I was recently in Shanghai on an assignment and needed to pick up some last minute equipment. As a professional photographer, there are always little bits of pieces of equipment that need refreshing or upgrading from time to time. Being away from my home base of Beijing, I needed to find a reliable place to pick up some equipment while on the road.
For Shanghai residents, the Xing Guang Photographic Equipment Center is no secret. It is to Shanghainese what Wukesong Camera Market is to Beijingers. A one-stop place where you can acquire photographic equipment, both new and old.
Previously I wrote a blog post called ‘Where is the Best Place in Beijing to Buy Photo Equipment?‘. It’s proved to be one of the post popular blog posts on my website. I suppose this is the sequel!
WHAT TO EXPECT
As with many large markets in China, expect sensory overload. This is especially true if you are a camera gear lover, amateur or professional. The Xing Guang camera market is set over 6 floors. Each floor has a series of small shops, typically differentiated by the brands of cameras they are selling, or the types of equipment. So, for example, if you are the lookout for a new piece of lighting gear, there will be a cluster of shops that only sell lighting equipment on one of the floors.
The lower levels of the market tend to be dominated by the modern big name brands, often with the latest models of cameras. The higher you go up in floors, the slightly more obscure the stores become. There are stores with lighting equipment (as mentioned above), stores selling drones, stores selling older SLRs e.g. Leicas, stores selling lighting backdrops, stores selling film etc. etc. There really is a shop for everything camera-related.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN BUYING
On my visit it was not possible to use an international credit cards to buy things. Therefore you need to either have a Chinese issued bank card, or you will have to pay in cash.
The market is regarded as probably the most reputable place to buy equipment in the city. As ever however, if you are buying expensive equipment ALWAYS proceed with caution when purchasing. You should really consider whether you need to purchase this in China, or wait to you get to your home country where you are certain of the laws protecting consumers.
There is sometimes a little wiggle room in price and you can try to haggle for some older items. If you have a Chinese friend or colleague, take them along to help make sure you are getting a good deal.
No matter what you decide to pay, always remember to get a receipt (Fapiao 发票) and also pick up the seller’s business card. Take a few photos on your cellphone too of the item you have purchased, just so that you have a visual record of what it looked like when you bought it.
HOW TO GET THERE
The market is located 288 Luban Lu 鲁班路288号. The closest subway is the Luban Lu station. Leave the station from Exit 1 and take a left, walking north up Luban Lu. It will take you less than 5 mins to walk and then see Xing Guang Market on your left hand side at the next major junction.
Please remember, the above information is purely advisory and is from my experience when I visited in 2018. Information changes and I cannot take any responsibility for anything that happens as a result of your purchases at Xing Guang!
Let us know in the comments however how your experience was there.