Tokyo is not exactly short of good used camera stores but Cross Point in Omori, Shinagawa-ku, has some amazing bargains especially on film and especially medium-format cameras. We take a look to see what is on offer at this suburban alladin’s cave of cameras.Omori might not be the trendiest or glitziest of Tokyo’s suburbs or even the most well-known. But it’s easy to get to [just ten minutes from Shinagawa Station on the Keihin-Tohoku or Keiky Lines] and it has one of the best used camera shops in town.
Cross Point Cameras is about five minutes walk from Omori Station and about ten minutes from our office, which is pretty dangerous it must be said; the impulse-purchase dial reads ‘maximum’ at all times, and for good reason.
Japan and especially Tokyo has some superb used camera stores, feeding off the national obsession for the camera and – more particularly – the national obsession for all things new and shiny or, more specifically, the desire to turn in the old in preference for the new.
Some Japanese camera-buffs are utterly obsessive about having either the newest gear or having gear that is immaculate. The tiniest blemish on a piece of equipment can often tempt cameraphiles to trade in old for new as much as their desire to have the latest lens, body or accessory. This means that the place is literally awash with good quality used equipment. Great for those who relish quality over trends and for those seeking a more retro approach to their photography; i.e. film cameras rather than digital.
It’s in the film and particularly the medium-format film end of the film department that Cross Point offers its most stunning bargains. Currently in the window [see the photogallery below] is, for example, a Mamiya RZ67 that doesn’t look too long out of its box, complete with 120 film-back, 110mm lens and AE metering head. All this for just 37,000Yen. Alongside it are a bunch of RB67 cameras, all ready to shoot, ranging from just 10,000Yen.
Cross Point is not for the Hasselblad fan as, like other very sought-after items, Blads tend to get bought from the owner of the shop by many of the other used camera stores in Tokyo. But you can find them here occasionally and it is worth leaving the owner of the shop your details so he can keep an eye out for you and let you know if he finds what you are looking for.
This lack of Swedish camera gear is a minor shortcoming though and I would dare any serious camera fan to not find something at Cross Point to tempt their wallet out to play. Taking our visit there just last Saturday as an example – and bearing in mind that the owner is about to do one of his buying runs around Japan, picking up new stock – Cross Point had a good selection of mediumn format cameras, including the following:
- Mamiya RB67 – priced from 10,000Yen to 40,000Yen
- Mamiya RZ67 – priced from 28,000Yen to 60,000Yen
- Pentax 67
- Pentax 645
- Bronica EC
- Bronica GS1
- Bronica ETRS and ETRSi
- Fuji 6×9
- Graphlex 6×7
- Mamiya 645
- Fuji GSX680
On the 35mm side of life Cross Point also stocks an excellent selection of gear, from classic Nikon and Canon rangefinders, some excellent quality and reasonably priced Leica M3, M4, and M5 rangefinders. To more recent Canon AE and F1, Nikon F Series, Olympus OM series and various other SLR cameras.
The lens selection is not comprehensive but there are always plenty of Nikon Ai, AiS, AF D and both newer and older lenses. In the Canon section Cross Point carries a good range of older FD and the newer EF-mount lenses.
Like any good used camera shop there are also a number of eccentric oddities in stock at any one time. Current highlights would have to include….
- 1200mm lens with Bronica medium format mount [you can't miss it, it's the lens near the counter that looks like it could be a pillar supporting the shop's roof]
- Nikkor 600mm af ED
- Sinar P2 monorail camera
- Horsemann 6×9 and Polaroid rotating back
- Nikonos flash gear, wide angle lenses
- …and a few more besides.
Chief amongst reasons to visit Cross Point is the friendly owner, who speaks a little English and who can be very generous on the discounts and items he throws-in for free.
This weekend a friend of mine [a genuine vintage camera-holic] came down to the shop for the first time and left with a mint-condition Mamiya RZ67, complete with a 110mm lens that looked like it had just come out of the box, its 120 film-back, a Polaroid back, camera bag, fresh battery, authentic Mamiya RZ strap and a roll of film to test the whole lot out….. all for 22,000Yen.
I defy anyone to find a better bargain in Tokyo than that!
Photo gallery: a few shots of Cross Point Cameras in Omori
- Five-minutes walk from Omori Station [Keihin Tohoku Line]
- Ten minutes walk from Omori-kaigan Station [Keikyu Line]
- Co-ordinates, to put into Google Maps or similar: 35.59148,139.731315. Click this link to see these co-ordinates in Google Maps. StreetView is available and shows the shop quite clearly.
One last thing to remember; print this article out, take it into the shop and at least the guy will know you found about his place through Alfie and Japanorama. It can’t hurt and it might help you get an even better deal than the price tags already suggest.
Happy shopping and happy shooting!