If you’re a photographer looking for the best store to buy cameras, lenses, or any other photo & video equipment in Shanghai, Xing Guang is the ultimate place to go. It currently occupies two multi-storey buildings with hundreds of shops where you will find everything from the most recent cameras to vintage lenses, studio equipment, or even drones. Even though you can find some consumer point-and-shoot cameras, Xing Guang mall is aimed at amateur and professional photographers and filmmakers. To help out fellow photographers I created this detailed guide with an overview of each building and floor; make sure to read practical tips at the bottom of the article as well.
Xing Guang Photographic Equipment City 星光摄影器材城
Address: 300 Luban Rd, by Xietu Rd (鲁班路300号 近斜土路)
Phone: +86 21 6301 8248
Hours: 9am-7pm, daily
Metro: 5-minute walk from Luban Lu station of metro line 4 (exit 1), 8-minute walk from Dapuqiao Lu station of metro line 9 (exit 2)
As I work as a full-time professional photographer and filmmaker in Shanghai, Xing Guang camera mall has become my second most frequented shop after the local grocery store. Having spent there a fair amount of time, here is the breakdown of this massive place to help you on your way.
1F – I usually avoid the first floor altogether as the prices are typically higher (due to more expensive rent) and sellers are more pushy.
2F – This is my favourite floor for buying new camera bodies and lenses, all popular brands can be found (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji, Leica, Sigma, Tamron, and others) . Some other equipment you can find in stock are GoPro sports cameras, tripods and heads, camera bags, batteries, dry cabinets and dehumidifiers. There is also a fair share of video gear (jibs, sliders, cages) and even sound recording devices or mics.
3F – The third floor is mostly dedicated to photo and video accessories, both local China brands and imported. You can buy anything from monitor callibrators, LED video lights, filters, gimbals, camera straps, sensor and lens cleaning kits, underwater cases for DSLR cameras and smartphones, more bags, more tripods, and more of everything else. There is a cool shop focused only on instant cameras and another one for analog film shooters. Want some books and albums? You got it too.
4F – This one is similar to the third floor. Besides accessories you can find some studio backdrops and supplies, large formar cameras, drones from DJI, well stocked shop with Aputure lighting, and others selling Sandisk or Phottix products.
5F – If your credit card hasn’t been suspended by now and you love studio equipment, hit floor five. There are some nice shops with local brands (Godox, Jinbei, Yongnuo, Pixel) and foreign ones (Broncolor, Elinchrom, Profoto, Arri, Bowens). Lighting equipment, modifiers, backdrops, stands – all can be had as long as your pockets are deep enough.
6F – This floor is dedicated to printing solutions. Bring your files on USB drive and get them printed on canvas or any type of paper you can imagine. There are also services for framing or film scanning. Deposits are required on the submission of files with the remaining balance on pickup.
In the past they used to host all printing shops there. Currently there is only a coffee shop and some workshop space on the ground floor of the building. Most shops moved to bldg A, 6F.
1F – New camera and lens equipment, similar to bldg A. In fact I don’t have any experience buying in this floor as it usually looks pretty empty there.
2F – That’s where you go to get your second-hand gear, or even vintage cameras or lens. Shelves are sagging under the weight of those and there is pretty high chance you can find what you’re looking for. I advise to carefully examine the 2nd hand equipment there. There are stories of old beat-up DLSRs having their body replaced with a new one to retain high resale value. Mind that the sellers themselves might be also unaware of that. It’s generally safer to buy lenses as they are easier to test for any malfunctions. Depending on your negotiation skills, shops will offer 1 to 3-month warranty in case of any issues. Note, that except of buying, you can also sell your photo and video equipment here. Their offers are a bit under the market rate but it might work for someone who is into a quick sale.
3F – It’s pretty much the same of second floor. Worth visiting to compare offers.
4F – Your precious camera or lens is broken? You’re in luck as this floor is dedicated to repair shops that will usually fix your gear for the fraction of the price of the official service. They will do free appraisal before quoting the service fee, I have mostly positive experience there. Besides that, they can also help you with sensor cleaning and other maintenance issues.
- Prices – do your homework and know the price before stepping in the shop. Taobao.com is a good start. There isn’t much bargaining on new cameras but on other equipment you can quote lower prices from taobao and then slowly go up. Also, compare different stalls to find your average price. If they are reluctant to go lower, try bargaining for extras – batteries, memory cards, screen protectors, everything goes! The prices of Chinese brands are much better than anywhere else. Foreign makes might be cheaper (if you come from Europe), similarly priced (if you come from US), or more expensive (if you come from HK).
- Fakes – never had a problem with new cameras or lenses. It’s generally safe to buy there, though there is always some chance that small things like memory cards or batteries could be counterfeit. Especially if the price is too good to be true.
- Warranty – remember to inquire about origins of equipment and confirm the warranty terms. The three most popular options are: Hang Huo (行货) which is the official release for China market and comes with fapiao (official receipt), Shuihuo (水货) which are normally goods unofficially imported to China from other countries avoiding tax, and Gang Ban (港版) – usually smuggled from Hong Kong and cheaper by 5-10% but also without official invoice. The former is under official warranty in China, in the two latter cases your warranty is usually only valid for the in-house unofficial repair but you get better price. The warranty terms vary depending on specific manufacturer, best to check directly with them.
- Operating Hours – some shops open late (10am), others close early (5-6pm). Smaller shops can also be closed during lunch break (12-1pm).
- Payment – most shops accept credit cards, cash, Alipay, WeChat Pay. There are also ATMs on the ground floors of each building, should you run out of cash.
- Language – more and more places have some English speaking staff, but not all. The ability to speak Chinese is an advantage when it comes to bargaining, you can bring your Chinese-speaking friend and treat them to a nice dinner after ;)