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My Favorite Photo Stores top
I've been buying from these people for longer than this website has existed. I've been buying from Amazon since the 1990s, and from B&H Photo, Crutchfield and Adorama since the 1970s! They've always treated me right, even when I was a kid, and they'll treat you right, too. That's why I've been their customer for so many decades.
I use these places to get my own things today because they are the best, and here's a secret: they know me now, so if you ever have a problem that they can't resolve, I usually can put a word in for you and the problem goes away.
Using these links when you get anything is also the biggest source of my family's income. This supports my ability to keep adding to this site for your benefit, instead of having to give it up and get a real job instead — or clog the site with garbage ads.
Any time you use any of these links to get anything, from underwear to cameras to lawn furniture, it helps me keep expanding this free website for everyone's benefit. By not accepting any advertising from any camera company, I'm free to give you the honest scoop on everything.
Not only are these all personally approved, they have great return policies. Most of the time just order what you want, and if you just don't like it for any reason, send it back for a full cash refund. You never need to agonize over if you're going to love something or not; just order it and see for yourself. Only a dork would buy something after only trying it in a store; you need to have it and try it in the field for yourself, not inside a store. That's why I've been buying from B&H Photo and Adorama since the 1970s: they were the first ones to let me buy it, try it myself at home, and if I didn't love something, they simply took it back for a full refund. There is no risk buying from these guys. You've usually got between 30 and 60 days to return it depending on the store and what it it.
I've been getting my gear and film from Adorama for more than 30 years. I started buying my Kodachrome from them in the late 1970s, and have been buying from them ever since.
Adorama is a single-store brick-and-mortar family-owned New York City camera store still run by the man who founded it. They just happen also to sell online — and do a fantastic job of it.
Today, Adorama ships world-wide.
Back in the 1980s I bought my Nikon gear from Adorama for less than my local Long Island camera store could have gotten it wholesale! Adorama does huge volume efficiently and passes the savings along to us.
They used to cater mostly to professionals, and today have everything for everyone as they've continued to grow by taking care of their customers. Pros and everyone use them because of the great prices and in-stock availability of even the most exotic gear. If you want it from stock at the lowest possible price, Adorama have been my go-to guys since the late 1970s.
Adorama sure beats retail, where salespeople pretend they are doing me a favor by "special ordering" something at a higher price than I could get it in stock from Adorama. Worse, local retail stores rarely give cash refunds if I simply don't like it. With Adorama I never get stuck with anything I don't like: I order it, try it, and if I don't like it, back it goes for a cash refund up to 30 days later.
Shipping is pronto! Order by 8 PM NYC time, and the order will ship the same day! You can order it in the evening, and if you're local it probably will arrive the next day with no extra shipping charge. Regardless of where you live, this often shaves a day off shipping times, since other online operations rarely ship the same day you order, much less if you order as late as 8 o'clock at night!
You can visit Adorama's store in Manhattan (tell them I sent you), although most of Adorama today is their online operation.
Adorama also pays top dollar for your used gear, especially recent lenses like the 70-200mm VR. Last I looked, other dealers only pay 50% of the selling price, while Adorama pays up to 70% of their selling price to buy your used gear. The process starts by clicking here and letting them know what you have. They'll take the information over the phone, fax, email, with an online form, or heck, you can just walk it into their store if you're in New York City. They'll look at your message, and telephone you with a quote. If it sounds good, and you're in the USA, they'll email you you a free insured UPS shipping label with which to send your gear to them. (They buy from any place on earth, but might not be able to pick up the shipping if you're someplace like the South Pole from which there is no regular UPS pickup.)
Once your used gear lands at Adorama, they'll look it over, and phone you again in about two days to discuss how you'd like to get paid. Adorama pays via cold, hard cash or direct deposit into your bank account. Of course you can use it towards a trade-in; the key point is that it's the same amount regardless.
If you don't like the quote or change your mind, no problem, they'll ship your gear back to you for free, too.
I use Amazon.com for everything from cameras, lenses and film to soap and hard drives. Their ease of ordering and customer service are the best I can imagine. Consumer Reports even confirmed that in their most recent ratings of where to buy electronics. Of course they have the best prices and I also usually have a month to return something if I just don't like it.
To get to Amazon's sites for other countries, simply use any of my links to Amazon, scroll to the very bottom of Amazon's page, click your country's site, and you're there!
As I write this, here are links to Amazon's sites for The United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany and Japan. I couldn't figure out the direct link to the Chinese site, but it is at the bottom of every Amazon page.
Amazon also offers gift cards, which are what I usually give my own family for holidays.
eBay is not a store. eBay is a listing service through which anyone may sell anything to anyone.
eBay is the best way to get the highest price when you sell used equipment, and the best place to find the widest assortment of any used photo gear ever made. While Amazon is the "World's Largest Selection" of new items, eBay is the world's largest for used.
I'd never buy anything new over eBay, and I do buy most of my used equipment this way. Much of the best photo gear ever made isn't made anymore, and eBay is the best place to find it.
The older, rarer or weirder the item for which you search, the better it is to look for it on eBay.
See How to Win at eBay.
B&H Photo-Video is another New York institution. They are also a one-store family-owned brick-and-mortar store still run by its founder. I've also been getting my film and equipment from them for more than thirty years. They also get bigger all the time because, just like Amazon and Adorama, they are more concerned about taking care of us, their customers, than worrying about their own short-term gain. They know that if they take good care of us today, that we'll be back tomorrow. That's why they've become so big: because we all keep coming back for more.
B&H also ships world-wide.
B&H have the biggest retail camera store in Manhattan and possibly the world. Look at their prices - once something has been out for a year, no one can touch Adorama's or B&H's prices. These are the lowest prices you can pay for things and actually get what you think you are ordering.
If you're in England, Ireland or the EU, B&H has an automatic calculator that tells you the exact cost for all of shipping, duties and VAT.
It's easy: put things in your cart.
Once in your cart, select your country from the drop-down menu and select your shipping method. It shows you all the options, with shipping time and cost.
Once you've chosen the shipping method, it automatically calculates the VAT and duties, and if you want, shows you the exact breakdown at See Details.
You can pay all this up-front with your order. B&H remits all the VAT and duties as needed, so your gear arrives directly at your door without you having to go pick it up and pay duties separately.
Of course if you're exempt, or want to pay them the old way, just check the "Don't collect" box when you click See Details.
You can see all this before you place your order while you're still in your cart. B&H spent a lot of money getting this to work for these countries.
My dad and I have been getting our car stereo gear from Crutchfield since the 1970s when they opened, and today they carry top cameras. Dad always said that their fantastic service and support was more than worth their slightly higher prices, and today their service and support are even better (like the industry's longest 60-day cash refund return policy).
Today their prices are as low as everyone else's, and not only are their prices as low, they often throw in free useful goodies for the same price, like for the D7200.
What's never changed is that Crutchfield, just like Adorama and B&H, all opened in the 1970s, all are family owned and operated, all they have but one retail brick-and-mortar store. They are not chains or franchises clogging up the landscape with robot locations and corporate expenses, and they are all still run by the same man who founded each of them. Just like the other great places I recommend, the founder, Bill Crutchfield, is still there every day.
Think Tank makes the world's best professional camera bags. They started about 2005, so not everyone knows about them yet.
You can order from them directly.
MindShift specializes in bags for outdoor and adventure photographers.
Camera sensors are very sensitive to infrared, and so they all have filters to block this so our pictures look normal.
LifePixel removes the IR blocking filter, so the camera now is very sensitive to infrared. With Live View or mirrorless, it's easy to see the effects as you shoot. With a DSLR viewfinder, you have a normal view and the results are crazy; it's your choice.
Infrared conversions have been around for ten years or more, and many people love sending their old camera to be converted instead of throwing it away. It's like getting an almost free IR camera.
After doing as many conversions as they do, there's now much more they do for normal photography:
Sensor Replacements & Repair
With all the filters they've removed from the fronts of other people's sensors, they have more than they know what to do with.
If you've scratched your sensor, instead of throwing away the camera of paying for a replacement at the manufacturer, LifePixel is just as skilled at replacing the cover over your sensor that you just damaged! They only charge about $250 ~ $300 for this.
Most people don't realize that the "sensor" is really a complex multi-layer sandwich of many layers. It's the top layer, the outer cover, that boneheads damage, and it's these that LifePixel takes off when they do conversions, and so they have an unlimited supply of them.
But wait, there's even more:
Anti-Alias Filter Removal
You could buy a new model camera or pay more for a version where the maker doesn't bother to include the anti-alias filter for sharper pictures.
LifePixel is also skilled at removing the anti-alias filter from the camera you already own.
This is a much less expensive way to update to the newest sensor technology. They can remove the anti-alias filter and leave the infrared filter alone for normal use.
Don't Pay Retail!!!
I'm amazed that people still write me agonizing over contemplated purchases. Retail is dead: I order it online, play with it, and send it back if I hate it. I've been doing that for decades! I rarely send things back, but knowing I can takes all the worry out of getting new or unfamiliar gear.
Why should I risk getting stuck with something I can't return by taking pictures inside a camera store for two minutes with an impatient clerk glaring at me, when I can pay less, have it arrive at my home and try it out for a week at my leisure? I send it back for a full refund if I don't like it.
Because of the prices, everything in stock, delivery and especially the liberal return policies I haven't bought at retail for a long time. Since I do my research on the internet, or with borrowed equipment from my friends, I have no need to walk into a store. Unlike the 1990s, things change so fast today that prices and products are already half-obsolete by the time Popular Photography hits my mailbox.
I would try and buy camera bags at retail; but I haven't bought any since the 1990s. If you have a store you love, use them. San Diego has no professional camera dealers - we have no Samy's or Calumet like Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. Those are great stores.
All stores have cameras. A pro store is loaded with lights, strobes, rental gear, rigging and soft boxes while amateur stores feature frames, photo labs, batteries and off-brand accessories.
Today, newly-announced gear doesn't get to retail store counters until after ours has already arrived via an internet pre-order. Because of the great money-back satisfaction guarantees I never wonder about getting something; I just order it and send it back in the unlikely event that I hate it. Read the fine print at each site. Some things aren't returnable, and of course you need to save all the boxes and etc. I have a huge page about how and where to buy here.
CUTE ANIMALS back to top
If you love little critters as much as I do you can register at FROGWATCH USA and help scientists conserve frogs and toads. You can record what you see in nature! Fun!!
Click the map here to enlarge your area. Remember to wave to the satellite!
Many thanks to the United States Government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service for providing these to our viewers.
This shows where the weather, and thus the photo opportunities, lie.
PHOTO CLUBS back to top
I've been very active with the San Diego Sierra Club Photo Section since the 1980s. We get out and create consistently great images! Join us! We love to share everything we know with beginners and we're all volunteers.
North County San Diego is graced with the NCPS, which meets in Encinitas monthly and has outings. They have a much better website than the San Diego Sierra Club Photo Section, because NCPS has a much better webmaster, Tom Scott. If you join NCPS Tom will put up a gallery for you for free on their site, a great deal from a generous guy.
OTHER ARTISTS back to top
1x.com A site loaded with great work and no junk. I can spend hours looking around it. What makes it special is that its editors cull only the best work; it's not a free-for-all of unedited crap like most other collaboration sites.
André Brito Portugal
Ansel Adams California
Arnaud Frich extraordinary panoramic photography of France
Brian Garland Cars
Bruce Percy extraordinary landscapes worldwide
Carlo Terlizzi friend
Carr Clifton Landscape Master
Christopher Burkett optical Cibachrome prints
Clark Little Waves
Clinton Smith Genius. Cibachrome prints, too
Chris Morrison Down under landscapes
thecross-photo.com OK, really just a place that shows my work
David Fokos Quiet landscapes.
Edward P. Richards Louisiana B/W Master
Eric Meola One of the world's foremost color visionaries
Galen Rowell Alpinist
Geoff Murray Tasmania
Gerald Hill Black & White master
Jack Dykinga Arizona
James Randklev Not only a neighbor on this list, but also was Jack Dykinga's neighbor in reality!
James Kay Uncommonly good treatments of the American Southwest
Jim Cline Latin America
Jim Maxwell Natural beauty, Florida
Jim Reed North American Weather
Joel Zak Color
Jonathan Fennell San Diego
Joseph Holmes California
Justin Black Nature
Karl Grobl Humanitarian Photojournalist
Laurin Rinder Hollywood's artist to the stars
Leping Zha, Ph.D. Landscape master
Marc Adamus Landscape master
Massimo Marinucci Real photography!
Michael Fatali Utah
Michael Johnson USA
MIchael Melford National Geographic
Mitchell Funk Color
Monte Nagler USA
Muench Photography California
Paul Renner Native African wildlife artist
Pete Turner Color's Master.
Peter Lik Panoramas
Phillip Colla Sea and Surf
Robert Longsdorf Las Vegas
Rod Edwards Click on virtual tours to see them fill your screen!
Rodney Lough Jr. A master large-format photographer whose works must be experienced in person to believed.
Sean McHugh Stunning images of Cambridge, UK, at dusk. Added here December 2005
Stefan Grosjean Natural beauty
Steve Coleman nightscapes
TimeCatcher.com I have no idea who this is, but it's good stuff.
Trey Ratcliff Great interpretations of light
Troy Paiva Crazy night stuff! He has patience!
William Neill California
GREAT COMMERCIAL PHOTOS:
Harve Alan Media Consultant
TECHNICAL RESOURCES back to top
More Nikon information you may need to scroll down to the links.
Schneider Optics large format lenses.
Oceanside Photo & Telescope California's best astronomy store, whose site is loaded with astronomy info and links.
Edmund Optics Parts to build your own optics.
Scientifics Online Edmund Scientifics toys.
Genesis Scientific Fun science experiment materials.
www.antiquecameras.net has great, current price and feature guides to just about anything worth shooting.
I've never visited or bought from these guys, but they have a ton of old cameras cheap and have photos of most of them, too. CollectibleCameras.com
See CameraEccentric.com for old literature.
CollectiBlend old camera values
KDB 93.7 FM It was the nation's last real classical music station left on-the-air, until it sold-out and disappeared in August 2014.
The National Wildlife Federation works to protect the wildlife we all love to photograph.
The Surfrider Foundation works with legislators to keep the oceans and beaches we love to photograph clean.
The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society is working is to end the devastating effects of Multiple Sclerosis, which strikes down people in their prime. They have made some significant breakthroughs in the past few years that are really starting to help those with MS.
The Monarch Program studies the monarch butterfly's phenomenal migration patterns. Every year these butterflies flutter many thousands of miles to return to the very same wintering spots their ancestors did last year. No one knows how they navigate nor how this information is passed down through the several generations that pass in a year. The Monarch Program was mentioned in the June, 2003 issue of Sunset Magazine. I do their website as a volunteer.
Sushi Performance and Visual Art is San Diego's non-profit contemporary dance and visual art performance center.
The Salvation Army provides emergency services and rehabilitation to everyone. Unlike more familiar groups seen on TV and getting in our way pandering to us in our workplaces, the Salvation Army spends its resources actually helping people instead of on self-promotion. A photographer friend's grandfather worked with the Salvation Army in WWII bringing much needed aid to our soldiers out in combat. He was over there volunteering for weeks without any real rest or much of anything. One day a shiny Jeep drives up with a big red cross on the side. Two guys get out: one guy handing out cigarettes to some troops, and a photographer documenting this for publicity. The two drove off a few minutes later, never to be seen out there again. I always believe in donating directly to the people who need help or who give it, never to organizations that are just middlemen deciding to what groups they would like to donate while keeping a cut for themselves. The Salvation Army is out helping hurricane victims in the US right now, but do you see them on TV? No; they're too busy helping to stop and talk about it.
Goodwill Industries trains and provides job placement for disadvantaged and disabled people.
Paws'itive Teams volunteers train service dogs for the handicapped. They need a new facility in the San Diego area and are seeking help finding it. They'd like to hear from property owners, commercial real estate brokers and leaders of other non profits who might be interested in sharing space, public officials with information about potential government space, and philanthropically minded individuals who appreciate the importance of their mission serving people with disabilities. Please contact Carol Birch at (858) 458-9375 or Carol Davis at (858) 674-0845 if you can help.
Pirate Radio back to top
Too busy to make your own website? Then make your own pirate FM radio station here!
Ever since being a kid I wanted my own station. I've worked in broadcasting since I was in high school, and a secret desire of all off us was to get on the air by ourselves. Not to worry: this website gets so many readers I no longer have any intentions of firing up at 88.5 FM over the holidays.
A guy I know did operate a very successful pirate station in Los Angeles for years, and even covered the Rose Bowl live each year!
His key was he worked at a place which made jingles, so he had the same (or better) professional bumpers as every other real radio station. He sounded legitimate, so no one ever noticed that he had no licence. He did great until he got too bold and went on the air on shortwave which made it to the FCC in Washington DC.