As we first reported back in June, Ritz Camera is putting itself on the auction block as it struggles to pull itself out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The public auction will be held tomorrow, and may mean the breakup of the largest camera store chain in the United States. The company ran 800 stores back in 2009, but now only has around 300 under various names, including Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, and The Camera Shop. That number will soon be trimmed to 137. A number of buyers are reportedly interested in snatching Ritz up, presumably due the fact that the company still generates a good bit of revenue — nearly $200 million over the past year through its brick-and-mortar and online businesses.
If you have any gift cards for any of Ritz’s camera shops, you should think about using them as soon as you can. There will soon be an aggressive trimming of unprofitable retail locations, and who knows what a potential buyer might have planned for the stores?
When overhead bins on airplanes fill up, flight attendants will often ask passengers to gate-check their carry-on bags. If this happens to you, be sure you take out your camera gear out of your bag prior to handing it over to the attendant. It’s not just for peace of mind in knowing that your gear isn’t being thrown around and abused: major airlines generally have provisions in their contracts that keep them from being held responsible for electronics in checked bags. If the camera is damaged or stolen, you might be out of luck. Read more…
If you’re a photographer looking for a gig on Craigslist, be careful. As with virtually all the types of “help wanted” listings found on the site, requests for photography services are often used by scammers as a way of luring the naive. Scammers also regularly send out emails to photographers advertising their services. Read more…
One of the common reasons given for being wary of photographers is that terrorists commonly use cameras as part of their information gathering tactics prior to devastating attacks.
The disconcerting video above is a terrorist prevention video that was funded by the Department of Homeland security and uploaded to Houston’s city website back in January 2011. Starting at 1:42, it attempts to convince people that photographers may be potential terrorists, and that the police should be called if one appears to “hang around for no apparent reason.” Read more…
The Onion’s Tech Trends has a hilarious satirical video warning of the “insidious” Internet scams through Kickstarter: bad projects that guilt people into donating in order to fulfill a life-long dream:
Internet criminals are using a website called “Kickstarter” to bilk friends and families out of money for terrible, ill-conceived, and unnecessary “personal projects.”
This video points to a pretty horrific, disturbing future if the scourge known as Vertical Video Syndrome — VVS for short — isn’t tackled head on. So we thought we’d do our part by sharing this PSA. And remember, if you see someone who suffers from VVS, just say: “You’re not shooting that right dummy!”
Daylight saving time started this past Sunday. Unless you’ve been operating an hour off from those around you, you probably remembered to change the clocks around your home and in your car… but did you remember to change the clock in your camera?
The Giottos Rocket is a popular tool used by photographers to remove dust from cameras and glass, but if you’re in love with yours, you might want to think twice about flying with it. Reddit user gynoceros found out the hard way that some TSA airport screeners aren’t too enthusiastic about the Rocket’s shape. He writes,
FYI — If you attempt to fly with a Giottos Rocket Blower (you know, rubber bulb you squeeze to force air down a nozzle to blow dust off your sensor — no metal, no moving parts), the TSA may confiscate it because it “looks like a bomb”, no questions asked.
Just f**king happened to me in Newark. I knew I’d get robbed in Newark one day.
To be fair, it does have an uncanny resemblance to “Fat Man“…
Photographer Lee Morris recently purchased a Nikon MB-D11 battery grip from Amazon.com for $216. It worked perfectly fine, but after Morris purchased a second grip for a wedding, he noticed something was different about the first one. After some investigation, he came to realize that he had purchased a Nikon-branded version (i.e. counterfeit) of a grip that ordinarily sells for $40 on Amazon.
Even if you’re buying directly from Amazon.com, verifying that the product is being fulfilled by a reputable dealer can reduce the chances of you unwittingly buying something fake.
The next time you’re walking around with a DSLR around your neck and a stranger asks you for directions, you might want to keep a hand on your lens. Yesterday BBC’s “The Real Hustle” included a short segment in which they demonstrated how easy it is to steal a lens on the street. The con artists simply detach and pocket the camera lens of an unsuspecting photographer while pretending to ask for directions. Apparently this is a real con that thieves are using these days…