VINTAGE CAMERA SPECIALISTS:
Welcome to Sam and J's famous Greenwich Vintage Camera and Film website.
"Famous" meaning excellent, of course. As in...mmmmh this soup is famous!
We sell reconditioned, working vintage and antique photographic film cameras and everything you need to enjoy traditional film photography and share it with the world.
We do not just test our cameras
Every single one of our vintage cameras is reconditioned professionally, before being offered up for sale, and comes with a guarantee of at least 3 months (much longer on some items).
Here you'll also find the extraordinary artisan and speciality film range from Film Washi. And we are proud to be the exclusive London home of the stunning handcrafted Lerouge pinhole cameras. Shoot, process, share. Factory fresh film, processing kits and other traditional photography supplies, less traditional scanners, accessories and all manner of useful and frivolous items.
We are launching this website very gently and we will be adding products every day.
We supply everything you need to love film photography!
Beginner, ardent film fan, student, seasoned photographer, collector, nostalgic or merely curious? Come to us for trustworthy bargains, gorgeous classics, noble antiques.
Need inspiration for a super gift?
Street photography or fashion? Fine art or amazing hobby? Get creative! Join the sparkling revival of 200 years of the world's favourite artform. Whether you're looking for a super, wizzard, cool or groovy camera, or you wish to develop your skills and your negatives, we are here for you. Find the camera of your dreams or pick up a reliable bargain, they may even be one and the same!
Not sure where to start? Meet us in the flesh at Greenwich Market, London and at Old Spitalfields Market (We confirm our attendance each week on this website and on our Instagram profile).
We'll point you in the right direction, and pair you up with a perfect camera for your needs. We specialize in helping you take your first steps into the world of film photography. We'll be delighted to show you how your camera works, how to load the film or to demonstrate any model we have for sale. Come round for friendly and knowledgeable service or to show us your camera and photos.
We also buy cameras or collections with a promise of fair prices.
Be sure to check our website regularly as our stock is constantly being updated and expanded.
Please note that we do not sell digital cameras. All our cameras use photographic film or plates which require chemical processing before you can see your photos either in print or scanned digitally. We do, however, supply scanners for you to share or publish your analogue photos digitally.
Where do we get our film from?
We guarantee that all our new film stock is factory fresh and supplied to us directly by the manufacturers or their official distributors. Their strict and transparent quality control ensures that all new film we sell has been transported and stored in ideal conditions. We do not use grey imports.
Who are we and where do we come from?
Sam and J's started, like many labours of love, from a lifelong passion for photography and cameras. It is run by partners Claude "Sam" Samaran and Jason Chesterman.
Our Sam, himself a keen photographer with a quick witted eye, so says I, was always a curious and resourceful camera nerd and collector, with an interest in antique clock movements. Almost everything was dismantled to be rebuilt with great care. Once upon a time in the fairly recent past, two years ago, to be vaguely precise, he finally turned that consuming passion into a business.
Our sister Ebay shop started out selling general vintage goods with cameras and clocks as stars of the show (with never less than 100% positive feedback one should add). Sam couldn't resist buying gorgeous objects for sale and for a while enjoyed the variety, until we set up shop at the world famous Greenwich Market, London, in May 2017. There, his gentle, passionate expertise and the obvious pleasure he takes in demonstrating a camera to the curious led to the cameras, his first love, taking over completely within a few weeks: Greenwich Cameras was born. His obvious respect for the art, the customer, and the goods he is selling are clearly a recipe for success.
Together with his partner Jason, they now take great pleasure in this personal contact with visitors to the market and in welcoming new film lovers to the fold. A market stall is not the obvious or ideal setting for such a business, but so many of our buyers would never have stepped foot in a camera shop! Another totally unexpected aspect of selling our cameras at the market is that so many visitors, many of them just passing by, regale us with their stories, their memories, their art or their knowledge.
That last one is great, especially for Jason (that's me, here I am again, talking about myself in the third person...) who learns more from some visitors than he can teach to others! Sure, I grew up with film cameras, but the normal consumer cameras of the 70's and 80's. I love cameras too, said he, returning to the first person, but not in the same nerdy way as Claude or some of our more informed visitors, who are extraordinary wells of wondrous knowledge. Our Friend S.I. recently told us he had come to the conclusion that he might actually prefer cameras and using them to making photos with them. I'm quite the opposite. What I love in a camera is its amazing capacity to take a photo. It is quite a remarkable thing, you know. So I enjoy my Brownie 127 or box as much as my Rolleiflex or Bessamatic or Lerouge pinhole. Just like I love driving my 2CV as much as my Bentley! They both get me from A to B with great pleasure and style, and I drive them pretty well, but I am not really minded to find out about how many cylinders either of them might have. (No, you're absolutely right, I have neither a Bentley nor a 2CV. Perhaps I should mention my trusty Berlingo?).
So Jason, whose first camera was his dear grandmother's Brownie 127, was a budding and brilliant photographer until he forgot it in a New York yellow cab on his way to the airport back in '78. He was 8 and heartbroken. Many seasons later, his 20 year association with Sam has seen his love of photography rekindled and stoked, now burning brightly. But he remains an enthusiastic amateur wishing he had more time and talent. Not too fussed about the talent, actually.
Sam, vintage 1960s, all original, superb condition with beautiful, mild patina, an IT consultant in the early days of the PC, then a restaurateur before going with the flow and his love of cameras...
Jason, 70's vintage model, all original, signs of having been much loved but clearly well looked after, eclectic assortment of chef, musician, sound engineer, naturalist, professional carer...now ukelele playing camera entrepreneur, at your service!
Sam, the perfectionist, is always trying things out, testing, testing testing. His photography prints consist mainly of extraordinarily careful tests, not generally finished decisively, but rather settling naturally in between two tests, the whirlwind of enthusiasm putting a stop to one project and hurtling to the next. "That should be framed and put up on the wall, Sam.... no no no! It's just a test that one!"
And yet he is a lover of the spontaneous, the flash of inspiration, the Raku pot with all its beautiful flaws and telluric depth, the moment of magic captured by will or by chance, or by mistake. We are creatures of contradiction.
So this website, then, is finally here. Version "website light", to be padded out with more beautiful stock daily as we slowly develop it. We just HAD to get this up and running, so are doing it on a basis of having selected a few of our favourite things to complement our cameras. Thank you those who have been so patient and encouraging, or even offered to help.
Please note that some cameras come and go very rapidly. Don't be annoyed if we continue to display cameras that have been sold (as "sold out"). We leave them up for a while, after they sell, to inform prospective buyers that they are no longer available, rather than removing them immediately, which might leave people perplexed if the camera they are looking at suddenly vanishes.
Welcome to our website.
Sam and J