Bic Camera is a famous camera store in Japan. It has many branch locations all over the country, and I was lucky enough to shop at the Ikebukuro branch during my trip this past November. I thought I’d take you along for a glimpse of my experience.
It was my last full day in Japan, and I had been there for almost a month, travelling from Tokyo to Kumamoto and back. The weather had been clear and warm almost every day, so I had a couple thousand digital photos from my Nikon DSLR and iPhone saved on my netbook. I had planned to buy a small film camera, but that just hadn’t happened yet. My wallet was getting thin, and my suitcases were bursting, but I had to make one last attempt to buy a film camera. I meandered over to Bic Camera in Ikebukuro, where I was staying in Tokyo.
There are actually 4 locations of Bic Camera in the vicinity of Ikebukuro Station. There is a main location with cameras and other electronics, an outlet store, and a camera-only store. I saw the fourth location on the other side of the station on the day I left, so I never found out what was in that one.
At the camera-only location, there are all kinds of digital and film camera, film, tripod, and camera accessories. On the eighth floor is the used camera department. If it’s within your budget, you can pick up a Leica.
My budget was slightly smaller, so when I saw a bin of small film cameras for 315 yen each, I got pretty excited! What a deal, I thought. I looked them over carefully, and finally picked out a Nikon, an Olympus and even a Yashica compact film camera. Three cameras for about $10.00 CAD!
However, when I went to pay for them, the clerk informed me that they didn’t work. Well, that wasn’t such a good deal after all. “Well then, do you have any compact film cameras that work?”, I asked. He showed me 3 Olympus that were almost identical to the broken ones in the bin, and a Pentax. I looked them over, and the clerk showed me various features and answered my questions despite my laboured Japanese. Finally, I decided on the Olympus Stylus Zoom 115 DLX.
Very excited over my purchase, I made my way to another floor to buy some film. I was going to find a coffee shop to take a break and load the film, but the light was fading, so I leaned against a wall in the train station, loaded the film and headed out. I walked up and down Sunshine Dori (the street that Bic Camera is on), snapping happily. I filled the 24 exposure film in about half an hour, I think.
A couple of weeks later, I picked up the prints from my local lab. There were many blurry shots, as I haven’t quite mastered the art of shooting from the hip. Also, in my haste and excitement, I bought ISO100 film when 400 would’ve probably been better for the situation. In any case, I was pleasantly surprised by many lovely photos, which you see here.
If you ever get the chance, check out Bic Camera in Ikebukuro!