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I searched this city up and down for film cameras and film photography equipment. I put that knowledge into this film camera buying guide, detailing and ranking all the places with a steady supply of film cameras to help make your next purchase as easy as possible.

What’s In This Film Camera Buying Guide

Included in this list are the 5 best places that sell film photography cameras and equipment in New York. The places I have decided to highlight are retail stores that have a regular supply of and place emphasis on the sale of new and used film cameras. Check out the New York Film Camera Buying Guide Google Map that includes an extra 5 locations such as flea markets and very small establishments.

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Film Camera Buying Guide Map

#5 Photo Village

Film Camera Buying Guide The Photo Village

Photo Village’s focus is on Leica cameras and other high-end rangefinders. While costly and not for everyone, this may be the first and only stop on this list for certain photographers.

Atmosphere
Rating: 6/10

The atmosphere is akin to a fine jewelery store. Everything is tucked away behind glass with a sales associate quietly in the corner awaiting your questions. On many occasions you will be the only customer in the store, a stark contrast to the chaos of B&H Photo across the street. Anything you want to look at has to be unlocked from one of the cases with the salesperson eagerly awaiting your thoughts.

Knowledge
Rating: 9/10

As expected for a high-end specialty shop they really do know their product. When I asked which model the Leica’s included a built-in meter, the saleswoman answered correctly without hesitation (The Leica M5!). Not a terribly tricky question but a good example on a question you might have when buying your first Leica.

Price
Rating: 5/10

Like a few other places on this list you won’t find any bargains. Items are over market value but you are paying for the atmosphere, their expertise, and of course Leica-ness. They had a beat up Nikon FM2 tucked away for $250, but you could get one on eBay for that price in mint condition with a little patience. They had a Rollei RF (White Labeled Bessa R2) with Winder for $799. I’d say it’s worth about $500.

Selection
Rating: 6/10

Because most photographers are not in the market for a Leica-like purchase, I’m giving the selection rating a 6. In my opinion the best used camera shop is one that has something for everyone. From an Olympus OM-1 to a Bessa R; to a Ricoh GR and finally a Leica. I know that’s asking a lot. Understanding that this is a specialty camera shop, if you’re comfortable spending $2,000 to $5,000 on a film camera, you will enjoy the selection at Photo Village.

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Location
Rating: 8/10

A ten minute walk to Times Square and a 5 minute walk to the highline, there’s plenty to do after your shopping. I recommend the Highline.

Good to Know:

The also buy gear! Paying 60% of the value upfront, that’s 20% higher that B&H Photos base offer. Although I couldn’t find if it’s 60% of market value, or their sticker price, I’m sure it’s the lower market value.

Overall Rating

3.4 out of 5 stars 


#4 Adorama

Film Camera Buying Guide Adorama

Adorama is a well-respected photo video equipment supplier in the city and is a direct competitor to B&H Photo. Considerably smaller it still provides a nice selection and you can usually find what you need here if you’re looking for digital.

Atmosphere
Rating: 5/10

When you enter you’ll be greeted by security and then asked by an employee near a kiosk what brings you in. They’ll give you a ticket with a number on it. There are 3 salespeople to help with film cameras. In the back right of the store you can wait till you see and hear your number called up on the board above one of their stations. The store is small and there is a constant feeling of being rushed, not a wise state of mind when camera buying.

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Knowledge
Rating: 6/10

The sales people have a solid general knowledge of film cameras, though they likely won’t have any personal experience with the camera your interested in.

Price
Rating: 8/10

First of all Adorama’s used condition rating system is a bit of a mystery. I purchased a Canon AE-1 Program with a rating of “X” (for parts only), for $15. A bit of tinkering (button smashing) at home I got it in perfect working order. I’ve also purchased many E- and G rated items that looked near mint when I got them.

Selection
Rating: 6/10

They sell a lot of cameras that are broken or not fully working. Be aware of its condition before you buy. Just to the left of the service counters is a nice glass counter filled with their best stuff. Some Nikon F’s, a black Canon QL17 GIII, Minox miniatures, a nice mix of decent rarity. At this counter is a fellow with a crooked hat and glasses at the tip of his nose, he is very knowledgeable and handles the used purchasing. You don’t need a number to speak to him and it is OK to ask to see a camera on display. Behind him are more cameras on the wall, from large format to a some collectible point and shoots.

Stock turn over here is very quick, if you really want something, check their website every morning and when you see what you want, be ready to buy. While the selection is not the best, try to find your gem because it very well may be the best price in town. Check out a previous article on an Adorama purchase – Going Analog, Full 35mm Photography Kit Under $50

Location
Rating: 7/10

Aside from your average Manhattan experience, you’re about a 10 minute walk from Union Square which is great for tourists and locals. Check out Strand Bookstore when you go. Also looking south from 6th Avenue is a great shot of the World Trade Center if you have a telephoto lens.

Good to Know:

I don’t know why buy all the NYU students know about this place and deplete the stores stock of affordable working cameras every August to September (Canon AE line and Pentax K1000s). Also I don’t recommend selling here. They won’t give you quotes over the phone, and 9 out of 10 times they won’t want to buy what you’re selling. If they do their offer will make you turn away. Subject to Saturday closures and Jewish holiday closures.

Overall Rating

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3.4 out of 5 stars 


#3 Lomography Gallery Store
Film Camera Buying Guide Lomography Store

Atmosphere
Rating: 8/10

The Lomography Gallery near Washington Square park is small retail store specializing in selling lomo cameras and film both 135 and 120. It’s a very hip place with a modern look and a vintage feel. The bulk of their items are film cameras so you will be shopping with like-minded people.

Lomography Gallery Store

Lomography Gallery Store

Knowledge
Rating: 6/10

Unlike B&H or K&M where much of the staff are old timers with decades of experience, the staff here are young guys who just shoot film because they love it. They know a lot about what they sell and whatever niche they shoot outside of Lomo. But a vast knowledge of film cameras from yesteryear might not be their forte.

Price
Rating: 6/10

Lomo film is actually a very good deal (in-store). You can get color or black and white from 100 to 800 ASA at about $12 for a pack of 3. Their film cameras are quite unique (see selection below), you won’t be able to bargain and prices are a little high, especially for their special edition cameras. Also they have many special effects film.

Selection
Rating: 6/10

The Lomography store has a great selection of lomo cameras, but you won’t find much else. They have dozens of La Sardina cameras, instant cameras, Holga, Diana, and a few Lomo LC line cameras. It is a large selection but only for the classification of “Toy Cameras” AKA “Lomography”.

Location
Rating 9/10

A beautiful building itself, the Lomography store is a few minute walk from Washington Square Park. The Washington Square Arch build in 1892 is a must for photos. When you’re there look south for the World Trade Center peeking up over the trees.

Good to Know:

From the southwest corner of the park, walk south on Macdougal Street. It’s littered with bars, restaurants and home to Artichoke Pizza and the famous Comedy Cellar. Night time is especially lively.

Overall Rating

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3.6 out of 5 stars


#2 B&H Photo Video
Film Camera Buying Guide B&H Photo Video

Atmosphere
Rating: 9 out of 10

Founded in 1973 B&H is the “Go to” place for media production equipment in Manhattan. From the hundreds of staff members to the exposed conveyor belt item delivery system, just entering its doors is an overwhelming experience in the best way.

Make your way up to the second floor and continue straight from the escalator. You’ll see a glass case with a tiny “camera museum” on display with a few notable cameras from the Brownie onward. Just beyond that there are two or three gentleman that will help you from their seats at the counter. Tell them the SKU number of the item you want from USED section on their website, or tell them what you’re looking for and they’ll be happy to help.

B&H Photo Used Film Camera Department

B&H Photo Used Film Camera Department

Salesperson Knowledge
Rating: 9/10

The B&H Photo Used Department has the most knowledgeable staff I have come across. There’s only 4 guys and they are all very happy to listen as well as give their advice. If no one is in line behind you it’s likely you’ll be talking cameras for a while. There is a younger kid there which I avoid. He is a Leica-only shooter and will not be interested in talking about anything less.

Price
Rating: 5/10

Prices are fair at best with many high valued items overpriced. Bodies start at about $100, and these are mostly plastic Nikon and Minoltas from the late 80’s & early 90’s. From there cameras quickly get into the $300 range and up. To help with the cost consider selling some unwanted gear to them, they buy almost anything that works. You can negotiate but up front they will offer you about 40% of what they can sell it for.

Camera Selection
Rating: 7/10

Every used camera at B&H has a 90 day warranty. Becuase of this, they only sell cameras in their store that have a value greater that the vaule of the time it takes their technician to check the camera for functionality. They don’t take much risk and buy cameras that are of decent value and are proven to sell.

If what you want to see a camera not displayed in the case behind them, they will have to call it up from the warehouse. It arrives in about 3 minutes.

Location
Rating: 8/10

Same as Photo Village – it’s just across the street on the south side of 34th.

Good to Know

Because the owner and many of the employees are observant Satmar Hasidic Jews, they close every Friday at 2pm and remain closed throughout Saturday for Shabbos. They are also closed for an extra 15 days in October for 6 different holidays.

Overall Rating

bh-under-fire-amid-allegations-of-poor-safety-conditions-and-discrimination3.8 out of 5 stars 


#1 K&M Camera

Atmosphere
Rating: 9/10

K&M is a medium-sized photo video store in lower Manhattan’s China Town. Their shop is easy to navigate as it is one long store with no separate rooms. Towards the back on the right is a massive wall of cameras behind the salespeople’s desks. Between you and them is an equally stocked row of glass counters, and at your feet are about 8 bargain bins full of zooms and nifty 50’s sorted by mount.

Knowledge
Rating: 8/10

The sales people have are more knowledgeable than most but I question their tactics. I once went in to buy a Ricoh GR for $599 and the sales person talked me out of it, saying the LCD will go dead and I can’t fix it. Also a friend of mine asked to buy “The best lens you have” for his Nikon FM3a, and they sold him an Ai Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5. I still can’t figure that one out.

Price
Rating: 7/10

Prices are all over the place. You can get bargain 50mm at eBay prices. Lenses under $150 are priced near market value. Rare cameras are overpriced. I guess they know they’re the only place in the city with them.

Selection
Rating: 9/10

I say K&M Camera has the best selection because it is a place you can actually window shop. All their stock is within eyesight and its a very personal and tactile shopping experience. They have about 3 to 6 of bodies of each of their stock. Here you can find a Minolta TC-1, Ricoh GR, Nikon 28Ti, Nikon 35Ti, Fuji KLASSE, and too much to choose from in the way of 70’s and 80’s Nikon and Olympus SLRs.

Location
Rating 8/10

Located at the edge of China Town and two blocks from Little Italy, there are lots of stimulating sights to photograph. And don’t forget a slice of pizza or some roast duck.

Good to Know:

They like to up-sell. Be careful if you are not an experienced camera buyer. This is where you can go when B&H and Adorama are closed.

Overall Rating

kmroundlogo_125px_1464795028__982694.1 out of 5 stars


New York Film Camera Buying Guide Takeaway

I’ve ranked the 5 places in this article very closely. They’re all worth going to. So if you are nearby stop in and judge for yourself. You may have a different experiences than I did.

Do you know any good New York Film Camera spots I forgot to mention or have yet to discover? Please add them in the comments. I will visit them and add my findings to the map.