Hong Kong Analogue Camera Trail Introduction

Searching for an analogue camera, even on the internet, has more of an Indiana Jones feel to it. To find what you want, you have to head off the beaten track, talk to some people who you wouldn’t normally be in contact with, possibly watch out for some less than reputable back alley stores, and then check the quality of the gear.

Sometimes you can discover something that you had no idea you wanted!

Shopping for digital cameras can be a bit bland and sterile. Everyone has the same gear – there is no element of scarcity or exploration.

If you want to buy something unique, like a Hasselblad Xpan, or Contax G system, you are going to have hunt the right one down. Balancing out what you can afford against the condition of the item is a challenge. Sometimes, even finding what you want to buy can be part of the fun.

Hong Kong is a great place to shop for second hand analogue gear. If you only have a couple of hours to spare, then the one single place to visit is Champagne Court, 16-20 Kimberley Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui. It is an arcade full of great gear that is in generally good condition to mint. The stores can be a bit of a disorganised jumble to look at, and quite cramped, but in each store is someone who is passionate about film photography. Yah, sure, there are a lot of “employees” there too, but if you can find the owner, they are usually great to talk to about gear and can help you find what you want.

 

Some advice…

Don’t expect many bargains. These shops all know what gear is worth and you can expect to pay a fair price for what you want. The advantage of shopping here is the range – there are multiples of most items you could want, so you can select according to your budget and the desired condition you would like.

Buyer beware. Hong Kong is not the kind of place that offers 90 day money back guarantees. If this bothers you, stick to ebay sellers with a return policy. If you are purchasing something on the expensive side, ask to run a roll of C41 through it. With one hour processing at Dot-Well Camera, you can easily check on the item. Most places will not hold the item for you, so if it sells in the hour you are away, too bad!

There are many shops with many items. Don’t rush into anything! Visit as many shops as you can and wait for the right item to appear!

Make sure you have the exchange rates on your phone – make sure you check it vs. your local currency. If you have an international data pack on your phone, check the prices on ebay as well.

Take cash. Most shops will avoid taking a card like the plague, particularly if you are not a local.

Some stores will not go out of their way to help you – I am sure they get plenty of “gear tourists”. They seem to be able to spot a “looky loo” (a non-serious shopper) pretty accurately, but I suspect they think most non-locals are probably just time wasters and tyre kickers. If you are serious, make sure you sound serious when you ask about the gear. Their attitude will change pretty quickly if there might be a sale on the way. It is also a bit of the Hong Kong way to have to ask for help.

It helps to be specific about what you want. Not everything is on display, so if you have a specific item you are chasing, let them know. Most stores are a mess of gear, so you might have missed an item which they will know about.

Sometimes, the stores will be attended by a flunky who doesn’t know that much about cameras except the prices. If they don’t seem to know a lot about the stock, they probably don’t! Just keep asking questions and they usually get on the phone to the more senior person who soon arrives on the scene. Don’t give up to easily.

Links to the Store Reviews.

Dot-Well Camera

All Good Friend Camera Company

M&K Kamera

David Chan

Sencery

The Photocrafters

Lee Wai Commercial Building

C9.99 Antique Cameras

Breguet Cameras

M&K Kamera HQ

Filme

Camera Film Photo

Matsuya Camera

Shogun Camera

 

 

6 Responses to “Hong Kong Analogue Camera Trail Introduction”

  1. Thanks for the tip. I didn’t get to Champagne Court last time. I ended up in Sim City in Mongkok.

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  2. My first trip to Hong Kong coincided with my burgeoning interest in film photography. I nearly wet my pants when I found Champagne Court.

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  3. I visited Champagne Court a couple of times during my visit to HK last year. Yes they have plenty of stock but everything I saw was very expensive and had no warranty. Whilst some of the items looked okay there was a lot of very average cameras and lenses at premium prices. I bought nothing but some overpriced film and was genuinely disappointed as I had visited many times before years ago.

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    • Hey Terry – pretty much agree, it is what it is. The range of gear is stunning but the prices are not bargains. I suppose you can head up to Apilu street or Ebay? Champagne court is a great place though to see cameras and handle cameras that you may not have had the opportunity to do so before…

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  4. Terry makes a fair point – don’t expect bargains at Champagne Court. Expect range and choice…

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