Penn Camera Abruptly Closes in Penn Quarter

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

One of the last brick and mortar camera shops has closed their doors for good. A reader sends word yesterday:

Calumet Photo bought Penn Camera, a DC institution on E Street and elsewhere, a while back after Penn declared bankruptcy. Today, without notice, they shuttered all their U.S. stores, which includes Penn Camera. Sad to see a DC institution for photographers disapper so suddenly.”

Penn Camera was located at 840 E Street, NW. For those with deep pockets – there is still the Leica store at 975 F Street, NW.

16 Comment

  • This is so sad. Deep pockets are not, the Leica store is no substitute.

  • Noo! I was going to go there this weekend to drop off some film to get developed. Where will I go now? Does the Leica store develop film? Any other suggestions?

    • The Leica store doesn’t develop film, but a few CVS’s around town still do in store. The Dupont Circle one has the best, most consistent quality I’ve found so far since they do it so often. All the national chain drug stores otherwise offer mail-order development. That only goes for color negative 35mm film, btw.

      For the other types, you can send them (or drive them) to Dodge Chrome in Silver Spring.

    • Apparently the Walgreens in West End will develop and make prints for $11.99

    • Embassy Camera at 1735 Connecticut Ave, near Dupont Circle, has never done me wrong with film developing or photo printing. Smaller store than Penn Camera, but a good one.

    • There’s still a Ritz camera store in downtown Bethesda on Arlington Road. I know that they do passport photos, and I assume that they still offer their full array of services including developing film.

  • It’s shame, but not sure I would call it “sudden”. I thought Calumet bought them out just for the assets under control and was always planning on shuttering the storefronts here. If they had promised to keep them open then that does suck. There are still some pros using film for certain projects, what options are left in DC proper? Any? And for us regular folks who occasionally rented lenses from them. Admittedly the online rental outfits fill that gap nicely as long as you know what you need.

    • Just to be even clearer. Calumet did take over Penn Camera. Because Calumet is closing all of the US stores, I think the title should rather say Calumet sudden closes in Penn Quarter. Penn Camera was loved by this city especially from this guy. The impact of online purchasing has taken a very negative affect on electronic brick and motor stores for better or for worse.

  • Sad. I bought my first camera from Penn (egads – it was 1971): a Minolta SRT 101 (I think). Not a single piece of plastic in that baby. Very sad, indeed.

  • As others have mentioned, this is a loss for film development. They would also create digital versions of the film, which was nice. Shame to lose this, but a sign of the times.

  • Embassy is still around. Sadly, though, Penn did things like rent equipment and buy/sell used equipment.

    DC is now more Atlanta-like (crappy Ritz stores making up most of what’s left).

  • In Penn Quarter, CVS offers photo processing. They send it out though so it’s not 1 to n hour turns.

    • In general, drug store photo processing is a gamble. Unless you know where they send your film, you never know how skilled or what type of equipment the developer uses.

  • Time to migrate back to Embassy Camera…

  • If you’re looking for professional grade processing, you can mail your film here:

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