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.
Find a camera store in NYC
This 35-year-old superstore is the place to go if you want everything from cameras to lighting to speakers under one roof. In addition to specialty models like instant and underwater cameras, it offers fun products like the mint-color Fujifilm Instax Mini 8+ if you’re into Polaroids, or the red, white and blue edition of Leica’s X Edition Moncler (a collaboration with the Italian fashion label), a stylish way to capture summer fun at your Fourth of July BBQ.
This is the best place to go if you want to get into photography but have no idea what you’re looking for. The salespeople at B&H are knowledgeable and helpful and will help you pick out your first digital or point-and-shoot camera...which might otherwise be an overwhelming task in this massive shop. It also stocks beginner, intermediate and advanced drone cameras, if you want to test out your aerial filming skills.
Located in the neighborhood once loved by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, the NYC shop of this German-based company has a sexy, art-gallery feel: black-and-white photos by local artists cover the walls; cases are lined in red to make the merch pop. While not exactly cheap, all of the models are worth the splurge, like the X2, which offers precise, silent focusing and a customizable, grip-friendly leather finish in a range of colors.
This shop has cameras, film, lenses and accessories specifically tailored for lomography enthusiasts (i.e., those who like to take pictures on film instead of screens). Think of it as real-time Instagram filtering: You can capture color-soaked analogue images that make everyday moments look beautiful or turn moments from your next trip to Santorini, Malta or Yellowstone into a coffee-table-worthy book.
Since opening its tiny shop 32 years ago in Gramercy, K&M has expanded to a 3,000-square-foot studio in Tribeca, allowing it to offer equipment rentals, printing and both new and vintage cameras plus heavy-duty outdoor gear. They also buy old products, a bonus if you’re looking to upgrade your current model.
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.