Yashica still lives in Old Delhi
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In a dusty corner of a shop on Esplanade Road in Chandni Chowk, an old 35mm Yashica SLR camera lies neglected amid an array of sleek digital successors. The scene tells a tale of evolution — from an age of analogue cameras to that of digital photography.
Apart from the numerous monuments that dot the landscape here, Chandni Chowk also boasts of one of the biggest wholesale markets of cameras and camera accessories.
Kucha Choudhary Market and Esplanade Road have numerous boards proclaiming that the shops sell and repair digital cameras and accessories. Most shopowners say they have been dealing in cameras for over 50 years, ever since the camera market started developing in the area.
Pritam Studios on Esplanande Road was set up in 1964, says Jaswinder Singh, proprietor of the shop that sells and repairs cameras. Even though the shop repairs manual cameras, most of the transactions concern digital ones. He says 85 to 90 per cent of his dealings is in digital cameras.
Customers who come looking for analogue cameras, shopowners say, are mostly students of photography courses. "These customers seek complete knowledge of photography. Professional photographers also come here looking for parts. Although all of them use high-end digital cameras today, some still use the lenses which came with their old SLR cameras to produce certain effects in the pictures," says a shopowner.
But the change in technology, from analogue to digital, has left its mark on the nature of shops in the area. Not surprisingly, then, most of the shops today sell and repair cameras while the number of studios and labs has dwindled considerably over the years.
The shelves of these shops have also seen a slight change in camera brands. Even though Nikon and Canon have retained their popularity, others like Minolta and Yashica have lost ground and have been replaced by Sony.