The Cameraventures team launched the „Save Analog Cameras“ campaign to look into the current status of film photography in the world and forecast its direction in the near future. Out of the over 4000 form entries that we received from all countries, 244 come from the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (as of 04.07.2017). From these group, 211 entries were answered using our English-language form and the remaining 33 were from our German-language form. To our fellow German-speaking analog photographers, we are very thankful for your participation and contribution to our movement! If you haven’t yet filled up our form, you can do so here: https://cameraventures.com/save-analog-form.
The DACH region is home to some of the most popular camera brands: Leica, Zeiss, Rollei, Voigtländer, Praktika, Sinar, Kodak Retina, and so much more. Nowadays though, only Leica remains to be the survivor (Zeiss and Voigtländer have parts or their whole company now bought by the Japanese) and continues to uphold German engineering in the field of optics and photography – with prices to match. But are German, Austrian, and Swiss photographers stuck with only one brand? Where can they buy camera and photographic gear? Most of all, how active is the business of camera trading in the region?
We first look into how the German-speaking photographers buy their gear: 37% would buy their gear off eBay, 18% acquire gear during a photographers’ meet-up, 16% would buy respectively either from a local camera store of from an online post outside an auction website (such as in a Facebook group post or in an online photography forum), 6% would respectively buy either from a local auction posting (called „Kleinanzeige“ in German) or from the online portal of a camera shop, and 1% purchases from the flea market. On the other hand, the English-language results show that a similar percentage of people (37%) purchase gear off eBay, 18% purchase from local shops, 12% from local auctions (Kleinanzeige), 10% from an online posting outside an auction website, 9% acquire their gear from photographer meet-ups, 6% would buy from an online store, 6% use other sources not listed, 2% use Cameraventures and a selection of multiple stores, and 1% from Etsy stores.
Showing a similar trend to neighboring regions, German, Austrian, and Swiss analog photographers use the auction website eBay to directly purchase, compare prices, or view available models in the market. Local stores and markets are the second-most patronized channel, due to their assortment of wares, possibility for testing, or maybe for the experience. Finally, the popularity of forums and Facebook groups as online markets is evident here, with a number of online Facebook groups (such as the largest Facebook analog photography group „die analoge fotografie lebt!“) hosting such postings.
As a guide, we asked our participants to recommend shops where to purchase gear. Some of the most popular were Photohaus (Hamburg), Offizin (Darmstadt), Ars-Imago (Zürich), Fotoshop H&H (Berlin), ASA90 (Berlin), Supersense (Vienna), Meister Camera (Hamburg/Berlin/Munich), Foto Köser (Frankfurt am Main), Foto Sauter (Munich), One of Many Cameras (Copenhagen), Foto Braune (Berlin), Kamera Technik Langer (Karlsruhe), KEH (United States), the numerous Leica Stores scattered on the three countries, and of course Cameraventures. One important note that most participants gave is that the store or seller must be trustworthy with their merchandise.
With numerous camera stores scattered across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland selling all cameras of all film formats, it is no surprise that buying an analog camera in these countries is easy. Many of these stores are also well-receptive to their market and make sure that they have much activity as possible. Of course, buying online is way easier for many, but one needs more careful assessment of the wares and constant communication with the seller – may it be through eBay, a local auction, or through a camera store’s online shop. With luck and care, you might come home or be sent with your most desired camera and lens, may it be German-made or otherwise.