Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years title=
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years
19 Comments
Reads 6372

Photos by Patti Gutshall

By edhat staff

Samy's Camera will close their State Street location on Saturday after serving the local area for over 20 years.

Edhat reader Patti Gutshall captured photos of the signs posted outside the store in the 500 block of State Street, the last remaining location in Santa Barbara County. Edhat readers report there was no advance notice to customers as the store is currently being packed up.

"For over 20 years Samy's Camera has serviced the Santa Barbara community, we are sad to announce the closing of this location effective Saturday, June 29, 2019. We appreciate your loyal patronage and support over the years, and we hope to continue to service you at one of our alternative locations or on-line," the sign reads.

Samy's Camera has remaining locations in Los Angeles, Culver City, Pasadena, Santa Ana, and San Francisco.

Login to add Comments

19 Comments

Toggle Comments (Show)
Red Creek Jun 27, 2019 02:39 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Agree that loss of Brooks was a blow to Samy's. Software and great lenses, electronic lcd viewfinders, quality framing and post shot editing and more pixels for enlargement make a big difference with real cameras. That said, I carry an iphone for just in case shots. Have bought three cameras at Samy's, still have two, bought one last year, a Canon sx730hs with 40X optical zoom and love it. Their advice was always stellar. They were there for pros, amateurs and everyone in between and will be greatly missed by their customers.

Luvaduck Jun 27, 2019 12:31 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

The writing was on the wall when Brooks closed & phone-photography became reasonably good. Sammy's was excellent for "serious" photography. Now that most people shoot tons of pictures on their phones basically as records not as composed photographs, casual photographers stopped developing and printing much of anything. Sammy's needed volume to cover their "nut" (fixed expenses.)

BillW Jun 27, 2019 09:33 AM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Let's also honor Morninglory Music for their great selection of used CDs for years. It had a big store where Apple now is downtown, and another store in IV.

paglinsb Jun 27, 2019 08:22 AM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

They were wonderful. Before I had a smart phone I bought a camera there, and even took one of their classes. Things change—the inevitable “horse & buggy” syndrome.

jak Jun 27, 2019 07:47 AM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

4358ED, Rex - you reopened an old deep wound reminding me of the demise of Gramophone. I moved away from Santa Barbara for the first time a few days after they closed (and again after KDB left the airwaves). Strictly coincidental to be sure, but somehow appropriate. Fortunately, my childhood favorite (KUSC) and my other adult favorite (radio New Zealand classic fm) both stream to me anyplace I can get a stable internet connection or I would really have something to be annoyed at!

SYRadio Jun 26, 2019 11:50 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

I think the reasons for the store closure have nothing to do with the big New York photo supply houses or Amazon. The bottom line is that people take photos with their phones and don't use point and shoot cameras let alone full size DSLR's. I was in Samy's today and the salesperson that waited on me said that the reporters that came to do a story on the store closing shot photos with their phones. Ironic. Almost insulting. A year ago I spent some time in Japan. To my amazement even the Japanese, who after all make some of the best cameras and lenses, mostly shoot with their phones too. Serious photography is not dead, but it is an endangered species. Samy's was competitive with mail order houses and Amazon. They would match prices and frequently had no sales tax sales. It wasn't the prices that caused the store to close, it was the shift in the market for cameras. Samy's sells on line too. I recently bought a lens from them and received it overnight. By the way, B&H now collects sales tax - so that advantage is gone. The store was a wonderful resource for information and advice. It will be missed.

a-1574198020 Jun 27, 2019 09:47 AM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

I was working on a project in NYC a few years ago and went to the B&H store for a missing video cable. Whoa, Samy's it ain't. That place is intimidating. I had to stand in line approaching a long counter where you request the product and they fetch it for you. Heaven help you if you realize the item you requested isn't the one you actually wanted. Like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. You'd better know exactly what you want at the counter or it's no soup for you, and you're sent to the back of the line.

SBHope Jun 26, 2019 03:51 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

This is so sad. I loved the store and bought many a camera and accessory from them over the years. I was happy to pay up to a 10% price premium for the support and to know that they were there in case I needed anything the same day. I wonder whether their problems were a brick and mortar issue or had more to do with iPhones / Androids and the loss of Brooks Academy. I'd be curious how many prosumer camera users finally gave in and just started using their phones rather than lugging around a separate photo and video camera. The last camera I bought from them was a Nikon Coolpix P900. I like it and still want to take it with me on trips. An iPhone just can't zoom in and frame shots the same as a real camera. But, I seldom take it. I just take the stupid iPhone and settle. I will truly miss you Sammy's.

a-1574198020 Jun 26, 2019 03:35 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Wow total bummer. When they moved from their Chapala street location and I saw they opened on State I wondered how long that would last. Kind of surprised this long. State Street is a death trap. When the LandShark starts trying to explain the vacancies to the tourists you know its bad.

a-1574198020 Jun 26, 2019 02:44 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Bummer, but it's impossible to compete with B&H Photo and Amazon. Survival mode surely means that they'll offer lots of classes, add-ons, and other services that the online shops don't offer. Good luck to their remaining stores in metro locations.

SYRadio Jun 27, 2019 04:17 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Samy's was competitive with B&H and would meet or beat their prices if they could. The other aspect of Samy's was being able to sell or trade in used equipment. That's hard to duplicate on line. I doubt if many serious photographers buy professional equipment from Amazon.

4358ed Jun 26, 2019 01:42 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Sad, but seemingly inevitable. I'm sure their storefront business model could in no way survive by just the professional photog looking to rent for the weekend or week. Does anyone remember the Gramophone shop on State? They sold Classical music albums (next to the Kite store, by Shell's O Barbara. Maybe my geography is a little off). Somebody one day will ask does anyone remember when there was a camera store on State street?... what's a camera? RIP Samy's. You fought the good fight.

tagdes Jun 26, 2019 04:38 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

And Russ started out at Anderson's and opened his store down at 1025 State and was there for about 40 years and the only last real camera store on State until Samy's.

Factotum Jun 26, 2019 02:35 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Westbury Building and Westbury's Cameras - maybe Anderson came in later. Not to be confused with Westons.

REX OF SB Jun 26, 2019 02:33 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

Factotum: The camera store near the Granada was Anderson's. Weston's camera store was a fixture for years at State & De la Guerra, where the ubiquitous Starbucks is now. The Gramophone Shop started out life in the 1950s in the first block of E. Carrillo Street, then moved to State Street a couple of doors away from the Granada Building. It then relocated to the Magnolia Shopping Center in Noleta, where it became The Record Rack. The other two downtown record stores were H.T. Bennett Music next-door to Silverwood's near State & Carrillo, and the Bonnie Langley Music Co. in the 700 block of State Street near De la Guerra.

Factotum Jun 26, 2019 01:46 PM
Samy's Camera to Close After 20 Years

That was Westbury's camera store near the Granada Bldg location, and where Gramaphone was also located - done in by Borders who intentionally underpriced them and then stopped carrying classical CDs, tapes and videos once they ran Gramaphone out of business. There was also a fine jewelry store on almost every block too. Different shopping habits back then - investments; not throw aways.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.