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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
King Digital: Well-Stocked Camera Shop in Downtown Cairo
What is it about having to trawl through narrow unlabelled streets, dodging traffic and getting lost for hours in order to find a certain shop in Cairo? From experience it is always the best shops that don’t want to be found, rather hidden like a gem, unknown to most.
Camera shop King Digital is one such gem that took some time to find. Located in Downtown Cairo in Bab El Louk, you have to pass swarming polluted streets, roads laden with potholes, and an array of shops selling zimmer frames and cheap bicycles to get to it.
Once you spot the dirty orange sign hung high, you will identify exactly where the camera shop is. The building is run down like most in this area, but is occupied by many businesses. There are other shops on the premises that sell camera equipment, however they are not nearly as well stocked as King Digital.
Walk up to the first floor and you will spot a sign directing you to the entrance. A jumble of tripods is arranged outside including more expensive, sturdier brands to cheaper, flimsier ones – depending on your needs and budget. When you enter the small shop you are greeted by a mountain of accessories, from camera bags, old fashion wooden photo frames to the ubiquitous wedding albums complete with tacky covers.
The shelves are crammed with all kinds of photography equipment, from professional to semi-professional with a small range of popular SLR cameras, mainly Nikon and Canon. There are also a wide variety of Nikon, Canon and Sigma lenses, wide, prime and telephoto. You also can pick up SD cards, mounted flash units, lens hoods, lens filters (75LE), studio lighting and camera cleaning kits (60LE).
Most digital SLR camera prices are better than Radio Shack, with a Nikon D3100 with a lens kit costing 3600LE at the time of our visit, but warranty terms and conditions are uncertain so ask before purchasing.
The staff are supposed to be knowledgeable and answer any query you have but we found one particular employee unable to respond to our technical questions in English, and we assumed he didn’t know in Arabic either. Some of the staff were willing to help, but be warned about the lack of attention.
After ten frustrating minutes another employee assisted us who was more helpful, and we went away with a Nikon 50mm manual focus lens with 1.8 aperture (850LE).
The availability of photography equipment is really hit and miss, so make sure you ring up and check if they have what you’re looking for before you make the journey to Downtown Cairo.
In Cairo it’s hard to find a reputable camera shop where the prices won’t burn a hole in your wallet. King Digital is a haven for those searching for hard to get equipment but at an attainable price. Just make sure you read up on any technical information regarding the equipment you want to buy as you may have a difficult time getting the answers you want.
All the computers are clearly labelled, with a long list of specifications next to each one. However, not knowing much about what makes a computer fast, or indeed what we'd need for it to work for us, we relied heavily on the shop assistant to decipher the list and had no choice but to trust him.
Other than persuasive sales pitches, the other thing to be wary of is that none of the computers come with Microsoft Office. Computer Shop does sell the bundle, but it'll set you back an extra 555LE. You also should be aware that not all their computers come with the most recent Windows 8, so be sure to check you're not being sold an older version.
Unfortunately though, nothing in Computer Shop is plugged in or turned on so you can't test the products before you buy them.
Computer Shop stock can also be browsed online but the in-shop assistants are good for advising the customer on what to buy, especially with more computer knowledge than most. However, if you have very specific taste, make sure you're firm about what you want to prevent them from going off on a tangent.
Poor customer service.