Buying m43 lenses in Seoul, Korea?

Started Jan 21, 2013 | Questions thread
Dave Sanders
Contributing MemberPosts: 951Gear list
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Chungmuro...and Chungmuro!!
In reply to Raffwal, Jan 22, 2013

Raffwal wrote:

Any suggestions? Oh, I'll be mostly in Gangnam area I guess.

When I lived in Seoul 10 years ago (That long? I feel old!), it was all about Chungmuro and, according to my friends, it still is. Chungmuro is where the #3 Orange and #4 Light Blue subway lines meet. The area is chalk full of Seoul's best photographic specialty stores and pro shops. There are some stores that are more consumer-oriented but a lot of them sell serious gear for serious folk. This is where you find a lot of the gear collectors and film addicts so lots of classic used equipment and film stores/developers. I once walked in to a store that had 5 canon 200/1.8 lenses on display! I did a quick search and found this website/guide to Chungmuro which looks pretty useful. You will also find lots of quality accessories here like tripods, filters, lights, bags, etc. There was one shop I used to go to that had great deals on Rodenstock and B+W filters.

One of the beauties of Chungmuro is that it's a bit of an adventure...makes finding things that much more exciting. The area itself is a bit of a maze of small streets and is quite interesting to take pictures of so you can shoot while you shop. Very close to the station you will also find a restored traditional Korean village nestled among the modern high-rises. Namsangol Hanok Village is interesting to check out and, of course, a great place to take photos.

Gangnam is the most expensive area of Seoul and, more-or-less, is where the new money folks congregate, hence Psy's overplayed satirical "Gangnam Style" making fun of the area and the ladies who spend their money on handbags and coffee rather than food. Point? It can be unnecessarily expensive as shops are covering some staggeringly expensive rent as they cater to the see-and-be-seen set.

COEX Mall can be an interesting place, but more for people watching than for photo shopping. There are a few great  places in the mall. If you are a craft beer lover, O'Kim's Brauhaus in the upper floor of the mall is pretty much the only place to get quality beer. It's expensive but, if you're sick of Hite, Cass, OB and Cafri (which all taste the same), it's worth it. There is also the excellent and informative Kimchi Museum in the lower portion or basement of the mall. I have a borderline obsession with kimchi so perhaps I found it more interesting than most, but no matter your interest level, it's pretty cool and an interesting look into Korean culture.

Enjoy, I don't know how long you will be in Seoul but it's a pretty awesome place. I enjoyed my almost 2 years there. Koreans are great people...hospitable and quite friendly once you get past the facade. And they like to eat spicy food and drink, two things that are very close to my heart.

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Dave Sanders

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