Are you looking for the best places to buy cameras?
‘Buyer beware’ is a good watchword for buying anything, but is especially true with cameras. As we all know, cameras are not cheap, and it’s not worth risking your hard-earned cash on what seems like a good deal at the time.
Small, reliable, local camera stores are a rarity these days, so we’re going to take a look at the best places we’ve found to buy cameras in the US, UK, and Australia.
Why Amazon isn’t on our list of Best Places to Buy Cameras
We love Amazon for lots of things, but it’s not one of the best places for buying cameras. The reason being that there are too many third-party sellers of camera equipment. While many of them are legit, there are scammers out there who will buy a cheaper camera and change the badges to look like a more expensive model if they are similar enough in shape. Stolen cameras sometimes end up being sold by third-party sellers, too.
There are also the murky waters of gray imports to navigate. This is where the seller buys new cameras cheaply from overseas and imports them. They then sell it at a lower price than the RRP and still make a profit. You get a brand-new camera at a good price – but you don’t get a warranty, so if anything goes wrong and it needs fixing by the manufacturer, they will likely refuse.
Best Places to Buy Cameras in the US
These guys are very popular, both with online sales and at their store in New York. They have a massive range of camera gear, but also sell TVs, computers, and other electronics. Adorama has been around for nearly 40 years, and they gain great reviews from their customers – not just for their range of cameras, but also for excellent customer service.
Adorama also sells used cameras and equipment, which can bring you a significant saving on the price. You can sell or trade-in your unwanted camera gear too, and if you want to try before you buy, Adorama runs a rental program so you can see if a camera or lens is right for you.
If you’re a creative student, Adorama also offers exclusive student discounts on lots of its products.
For peace of mind, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on most of their stock. Adorama also offers membership of their ‘VIP360’ program. For $49.99 per year you get access to free 2-day shipping, a 60-day return policy, 1-year Printique Pro service membership, 1-year ‘Drops & Spills’ protection for your gear, and other member-only discounts and perks.
Yet another well-known camera store is B&H Photo Video, based in Midtown Manhattan. They sell cameras and equipment online, as well as video cameras, computers, software, and other electronics. Their range of camera gear is extensive. B&H offers free 7-10 day shipping in the US, and that becomes 3-7 days and free if your order comes to over $49.
You can join B&H as a rewards member and earn points on what you buy, which can be used later for discounts. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee on their products. However, the item must be returned in the original box and still be in brand-new condition. B&H made it on to Newsweek’s America’s Best Customer Service List 2021, and Newsweek’s America’s Best Online Shops list.
As an added bonus, B&H has an online education section called Explora. You can read free articles on everything photography-related, as well as watch videos and listen to podcasts.
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Best Places to Buy Cameras in the UK
Park Cameras have been going for over 50 years, and today they have two stores staffed with knowledgeable assistants – one in London, and another in West Sussex. They stock a huge range of cameras, lenses, tripods, etc, and the stores offer a hands-on experience so you can compare equipment.
They also run an online store, with a recently revamped website for easier navigation. You can join their loyalty scheme online, called Park Points. These points can be traded in for gift vouchers once they’ve built up. If you have old equipment you can go to the Sell or Part Exchange page and get a quote for your gear from them by filling in the form.
You can return new goods under Park’s 14-day no-questions-asked guarantee, and you can return used goods during the same time frame, although used goods are subject to a 10% restocking fee unless they are faulty. If your goods are faulty, you have a 30-day window in which to return them for replacement or refund.
Gloucestershire-based Clifton Cameras are one of the UK’s leading independent camera stores. Their range of cameras and photography equipment is vast, and they have received the Amateur Photographer Magazine’s Good Service award for ten years straight. You can buy in-store or online, and their website offers other services too, like insurance and print services. Clifton Cameras features a blog that contains gear reviews and other photography-related topics.
You can part-exchange your old equipment, and Clifton Cameras will come and collect the gear from your home and work for free if you choose to go this route.
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Best Places to Buy Cameras in Australia
The Digital Camera Warehouse (DCW) has been around since 2001. They have a brick-and-mortar store in Canterbury, NSW, staffed with people who are passionate about photography. Their online store offers all kinds of cameras, lenses, and accessories. DCW also features a print store, photography workshops, DVDs, and the opportunity to buy extended warranties on your goods.
DCW delivers Australia-wide, and their shipping and handling rates are a flat $9.95 AUD for every order. Shipping usually takes around 3-5 business days for your items to arrive.
Based in George Street, Sydney, Georges Cameras was established in 1981. It’s one of the leading independently-owned camera and electronic retailers in Australia.
You can shop at the Sydney store or on their website. They have a large range of internationally recognized brands for everyone from the beginner to the professional photographer. Georges also buy and sell pre-used camera gear, and you can get a quote online to sell your unused equipment. The website offers a blog with lots of reviews and tips for all kinds of photographers, as well as gift guides.
Georges also offer film processing for 35mm film – something for the SLR enthusiasts among you.
[Related Reading: Best DSLR for Beginners 2020 Update]
This list of the best places to buy cameras is by no means exhaustive, and other photographers may recommend different stores. Our choices will hopefully give you a starting point for your own research. All the stores featured here are reputable, trustworthy sellers and their staff know exactly what they are talking about.