I like to haunt* the Camera Electronic premises every so often. Retiring from behind the counter a couple of years ago but not from the editorial desk means that I need information and inspiration from the staff, products, and plans that make up the business. So I go in every week or so to see what's new and good. I should recommend the idea to everyone reading this column - not just for the fact that you might be tempted to leave money at the till, but for the fact that you might take away fresh enthusiasm for the art and science.
Plus if you're retired and your wife is looking at you with the sort of speculative eye that will eventually lead to moving a piano up a flight of stairs, it gives you a chance to get out of the line of fire. The Stirling Street shop has stairs, but no piano.
Well there were several good-looking items in Murray Street this week. The silver-coloured Leica Q for the fashionable and well-heeled...the Pop Art Leica Sofort for the light-hearted.
The titanium/silver Fujifilm X-T20
with the matching 23mm f:2
The grinning Domenic, who was just about to shin up a ladder to get a camera box out of the overhead lockers. I stood back - not that I was afraid of him falling - Dom is a well-balanced sort of person. But because it is unfair to plague the staff when they are working the lunch hour rush in either store. Middle of the day is busy, and wise customers who know that their own time is precious or that they are going to need a good, long chat with the salespeople to sort out a purchase, choose a different part of the day. Early morning is good - not least because it allows better communications with the easter states suppliers if you are chasing something. Also people are fresher - and no-one likes a droopy salesperson.
You can also score a time slot if you come about 3:00, though the E.S. outlets are long closed by then.
Of course, you can always go on-line with the Camera Electronic computer shopping. I've tried it - just to say that I have - and it works pretty well. If the gear you need is in the place it can go out very quickly - and you'll all have seen how hard the Star Track people have been working over the holidays. Our local deliveryman has been in at all hours of the day and night - one hopes he makes a fortune at it.
The other thing I would always recommend to steady clients is that they pop in...and pop out again as readily...and keep an eye on the secondhand shelves in both stores. There is a pretty steady stream of good stuff that comes in as other photographers get urges, and you might as well profit from their urges as from your own. It pays to have a ready emergency fund in your shoe or card account to take advantage of one of these windfalls - like that S/H Fujifilm X-E2s. Carpe Diem and/or Carpe Diopter.
* It's really fun in October because you get to use bedsheets and clanking chains.