Real Cameras and Real Camera Stores

By Mark

Pardon the rant and the lack of images.

There have been a series of depressing news reports over the last few months and weeks which do not bode well for the photographic community. 

We have seen the sudden closure and bankruptcy of the Calumet chain of camera stores including the Penn Camera locations across VA. 

Both Canon and Nikon have reported lower earnings and have decreased their forecasts.

There are even reports that Hasselblad—the premier camera in the world may soon cease production.

To me it begs the question of what will photography mean in the coming years.  Give a good photographer a cheap camera and they will still deliver you a well composed and interesting image.  I’ve seen some pretty amazing iPhone images as well.  However, they are not the usual.  I don’t believe that just pointing a camera at something and pressing a button is what I want.  The ability to control and shape my image by selecting the right lens, the right aperture is still important to me. 

  I value my local camera stores, McClanahan Camera here in Warrenton, and the Ace Photo in Sterling, . When I walk in there, they know who I am and are as passionate about photography as I am.  When I want to ask a question, they actually know what they are talking about in their response.  If I want a recommendation, they can provide one and are able to back it up.   I’ve watched people try to buy cameras from certain unnamed stores where all the staff wear blue shirts, and have heard “uh, it’s got megapixels”, as a reason to buy a camera.

Having started shooting film and seeing it disappear; I understand that change is inevitable.  I actually think that digital cameras give you far more control than we had shooting Tri-x or Kodachrome 25.  What the cell phones and point and shoots offer is convenience, but you give up too much.  The same is true for the camera store experience.  I think the slight extra cost for supporting your local businesses is worth the value for the expertise and the experience.