Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Just before Christmas we lost Jacobs photographic store, before that Photo Factory and now Jessops, Glasgow city centre has only one small camera store left, Merchant City Cameras.


Merchant City Cameras are a family run business based in Parnie Street, Merchant City, Glasgow and is owned by Jim Dobbie, his daughter Kimberley helps dad run the shop. I bought a new Sigma lens from them last year, Jim and Kimberley are very pleasant to deal with.

The store is a combination of the new and second hand with a great selection of second hand lenses in the window, they are also one of Scotland’s premiere telescope suppliers. It’s not a Jessops by any stretch of the imagination but a more personnel, informative experience something lacking in the likes of Curry’s who also sell cameras but don’t have people who are passionate about the product.


Jim still thinks he is dreaming, with Jessops closed it has taken Merchant City Cameras to the number one pole position and this week has been one of the busiest weeks in January he can remember.

Just outside the City Centre is Calumet located at Oakbank Ind. Estate just off Garscube Road, a major UK chain of photographic retailers selling everything from cameras to video and lighting. Calumet was once the only place for the professional photographer but has expanded it’s appeal to a wider audience.


Calumet has a significant stock of both Nikon and Canon camera body’s, lenses and has a rental department. It’s the only place in Glasgow to stock some of the dearer professional photographic lenses that you can try before you buy.

Jessops was good not only for it’s locality but were also happy to let you try lenses before you bought them.


This is me taking a picture outside the shop about two years ago and an assistant keeping an eye on me, it’s a sad state of affairs when you see the shop today, in fact I bought one of my all time favourite cameras from Jessops a Nikon D3.

Jessops, Suchiehall street also sported a pro department down stairs where a great range of both new and secondhand equipment was for sale, they also had people who knew the cameras and were enthusiastic about the product, sadly Jessops hierarchy decided to close the pro department a few years ago and instantly killed off many a seasoned photographer in doing so.


Glasgow has not woken up to this yet but it’s shameful that such an important resource has gone from our high street, photographers all over the city will not realise it’s effects till they need to try out a new camera or lens.

Jessops did not help themselves with over inflated pricing and getting rid of their pro department, the shop badly needed refurbished but that’s all history now  the web sites like Warehouse Express can only benefit from a third major high street photographic chain going under but it’s one less place to visit and one less reason for heading up that part of town.

The internet could be to blame but Jessops had a fairly decent web presence themselves but items were either not in stock or took too long to deliver not to mention pricing, when I questioned their policy of web versus store price in other words a few items were cheaper on their web site they just shrugged their shoulders.

We are now down to two retail outlets Merchant City Cameras and Calumet, lets hope we all take stock of Jessops and support your local store and spend less time trawling for the cheapest on line camera deal !

Merchant City Cameras…

Calumet Glasgow…



Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

6 thoughts on “The Demise of Jessops “No more City Centre lens testing in Glasgow”

  1. Sad day indeed, and jessops (unlike HMV) were for the most part, competetive with their prices against online retailers such as amazon.

    On more than one occasion, the item I was looking for, was actually cheaper in Jessops than anywhere else

    HMV on the other hand, were always pretty over priced (for Blu-rays at least) when compared to amazon / play.

    Never been to Merchant City Cameras, will need to check it out.

  2. That’s too bad. My parents bought my first 35mm camera from Jessops for my 18th birthday -Olympus OM-10. A great and very popular starter camera back then in 1982! I still have it and it works just fine. My high school kids use it now for their 35mm photographic class (using a real darkroom etc.)

  3. hey Philip,
    thanks for the mention and publicity, I work in Merchant City Camera. Although I do have to let you know that people are more than welcome to try out our lenses in the street with their cameras.
    All the best
    Keep up the good work.

  4. We are very lucky here in Norwich where Warehouse Express are based. They have an enormous retail shop on top of their warehouse & if anything shows as ‘In Stock’ on their website then they just pop downstairs & bring it up.

    I am not sure that there is a place in the market any more for a large chain of retail camera shops. There is a place for specialist shops serving pro photographers but not on every High Street. There is too much competition from the likes of Tesco etc for the consumer cameras never mind just ordering off the Internet

  5. Very sorry to see Jessops closing. I bought my most recent camera there, a Nikon D7000, and it was cheaper than anywhere else, with the bonus of 10 months interest free credit. Nobody is offering that now.
    The staff were always well informed and helpful. They’ll be missed.

  6. Hi a Jessops store has reopened in Glasgow City centre.
    3, Buchanan Galleries, 6 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G2 3GF
    0141 354 0069

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