Top places to buy broadcast cameras, video and DSLR gear in London and the US.
I find it is much easier to buy all my camera gear from as few places as possible. Getting everything from one shop usually means you can get a better deal from the seller and it is just less hassle. The other advantage is if you are on the flat rate scheme you can get all the kit onto one invoice and reclaim the VAT. The larger places with the most kit are usually out in the suburbs, so I have put in a few smaller shops in central London that I have used and recommed as well.
The Flash Centre in Bloomsbury are quite good, although they tend to be more photography centred than video, that said they do stock a full range of Zacuto gear. They also stock some lighting and basic sound gear.
PEC Video Ltd are in Soho, they are fully video focused and stock a decent range of DSLRs, video cameras, tripods, dollys, grip equipment, lighting and audio. They also rent kit.
Calumet: These guys have a couple of places, one on Drumond Street by Euston and a smaller shop in Soho on Wardour street. Traditionally a photography shop, but now sell video kit.
Out of town:
Creative Video are good as they have a really large selection and are fully video centred, whatever you want, you can pretty much guarantee they'll have it; the big advantage of CVP/Mitcorp is, they have more kit than anywhere else in London. They have a good website with clear discriptions of all their kit, they also do a price match deal on some of their items, meaning if you can find the deal cheaper anywhere else, they'll match it. CVP are based west of London in Brentford.
Production Gear these guys are a fairly recent descovery for me, and think they are great. The main pluses are:
- The staff really know their stuff. I spoke to Edward, one of the owners, he was really enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful. He even assembled my entire Redrock rig for me, which would have taken me ages to figure out by myself.
- They have a showroom. This is invaluable, trying to buy something online by reading reviews and looking at pictures can be really difficult. Holding the products in your hand and comparing them is so much easier.
- They are near the M25 in Borehamwood. (useful if you live in London).
- They don't try and sell you stuff you don't need. Edward actually told me one of the products seemed a bit overpriced and searched for a cheaper alternative and ordered it for me - this is not the kind of service you get everywhere.
Top Tecs have been around for years, selling broadcast video equipment. Based in Harefield Middlesex.
Pro Kit are another large broadcast TV supplier based in West London near Chiswick.
In the USA:
If you happen to have a shoot coming up in the US it is well worth checking out these two suppliers.
B&H in New York is like Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory for camera operators. Based in Midtown Manhatten, the store is spread over several levels. Every bit of video kit you can imagine is for sale, all easily accessable on the shelves. You only need to ask, to try out a certain bit of kit, touch, it hold it, compare it to another model right there. If you decide to buy it, you won't have to lug it around the shop, all the items you want will magically appear bagged up at the checkout, transported around the shop on system of conveyor belts. If you can't visit them in New York they deliver world wide and I get a small comission if you use a link from this site.
Ablecine are great contributors to the world of video, often blogging about kit, creating picuture profiles for cameras etc etc. They are based in New York, Chicago and LA.