I plan on being snap happy when I move to Shanghai. Where should I go to buy photographic equipment and accesories, to process film and print pictures, or get my camera fixed? — V.S., New York
Shanghaiist can offer you a few tips for photo enthusiasts on where to get the best services and support for your photography.
Let’s begin with where to develop your film. If you’re shooting regular color negative film, you can develop your film just about anywhere and get it back in a couple of hours, though if you give them your film right before they close, you might have to wait until the next day. If you’re shooting slides or black and white, and want somewhat more professional services, your choices narrow down quite a bit. If your black and white needs D-76 processing, then you can go to a place like New Ray （新之光）
located on Huai Hai Zhong Lu at the corner of Gao An Lu （淮海中路／高安路）. If you need Kodak TMAX developer, then you might want to check out the Fuji Digital Center or Kodak’s Wei Ma (威马) Center, both located at 459 Wulumuqi Road (乌鲁木齐路), which is between Julu Lu (巨鹿路）and Yan’an Lu （延安路), next to the Partyworld (钱柜）karaoke place and the VIP Room. Processing a roll of regular color film (without prints) normally costs around 5 RMB, but processing black and white (without prints) will cost 15-20 RMB per roll. The cost of prints obviously varies with the size, but expect something to shell out about 1 RMB for six-inch prints. There’s another Fuji center at the corner of Shaanxi Nan Lu and Yong Jia Lu (陕西南路／永嘉路）which is also a good place to process and print films, especially Fuji, since they are licensed by Fuji and are more particular about their equipment and chemicals. These places handle medium format film as well. There was a time (last year), when this store would process your roll of film for the regular price and also scan your photos for the same price as getting prints, plus maybe 10 RMB for the CD. Nowadays, it’s hard to find good deals on scanning film, getting a roll processed and scanned onto CD set you back at least 80 RMB per roll.
If you’re shooting digital, most photo stores around the city can upload your photos no matter what kind of memory card you’re sporting. Prints costs about the same.
A good place to buy film and other kinds of photographic equipment is the Huan Long Shopping Center （环龙商厦), which is located across the street from the Shanghai Railway Station （上海火车站）. An easy way to get there is by taking the Subway Line 1 to the Railway Station, and then getting out Exit 4. Around the corner to the right is the shopping center — the first floor is food and toys, no photo stuff. Take the escalator to the third floor for all the photographic equipment.
This place is as close as you can get to a one-stop center for equipment and film. It’s a bit of a maze, but take the time to look around, each store is slightly different and you may find something in one you won’t find in others. Huan Long carries a lot of used equipment — especially useful for Nikon and Canon users. If you shoot Leica, Contax or medium format (such as Hasselblad and Mamiya), you can find some used bodies and lenses as well. Prices vary from place to place, but don’t expect any Hong Kong level deals. Buy at your own risk, there may be some kind of “guarantee” verbally offered, as in, “Of course it’s in good shape, and if there are any problems, we’ll fix it.” You can also buy film, batteries, light kits, chemicals, camera bags, printers and books as well. Film is cheaper here than in the convenience stores or in most camera shops. There are more choices too, including the Chinese film brand Lucky （乐凯), whose black and white films can run as cheap as 8-10 RMB a roll. Another used camera bazaar worth a look is Xing Guang (上海星光器材城）located on Dalian Lu near Changyang Lu (大连路长阳路口附近).
If a new digital camera is what you’re after, then Huan Long also might be worth a look, as they have a couple stores selling new cameras, including digital point and shoots. However, for the latter you might want to check out the digital megashopping centers in Xujiahui （徐家汇）next to Meiluocheng （美罗城）(get off at the Xujiahui subway stop) or across the street from Pacific Department Store （太平洋百货）on Huaihai Zhong Lu （淮海中路）, near the Huangpi Nan Lu （黄陂南路）subway stop. These are packed with stores and stalls selling all kinds of digital equipment, all new. Olympus, Samsung, Fuji, Minolta, Canon, Nikon, Casio — the usual suspects are all there. Extra memory cards, batteries and accesories are available too. The sheer number of sellers means more competition, so ask around and try to bargain them down. Remember that wherever you go, there is the price with the receipt, or fapiao （发票), and without it. A certain Canon lens with the fapiao will cost 5900 RMB, without it 5600 or 5700 RMB (because that way the shop doesn’t have to pay taxes). But the fapiao comes in handy when you’re going to …
… fix the camera, because if it’s covered by the warranty you’ll need the fapiao as proof of purchase. Otherwise, you’re only covered by the whatever the retailer offers you — which means, in Huan Long, getting their in house guys or nearby repair shops in Huan Long to operate on your camera. Most of these repair guys work with cigarettes dangling from their mouths, which is not exactly the ideal environment for sensitive photo equipment. Your best bet is to get something repaired by the manufacturer or anywhere licensed by the manufacturer.
With the big brands, like Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Casio, etc. — it should not be a hard problem finding the official repair shops. They are often listed online (in Chinese), like here for Nikon and here for Canon. This going to be a safer bet than “unofficial” repair shops, and they have better quality guarantees as well. You may get an estimate or opinion for free, but actual fees are based on the camera model and severity of the problem. Expect to spend at least 150 RMB, or 400 RMB or more if the problem is fairly serious and involves replacement parts.
You can find most Chinese photography magazines at reputable bookstores around town.
See here for a brief Chinese/English photography glossary:
camera=zhao xiang ji=照相机
extra prints=jia xi=加洗
camera body=ji shen=机身
camera kit (body+lens)=tao ji=套机
slide (reversal)film=fan zhuang pian=反转片
negative film=fu pian=负片
black and white=hei bai=黑白
Minolta=mei neng da=美能达
Olympus=ao lin ba si=奥林巴斯
Photo from Jim Lowney.
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