Yes, we all have cameras on our smartphones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit a camera store. NYC has a slew of shops where you can pick up a new toy...and turn that into a new hobby. It’ll give you the same throwback feel you get at the best stationary stores or record stores in NYC. Here are the top places to get started on taking the best pictures of New York City for your Instagram—or for art galleries, if you’re aiming a little higher.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to shopping in NYC
Camera stores in NYC
Whether you seek a simple print job or advanced accessories like studio lights and tripods, you’ll find what you’re looking for at this 35-year-old Chelsea superstore. Seemingly endless rows of product make it easy to compare different styles of lenses and cameras, and an on-site learning center offers regular tutorials on street photography, lighting and other subjects.
If you’ve heard of one photography store in New York, it’s probably this one. The gigantic supplier is the largest non-chain photo-and-video store in the U.S. But don’t be too intimidated by either the size or the whimsical conveyor belt that rumbles overhead. Their notably friendly staff will help you find what you’re after.
This sleek, starkly decorated shop looks a lot more like an art gallery than an average photography store. Stop by to pick up a gorgeous cam that will induce as much admiration as the photos you end up taking. Consider grabbing the X2, which combines a grip-friendly leather finish with a range of customizable colors.
Walking into this Greenwich Village gem is like strolling inside an IRL Instagram feed. You’ll find a wide range of hip cameras, like the popular Diana F+, that will have you shooting dreamy, highly saturated photos in no time. It’s also one of the best places in the city to pick up any kind of instant camera. (At some point in your life, you will be asked to get one of these for a party.)
With its adventurous spirit, this outfitter is known for awesome accessories that are well suited for active shoots, from drone cameras to rugged backpacks and camera cases. On top of the heavy-duty outdoor gear, you’ll discover a mix of new and vintage cameras, plus equipment rentals for your long weekend expedition to Phoenicia, New York.
This shop has been known to take passport photos in less than five minutes, so if you don’t have a camera to take on whatever trip you’re going on, you can pick one up when you’re done. It also stocks noise-canceling headphones, binoculars and waterproof cameras, so you’ll always be ready to snap photos whether you’re on land or sea.
While this shop is not on 42nd Street (double-check the directions before you go!), it’s been supplying city-dwellers with audio, video and photography gear for more than 50 years. If you’re in the market for a digital camera, it carries all major brands (Canon, Nikon, Sony) plus all the accessories you can handle, including cases, filters and telephoto lenses.