About us

About Cambrian Photography

Established in 1946 by Dick Duncalf, Cambrian Photography has become the largest photographic retailer in North Wales.

Our shop in Colwyn Bay has been established for over 70 years and covers every aspect of photography from large and medium format cameras to the most up to date digital equipment. Our opening hours are 9:00am until 5:30pm Monday to Saturday, with a 5:00pm finish time on Wednesday. We are closed on Sunday.

We stock a vast range of film and digital cameras including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Sony and Pentax. We have lighting and accessories from Bowens and Lastolite, tripods from Manfrotto, Sirui, Three Legged Thing and Velbon and a huge selection of camera bags and accessories from Manfrotto, Billingham, Mindshift, Think Tank and Crumpler.

Our impressive range of binoculars and spotting scopes include quality brands such as Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Minox, Hawke, Olympus and Opticron, with Meade and Sky-Watcher represented amongst our stargazing equipment.

We also stock Fotospeed Inkjet paper, and a full range of memory cards and digital camera batteries, in fact just about any photographic requirement.

We specialise in part exchange and also provide a guarantee on all second hand equipment.

We have a well-equipped studio, which is also available for hire, along with a training suite, including HD Projector and kitchen.

We have a very active eBay Store which is full of fantastic online bargains.
In addition to our well-stocked shop we have a comprehensive processing department, which provides for both film and digital processing by a team of dedicated experts. With all our processing carried out on the premises using modern equipment, you can be assured of a professional and speedy service.

Our Colwyn Bay store remains one of the most comprehensively stocked camera shops in the North West and Wales. We pride ourselves on providing good customer service and products at competitive prices, so please contact us via e-mail or telephone and we will be happy to help you.

The story

The story of Cambrian Photography is the story of its founder Dick Duncalf. He started as a photographer in Conwy in 1945. "We made a good business taking pictures of tourists by the Castle and The Smallest House" he recalls with fond memories. "Even then we used to have the prints ready in an hour!"

"There was no film or paper available in shops so we used bulk film and paper from the Air Force - 35mm from the gun cameras and 1000ft waterproof paper cut down to 9 3/8 inches (an early version of resin coated papers)."

"Because there was such a shortage of films and papers available we started to sell the ex Air Force stock in the shop. Pretty soon the tail started to wag the dog!"

We used Leica’s, as they were the only 35mm cameras available at the time.

After a time working in Tywyn Meirionydd, as the official photographer of the Western Command he left the Army in 1962 and returned to the shop as the photographer. By then trade had increased and the shop was at its present site in Colwyn Bay.

"I remember one morning going to the bakery that was behind the shop to buy a loaf and finding that they were selling up, when I got back to the shop I not only had a loaf but the bakery as well! That was in '63." The old bakery was then converted into the 500sq ft studio.

"I thought that it was important to lead in terms of technology, and things had changed a lot even since I started. I began my photographic career using glass plates and flash powder and by 1963 I was using electronic lights in the studio (Broncolor). I was the first in the area to have a portable electronic flash, it was called a Mega Flash and the battery bag weighed 15-16 pounds and the reflector was like a frying pan! I used a Ross studio camera with an 8.5" x 6.5" whole plate back and we had a state of the art front projection unit. Those were the days."

One aspect of Cambrian photography today that customers admire is the collection of plate cameras and antique equipment that sits on the higher shelves surrounding the shop. This is only a small part of an extensive collection that Dick collected over the years. "I started the collection because I didn't have a pension!" he jokes, "Sadly most of the cameras are boxed away as we don't have enough space to exhibit them. We had looked at opening a photographic museum at one time in Conwy but sadly that all fell through".

"One thing that I feel passionate about (apart from fishing) is the importance of continuity". Even though Mark Duncalf now runs the shop Dick still spends a few months of the year helping out. "Cambrian is a family business - everyone is involved in some way and that to me is vital in today's market where people are so often treated like herded consumers and the craft of photography is secondary to the technology".

Mark took over the business from his father in the early 80s after completing his HND in Photography at Blackpool and Fylde College. Mark is responsible for much of the photography at Cambrian from injury photos to weddings to architecture. In his spare time Mark is a keen fisherman.

Cambrian Photography became a limited company in August 2003 but continues to be a family run business with the emphasis on customer service. Cambrian is a 'bricks & mortar' business in that we don't just exist in cyberspace, we have a well stocked store with knowledgeable staff keen to answer all your questions about your purchase, something not available from many 'internet businesses'. After-sales service is also something that we pride ourselves in, not only can we supply all your film and digital media but we have a full range of accessories to boot. Should your equipment suffer a malfunction we offer a guarantee on all equipment including second hand products as well as a thorough repair service for any equipment out of guarantee.

As well as a large range of ready-made picture frames, we have a fully equipped framing workshop with a large selection of mouldings and mounts to choose from. This enables us to provide a bespoke picture framing service to whatever size you are likely to require.
A comprehensive processing department provides for both film and digital processing by a team of dedicated experts. With all our processing carried out on the premises you can be assured of a professional and speedy service.

With such a comprehensive range of services Cambrian Photography continues to go from strength to strength.