Orlando >Consumer Electronics > Colonial Photo & Hobby INC
634 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL | Directions 3280328.552420 -81.364612
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Lake Eola Heights
GREAT service and knowledge – I got a new Nikon basic camera for less than $100. It came with a free class, which I attended. I learned more about working the camera that morning than in the 10 years I have been fiddling around trying to figure out how to do things on an automatic digital camera. Very knowledgeable and helpful staff .
Would have liked to continue to support my local store – I've been shopping at CPH for several years. Unfortunately, this is the first time I made a purchase I wasn't completely happy with. I never paid attention to their return policy previously because I never needed it. Now I have discovered that digital cameras are non-returnable if open or used, a policy that wasn't disclosed at the time of sale. As much as I'd like to consider supporting my local camera store, I'd rather buy from Amazon, B&H Photo or Best Buy, all of which have a return policy that allows the return of digital cameras.
In regards to the customer service, I do have to echo the previous comments about indifferent staff and their attitudes. You're better off going in already educated and knowing what you want rather than relying on their "expertise".
Best store in town for photo gear – What a great store. I purchased my D7000 camera from them two weeks ago. They could not have been nicer to deal with. I tried everywhere to find the camera and they were the only ones to have it. They also had all the lenses and accesories in stock. I have been in three time since and they always answer all of my questions. Even when it's busy they will help the customers and then come back and answer more of my questions. Reading the comments below makes me wonder what the real story is. If you bought your item online would they take it back without a box? Would they answer your questions and help you out? Probably not. Did you ask about warranty repairs?
What you need to know before you go. – Know exactly what lens you want. Know the capability of any peripheral equipment and ask what the process is to return something that doesn't work. Do your homework before you get there.
Awful service – I visited Colonial a couple times when I was in Orlando on business. The problems I had in each visit concern the incredibly slow, indifferent service at the check out counter. Each time I had to wait for the blonde girl working there to deal with customers arguing about photo printing orders. Granted things are first come first serve, but she devoted 20 minutes to an argumentative customer who did not want to provide his real name or address on a work sheet, while a line of paying customers who wanted to make purchases waited and waited. The second visit was about the same with the same girl ignoring paying customers while dealing with photo questions. In both cases the girl finally asked for another employee to assist her, but instead of having the other employee start to ring up costomers, they both devoted all of their time to the problematic questions. Once they had three employees answering one customer's belligerent problem while ignoring everyone else. Another problem was service from the back counter. I wanted to buy some items that are kept behind the counter (not sure why since similar products by a different brand are out front) but the employee was trying to make a sale to someone else for far too long and could not take 2 seconds to hand me a bottle of Zap A Gap.
Avoid Colonial Photo and Hobby – I was sold a Nikon D7000 as a new camera. I paid full retail price. It turned out to be used. There were over 600 clicks on the body. This store has been in business a long time, but they have lost any sense of ethics in order to sell what is currently a hot/in demand camera. I cannot prove they had prior knowledge of the camera being used, but their offers of apology were not believed. Avoid this store if you think paying retail is for the intangible of customer service.
I have been using Colonial Photo for years, better prices and always eager to help you in person or on the phone. If you are used to Wal-Mart items then go back there. This store is a giant step up in quality and the staff is always watching you in case you need assistance not in a negative manner like in Wal-Mart. The staff is well informed on the latest camera equipment and will show you how to use the equipment before you buy, ask at the store you go to now. I have sent female & male friends (no camera experience) there for info and they went back for their purchase's over and over. Ask the staff questions and ask for a business card so you can call them for sound advice. If you do not ask then shame on you. I have been shooting pictures for 40 years and always ask questions at any store. You get what you pay for.......
Minorities - Stay Away – I agree with Kirk.tyler and let me add. Besides being suspicious of the younger crowd they are very suspicious of minorities. Been there Four times this year and everytime I feel uncomfortable as a minority. The Third time there I overheard one of the Camera Dept NAZIS telling another one to watch those Two guys. I felt that was directed to me and my Son, but I felt they needed another chance to prove me wrong. I felt I probably took it the wrong way. So I went there today with my son. Just to look around and compare. Keep in mind I live in Clermont, 30 plus miles away. I have never felt so watched over anywhere. As a Semi-Pro and a Minority I will not be going back there and I urge others to stay away. I also urge others to speak up. As far as their inventory and pricing go elsewhere. Kirk.Tyler thanks for your honesty.
Photo Supplies – As a photographer, I was pleasantly supprised with the vast selection of products that Colonial Photo offers. The staff, while they come off as the Photo Nazi type, are actually very friendly and helpful, but seem a bit suspicious of the younger crowd (probably with good reason, photo supplies are worth their weight at any place you go) but their prices are pretty reasonable. For the everyday hobby photographer I'd stick with wal-mart for your typical film and digital camera needs as you'll save a dollar or two on the film you can find just about anywhere, but if you're really getting into the buisness, this is definalty the place for you.
An Orlando Icon – I have been going to Colonial Photo and Hobby since I was eight years old. I am now 46. The fact of their existence, after so many years in business in a tough market, should tell you that they are serious about what they do. I have consistently found people in all of their departments who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what they sell. This includes cameras, trains, radio control, slot cars, frames, everything! They have a great selection of items in all departments and will refer you to their competition if they do not have something you need. I purchased a Nikon camera from them a few years ago. The whole outfit was about two thousand dollars. I would have saved 28 dollars if I had gone to Ritz, but I was more comfortable purchasing from Colonial Photo. About eight months later my camera went haywire. I could not find the receipt, but Colonial took it from me, found me in their records, packaged and returned the camera to Nikon, then called me when it was in. All I had to do was to hand them the camera. Try getting service like that at Ritz. Their radio control stuff is consistently less than the mail order houses. Also, their knowledgeable staff has actually fixed items for me in the store while I waited...for free. As for the guy who complained about bad help, I guess everyone has a bad day from time to time. You cannot go wrong with these people, they are an Orlando icon.
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