Penn Camera declares bankruptcy – closed 18th St, NW Store. Status of E St, NW Location Not Known

Photo of 1015 18th Street NW Penn Camera via Penn

Thanks to a reader for sending word that a discussion on revealed that Penn Camera has declared bankruptcy:

Penn Camera, arguably the best remaining camera store in the Washington, DC – Baltimore area told its employees late this afternoon that it had filed for bankruptcy, and would be closing several of its locations almost immediately. I was told that the remaining locations (Rockville, Tysons’, and maybe downtown) would remain open for “a while”, but photofinishing at all locations would stop immediately.

A call to the 840 E Street NW location confirmed the bankruptcy. They also shared word that the 1015 18th Street NW has already been closed. As of today the E St, NW location remains open but it’s future is unknown.

You can see Penn Camera’s other locations here.

24 Comment

  • Any word if there will be any going out of business sales?

  • saf

    That sucks. I love them, and have bought all our camera stuff from them. They know their stuff.

  • Digital killed the analog star.

    • Film may be relegated to niche status now, but Penn Camera still carries lots of digital equipment. They will be missed by all types of photographers 🙁

    • ah

      Digital plus online shopping.

      Like any bricks and mortar place, it’s hard to sell a camera, plus tax, at a price that’s better than the various online options.

  • This really sucks. The book stores, the record shops, the camera stores. I went to penn camera frequently because I actually still shoot film, and they can process 120 film pretty quick. I am really sad about this.

  • Bear

    Apparently this happened just a few hours after a photographer friend of mine dropped off some film to be developed. Not sure if he’ll get it back.

  • My father has worked for Penn Camera for the past 25+ years. I would work at Penn Camera in the summer time when I was a teen. This has come as a shock to our family and it saddens me because not only are a ton of ppl loosing their jobs, but there will be no quality places for photographers in the DMV area. Penn has a great reputation for having super informed and friendly staff, it saddens me to hear about this

  • Best Buy, Target, even CVS for photo prints – it’s all killing the smaller stores where you can get expert service. The places that survive are going online.

  • goddamn it. i just learned about penn camera when i bought christmas presents from 18th street two weeks ago. they were very friendly and unlike Ritz actually had equipment and materials for sale and helpful staff. i told them i was excited to find a legit local photography store so that i could get back into photography and making prints.

    are there any other good local places around? or do i have to settle for snapfish now?

    • So sad to hear we are losing Penn Camera. Sure you can buy stuff online but without stores like this where are you going to be able to talk to someone who knows something about what they’re selling? As for the alternative…I was in Embassy Camera on Connecticut Ave in Dupont – seems to be a similar type of place to Penn Camera and I know that store has been there for ages. Does anyone have any experience with them?

  • Jesus, I just bought a lens at 18th St 2 days ago. All pleased with myself for helping keep a local photo shop in business. Damn.

  • Very sad indeed. i would have thought that the bankruptcy of Ritz (a totally useless operation) would have given them breathing room to continue. Not surprised about 18th Street. Never saw anyone there when I went-in.

  • The news about Penn Camera is sad indeed for all photographers in the DC area. They had some of the best service I’ve ever experienced.

    I wanted to let readers know about George Mason University’s School of Art Print Studio, which has been in business for about two years. The studio is an on-campus non-profit operation, offering many of the high quality services that Penn Camera did.

    Because we are a non-profit, we work hard to keep our prices affordable for students and artists in the community. The lab was founded by photographers, and is staffed exclusively by artist technicians such as myself.

    Some services we offer:

    -archival-quality fine art inkjet printing
    -high quality laser proofs
    -digital chromogenic prints (digital c-prints)
    -medium and large format color film processing
    -film drum scanning
    -high resolution flatbed scanning
    -color-calibrated previewing stations
    -monitor profiling and calibration services

    We want to spread the word to other artists, photographers, and community members that some the services they were able to receive at Penn Camera will still be conveniently available right here in Fairfax, Virginia.

    Our website is

  • Dang. Does anyone know where I can get slide film developed? I live in DC so am not willing to trek to the burbs.

    I hate digital photography anyway. I know it has its uses (weddings, corporate stuff, etc.) but it just lacks any of the beauty of film photography. Ugh.

  • Sad indeed, I had dropped some film yesterday morning and found out they were closed when I went to pick it up in the afternoon. They were gracious enough to let me pay for it and pick it up.

  • that is really sad and upsetting. i bought my srl camera there and my flash…great customer service indeed. 🙁

  • This was just about the only place where I could rent photographic equipment that I either wanted to try or was too expensive to buy or I only needed for a special occasion. Special lenses, lighting equipment, even fancier cameras. I wonder who if anyone will fill that niche now.

  • this sucks, such a great place, bought $ 1800.00 worth of stuff 12/23/2011, then they file, wont return anything lose my special order, they will be gone, so sad, great people, such great service, B & H camera in New York, thats the best place to order now.. I wish it never happened

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