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Hong Kong’s best kept secrets: a treasure trove of vintage film cameras and lenses

Sham Shui Po store has been developing film and selling analogue cameras since the 1970s. These days its customers are from a generation who grew up in the digital era and are curious about the past

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 March, 2016, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 March, 2016, 4:52pm

Tucked away at the end of a bustling market in Sham Shui Po is a treasure trove of antique, second-hand film cameras.

While taking – and sharing – photos has become as easy as tapping on your smartphone screen, Sunrise Professional Photofinishing caters to a niche market of photography buffs who still appreciate the art of taking photos on film.

Second-hand film cameras and lenses from Germany and Japan, some dating back to the second world war period, are perched on the shelves in the 100 sq ft store.

“A lot of our customers are young twentysomethings. Their generation didn’t grow up with film photography, so many of them like to come here to try it out and play with it,” says Elaine Chiu, who works at Sunrise.

The store, which opened in the 1970s, used to be where Sham Shui Po residents went to develop film or have passport photos taken.

“Our old boss used to say that he’d have to develop 200 to 300 rolls of film every day. Now it’s not as popular,” says Chiu.

When Chiu and her colleagues took over the shop in 2009, they began to collect and sell second-hand film cameras that regular customers wanted to let go of. Old lenses that have since gone out of production can be fitted onto digital cameras with an adapter and can produce more vintage-looking photos.

Prices range from HK$300 for a Polaroid camera to thousands of dollars, depending on quality and condition of the camera and lenses.

You can find Sunrise Professional Photofinishing at B2, 333 Lai Chi Kok Road, Kowloon or browse the goods online.