Photo Equipment Resources for Photographers in South China

Update: I've also published a Hong Kong-specific listing of camera shops and other professional photography resources.

For photographers new to south China, sourcing professional equipment can be difficult. There are small camera shops sprinkled about most large cities (particularly Macau and Hong Kong) but finding suppliers for items more exotic than consumer DSLRs and lenses can be tricky. Many higher-end photo equipment retailers and wholesalers in the area have minimal web resources rendering them nearly impossible to find except through word-of-mouth recommendation.

To aid photographers in Macau, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and neighboring cities, I will do my best to list my favorite photography equipment shops on this page; I don't aim to make this a complete, exhaustive listing but rather a mix of invaluable and interesting area merchants. Should you know of other area photo equipment merchants worth a visit, please do write.

Guangzhou

View Guangzhou Photography Shops and Resources in a larger map

  • Guangzhou Dashatou Lu Camera Market

    It's generally easier to buy new OEM cameras, lenses and such in Hong Kong or Macau rather than in Mainland China, but if you must buy a new optical device in Guangzhou, Dashatou Lu is probably the place to go. The selection of Chinese-made goods at this market is far more interesting than the imported items, though. The shops on the second and third floors of the main market building have the best prices around on things like seamless background paper, dehumidifying cabinets and miscellaneous grip equipment. Most of the street-level shops have much higher prices and offer less variety than the shops above.

    Prices for camera bags and cases are almost always massively inflated at Dashatou Lu for reasons beyond my meager comprehension. Small accessories are sometimes priced well, sometimes not. The Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong market is generally a better place to buy such things since the shops there often have better prices and higher-quality goods.

    I usually reach Dashatou Lu by taking the Guangzhou Metro to Wuyangcun Station, leaving via exit B and catching bus 89 to its terminal stop, which is near Dashatou Lu. Taxi drivers also know the street but may or may not be willing to take you directly to the camera market as the area nearby is quite congested.

    If you need to cart large items away from the Market, lots of vans are available for hire downstairs. The drivers like to start negotiations at around 100RMB but 60RMB or less is a realistic target for most Guangzhou city destinations.

  • Film Gear
    No.7, Cumberland Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
    (call for their Guangzhou address)
    (852) 2794 3608
    Mr. Donny Chan/ Mr. Johnny Leung
    info [at] filmgear [dot] net; donny [at] filmgear [dot] net; johnny [at] filmgear [dot] net

    Film Gear is a manufacturer of really nice fresnels and other continuous lighting fixtures. Their factory is located in Guangzhou (about twenty minutes from the Chigang metro station) and they have an office in Hong Kong as well; I've picked up orders from their Guangzhou factory but it is also possible to arrange to collect equipment from their Hong Kong office. Their fixtures are high quality and priced well; their prices for bulk expendables are excellent as well.

    Film Gear isn't a retail operation; if you only want to buy one fixture or if you need to pick up a few lights in a hurry, they might be less than thrilled to hear from you.

  • Cinerent Guangzhou
    No. 5 Hua Tai Road, Hua Zhou Street
    Haizhu District
    Guangzhou, China
    +86 20 8988 7188
    guangzhou [at] cinerent [dot] net

    As the name implies, Cinerent is a rental house primarily serving the motion picture industry in Guangzhou. It is part of a substantial parent company with other regional offices and holdings including Film Gear (see the entry above).

  • Guangzhou Gangding Computer Market

    The area above the Gangding metro station in Guangzhou is smothered in buildings bursting with computer, parts, and accessory shops. If you must buy a hard drive in Guangzhou, this is the place to do it.

    Be prepared to spend some time walking and haggling if price is a concern. The shops in the buildings a bit west of the most popular shopping area have less traffic and better prices, generally, than the stores directly above the Gangding station; the area about halfway between the Gangding and Shipaiqiao‎ subway terminals on Tianhe Road is sort of the sweet spot. The shops in the multi-story building on the west side of Shi Pai Xi Lu have some odd components and accessories difficult to find elsewhere in Gangding.

Guangzhou Film and Processing

There are shops that sell and process film at the Dashatou Lu photo market (see entry above); I have also heard of the below shops handling the stuff:

  • Lomography
    No. 3, Jiao Yu Road, Yue Xiu District
    Guangzhou 510400, China
    Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 11am - 10pm
    guangzhou [at] lomography [dot] cn
    +86 (20) 289 842 64

    The Lomography store in Guangzhou carries a plentiful array of funky cameras as well as offering film and processing services. I am not hip enough to buy or use one of their little plastic cameras but do find both the shop and cameras amusing enough to recommend it to anyone passing near Beijing Lu. They sell and process 35mm and 120mm color and b&w film (including E6 last I checked).

  • Nan Ji Guang (南极光图片社)
    678 Jiefang Bei Road (解放北路678号)

    First Floor, 76 Xianlie Zhong Road (先烈中路76号1楼)

    This shop has two locations where they process 35mm and 120mm film.

  • Golden Age Photos (黄金时代)
    85 Nonglin Xia Road (农林下路85号)

    Offers 35mm and 120mm developing services.

Guangzhou Photo Studio Rental

  • ITR Space
    63号 Xizeng Road
    Liwan, Guangzhou
    China
    +86 134 2760 3397

    The eminently hip ITR Space offers bare or equipped photo studio rental by the hour. They have drive-up ground-level access and nice high ceilings.

Macau

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  • Foto Nice/Nice Digital
    AV. Praia Grande No. 616
    Man Seng II// R/C "A"
    Macau
    +853 2871 5678
    +853 2871 5611

    Av. Da Concordia, No. 110
    Wang Son R/C, Loja E
    +853 2882 6886
    +853 2882 6882

    R. Baraca, 57. R/C Macau
    +853 2831 5678
    +853 2830 1667
    +853 2833 8677

    Foto Nice / Nice Digital is one of two serious camera shops in Macau (the other is Maxim's Photo, which can be a bit of an acquired taste). Their prices are usually a bit better than the shops in Hong Kong (particularly once you take the currency into account - the Macau Pataca is slightly less valuable than the Hong Kong Dollar). They have three locations in Macau; one near BNU, another in the Three Lamps District and the third in Fai Chi Kei.

    If you aren't familiar with Macau, the easiest way to reach any of their locations is to call and have them give driving directions to your taxi driver. They will also check availability and quote prices over the phone.

  • Maxim's Photo Supplies
    Rua Do Campo No. 301-303 R/C, Macau
    +853 2837 6850
    +853 2833 5628

    Maxim's Photo is a bit of a divisive place, beloved to some Macau residents, reviled by others. The staff there can be a bit cold and unhelpful if they don't know you; asking for Mr. Lo (the owner) can help.

    Maxim's has an excellent selection of Canon lenses and accessories; they stock other brands as well.

    Walk-in prices at Maxim's are sometimes higher than at Photo Nice but are more negotiable (particularly if you get to know the owner and/or possess keen haggling skills).

    The shop is easy to find on Rua Do Campo up past the big post office en route to Tap Seac.

  • Macau Red Market / Three Lamps District Computer Market
    Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga, No 70A, Fortune Tower Loja T, Macau

    There are a few shops at the Macau computer market that have the best prices around on hard drives (I fill up a lot of hard drives). It may be possible to get there by asking a taxi driver to go to the computer market near the Red Market; I always arrive by walking the whole way or riding bus 3 or 33 from central Macau to the Red Market then forging ahead on foot.

    PC Market Computer Company is one of the shops in the main market; reach them by phone for directions at +853 28526688

    Computing Age is another favorite shop - +853 2855 3254

    Asia Technique & Computer Network Co., LTD is located nearby and has longer business hours (although I prefer the above outlets).
    Rua do Padre Autonio Roliz, No 2H R/C, Edf. Hong Fok Kok, Macau
    Tel: (853) 528 828
    E-mail: sales [at] asiatcn [dot] com

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong photo resource list grew too long to keep here so has moved to its own page.