The Canon Floor (4F)

Podcast 313 : Where to Buy Camera Gear in Tokyo? Map Camera!

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine, Lem Fugitt, while he was at my place for some private consulting on his new camera, and we got onto the subject of where I buy my gear, so I told Lem about Map Camera. It turned out that...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
62 Comments
  • Jon Sheer
    Posted at 18:06h, 12 December Reply

    Martin, Map is good, but for selling used equipment you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Fujiya Camerain Nakano–not only do they give you a good price for your gear with great service and something extra if you buy stuff in their store, they also give you a point card with 10 percent of the total value of your sale that can be used to purchase anything in the shop. Awesome!

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 18:54h, 12 December Reply

    Thanks for that Jon! I’ve been to Fujiya a number of years ago, and still prefer Map. Maybe if I want to sell for cash, I’ll try Fujiya again. 🙂

  • mike byford
    Posted at 01:12h, 13 December Reply

    Thanks Martin – has Akihabara any decent camera shops? (so I can kill two birds with one stone whilst gadgeting up.)- my last experience in Korea (Yongsan electronics market, Seoul) was not good….. Mike

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:09h, 13 December Reply

      Hi Mike,

      The general “Electric Town” part of Akihabara has no decent camera shops. If you leave the station from the opposite side though, there’s a huge Yodobashi Camera (Akiba) that is really worth a look. Having said that, the same rule applies on prices as mentioned above. If you have something specific in mind, check with Map Camera (you can do this on line but their Web site (www.mapcamera.com) is all in Japanese) and be prepared to haggle.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • David Lee
    Posted at 14:47h, 16 December Reply

    I can’t agree more about buying new lenses and bodies at Map Camera. This is great advice. I lived in Tokyo for 10 years and researched all the online and store prices. Map ended up working out great and they were very helpful despite my poor Japanese language skills. Beware, the folks I worked with did not even try to speak english throughout my 4 or 5 purchases of L lenses and a 5D Mark II over a few years.

    As for selling my own used equipment, Yahoo auction Japan proved to give me at least 20% more return on my used lens sales than what I could find anywhere else. Also, Yahoo auction is very simple and reliable in Japan. Much better than eBay is in the US. People sell high quality stuff and are very meticulous and honest about disclosing any tiny scratches or dust. Highly recommend this option for those who live in Japan.

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 17:11h, 16 December Reply

    Thanks for the comment David!

    I think if you speak any Japanese at all, the Map guys will not try to speak English. I have heard them struggling along in English with totally non-Japanese speakers though.

    I have often been tempted to try Yahoo Auctions, but it has never seemed tempting enough for me over just walking into Map and sorting it all out right there, especially with their additional percentage hike when buying new gear. Maybe I’ll bight the bullet and give it a try at some point though, especially if you recommend giving it a try.

    Cheers,
    Martin.

  • Cas
    Posted at 00:56h, 21 December Reply

    Hi, came across your post while researching for places to get medium format TLRs. Any advice on where to get a Yashica Mat 124/G or Rolleicord Vb or Seagull TLR? Can’t seem to find information on where to get these cameras. Closest matches were Cross Point (Omori) and Fujiya Camera (Nakano).

    Do they have these at affordable prices in Map Camera? Thanks!

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 08:45h, 21 December Reply

    Hi Cas,

    Map have a lot of medium format gear, but I don’t know if they have your particular requirements covered. It would be best for you to mail them directly. There’s a good chance they’ll be able to help you.

    Cheers,
    Martin.

  • Eric
    Posted at 10:13h, 29 December Reply

    I did buy some used gear in Map Camera – excellent quality, 1 year warranty and original packaging. But price is cheap only for older models. New models, I prefer to buy new on amazon.co.jp. Cheapest store in the long run, for sure!

    For the very cheapest prices on an hour-by-hour basis, check the camera section of kakaku: http://kakaku.com/camera/ For those who can read elementary Japanese characters, these are the very cheapest prices available in Japan, including charts with historical data for the average and cheapest offers! Some of the shops are in Akihabara (mainly PC Bomber and Direct Hand), 100% deliver to your home – or hotel.

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 10:40h, 29 December Reply

    For sure, amazon.co.jp have some good deals. Kakaku.com is a great reference too.

    Although I’m fine with buying online for lots of things though, I really like to buy camera bodies and lenses from a store that I can walk into. For those that are OK with buying this gear online, this is great advice. Thanks Eric!

    Martin.

  • Olga
    Posted at 04:18h, 25 August Reply

    Hey, thanks for such a complete review. I’m going to Tokyo next month and I’m really looking forward to purchase some Canon equipment there. Here in Brazil they’re very expensive. I don’t speak japanese at all but I think it will be a fun experience 🙂

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 21:38h, 27 August Reply

      You’re welcome Olga!

      The folks at Map will be fine in English, though it might not be the smoothest conversation. They try hard though, and are patient, so it won’t be a problem.

      Have a great time!

      Martin.

      • Olga
        Posted at 22:57h, 28 August Reply

        Hey, Martin! Thanks again. Quick question: do you know where I can find audio equipment in Tokyo? I need to purchase a Zoom H1. I thought about ordering it from amazon.co.jp but I’m not exactly sure how this could work ’cause I’d need to receive it at my hotel…

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 10:55h, 29 August Reply

          Try Yodobashi Camera, just down the street from Map Camera. Their Multimedia (Kan) Store has a floor for audio equipment, though I’m not sure they stock the Zoom H1.

          Don’t forget to show your passport at these stores too, as they both should not charge consumption tax for visitors.

          Cheers,
          Martin.

  • Paul B
    Posted at 20:26h, 30 September Reply

    I’d be like a child in a sweet shop, now I just need the air fare!

  • Bern
    Posted at 13:55h, 13 October Reply

    Looking forward to trip in Japan & checking out the Nikon gear at Map Camera! have bought in Hong Kong,Hing Lee the best, will check out prices in Japan & compare to HK, as off to HK straight after Japan.Thanks for info!

    • Aryx
      Posted at 02:57h, 14 October Reply

      @martin, this is such a rich resource. thanks so much. arriving in tokyo on the 20th. looking forward to visiting map. will be staying at nearby keio hotel. 🙂

      @bern, does hing lee have an online presence? maybe you could pin the store in google maps?

  • Marccio Campos
    Posted at 05:27h, 24 November Reply

    Dear Martin,
    I’d like to thank you ’cause you lighted up the way to “heaven”!
    let me explain: one dear friend of mine went for a job trip in Tokyo and, with your expertise and valorous advices, I could guide him find Map Camera (from here in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil).
    Now, with my D5100 and a pair of good lens (and a few dollars – much less then ever!!), I’ll make my history full of good images!!
    Thank you so much!!
    regards,

    Marccio Campos
    rio de janeiro – BR

    ps – soon I’ll send you one of my new shots

  • David Robson
    Posted at 07:39h, 20 August Reply

    Hi Martin, I’m heading over in November and I’m looking for a decent compact (the Sony RX1) to back up my DSLRs – do they do overseas specification models and is there a big price difference like Yodobashi?
    Thanks
    David

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 12:20h, 20 August Reply

      Hi David,

      Although the camera might come with the menu set in Japanese, most cameras are multilingual, so you can switch it over to English. I don’t know if that specific model comes with English menus, or manuals. You’d need to check in the store, but they’ll work with you on that, probably in broken English, but it will likely be better than most peoples’ Japanese.

      The price at Map is usually about 10-20% less than Yodobashi, but they’re right next door, so do check for yourself before buying. Don’t forget to show your passport too, as they won’t charge you tax as a foreign visitor.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

      • tinsol
        Posted at 20:37h, 20 January Reply

        actually cameras in japan dont often come with multilingual menus. especially higher end cameras panasonic and sony are notorious. yes their international models do.

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 21:07h, 20 January Reply

          Tinsol, some compact cameras that I’ve seen over the years do come with multilingual menus, and my Canon cameras are always English and Japanese, so not multiple languages as such, but you can get them into English if that’s your native language.

  • David Robson
    Posted at 03:39h, 21 August Reply

    Thanks Martin – much appreciated – my Japanese is very, very rusty but I can remember the basics (I hope). I was just thrown by Yodobashi advertising domestic ‘Japanese’ only models against more expensive ‘overseas’ versions with multilingual menus – plus I know very little about compacts having relied on my trusty canons for many years which is why I thought I’d save a few yen going secondhand at Map Camera.

    Oh – and thanks – I had planned to keep my passport at hand at all times!

    Many thanks
    David

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:21h, 21 August Reply

      I like Yodobashi for nick-nacks, but really, if you are buying cameras or lenses, Map Camera will probably be the best place to buy. But do check about the menus. Although I would think that an English firmware update may well do the trick. Don’t hold me to that mind.

      Yes, you’re better off keeping your passport with you at all times anyway. The police sometimes spot check foreign visitors, and you are supposed to have it with you.

      Have a great time!

      • tinsol
        Posted at 21:00h, 20 January Reply

        you cant simply put a new firmware- the Japanese firmware is locked. think like a locked phone. they have thought about this already.

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 21:09h, 20 January Reply

          That wouldn’t surprise me, but as I just replied in my above comment, cameras can at least be put into English, so if English is all you need, this will not generally be an issue. Again though, I’m suggesting that people check before buying.

  • David Robson
    Posted at 06:29h, 22 August Reply

    Cheers Martin – I’ll check whether I can update the firmware ahead of Tokyo though ideally I’ll try to find a camera with multilingual menus as it’s potentially risky otherwise. Not the end of the world if I don’t as it’s just a back up to the 5D’s for those times when a big DSLR isn’t practical. Anyway – thanks for the great & useful article, the lovely photos, and the sage advice.
    D

    (And thanks for the passport tip).

  • Nigel
    Posted at 19:38h, 06 September Reply

    Thx Martin. Found your post as the right time as I’m about to make a trip to Tokyo. 1 question though, for the trade -in’s, does Map Camera accept bodies or lenses that were sold internationally ( not originally sold in Japan )?

    Cheers

    Nigel

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 19:00h, 07 September Reply

      Hi Nigel,

      Good question. I’m sure they do, though they may lower the price a little if you only have the English manual. If you have the multi-language manual, you’d probably be fine. Come to think of it, I think I sold some gear that I bought in England years ago. I’m pretty sure you’ll be OK.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • André Borgan
    Posted at 15:31h, 06 October Reply

    Hello Martin

    Arrived to Tokyo from Norway yesterday. Staying a week in Shinjuku. After reading about Map on your page I will go and look for a used 5dmkIII.

    Do you think I will be able to find one there? And to what sort of price?

    Thanks
    André

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 16:41h, 06 October Reply

      Hi André,

      I just checked their Web site, and see that they only have the 5D Mark III used as part of the 24-105mm kit, for 298,000JPY. They have a whole bunch of bodies on the site too, but they are all marked as sold out.

      http://mapcamera.com/search?keyword=Canon+EOS+5D+Mark+III

      You might want to just go and check it out. They might have something that isn’t on the Web site yet.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Tarmo
    Posted at 21:45h, 04 January Reply

    Hi Martin, thanks for great information and Happy New!
    Do You have information, can I order camera online from Europe to some Japan hotel or home adrdress…if somebody during their trip will pickup i for me?
    TY

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 22:54h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Tarmo,

      Happy New Year to you too.

      We could probably arrange something if you yourself were coming to Japan, but otherwise, it won’t be possible to have anyone take this back for you. There’s too much risk of items going missing, and that leaves a nasty taste in people’s mouths. Sorry!

      Martin.

  • muath
    Posted at 04:03h, 05 January Reply

    hi please would u like to give the adress

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:00h, 05 January Reply

      Hi Muath,

      There’s a map to the store and a link to their web site above. You can get their address there.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • David Robson
    Posted at 11:19h, 05 January Reply

    Hi Martin,
    Many thanks for the help. Managed to get to Map Camera with no problems as it’s only about 5 mins walk from Shinjuku station. Using Google streetview to do a virtual ‘walk’ from the station to the store was beneficial. Another thing I found really handy was to print off the relevant pages from their website to show the staff the lenses/cameras I was after – made things much easier (although their English was excellent & much better than my Japanese) and it was very straightforward getting the kit I needed. Not sure how useful this might be but I found the Yen-GBP exchange rate was much better using my credit card than cash. The 2nd hand equipment is worth looking at – the Japanese tend to really look after their kit so most are in very good condition – plus they’re a lot cheaper. Seem to remember only the new equipment got the ‘passport discount’ though. Again, many thanks for all the help & happy new year!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:29h, 05 January Reply

      Thanks for the update David! This is all great information. The Yen-GBP exchange rate is moving up and down quite a lot recently, so it looks like you got a good deal. Plus, the banks/exchange bureaus often add a pretty hefty lifting charge, which can certainly make credit cards the better option. Certainly good to note this.
      A Happy New Year to you too!

  • Alex
    Posted at 20:14h, 14 March Reply

    Hey Martin,

    I’m heading there next week. Thanks for this blog.. I was just wondering, If it’s possible to replace the point card with a discount to the price instead seeing as how I’m a tourist and probably won’t have a chance to come back and use the points?

    Thanks in advance

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 22:48h, 14 March Reply

      You’re welcome Alex.

      I don’t think they’ll do that, but you can always ask. Take your passport though, as they’ll knock the tax off for you.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

      • Alex
        Posted at 23:05h, 14 March Reply

        Thanks for the reply! Will probably see what else I can buy with the point card then 🙂

  • ivan
    Posted at 23:42h, 06 May Reply

    Hi,
    Are trading in old lense a hassle with map camera? I have a couple of really old lense, will map camera reject them?

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 00:05h, 07 May Reply

      I’ve never found it a hassle, but my gear is usually in relatively good condition. If they are relatively well kept, then just being old shouldn’t be a problem, but I can’t say for sure that they’ll take your lenses. You’d have to ask Map directly.

      • Ivan
        Posted at 09:14h, 07 May Reply

        Hi Martin,
        Thanks!
        I think I will do like what you suggest give the old lense a good “scrub” and hope Map Camera is able to give me some credit to get my new lense!

  • Peter
    Posted at 07:54h, 01 November Reply

    Just had a bad experience at Map. Great prices, but they get all nervous when you show a foreign debit card. They pass it as a credit card and it gets rejected. I explained its a debit card, but their agent UC cards are not familiar, and after rejecting it the card gets frozen. I called up my bank, and they said there were no issues, but the card was passed as a credit card. I politely asked them to call their agent and see how a debit card could be processed (perhaps with a PIN instead of signature), but I was told there were a lot of camera shops around the area. Very unusual in this day with 100`s of tourists visiting their store and the weak yen. Very unbusinesslike. A lady did try, but one guy at the Canon floor was totally a jerk.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:09h, 01 November Reply

      Thanks for letting me know Peter. Debit cards are just not common here, so I can understand this could cause an issue. If you were going to pay basically in cash (via debit card) was it not possible to just go and get the cash?

  • Salah
    Posted at 16:46h, 23 February Reply

    Thanks for sharing this store. I was looking for a store to trade my gear and you saved my time.

  • Dhany Bangert
    Posted at 16:02h, 13 April Reply

    Hi Martin,

    At last I found your site that could convince me about Map Camera. I’ve been looking map camera sites for nearly six months and do the checking about pricing as comparison to other shop in my country (Indonesia). My only question is, did I will get an English menu when I purchase brand new or used camera from them? I don’t mind about the Warranty issues. It only bothering me because many sites tells that buying camera in JP is in JP language. Appreciate your prompt reply as I will travel to Japan in the not too distant future. Thank you so much and compliment to you site! It helps a lot.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 16:25h, 13 April Reply

      Hi Dhany,

      It would depend on what you buy. Canon cameras for example come set in Japanese, but you can easily change that to English, and if necessary, the person in the shop can help you to find that option. For other manufacturers, I imagine it will be much the same, but you’d need to check.

      I’m pleased my site/post was useful.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

      • Dhany Bangert
        Posted at 23:00h, 13 April Reply

        Hi Martin,

        Appreciate much on your replied. Thank you so much. In the future time, I’ll join your workshop! Must be a great journey indeed traveling with a pro 🙂

        Kind regards,
        Dhany

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 23:51h, 13 April Reply

          It would be great to see you on a future tour Dhany. I look forward to traveling with you.

    • tinsol
      Posted at 20:40h, 20 January Reply

      sony and panasonic most likely wont. fuji did not sure if with all cameras.

  • Natalie Nguyen
    Posted at 00:43h, 15 January Reply

    Hi Martin,

    Thank you very much for your information. Please help me to clarify my concern. Does MAP Camera accept foreign credit card payment ? I have Chase visa credit card from USA. I plan to buy new gear at MAP Camera; it will be my long trip and Tokyo will be my last stop, so I don’t have to carry a lot of cash with me.

    Best regards,
    Natalie

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 15:01h, 24 January Reply

      Hi Natalie,

      Map accepts Visa/Mastercard etc. but whether or not they accept a card from overseas probably depends on your card company, rather than Map Camera. My advice would be to call your card company and tell them that you will be traveling in Japan, and ask them to ensure that transactions from Japan are accepted during the dates you’ll be hear.

      Regards,
      Martin.

      • Natalie Nguyen
        Posted at 04:06h, 26 January Reply

        Thank you very much for your information.

  • Andrew
    Posted at 09:30h, 23 March Reply

    Interesting reading, thanks for the post!
    I’m going to visit Tokyo soon and I might going to spend some money on used gears.
    I’m a big fan of old manual lenses, is it Map Camera still the best place to go considered they also sell used gears, or is there a better, more specific place for old manual lenses/camera?

    Thanks

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 09:39h, 23 March Reply

    You’re welcome Andrew.

    Map have an extensive range of used gear, so it’s definitely worth a visit. There are lots of used gear shops, but I can’t think of any that I’d recommend over Map.

  • Andrew
    Posted at 02:42h, 24 March Reply

    Sounds great, I’ll go visit Map for sure then, can’t wait!
    Thank you Martin.

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