The Best Camera Stores in Toronto
The best camera stores in Toronto may face competition from online retailers south of the border these days, but you wouldn't know it to visit most of them. Photographic culture is stronger than ever in Toronto, a point proven by the local presence on photo-sharing sites like Flickr and 500px, but also the size and popularity of our camera shops. Pay a visit to Henry's late on a Saturday morning, and it'll become clear just how pronounced the local appetite for photo equipment is â which I think is a good thing. Yes, buying products online via U.S. retailers can be cheaper and there are surely deals to be found in the used market, but when you don't already know exactly what you want, the expertise of the staff at many of the shops listed below is invaluable.
Here are the best camera stores in Toronto.
Photos by Jesse Milns
Downtown Camera strikes a good balance between bigger stores like Henry's and Vistek and smaller, more service-oriented shops. The well-stocked shop is mostly attitude-free, and equipped to handle the needs of amateurs and pros alike. It also doesn't hurt that they tend to price items just below their nearby competition.
I've been buying photo equipment from Vistek ever since I got my first DSLR, a Nikon D50 back in 2008. The multi-level space in Corktown rivals Henry's for the comprehensiveness of its product lines and tends to be ever so slightly cheaper overall. Also noteworthy is the store's excellent selection of rental items and Mac products. Bonus points for a solid service department as well.
Henry's remains the go-to camera and video shop for many Torontonians. The huge space at Church and Queen covers the complete range of photo equipment from point and shoots all the way up to $40K Hasselblads with 60 megapixel digital backs. Add to the mix an impressive video department and a well stocked used department (much of which is posted to Ebay), and you've got one of Toronto's most complete photography destinations.
The DV shop, as its name implies, originally specialized in digital video related sales, but has now become a full-scale photography retailer carrying full lines from Canon, Nikon and Sony. A change of location to Runnymede and Dundas at the beginning of the year has increased the size of the showroom, but the store retains a laid-back vibe and knowledgeable staff.
Located on Avenue Road just south of the 401, Hit Camera isn't exactly in a photography-rich retail zone. But who cares? I got a superb deal on a floor-model Nikon D300 a couple years back that I initially spotted on Ebay (where they have an active e-store). Stock levels don't compare to the big boys downtown, but the prices are good and the Karsh photo gallery in the back of the store is almost worth the visit in and of itself.
Aden Camera is the type of store to go to when you know exactly what you're looking for and you want the lowest price. Like the camera stores that dot touristy areas in New York, quality of service isn't the shop's calling card. And given that most photographers geek out on web-based research before they buy anything, for shooters on a budget, price is often the bottom line.
Sometimes you just can't afford to buy all the equipment you'll have occasion to use as a photographer. In a perfect world, you'd have a well-equipped friend to help you out when you need a tilt-shift lens or the like, but in the absence of such a convenience, Film Plus has got it covered, including pro lighting set-ups and large format equipment.
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