firbeck

Photography Shops in Nottingham

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So before the days of digital photography, where did you go to buy your films, have them developed, or purchase your cameras.

I seem to recall that Dixons was an important shop in my photographic life, was it on King Street? Before I go into one, what cameras did you own, where from, and did you always go to Boots, whichever branch it was, to get your films developed.

There must have been a myriad of photography shops in Nottingham, but I can't for the life of me think of where or who they were.

Can someone please provoke a memory, there must have been more than Boots or Dixons surely.

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For cameras we used the photo shop on Pelham Street run by the Fitzgerald family, just up from Boots. The owners lived on Bramcote Drive, Beeston.

For films I went to Colwyn Cameras in Beeston, I think that the name, I will have to look it up.

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For film developing i used to use Jessops (not the large chainstore) on Market street. They used to be halfway on the left as you went up the street and then moved to the right hand side at the top of the street. The shop is still there.

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For cameras we used the photo shop on Pelham Street run by the Fitzgerald family, just up from Boots. The owners lived on Bramcote Drive, Beeston.

For films I went to Colwyn Cameras in Beeston, I think that the name, I will have to look it up.

It was "Collwyn Cameras" opposite from where the Post Office is now.

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Pete are you thinking of that camera shop on Kings Walk?

where was the Nottingham camera exchange?

My cameras which I still have are Zenith TTL and Praktica Nova 1 all with 135mm lenses, standard 50mm, 2x converters and 75-200mm zoom, Nissin 300H flash, and Sunpak flash for the Zenith, did my own developing and printing (black and white) but no longer have and developing and printing stuff

Rog

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I bought my first SLR from Dixons - a Chinon - which gave me heaps of decent pictures and a good learning curve into SLR's.

I used to buy my films from the shop on Pelham Street, can't remember it's name, but upstairs, they used to keep the film in a tall glass fronted fridge. If I remember right, the shop was opposite the Bodega, later to become a denim jeans shop, then something else, but who knows,? I stopped going up there when the photo shop closed (unless Mrs frank dragged me down town!)

I used to like the Ilford Iso 25 B&W and also the C61 slide film when I developed my own negs. Had a little dark room at the back of the garage and I think the B&W kit is still in the attic.

I used to send my films off to a company in Liverpool, Max Spielman, great pictures at reasonable prices. The string of shops they opened later didn't seem to do well.

Moved onto a Canon SLR but ended up preferring NIkon. Currently hanging my nose over going full frame DSLR - a D3.

Keeping up with the times, I now prefer digital over film because you can shoot lots of frames, can see the results instantly without having to wait for the postman to bring that little envelopes with 36 prints (of which 30 could be crap) and you can manipulate the files in Photoshop or other software to your hearts content.

At the end of the day though, a good photo is all down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right light and a decent camera.

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Pete are you thinking of that camera shop on Kings Walk?

where was the Nottingham camera exchange?

I'm afraid my memory, which is excellent over some things, doesn't seem to extend to the whereabouts of Nottingham shops.

I suspect that we probably used Dixons a lot because they tended to sell things on HP, I don't think that my dad could afford to buy us new cameras for Xmas without stretching out the payments.

Dads first camera in the 30's was a Kodak box camera, when he went off to war, following an incident with an SS officer, it got swapped for a 35mm Zeiss, apparently he used to cut up roll film in the back of a blacked out radio truck in Germany and convert it into a 35mm format. Unfortunately, he left it on an excursion train to Mablethorpe in the 50's and it was never seen again. So our next family camera, bought at Xmas for my brother was a plastic Brownie, no light, distance or lens settings, just a button, but it could produce photos like this:

scan0057-1.jpg

Shot on holiday in Folkestone in 1959, not much wrong with that.

We then aquired various cameras, all purchased on HP from Dixons. The thing is, my dad had a keen photographer friend at work, who developed all our films for more or less cost price and a little profit, our savings on developing were huge. When I got my first 'Prinzflex' 35mm from Dixons for 1965 Xmas, the films were developed, and I always thought badly, by fathers friend, he no artistic talent, then I took the empty cassette to Dixons and they would go in the darkroom and load it up with raw film at a fraction of the price of buying an off the shelf film, did anyone else do this.

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I bought my first 'proper' camera as opposed to a 'Kodak' instamatic, in about 1985 from a big shop at the corner of Cheapside and Bridlesmith Gate. It was a Zenit Photo Sniper, complete with Ammunition case and 300mm lens!! I got quite a result selling it to a second hand shop for £50 ,( it only cost about £100 in the first place!!)

I then bought a Chinon Genesis from Dixons in Loughborough, it was one of the first 'Auto Focus' cameras with a built in zoom lens. (£85)

This was stolen in a burglary at our house in 2003 otherwise I would probably still be in the stone age!! With the insurance money I bought a Canon EOS 3000 (From Jessops in Crewe) which was still a film camera , but rekindled my interest in SLRs although I bought my first digital in about 2005,(From Curry's in Northwich) it was only a small Kodak easy share 340 (Nearly gone back full circle now) but I'd got 'The bug' for digital now.

When I got my compensation through for the injury to my right arm (2007) I bought a Canon EOS 400 D from Jessops in Crewe again, it came with a 18-55mm zoom , I added a sigma 75-300mm zoom last summer (Off of Ebay) Then a Canon 100-400mm USM IS off of the internet in February, and the "piece de resistance" a Canon EOS 40 D in July this year.

I am hanging my nose over the new Canon 7D as we speak but I have to justify spending nigh on £1600 on my hobby to SWMBO, (I don't think it's going to happen any time soon!!)

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Bought my first 35 mm camera from boots branch on Parliament street around 1969 for about 13 pounds. Some kind of Boots special I think but it took pretty good photos. Didn't really have much processing done locally. Mostly used Agfa slide film in it and this seemed to work pretty well.

Moved up to a Canon FTB in Canada in 1973. 50 mm lens and I later bought a 28mm wide angle for it. Still have it. Built like a tank and will definitely outlast me. Bought a Canon Eos a year or so ago. Ten megapixel and it can certainly do a lot more than I have really learned to do with it. Not built like the FTB though.

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This thread has triggered some memories, My first 35mm camera was a Halina 35x, bought from Eddys on Alfreton Rd. A couple of years later, I used to window shop at Dixons, and was in there so often, they offered me a job, which I took, anyone remember a handsome young lad in a suit there?

Previous to that, whilst still an apprentice electrician, I got my first "real" SLR, a Zenith E, which the stupid salesman hadn't bothered to tell me had a manual lens, which needed "shutting down" after focusing, and before a pic was taken, I cant remember how much film I wasted taking everything at F2! Not long after that, I had a Prinzflex TTL, with a 1.4 lens, which, like the Chinon brand, was a make that Dixons sold with one of their names on it

It seemed that most, if not all the folk in the city's camera shops knew each other, I had mates at Camera thorpe, and the other shop higher up Pelham St,what was that one called??? also at Collwyn Cameras, which became Cameo Cameras.

Having access to all that gear really got my interest going during my stint at Dixons, and the Prinzflex was soon traded in for a Nikkormat Ftn, the lowest priced Nikon, which back 40 years ago was 20 times my wage!

I wasn't entirely satisfied with the entry level camera, and soon got rid, going for the top of the range Nikon F, with a Photomic Ftn head, (an interchangeable ttl meter) and interchangeable focusing screens. That one cost more than 30+ times my wage back then!

Now, here comes the sad bit, having just gotten married, I wanted something smaller, and ended up going to London Camera Exchange, Camera Thorpe's old shop, and doing a straight swap for a Canon Sureshot Supreme, at around a third the value of the Nikon, then again, a short time after, I did get a Nikon FE2 with a motor drive, and many genuine Nikkor lenses whilst 35mm was still king, but again, sold on at a loss!

I still have a Pentax K1000 I think, with a couple of nice genuine Pentax lenses, (wide angle and zoom) which is up for sale if anyone is interested?

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The Prinzflex I had for Xmas in 1965 had a good lens, but the shutter speed and aperture were linked. I tried to be clever and took the damn thing to pieces to try and disconnect them, no way, the result was a snapped shutter spring, I daren't tell my dad that I'd messed up what was no doubt an expensive item he was still paying for and stuck an elastic band in there instead. Unfortunately this needed changing every few months, but it worked, and most of the pictures I've published on here were taken with this Heath Robinson device.

When I eventualy started working and had a bit of money, I replaced it with a second hand Zenit E from Dixons, two days before the epic Hucknall Blue Angels Airshow. I got the damn thing home and the shutter jammed, because it was second hand, while they were prepared to repair it at their own expense, no replacement in the meantime.

Eventually I replaced it with a Canon AT-1, I wasn't going to have one of them electronic do it all things.

Incidentally, I started using colour slide film in 1967, it was a company called Freefilm, you sent the film off to be developed and got back a free film, it was a fraction of the price of using Kodak or Agfa, but it always had a mauve colour bias, did anyone else try that.

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Yes I used Freefilm, and other similar firms which emerged at that time.

Rather indicative of my complete naivety on photography.

Always impressed by the skills shown by others, but as I've never spent more than £40 on a camera don't really expect any stunning productions!

Digital shots, with my basic camera, now confined to my rapidly growing grandkids.

Cheers

Bockscar...

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, it was a company called Freefilm, you sent the film off to be developed and got back a free film, it was a fraction of the price of using Kodak or Agfa, but it always had a mauve colour bias, did anyone else try that.

Yes, that renewed a memory. I did try Freefilm, and like you I found a color bias with it. So I stuck with Agfa. Recently scanned all my slides and was disappointed by how much some of them had faded. Glad I can at least store them digitally now as long as the HD or DVD holds up. Agfa always seemed to have rather subdued colors compared to Kodak and some of the others but I always thought it seemed more natural looking.

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Was the other camera shop on Pelham St called Pelham Cameras?

Buggered if the name will come to me.....unless of course it is that!

Just realised, I didnt start at Dixons until the 70's.....oh well, only a short time out!

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Am i right in thinking that there was also a camera stall/shop in the Victoria Market? - part of the London camera Exchange?

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Agfa always seemed to have rather subdued colors compared to Kodak and some of the others but I always thought it seemed more natural looking.

Funny, I always thought that Agfa had a bit of a colour bias as well, I always thought that the best colour slide film was Kodak Ektachrome Proffesional, it was expensive and if you took it on holiday it had to be kept in a cool bag, but it's never faded.

Sometimes, no matter what you used, things were ok, I took this at Tollerton Airshow in 1972, I used the cheapest, Boots brand Instamatic with their colour film to match, the only reason it's faded is because I had it posted on a wall as part of a photo collage.

scan0059-2.jpg

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Was the other camera shop on Pelham St called Pelham Cameras?

Buggered if the name will come to me.....unless of course it is that!

Just realised, I didnt start at Dixons until the 70's.....oh well, only a short time out!

Yes Pelham Cameras. I got my first SLR from there back in the early 1970's. It was a Practica LLC with a 50mm lens.

.

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On 11/20/2009 at 12:37 AM, Craig Strongman said:

This thread has triggered some memories, My first 35mm camera was a Halina 35x, bought from Eddys on Alfreton Rd. A couple of years later, I used to window shop at Dixons, and was in there so often, they offered me a job, which I took, anyone remember a handsome young lad in a suit there?

Previous to that, whilst still an apprentice electrician, I got my first "real" SLR, a Zenith E, which the stupid salesman hadn't bothered to tell me had a manual lens, which needed "shutting down" after focusing, and before a pic was taken, I cant remember how much film I wasted taking everything at F2! Not long after that, I had a Prinzflex TTL, with a 1.4 lens, which, like the Chinon brand, was a make that Dixons sold with one of their names on it

It seemed that most, if not all the folk in the city's camera shops knew each other, I had mates at Camera thorpe, and the other shop higher up Pelham St,what was that one called??? also at Collwyn Cameras, which became Cameo Cameras.

Having access to all that gear really got my interest going during my stint at Dixons, and the Prinzflex was soon traded in for a Nikkormat Ftn, the lowest priced Nikon, which back 40 years ago was 20 times my wage!

 

Camera Thorpe was my first job in 'retail', I started as a junior HiFi salesman not long after they decided to give selling HiFi a go. As Craig would know, they sold middle to fairly high end cameras, although not quite in the league of the guys up the road. Still we did Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Hasselblad, Rollie, Mamiya, Durst etc. I was lucky to get to take a few medium format's home to play with, plus we did a roaring trade in PX stuff, so always had access to something worthwhile. My big regret was not keeping any of the Red spot Leicas we got in PX, worth a fortune now!

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Anyone with info about the photo/camera shop on Friar Lane - just up from Toby's.

 

I was into the technical side of photography and processing then and this shop sold all the chemicals, including colour developing agents which were otherwise almost impossible to obtain.

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1 hour ago, jonab said:

Anyone with info about the photo/camera shop on Friar Lane - just up from Toby's.

 

I don't know the answer to the question, but it's probably in this photo (1973).  Unfortunately it won't enlarge clearly enough to show names.

RHR4XWe.jpg

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Cliff, thanks for that.

It seems the shop is in the light coloured building, centre left, second one down

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There used to be a camera shop on the lefthand side of Friar Lane coming from the Market Square. It was next to Dixon & Parker schoolwear shpp  and called KG Camera

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I was born in Bestwood and studied photography at Derby College of Art. I've now retired and have started sorting through thousands of negatives and have just come across a negative strip from Nottingham Photographic Centre on Pelham Street so I assume this is the one you refer to. I recently self published a photographic book about St Ann's in the clearance of 1969 and St Ann's was written on the back of one of these strips. 

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