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Author Topic: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?  (Read 41207 times)

gj64mad1989

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Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« on: February 21, 2011, 07:04:10 AM »
Hi All,

Just wondering what peoples thoughts were about the best places to get gear in the UK...

I frequent London Camera Exchange and Jessops quite a bit- but I hate jessops with a passion! Been into Jacobs once (they really need to freshen up their store- looks like something from the 90's!)

What do people think?

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Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« on: February 21, 2011, 07:04:10 AM »

motorhead

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 08:18:43 AM »
I'm very lucky here in Salisbury having a good relationship with the manager and staff of Castle Cameras. I know they will never be as cheap as the web based businesses, but value the honest advice and friendship they freely offer - as well as the ability to try out kit (for as long as a week in one case) before buying. Local shops do need supporting in order to survive, we will miss them when they are gone.

London Camera Exchange is very variable. One in Southamptons Below Bar area is excellent while the Salisbury outlet is so unfriendly I refuse to walk through the door.

Jessops is a business in trouble. I hope it survives and I do buy small consumables from them once in a while, but would not dream of ordering anything or indeed spending large amounts there. A great shame to see a once well respected business so badly managed. They seem to show images of cameras in the window rather than the real thing, a sign of a cash-flow crisis I imagine.

For on line purchases I tend to use Warehouse Express as they have always treated me fairly.   

Picsfor

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 12:20:44 PM »
Was previously a Park Cameras fan - but after my last few visits i'm not any more.

Stock - mmm, it is on order, orrrrr - we could order it for you
Staff - let me check the computer to see what you're talking about.
What happened to the old hands, the trusted guys and gals who knew there stuff? You knew you were getting genuine advice built on experience and knowledge.

Yep, need to find a new place to purchase my kit...
A new body of 5D2 with battery grip or above is on the cards.
Sorry "Park" - not for you this order!

markt

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 12:35:39 PM »
My vote goes to CameraWorld... only every used Chelmsford branch though.
They have some very knowledgeable staff and are always willing to help, I've tested their patience a few times and they're always happy to see me again!

lol

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 12:44:48 PM »
T4 cameras - my local physical shop if I want to get something physically.
Expensive new kit online: I order mostly from Clifton Cameras, Amazon and Jessops depending on price and availability.
Used kit online: mpbphotographic has a good choice and reasonable pricing for a dealer.
Cheap bits: mostly ebay.
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MintMark

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 03:55:16 PM »
I like a shop if you need to try before you buy. I have bought new cameras and lenses from Jessops before because they were cheapest on the high street. London Camera Exchange are also good... I have bought second hand stuff from them and also traded in when buying new. Sometimes they have unboxed kit lenses for cheaper prices. I have bought at Jacobs and was impressed that they sell at cheaper web prices. Often out of stock though.

Another way to try before you buy is to rent a lens. I did this over Christmas and that gave me the confidence to just buy mail order... from Amazon this time. I feel protected by distance selling regulations although I have never returned anything under them. I have bought quite a bit from mpbphotographic too... lenses, filters and a tripod head. Never a problem... I look on buying second hand as recycling :)

c-law

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 05:17:39 PM »
When I lived in the UK (up until Sept 2010) I used to buy my gear online. Only buying from stores if there was an extremely good sale on or for small consumables.

In my experience there are two types of camera stores: independent places with good knowledge but high prices, and chain stores that are slightly cheaper (but never as cheap as online) with mostly no knowledge and a lot of bureaucracy. I think the main problem with the chain stores (esp. Jessops) is that they are in so much financial trouble that they let go all of their knowledgeable full time staff and have taken to hiring students on 12 or 20 hour contracts. There is usually one or two full time staff at a store and lots of part timers working the rush periods. I'm not saying that these people can't be knowledgeable but in my experience they mostly are not.

Chris
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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 05:17:39 PM »

GMCPhotographics

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2011, 07:57:57 PM »
T4 cameras - my local physical shop if I want to get something physically.
Expensive new kit online: I order mostly from Clifton Cameras, Amazon and Jessops depending on price and availability.
Used kit online: mpbphotographic has a good choice and reasonable pricing for a dealer.
Cheap bits: mostly ebay.

I've put a lot of money through T4 cameras in Swindon over the years. Good service and a great retailer. I was one of the first persons in Wiltshire to have a Canon 5D. They had the first delivery and I was there when the delivery came on a big pallet. My 85IIL came from them too.
Jessops used to have great staff about 10 years ago but they've all been dumbed down now to shelf stackers. I bought my 70-200IIL from them (picked up an amazing web deal...too good to miss) and the reaction of the staff when I collected it was quite amusing! I'm not sure they get much f2.8 glass through their hands these days.

Flake

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 05:20:02 AM »
I guess it depends on what your definition of 'best place to buy' actually is.  For many people best means cheapest, and you can find equipment at the site www.camerapricebuster.co.uk  you will have heard of most of the suppliers and it saves an awful lot of chopping around for the best price, it also shows just how expensive some outlets actually are!

If you value service however and a shop which will allow you to play with the kit before buying & offer good advice then it's going to be down to personal reccomendation and the area you live, it's pointless telling you about a store in Norwich if you live in Aberdeen!

K3nt

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 04:11:06 AM »
Eventhough I'm from Finland I used hdewcameras.co.uk and got excellent service. And the price was good too. If you want / have the possibility you can even pick up the gear from their shop in Surrey. They are a JIT-supplier though, so don't expect miracles on more exotic items. (JIT = Just in Time, which means little stock, order as needed). They do have some stock on "normal" items ofcourse but L-lenses might be scarce.
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tomscott

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 09:16:50 AM »
London Camera Exchange

Very knowledgeable, always willing to help. They have alot of shops there prices are very competitive. I dont buy many new lenses i buy very good second hand items. In the last 3 years i have purchased a 70-200mm F2.8 L for £650 a 2x extender mark II for £230 and a 17-55mm 2.8 IS for £550 all in perfect condition boxed and had barely been used. Cleaned and professionally serviced previously by LCE and they are all still perfect never a problem. Their service is fantastic too I live in Cumbria and purchased the 17-55mm from Salisbury over the phone there description on the site was good but i rang for a visual description, it was also a friday i ordered it and they advised not to send it over the weekend as it could be sat in a warehouse etc they wanted to reduce the time it would be in the delivery services hands. They sent it first class recorded and arrived on the tuesday.

Cameraworld.co.uk

Great prices on all kit, although with my experience they can be good and poor, i ordered a tripod which they said they had in stock i waited 3 weeks and nothing, rang them up ..oh sorry sir we didnt have it in stock so canceled your order. No confirmation no nothing.

For New gear i usualy buy from

digitalrev.com

I got my first camera, A 350D which were in short supply when i got it. Arrived but it was a european version not British but still got the same warranty etc The delivery was very quick and also was very cheap. I also bort my 40D as soon as it came out from digital rev and saved £220. Got it for £640 which was very cheap, again a european box and instructions but i got sent an email with links to english manuals etc so i found the service to be great, although if you want english boxes i wouldn't go here.

Jessops

Are actually very good, I have to disagree. I bought a 10-22mm EF-s lens and 60mm lens and they matched the online prices from the cheapest venue online and picked it up from the shop that day. Not sure if they offer this anymore. But the 60mm EF-s was £330 brand new walked away from the shop and £550 for the 10-22mm EF-s.

That was 3 years ago, prices have risen significantly since tho. 12 months ago i was looking to buy a 5D II with a 24-70 2.8, decided i would wait. Looked again just after christmas and the 24-70 IS lens had risen from £879 to £999. since the recession hit things have gone up significantly and now the disaster that has recently hit Japan will surely rise prices further.

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Stu_bert

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2011, 06:53:39 PM »
I guess it depends on what your definition of 'best place to buy' actually is.  For many people best means cheapest, and you can find equipment at the site www.camerapricebuster.co.uk  you will have heard of most of the suppliers and it saves an awful lot of chopping around for the best price, it also shows just how expensive some outlets actually are!

If you value service however and a shop which will allow you to play with the kit before buying & offer good advice then it's going to be down to personal reccomendation and the area you live, it's pointless telling you about a store in Norwich if you live in Aberdeen!

I largely concur with Flake but with one difference. I find information on the net to be far more extensive and useful than local dealers. Everything from lens quality, to personal experience with equipment, to actual examples, all coupled with people who are really knowledgeable and happy to advise. To be fair, that's a tall order for any dealership given the breadth of the market. Most expensive purchases I try to do via the States - the savings on one or two L lenses will cover flight / accomm, you just have to have a friend / workplace where you can get the kit delivered, plus you get a holiday :D. UK purchases are few n far between now, but I will normally start with camerapricebsuter and do a quick google to see if I can better them.
If life is all about what you do in the time that you have, then photography is about the pictures you take not the kit that took it. Still it's fun to talk about the kit, present or future :)

bycostello

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 03:44:55 AM »
jacobs is usually quite well priced, they usually have the more obscure brands and products too....  jessops, high prices and won't negotiate...

warehouse express on the internet usually quite good for quick delivery and good prices.

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 03:44:55 AM »

leGreve

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2011, 11:33:17 AM »
I live in Denmark, but have recently bought a lot of gear from the UK, mainly because it's cheaper and I can buy without VAT.

If I could suggest one source at the moment, it would be prokit.co.uk. They have been extremely nice during my purchase of the Sony FS100 and accessories. I would definitely buy from them again.
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bycostello

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2011, 04:48:24 AM »
jacobs normally quite good and stock the  more pro brands...   warehouseexpress on the internet worth a look....  but if you want to speak to someone who knows what they are talking about then calumet...

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Re: Best place to buy photographic equipment in the uk?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2011, 04:48:24 AM »