Camera Innovations and Controversy at B&H Photo Store New York

Camera Innovations and Controversy at B&H Photo on Falcondale Life blog. A review of a photography store in New York and a look at the issue of modern camera quality and professional photography standards. My picks of the latest camera equipment. New York camera shop.

B&H photo is a vast, world famous camera store in the greatest city in the world, New York. It’s situated just a short stroll from Times Square and has all the credentials to put it at the top of the camera store game. As you can imagine, I was really excited to visit this store while we were in New York earlier this month.

They don’t just sell cameras; there are TVs, tablets and hi fi speakers. I spent a long time choosing a pair of headphones. We checked out some prices before we went to the store and they compared well with online sellers. The customer service was good with a lot of knowledgeable shop floor staff. One fun feature is the overhead miniature rail line which transports stock up from the basement warehouse.

Upstairs, past the second-hand and antique camera section, we reach the main camera showroom. Here is everything. All the cameras, all the lenses and all the brands. You may already know how picky I am and here in this photographer’s candy store I noticed four things.

Camera Innovations and Controversy at B&H Photo on Falcondale Life blog. A review of a photography store in New York and a look at the issue of modern camera quality and professional photography standards. My picks of the latest camera equipment.

1. Camera Bags

The camera bag ranges were 99% masculine. I was genuinely surprised by this as the world of camera bags has come a long way in the last few years. I am a woman who loves a good bag. Maybe I am not very fashionable but a bag is my favourite accessory. B&H were lacking here. Although there was a display of Kelly Moore bags they had selected the dullest and most androgynous bags for display.

2. Solar Eclipse Photo

There was an eclipse photography display. It was a bit small but then it’s a twelve hour drive to totality from New York. The display was all about telephoto and solar filters which aren’t really my thing, but it was nice to see. It made me feel excited for the eclipse.

3. DXO One

We got to play with the new DXO One camera which is a new concept in camera technology. Previously I knew DXO as a website which is full of lens and camera testing data. I’ve used DXO to help decide which lens to buy. Now this company have taken their scientific knowledge and branched out into designing and manufacturing this new camera. It’s small, about the size of a box of tic tacs, and plugs into an iPhone (android version due 2018). The phone acts as the viewfinder and display. The image quality is full professional standard. It’s a fixed focal length of 32mm which is too wide for my style, and it’s a little tricky to hold, but it is a delightful thing. A thrilling innovation.

Camera Innovations and Controversy at B&H Photo on Falcondale Life blog. A review of a photography store in New York and a look at the issue of modern camera quality and professional photography standards. My picks of the latest camera equipment. DXO One camera.

Credit: DXO One

4. Getting Controversial over the Nikon P900

I’ve been admiring Big Fashionista’s Instagram photos, in particular the ones she has taken with the Nikon P900. I had a look at this camera in B&H photo. It has such a lumping great lens that it almost resembles a little barrel. The 83x optical zoom on this camera is just ridiculous. Good for a close-up of the moon, in fact. I love the image quality and so got into a bit of a disagreement with a rather oddball shop assistant.

First of all, this one shop assistant assumed I am a total amateur. Did not bother asking. Then he launched into that age-old diatribe which all us photographers have spouted at some point (me too). It goes like this: “Quality in a photo is paramount. You sacrifice quality when you have a long zoom lens. You sacrifice more quality when you have a small sensor like the one in the Nikon P900. Effectively it is a fancy point-and-shoot. The difference between this camera and a professional camera is so great that everyone will notice. There is so much more that a professional photographer can do with a professional camera. No-one will want to buy your photographs if you use a camera like this. The images won’t be good enough.”

How Times Change

This is old hat. Within the last three years this statement has become 90% tosh. Two things have happened; firstly camera technology has moved so far so fast that quality is exponentially better in small, point-and-shoot and even phone cameras. Secondly the end user has changed. Hardly any photos are printed out and even fewer are enlarged. Small images on phones and websites are where nearly all images end up, and they don’t need to be large and have a zillion of the finest uncorrupted pixels. So no, Mr Shop Assistant, you are wrong. The Nikon P900 will do fine, thank-you. If only I had the money.

Camera Innovations and Controversy at B&H Photo on Falcondale Life blog. A review of a photography store in New York and a look at the issue of modern camera quality and professional photography standards. My picks of the latest camera equipment.

End note – the staff at B&H Photo were all lovely, warm and helpful. Every single one – except this guy – spent a minute finding out what I know, what I do and what I want. Meeting this one guy who was getting things wrong (in my view) really helped me think through the issues and I am not in the slightest bit annoyed! And ten percent of the time, a pro camera is still worth it.

Additional photo credit: Ian Dooley on Unsplash.

4 Comments

  1. 5th October 2017 / 8:36 am

    That looks like one heck of an amazing store ! We don’t have stores as big or as vast here in Ireland . I know that I don’t like carrying a huge camera case ,I do find it attracts attention when I’m away especially . I use a wrist holder which works fine for my small camera !

    • 6th October 2017 / 10:47 am

      Yes I don’t like attracting attention with a big camera bag either.

  2. 25th August 2017 / 5:36 pm

    Thank you for visiting the B&H Photo SuperStore and thanks for posting these comments. We appreciate your insights and feedback. I did want to comment on the issue of camera bags on display. Like many areas of the store, the camera bags on display are chosen, at least in par5r, by the brands and distributors, not by B&H. We do carry numerous “fashion” camera bag brands including Aide de Camp, Ape Case, Camera Coats, Capuring Coture, Compagnon, Figbags, Isaac Mizrahi, Jill-E Design, Kelly Moore, Mod, Oberwerth, ONA, and Popmidoo. I will speak with the department manager about broadening our display. — Henry Posner / B&H Photo-Video

    • 26th August 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! Such a fun place for me to visit. I am aware that B&H carry a lot more camera bags in your warehouse and online, but the ones on display are the ones on which I am remarking. I am not fond of the term “fashion camera bag” as it implies that practicality takes a distant second place over looks. Two points: Firstly, one of the reasons that I like camera bags which resemble handbags is because they are easier for me to carry. The last time I got a new shoulder bag camera bag it was boxy and square and wouldn’t sit comfortably against my hip or waist. My husband, however, finds it comfortable. He doesn’t have my hips. Cameras are heavy and body shape is one of the many reasons that it is necessary to design camera bags with women in mind. Secondly, people respond differently to me if I am carrying a camera bag versus a handbag. Sometimes carrying a camera bag attracts some unwanted comments and I find that in some places it’s better if it’s not so obvious. A more feminine camera bag is more unobtrusive and I feel safer. Of course there are times when I need lots of camera equipment and for that I still want a huge camera bag, although it would be nice if there were more for sale which actually fitted my body shape. I hope this extra information is helpful and it would be interesting to know if the brands and distributors ever think about these issues.

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