Welcome back to Leicester, Jessops!

Jessops, the photographic retailers, are a bit of a Leicester institution. Their first store opened here in 1935 and it was with great sadness that the Leicester store closed three years ago. Having traded online, and being rejuvenated by Dragon Peter Jones, they are now happily back with us, opening their new store in the Highcross shopping centre last week. And they celebrated in style with a glitzy launch event including a recreation of a photograph from the opening of their original store! Super cute.

The opening of the first Jessop’s on Oxford Street, Leicester in 1935. Photo courtesy of Jessops

The opening of the Highcross Leicester store, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jessops.

As you can imagine, bloggers and camera stores go together like bees round a honey pot, so I was keen to check it out and see what they had on offer. They have everything nicely categorized so it’s easy to find what you want – lenses, compacts, SLR systems, even drones! I don’t know why drones. But y’know? Drones with cameras on.

I particularly liked the little twisty display stands which allow you to take a good 360 look at the different cameras, and even take a photo with one hand whilst examining with the other. There were plenty of helpful staff on site able to answer all your questions. This is one of the things I, and talking to friends and colleagues, everyone, values most about having a photographic shop back in the city. The advice is irreplaceable. Buying cameras and even accessories can still be a big financial commitment and sometimes it can be hard to be certain when buying online that you are getting the right thing. Face to face discussions help to resolve that – and they even offer one on one ‘classes’ to help you get to know your specific camera – whether you bought it at Jessops or not. I love the internet, but there’s always a place for real people in my world.

Photo printing services are available

On that note, I did have one person tweeting me on the day saying how they received terrible service and the prices were a lot higher than online. Upon questioning them it seemed they just had a bit of an anti-Jessops vendetta, whicih is fine – each to their own. They hadn’t actually visited the new Leicester store (which had only been open for an hour when I tweeted!) so weren’t in a position to comment on the staff who I found to be excellent. However, their comment about price prompted me to investigate further.

I used the price information I had captured on my photographs to compare with online prices. Obviously you would expect online stores to be cheaper to a degree on account of the lower overheads. Here is what I found:

  • Olympus TG-Tracker Green £279 in store, and £279 online! The only cheaper one I could see immediately was the black version through Ebay at £265.39 – but I can’t comment on the seller because it was an American seller shipping to the UK.
  • DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Drone £699 in store, £616 – £765.56 online at various retailers – so a good average price in that regard.
  • Canon E0S 700D Twin Kit £509 with £40 cashback in store, and £479 – £699 online – so a great deal with the cashback.

I’ve done everything I can there to compare like with like so I hope I’ve got it right, but I’d say the prices are surprisingly competitive compared with buying online.

Finally we got to sneak into the academy room for a quick chat with the manager. We found out all about the various academy’s that are available – learn basic photography skills, how to handle your camera, go on photo walks and even learn to photograph various types of wildlife – these sessions really would make great gifts. (Hint. *cough* Hint)

Academy room – with bloggers in!

So, yet another happy addition to our city, or is it a re-introduction? Thanks to Jessops for inviting me along and also giving me a super spiffy canvas of one of my favourite shots that I took in Porto earlier this year, I am very grateful! Let me know your experience of the new Jessops store in the comments below!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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