When was the last time you had a good play in a camera shop?

Ivy's Brighton - photography tests
Michael outside Ivy’s secondhand clothes shop next door to Clocktower Cameras

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there were lots of camera shops dotted about our towns and cities. Today this is quite a rarity. The internet has become our massive two dimensional store, all we have to do is sift through a mega ton of reviews to get an inkling of what camera, or lens we should buy. I do love that we have quick access to written reviews and videoed opinions from keen users of products around our planet. The internet is a marvellous resource, but we must be careful not to drown ourselves in the excess of data, it can be exhausting.

Clocktower Cameras

Sometimes it’s good to experience photography equipment first hand. The other day I decided I was going to have a play with lenses at my favourite camera shop, where a team of marvellous tinkers and purveyors of photographic goods reside. Clocktower cameras is situated off Queen’s Rd on a quiet street in the Laines of Brighton. It feels like it’s always been there and I’m grateful it exists. I have to admit it’s a difficult to decide what lens to go for, but I entered the shop excited to try some out. I brought in my camera with memory card in and they attached the lenses so I could pop out of the shop to test them. Luckily I’d made friends, with Clocktower’s neighbour Michael from Ivy’s second hand clothes shop. We had met previously and chatted at a supermarket a few months back. He was happy to model for me and so a spontaneous photo session ensued.

Ivys Brighton with Michael - test on 8-16mm lens
Michael – test on 8-16mm lens
Brighton photographer lens test
Ivy’s shop Brighton – 10-20mm lens test


In my last blog 6 Useful things to Consider Before you take a Photograph, I pointed out what would be helpful to put in mind to get the best results photographically. As I write this, my intention was quick casual blog to share with you, but then I thought I’d put some helpful pointers in case you’re researching to buy camera equipment.

What’s important?

What do you photograph mostly or what do you enjoy photographing?
This can help you decide what camera or lens to get, what make and model will support your interests.

Is your equipment limited?
Are you struggling make the best out of what you have but not getting the results you need? For example you may need a good macro lens to get details from small objects like jewellery, like the lady I met at Clocktower that same day. She had defined her research area and was able to make a decision on a Lumix so she could photograph her jewellery.

Are you overwhelmed by how to decide?
Do you get all excited at so much photographic equipment could benefit you, then tot up the prices? Large investments of money can reverse your initial buying incentive and be quite upsetting. I think it’s an art to decide what to have. How about writing up a list of importances? What equipment will serve you best and in order of priority. It may be that you need a good tripod to help you photograph interiors with ease. Or a better flash gun so you can control access to light better in challenging light conditions. Whatever it is make a list by considering what your main barriers are and therefore what’s the best equipment that will give you the freedom to take better photos.

I find that’s where a good camera shop is invaluable. There is nothing like a good chat with a person who loves their camera equipment. You can get your reviews online, but go into a shop and try. Clocktower for example gets a regular supply of secondhand equipment, so costs can be kept down. Also don’t forget you can contact a hire company to rent out equipment to try out too.

Love love love!

I do enjoy seeing photographers lovingly hold their favourite lens or camera, like a child with their favourite toy. There’s just a sheer joy of having something you’ve invested in that you know is going to breathe life into what you see.

So in conclusion decide what’s important for YOU based on what you photograph whether for business or pleasure.

Ivy's shop Brighton with Michael
Ivy’s shop Brighton with Michael – 8-16mm lens
Brighton photographer testing 10-20mm lens
Testing 10-20mm Tamron lens
photography - testing 8-16mm lens
Testing 8-16mm Sigma lens

Happy snapping!

Sophie Sheinwald is a professional photographer based in Brighton, her speciality is event photography as well as bespoke headshots and portraits. Contact her for queries, commissions and hire.

4 thoughts on “Camera Shop Fun

  1. Super post, Sophie…can’t wait to come back to Brighton and have a play!

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