Your Guide to Buying Cameras in Tokyo

Japan’s busy capital is a haven for photography enthusiasts, thanks to its plethora of electronic superstores and quaint second-hand shops.

Photo: Dick Thomas Johnson/Flickr

Calling Tokyo a haven for photography enthusiasts would be an understatement.

Home to a photogenic mix of neon-lit streets and stunning nature spots, the city draws shutterbugs who fawn over its scenic charms and in turn, feed the booming electronics industry which seeks to equip them with the latest gear.

Whether you’re a professional, hobbyist, or amateur, the options are mindboggling if you’re looking to purchase your next camera. As such, we’ve rounded up the best places to check out.

The most obvious way to start your search is at camera superstores like Yodobashi, Bic, and Labi (formerly known as Yamada Denki). Yodobashi’s branches in Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Kichijoji are the most popular. These tend to be one-stop destinations for all sorts of electronic goods, camera equipment, and accessories spanning major brands like Canon, Nikon, and Olympus.

Fans of film photography will be pleased to find that the Yodobashi store in Shinjuku has a special section that caters specially to analogue photography. It is also known to stock popular items like black and white 35mm film rolls from camera collector Japan Camera Hunter. These big stores even sell film processing chemicals and printing materials, for those who fancy handling and developing their own film negatives.

Photo: 35mmc

Pro tip: When checking out various stores, try comparing prices online using this website. Then, show the price differences to the shop’s clerk and try to convince them to lower their pricing.

If you don’t mind some wear and tear in exchange for highly affordable price tags, make a beeline for second-hand camera stores. Hard Off has a number of branches across Tokyo and the more obscure the town is, the higher the chances of snagging a good buy. The chain purveys all sorts of used camera gear, from those in mint, perfectly working condition to junk yard items, which can be considered to be “buy at your own risk”.

Those who prefer pre-loved but high-end camera models from brands like Leica and the sought-after Contax T series can check out Map Camera in Shinjuku. It’s a small building with each floor dedicated to different camera brands.

Internet-savvy buyers with a quirky sense of aesthetic should visit the quaint shops helmed by Instagram-known camera sellers. Popular ones include Popeye Camera in Jiyugaoka Meguro-ku, Mitsubado Camera in Nippori Arakawa-ku, and T-Site’s Kitamura in Daikanyama Shibuya-ku. These shops regularly update their social media feeds with new camera offerings and some even accept online orders to help save time and expenses. Also, not far from Tokyo are Camera Suzuki in Yokohama; as well as Kanto Camera and Champ Camera, both located in Kanagawa.

. 【スタッフ募集🌟】 ポパイカメラは今まで以上にもっともっと飛躍する為に ヤル気満々なスタッフを募集しています! なんとなく楽しそうだな という意気込みの方はお断りしていますのでご了承下さい。 . 熱中できる事を仕事にしたい!という方を大募集中です! そんな方なら写真は超超初心者でも大丈夫です! むしろウェルカム! 一緒にステップアップするのを楽しみましょ〜! 写真を学びたいって人よりも、 ポパイカメラを一緒に創り上げたい! って人を募集しています。 . ポパイカメラという舞台を1からつくることに熱くなれて 写真屋のプロフェッショナルとして 一緒に切磋琢磨していける人を求めています! 1からつくるから、苦労はあるけれど、得られる感動と湧き出てくる好奇心、そして自分が作り出しているという充実感はきっと他では得られません。 課題にまっすぐぶつかり、素直に誰かのために より良いものをつくろうという想いがなによりも大事! . ポパイカメラは、人に必要とされ、人を幸せにできる、 人気で、グイグイひっぱる写真屋さんを目指しています! これからのポパイカメラをつくる仲間になりませんか? . ★陸王をみて感動した方 お待ちしております☺ . ★WEBができる人も急募中! . 【形態】 ●アルバイト 時給960円〜 やる気、能力の向上に応じて、細かく昇給、昇格します。 勤務体系に応じて、社会保険制度あり アルバイトからやる気さえあれば社員になることもできます! その際は、応募の時からお伝えください。 ご応募お待ちしています! . 【業務内容】 店頭接客・受付、商品管理、現像&プリント、 イベント運営など . 【時間】 営業、開店閉店準備の間 9:30~21:30の中 . ご応募は下記のメールアドレスまで 以下の内容をメールして下さい。 ※顔写真を添付してください ・氏名 ・年齢 ・住所 ・電話番号 ・最寄駅 ・通勤時間 ・経歴 ・趣味、特技、部活経験 ・長所、短所 ★ポパイカメラに対する応募理由や意気込み ・勤務可能な日数、時間 (社員・社員希望スタッフは週休2日。基本的に平日休み、シフト交代制。)

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Sometimes, you might even find what you’re looking for in convenience stores. They usually carry disposable film cameras and even waterproof ones—perfect for those who think that another camera purchase won’t hurt, even if it’s his hundredth acquisition!

It’s also useful to follow active accounts on Instagram that frequently and accurately provide information and details on all photography-related things in and out of Tokyo. Japan Camera Hunter (Bellamy Hunt) is a reliable source especially if you’re looking for a specific camera. Tokyo Camera Style (John Sypal) features an unending array of hand-held cameras throughout the prefecture, and showcases various photography events that you shouldn’t miss as well.

Nevertheless, the best thing about Tokyo is that hidden gems are everywhere to be found. Whether you’re wandering the back lanes or exploring random train stations, you might easily chance upon nondescript camera shops and photography labs.

And when I say gems, I meant you might even score a unit signed by Japanese photography masters like Araki or Moriyama—it happens!

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