One of the most important resources you will need to nail down if you are going to get serious about your photography is the local vendor you plan to use for equipment, repair, information, rental and classes. I believe that it is important to find a camera pro shop that you like, fits your needs and has a knowledgeable, caring staff that will have the ability to guide you through the decisions you will be making concerning photography. I also feel it is important to be loyal to one pro shop and build a relationship. This allows them to get to know you and your needs and for you to develop a comfort and trust level to help you make your decisions.
Schiller’s Camera – http://www.schillers.com (9240 Manchester Road, St Louis, MO 63144 – 314-968-3650) more than fits the bill for all of the above mentioned needs, plus more. Schiller’s has an incredible staff, starting with Brad North and extending through to Cooper, Ray, Sven, Ed and many more. On any given day, you can go in and they will have about 10 people ready to help you. They are very knowledgeable about the equipment and seem to sincerely care about helping the customer make the right decision.
Equipment is probably the most important aspect of a good pro shop and they have a GREAT selection of cameras, lenses, accessories, lights, printers, tripods, memory cards, books, and just about everything else related to photography. They even have darkroom equipment. The prices at Schiller’s are fair and competitive. It is difficult in this day and age to compete with the internet on price, but in the field of photography – buying from someone local that will be there after the sale is more important than most consumer fields.
If you are looking for somewhere to purchase equipment completely on price – Schiller’s has a solution for you as well. The Used Equipment stock is phenomenal and they can find something that suits your price-point and you can trust that it is in good condition. They even take trade-ins to help you upgrade to better equipment. Before spending money on a camera or lens – you owe it to yourself to drop by Schiller’s to see what they have. I guarantee they will have what you want in the new stuff and if not, you can really get more bang for your buck with the used equipment they have available to sell.
My favorite service that Schiller’s offers is the rental program. This is second to none in the St Louis area. Ask for Cooper or Ray and these guys will really take care of you. They have Pro-level lenses available to rent starting at about $35 a day. Camera bodies, video equipment AND lights. I have rented lenses and lights from them dozens of times and have been happy with what I have rented EVERY time. They have Pro-Photo lights that can be rented for about $60 and these lights are nice (They have less expensive rental options as well). When you look at the cost to purchase some of the equipment vs renting it – you really come out in the long run by renting if you are an occasional user. The best example I can give is the 300mm 2.8 lens they have in their rental stock. During football season, I rented this 2-3 times per month. It is about $40 for the weekend and is one sweet piece of glass. If you are looking to purchase this lens, it can cost you about $6800. You would have to shoot every weekend for almost two years to reach that type of price. If you only need it 10-12 times a year, it only makes sense to rent instead of buy. The rental program also gives you the ability to try something out before making a decision to purchase.
Another important aspect of Schiller’s is their education program – they offer classes on everything from “Getting to Know your DSLR” to “One-on-one training” designed to help you with whatever your particular need may be. Yes, we offer classes at Studio 314, but the one place we consult to try not to duplicate is Schiller’s. We do not want to set ourselves up as a competitor to what Schiller’s has to offer, but instead we try to fill in the gaps to offer more in-depth classes and classes that Schiller’s doesn’t have on their schedule. Check out the class schedule on their website and see if there is something that interests you.
These are just a few of the main things that are offered by Schiller’s. They also have restoration services, a repair and service department, printing, audio-visual services and MUCH MORE.
For a Camera Pro Shop that offers more services and products than anyone else in the area and a staff that is well trained and ready to help, you owe it to yourself to drop by Schiller’s today to see what they have to offer. If you are visiting for the first time – be sure to tell them Studio 314 sent you over.
Let us know what you think about Schiller’s or your choice for local Camera Pro Shops.