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June 18th, 2010 / 1pm
General, Travel

Camera Stores in Tokyo

I am currently on vacation in Japan, and we started our trip by spending a couple of days in Tokyo. One thing that always impresses me when I am in Tokyo is the abundance of photography equipment that can be bought in the shops.

There are a couple of large camera stores in Japan, and all have multiple branches in Tokyo. Our hotel was in Shinjuku, primarily in a business district, but within a couple of minutes from the hotel I had access to a large BIC Camera store, and a Yodobashi Camera. Out of the two, I think Yodobashi is my favorite – this particular branch had 5 or 6 floors, and each floor had a different ‘theme’ – the ground floor covered ‘consumer’ cameras, the first floor was for Digital SLRs, the next for Medium Format and Studio, the next for Tripods and Darkroom, and so on….

The nice thing about these stores is that they always carry a wide range of photo gear – this particular Yodobashi had stock of all the exotic Nikon telephotos, as well as the small accessories that always seem to be impossible to get in Europe.

There are also a number of photo stores, and further Yodobashi and BIC branches, in the Ikebukuro region.

Tokyo also has a thriving second hand market for Nikon gear, and there are a couple of stores worth visiting. Probably the best known is Nikon House in Ginza, but you can also find good second hand selections at a small shop in Ikebukuro (just keep walking from the Metro down the road with all the electronics stores, and you will find it on a corner on the right) and a very complete store in Shinjuku (kind of inbetween the park and the New South Entrance to the Metro).

(I realise the above descriptions without shop names and addresses are pretty useless, for which I apologise, but looking at kanji on a roadsign or shop front doesn’t work for me)

One thing that hasn’t helped in my quest for Nikon gear is the exchange rate. Whereas when I was here a couple of years ago I was able to pick up a 24-70/2.8 for a couple of hundred Euros less than it cost in the Netherlands, it now is much more expensive to buy lenses in Tokyo. Probably the most outrageous example I saw of this was a 200/2VR for around 5000 Euros (3500 in NL), but even the cheaper lenses cost a lot more (for example a 14-24 was around 1800 in Tokyo, compared to 1350 in NL). I realise that shopping on the high street is never the best place to get the cheapest prices, and I am unaware of what they would cost via mail order, but it is certainly in stark contrast to the prices I experienced a couple of years ago.

The good news though is that accessories are still significantly cheaper.

So what did I buy? Two 77mm neutral color filters. Just couldn’t find anything else I needed 😀

The photo accompanying this blog is a HDR image of a rice field before the storm in Chino City, Nagano Prefecture, where we are spending the rest of our vacation (obviously not literally in the rice field). Taken with the 24/1.4 and D3 at f/5.6

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