Cheap Camera Gear Shopping in Hong Kong
After camera shopping in Hong Kong since 2003, I’m ready to recommend a few trusted places to get your gear. If you ever find yourself in HK, welcome to camera paradise. You’ll notice tons of camera stores in the tourist areas selling at very low prices, namely Nathan Road in TST. Beware though, as black market goods, fake warranties, and deception are common there. If you use the shops listed below, prices are probably better than your home country, and selection is immense. Here are my top picks for camera and lens shopping in Hong Kong…
1) Stanley Street in Central
There are a few old camera shops on this small street that branches off popular nightlife spot Lankwaifong. They don’t always have everything in stock, but they have what are often the best prices in Hong Kong. You’ll get good service, official warranties, and peace of mind. Old film cameras, manual focus lenses, film scanning, and photo printing services can be found here as well. Although store policy usually forbids refunds or exchanges, I’ve been able to exchange items a few times. As for specific stores, I’d recommend the following:
- Kinefoto Limited is my top recommendation, with good service and competitive pricing. Talk to Simon behind the counter and you’ll get quality service with a smile. Address: G/F., Shop 1 66-68 Stanley Street Central, Hong Kong, Tel 852 25232087
2) Echo Photo & Audio
Echo ended the 8 year reign of Stanley Street for me just recently. Their kit price for the 6D + 24-105L was 700HKD cheaper, so I went for it. Andrew Yip gave me good service, and a surprisingly low price on an imported 70-300 lens, for which he gave me a 1 year “store warranty” and told me to call him any time with any complaints.
- Shop D, G/F, Hanyee Building, 19-21 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Tel – 23760478 Email – [email protected]
3) Cam2 in Mongkok (website)
What sets this place apart is their display models which you can pick up and play with (unusual for Hong Kong). Bypass the shop on ground level just outside the MTR exit – take the elevator to the 9th floor shop for the real deals. They also have shops in Sham Shui Po and Wan Chai.
- 9/F., Yau Shing Comm. Centre 51 Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mongkok, Kowloon MTR Mongkok Station, Exit E2, Tel 852 2787 0173
4) Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po
Here you’ll find a plethora of photography stores, including those specializing in accessories and strobist gear. Film cameras and second hand goods are common here too. Prices are cheap, but often so is the quality. I spent HKD 250 on a tripod which worked fine at first, but only lasted about a year or so. Needless to say you get what you pay for, but some real bargains can be had here. You’ll find cheap filters, bags, flashes, triggers, tripods, stands, etc. One recommended shop:
- Ying Kee: 162 Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, Tel 852 2725 2373
5) Cell Phone Mall in Mongkok (aka Sincere Podium)
If you are looking for used lenses and cameras, this is a good place to browse. Don’t be deceived by the 1st floor which is full of tiny mobile phone shops. Go up to the 2nd floor and walk around until you see the camera shops. There are several of them, and most of them sell a variety of used lenses. In my experience, prices aren’t quite as good as what you’ll get on eBay, though. Click here for a map and directions to the place.
- 83 Argyle St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
6) Wing Shing in Mongkok (website)
This is one of the bigger camera shops around with probably the best selection of goods you’ll find. Prices are a bit higher than the above mentioned options, but you’ll also get first class service and real warranties. There are plenty of staff to help you out, but the crowds can be thick at times.
- 7 Sai Yeung Choi Street. Kowloon, Tel 852 2396 6886
7) Canon Showroom in TST
I don’t recommend this place for buying gear, but it’s the perfect place to go and try things out. Just imagine every current Canon lens and camera on display and at your fingertips, including video cameras. It’s a Canon shooters heaven. I drop by the showroom almost every time I take a trip into Hong Kong. You can buy gear here too, but the prices are higher than most shops. The Customer Care Center on the same floor, with a one week turn-around period and cute, friendly girls behind the counter.
- 20/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tel 852 3191 2333
8) Computer Centers
There are computer centers all over Hong Kong, with popular ones in Mongkok, Sham Shui Po, and Wan Chai. Here you’ll find not only thousands of computers and accessories, but also a handful of small camera shops, selling both new and used equipment. You don’t always get warranties with your goods, but if you don’t mind that, you can often find cheaper prices. I’d recommend finding your way to the top floor for the best deals and the thinnest crowds. Click here to read some advice about shopping in computer centers in Hong Kong.
If cost is not an issue, and you prefer to shop in mainstream consumer electronic stores, then Fortress and Broadway chains, located all over the city, are a good bet and reputable.
- If the warranty is a Japanese International Warranty, it is probably a black market good and the warranty is not valid unless purchased in Japan. Some shops will try to fool you about this.
- Many warranties are only good in Hong Kong and China, especially for DSLR bodies. Lenses are usually international.
- Credit Card surcharges of 2-3% usually apply, so it’s best to purchase in cash if you want to avoid this extra cost.
price.com.hk (in Chinese) – a good place to get a sense of pricing for various items around the city, not only camera gear.
Roland Lim’s Recommended Camera Shops in Hong Kong – another take on the same subject as this page
Roland Lim’s Camera and Lens Street Price List – a nice alternative to the YDragon site, less comprehensive, but more up to date.
This thread on the Hong Kong Strobist group on Flickr has a lot of resources.
Here’s a good list of advice for what to look out for, and a few store recommendations as well.
Good luck shopping!