciding, they have a team of expert representatives on hand. As a bonus, they have a seven-day return policy and a six-month warranty. You can also sell your old gear for cash or trade it through the MPB website.
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If you thought brick-and-mortar camera stores were a thing of the past, think again; from NYC to Tokyo, traditional camera shops are thriving.
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