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Showa Film and Camera
Photograph: Courtesy Showa Film and Camera

Best film photography stores in Hong Kong

Snap out of it!

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a photogenic city that can keep anyone enticed, be it for street snaps, drone photography, or even if it's just on Instagram. But not everything is about digital, as film photography seems to be making a comeback these days. Unmatched by any advanced tech, film cameras offer a unique way of capturing photographs. Best of all, anyone can try it – though it can be difficult to get started if you don't know where to look. To make your search a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite film photography stores in Hong Kong for film development, camera shopping, and general advice. By Jessica Luisa Chan

RECOMMENDED: If you’re looking to get some practice shooting in the city, check out some of these photogenic waterfronts in Hong Kong!

Before we get started, here’s a quick film photography 101:

1. Choose your camera wisely
It’s not necessary to have the most high-end camera to achieve good film photos. If you’re looking for a way to start shooting with minimal commitment, check out disposable or reloadable cameras.

2. Picking out film
The range of different film options and ISO can be overwhelming. Simply put, ISO is what controls brightness and darkness. When shopping for film, you’ll find numbers like 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600; these refer to the film’s speed and sensitivity to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive and the more flexible your options will be when photographing without sunlight. Pro tip: as a beginner, your best bet is starting with ISO 400.

3. Experiment, experiment, experiment
Make the most of your film. Experiment shooting in different lighting – daylight, artificial lights, indoors, outdoors, in a bar, on a boat – wherever you like. Just practise!

4. Expect accidents
Light leaks and blank shots are all part of the process. Don’t expect your film to be perfect; these accidents are what make film photos unique.

5. The most obvious rule
Don’t open the film compartment until the roll is done! Even the most experienced film photographers have made this mistake. It can be tempting to open the camera if you think something’s wrong, but all it takes is one second for your roll to be damaged by light exposure. If you do make this mistake, don’t panic. You can still get it developed and check out the interesting light leaks.

Best film photography stores in Hong Kong

  • Shopping
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Dot-Well Photo Workshop has a variety of services available with affordable prices to match, including film developing, film scanning, laminations, and more. The shop also promises to develop your film within an hour, with options of collecting them on a disc or USB. If you don’t want to head back to the store, they can send you the photos through Whatsapp too.

Dot-Well is also a great place to check out if you’re looking to buy a film, a new camera, or need a quick equipment repair. Their small store is packed with camera parts, photography gear, as well as a range of disposable and reloadable cameras for under $200. Despite rumours last year of the shop shutting down, thankfully, the store is still up and running and is a personal favourite of ours!

  • Shopping
  • Mong Kok

Sourcing the majority of their products from Japan, including well-known brands like Nikon, Canon, and Pentax, the store stocks a comprehensive collection of film cameras mainly for 35mm and 120mm film formats – great if you’re looking to pick out an affordable camera for the first time.

Showa also offers affordable film processing, repair services, and has an array of film available, including popular brands like Kodak and Fujifilm, as well as lesser-known ones such as Cinestill and Fomapan. If you’re new to film photography, don’t be afraid to ask their staff for advice, they are always more than happy to help pick out the best gear for you and can even run you through some of the basics of film photography!

  • Shopping
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Arguably the cosiest film camera store in the city, HKCamera carries a wide assortment of film cameras and screening devices to better your experience. Their prices for film development are slightly higher than some of the others on this list, but their expertise and welcoming environment certainly makes up for it. This store is probably your best bet if you are new to film photography and looking to buy an actual film camera, but they also stock disposables if that's what you're looking for. 

  • Shopping
  • Sham Shui Po

Established in 1973, Sunrise Photo Co has been around the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood for decades. Apart from photo printing services, the shop also boasts a range of second-hand cameras where customers can find an impressive range of top-quality film cameras, lenses, as well as some of the oldest models on the market. And if you want to put any of your old cameras up for sale, the shop will happily take you through the process too. Even if not for the cameras, the shop’s adorable cat mascot will also make your trip worthwhile.

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  • Causeway Bay

Catering towards the more experienced and advanced film photographers, this minimalistic shop based in the heart of Causeway Bay sells a variety of higher-end film products, cameras, and accessories. From high-quality Leica film cameras to your standard point and shoot camera, Meteor stocks a range of products with higher price tags than other stores, which might seem intimidating to entry-level photographers. That being said, this is a fantastic store if you’re looking to upgrade your equipment and move away from the standard, beginner-level film world. Just make sure to be conscious of the steeper prices!

Get familiar with your camera

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