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Why is Olden Camera Such a Rip Off?

K Michael , Dec 25, 2002; 03:41 a.m.

I was in Olden Camera the other day in NYC. Tri-x $4.99 a roll? A used Minolta Color meter, $599? Alkit Pro Photo sold me the same used color meter for $250.


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Jerry Litynski , Dec 25, 2002; 10:31 a.m.

You, the customer, have the right to find another door to a different store. (Back in the old days, Tri-X used to go for $14.00 for a roll of 100 feet -- and the little Kodak cassettes were a quarter each.)

But you need to shop around some....

.[. Z , Dec 25, 2002; 10:40 a.m.

Olden is said to own the building, and I bet that they're actively soliciting a buyer. They have a dusty, failing and flailing shop, and whenever I occasionally visit (out of morbid curiosity) there doesn't appear to be much interest in selling there.

Why are their used prices so high? In part because it is so easy to negotiate prices -- did you try? By pricing high, especially in that neighborhood (lots of clueless tourists), there's the possibility that they can sell at the inflated price, and if an interested customer doesn't try to bargain but starts to walk away, they can dramatically lower the price and make the item look like that much more of a bargain.

Al Kaplan - Miami, FL , Dec 25, 2002; 12:20 p.m.

Gerald, time was you could buy Tri-X for less than $7.00 a roll and cassettes didn't have crimped on end caps, you could just keep reusing the ones that came with film in them!. Most labs would give you all you wanted for free. Studio Film Exchange used to sell "ends" for about 2.5 cents a foot if you wanted to shoot 35mm motion picture film. What's an "end", you ask? When they send the 400 or 1200 foot Mitchel magazine to the lab, they cut the film and develop the exposed reel. The unexposed reel got sold as "ends". XT Pan (40 speed) was similar to Panatomic-X, Double-X Negative (250) similar to Tri-X. Anyway, at 2.5 cents a foot the 5.5 feet you needed for a 36 exposure reload with a FREE cassette - what? 15 cents a roll? Hell, the 3 inches of masking tape to attach the film to the spool starts to look like a major expense! ...but that was thirty years ago...

Dan Fromm , Dec 25, 2002; 06:54 p.m.

Time was when Olden was quite a good and helpful shop. I remember the help they gave me in finding bits for mounting an Exakta mount lens on a Nikon. Macro lens, the loss of the ability to focus to infinity didn't matter. This was in 1975. I was thinking in terms of a T-mount and a reverse T-mount. The clerk heard me out, allowed that reverse T-mounts were hard to find, asked me to wait, and disappeared into the stockroom. He came out 20 minutes later with some used Novoflex adapters that did the job and were very inexpensive. I've been grateful ever since.

Recent visits there have been very depressing. I wonder when Kurt Olden left the business and who or what is in charge now.

leonid kotlyar , Dec 26, 2002; 07:42 a.m.

Yes, recently I walked in looking for a cheap (i.e., used) developing tank for 35mm/120. As it turned out, their used one cost more than most new ones at adorama!

Jerry Gluck , Jan 24, 2004; 10:20 p.m.

Kurt Olden hasn't been involved in Olden Camera for quite some time. The business went from William Olden to his son Robert. Kurt wasn't very pleased with this (I met him once). I worked at Olden for 3+ years, around 1980. I visited there yesterday, what a shadow of its former self. And if that's the Al Kaplan I think it is (previous post), hey there, Alan!

Jerry Gluck , Jan 24, 2004; 10:38 p.m.

Sorry, you don't seem to be the Al Kaplan I worked with at Olden... (nevermind).

Mani Sitaraman , Jan 24, 2004; 10:54 p.m.

Walk over to B&H on 9th and 33rd.

Olden's heyday was in the 1970's, when I was a customer. Now its just one of those Herald Square zombie photo stores, whose principal selling point is their name and reputation from yesteryear. You should be able to spot them from the appearance of the store and storefront.

roger michel , Feb 10, 2004; 09:56 a.m.

i admit olden has fallen on hard times. but they occasionally can locate an obscure item for you.

however, for 50 years, olden was an amazing place for photo gear with top quality service and the best lines. it was olden or willoughby's back in the day. in deference to their wonderful history, let's not go to hard on them!!

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