Just as there’s an analogue revival going on in our world with vinyl and even cassette making comebacks, the photographic universe is seeing a cult for film in the smartphone era. For proof of this look no further than Aperture a camera shop in London’s West End that has a huge array of pre-loved film cameras from the best brands in the business. They sell a few digital bodies too but the majority of stock is high quality film cameras from Nikon, Canon, Leica and others. The window is full of reels of film and they provide a processing service that stays open into the evenings to encourage photographers down the less instant route.
This is the second Aperture store, the first one has been near the British Museum for many years and incorporates a café. The Rathbone Place store is dedicated to cameras, if you want coffee you can get one literally next door. As well as all the fabulous imaging hardware this shop also has a decent hi-if system with a Linn LP12, Pathos Logos tube amp and a Naim UnitiQute hooked up to a pair of Quad ESL63 electrostatics or MAD 1920 standmounts. I asked the owner Patrick Tang about the MADs and he explained that their maker Timothy Jung is a friend. Patrick is clearly nearly as keen on good sound as good cameras but has a remarkable stock of the latter. He showed me a couple of Nikkor lenses that were made for NASA with larger metal rather than rubber focus grips and a Velcro pad on the metal lens cap to stick it to a suit.
Even if you don’t feel the need to go back to film photography it’s worth visiting the stock in Aperture is so just to see how SLR cameras (for the most part) have developed over the last fifty or so years. Black bodied Nikons like certain cars in particular seem to improve with age and this shop is better than any museum if you appreciate modern photographic history.
Old school medium format
How much will your DSLR be worth in 50 years?