A Tour of B&H Photo Video

The B&H Photo Video mega store is definitely one of the must-see attractions of New York. If you have never been there before, I highly recommend to check it out, because it is one of those unique places that you will not experience anywhere else in the world. Last week, our team member Tom Redd and I had a chance to visit the PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York (summary of the conference to be posted today). Since it has been a while since I visited New York and I have never been to the B&H store before, I requested a quick tour of the store and asked for permission to take some pictures for our website. B&H kindly agreed to do it for us and we had a great experience that I would like to share with our readers.

B&H Photo Video Building

Before stepping into the store, I noticed the large dark green parts of the building with the B&H logo. Looking at the whole building, one can see that the store is indeed massive, spanning a whole block over two floors! The store is so huge and segmented, that there are multiple entrances for different needs. For example, there is a separate door for selling and buying used equipment and a separate door for returns:

B&H Trade In

Our guides for the tour were Yechiel Orgel (our account representative and a super cool and down to earth guy. Check out his product photography website) and Isaac Buchinger, who led the tour and explained everything in detail:

Isaac

Our first visit was to the professional video studio that B&H set up for television and live broadcast demonstration. While neither Tom nor I are video junkies, we surely appreciated the expensive video camera setups with expensive German Schneider lenses – this one was mounted on a Blackmagic cinema camera (that’s Yechiel in the background, talking to Tom):

Video Room (1)

This room was full of such equipment, some priced at tens of thousands of dollars:

Video Room (2)

From there, we were taken to the audio department. After listening to a dozen expensive speaker systems in a room filled with them, we stepped into a soundproof room used solely for demonstrating microphones. An audio guru assisted us in this room and showed us differences between a hundred and a thousand dollar microphone:

Audio (1)

We were overwhelmed by the sheer number and types of microphones in this room!

Audio (2)

From there, we checked out other parts of the audio department and saw everything from electronic keyboards to headsets, some of which were quite expensive and rare.

Audio (3)

As we walked through the first floor, the famous conveyor belt system for transporting packages was continuously rolling, sending packages from one end of the store to another. This is a very unique system that I have never seen in any other store before, something that was apparently designed by someone without a university degree!

Package Transport System #2

Package Transport System #1

Next we visited different electronics departments – from tablets to the latest versions of Apple laptops and workstations.

We then went straight to lighting gear, where I roamed around for the next 10 minutes, going through all kinds of flashes, softboxes, LED lights, stands and a myriad of other lighting tools and accessories:

Lighting

And speaking of accessories, every wall was pretty much filled with them – adapters, flash triggers, remote camera triggers, lens adapters, rings – you name it and it is all there:

Accessories

The second floor is the heart of the store – that’s were all cameras and lenses are sold, along with printers, monitors, LCD screens, tripods and much more. Each brand has its own booth, from big brands like Nikon and Canon to smaller ones like Olympus and Samsung:

Cameras

And if you want to see some Nikon glass, cameras and flashes, this is the place – literally walls full of all kinds of gear:

Nikon Lenses

And several rows of different tripods, monopods and gorillapods to choose from:

Tripods

The second floor is where Tom and I spent the rest of the time. We were just lost going through each section of the store – there was so much to see! Both Yechiel and Isaac were extremely patient with us, while we were getting buried in all kinds of goodies, like kids in a candy store.

As we walked back down to the first floor, Isaac showed us the large waiting room. Apparently, it is specifically designed for customers to open their purchased equipment, play with it and maybe just relax after long hours of shopping in the store:

Waiting Room

Needless to say, Tom and I had a blast. Despite an hour long tour, we thanked both Yechiel and Isaac for the opportunity, then quickly headed back to the store to explore it even more :)

If you have never been to the B&H store, I highly recommend to check it out – it is an amazing experience! Big thanks to Yechiel, Isaac and Mark at B&H for organizing this special tour for our team at Photography Life!

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Sai
    October 29, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Thank you for the photo log. Always wanted to know how it looks from inside. The day i land in US, this would be the place before i think of checking out Washington DC :)

  2. 2
    ) Frank Jr.
    October 29, 2013 at 6:06 am

    I am not sure about the lack of a college degree reference, but that store seems impressive. I wonder if Adorama looks like that? I would be like a kid in a candy store too.

    Thanks for the review.

    • 6
      ) George
      October 29, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Adorama’s NYC location is nowhere near as impressive in terms of scope, size, and experience. That said, because of the smaller environs, it isn’t nearly as hectic and crowded so certain shoppers may get more out of it.

      Would also have to agree with your questioning of the “university degree” reference. Nasim, I can assure you the operational complexity involved in their conveyor belt system is considerable and absolutely essential to serving the throngs of customers who descend on their store.

    • October 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Frank, it was Isaac that told me the story of the uneducated man that design that very impressive conveyor system. It was not meant to be an insult, but rather a praise that someone without high education could develop such a complex system :)

      • 11
        ) Frank Jr.
        October 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm

        I will never undermine the importance of a college education, but there are folks with a natural talent that can accomplish some very impressive things. My grandfather never graduated from high school, but owned and operated a rather large farm that put five children through college totally on his own dime. I have my EE degree, but can’t grow a weed…….. lol

        Thanks again Nasim for sharing this. : )

  3. October 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

    B&H is amazing. I always try to go there when I’m in new York.

  4. 4
    ) samer RIZK
    October 29, 2013 at 7:40 am

    So which gear did you take with you on this trip :)

    I want to say your Olympus?

    Cheers..
    samer

    • October 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Samer, nope, it was all Fuji… Olympus stayed at home.

  5. 5
    ) Chris
    October 29, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Did it feel like “kid in candy store”?

    • October 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Absolutely! I had to pull myself out, or I would be there for much longer… LOL

  6. October 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve been shopping at B&H, and Adorama, since the early 1980’s. Here’s what I think:
    http://billkeane.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/bh-photo-shabbat-pesach-shalom/

  7. 12
    ) Lawrence C. Salley
    October 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Nasim:
    I’ve been shopping at B&H since they open up in 1973, and have purchased tens of thousand worth of Nikon and related equipment, and now you know why I never have equipment shipped, I would rather travel the 35 miles from my home in White Plains, NY to experience the wonders of the “SUPER” store. There is nothing like it in the world. One of the things you didn’t mention is the large classroom they have that seats at least 75 were they constantly have free tutorials on every aspect of photography. Any photographer that travels to NYC, and doesn’t pay them a visit is really missing out. Oh, by the way, did I mention the unmatched customer service.

  8. 13
    ) Arif
    October 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I’ve visited B&H once in 2004. Somehow the store wasn’t as big as my expectation

  9. 14
    ) Phil Harris
    October 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    A bit surprised to see so many bodies sitting on a shelf with no body caps on them.

    I’m sure the place is extremely clean but I would never leave a camera like that in the most surgical of environments.

    • October 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Body caps get in the way of consumers putting lenses on the cameras they may want to handle and purchase. Cleaning a DSLR for later sale is super easy…

  10. November 3, 2013 at 2:18 am

    And of course you can plan your visit to the store using
    Google Street View ( inside the store )

    http://goo.gl/maps/1eUNS

    I visit BH every time I’m in NYC but it is more and more seldom I actually buy things while visiting _ from what I see the place is packed with tourists ( I hear a lot of Portugese language ) – OTOH they are very fast for online orders – I got some amazing fast deliveries like 2 days ( I’m in Europe / Sweden ) making them a better source then most local sellers.

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