I’ll own up to my love of gear, doodads, and gizmos, and that makes photography a perfect career for me. The right gear makes the impossible possible and brings ease to the difficult. I was thrilled to see a new source open up, Essential Photo Supply. Each photo store is an
experience in finding things I didn’t know were available with the opportunity to touch the equipment and gear and see if it is right for me. And each store comes with a knowledgeable person to guide me through the pros and cons of each piece and to show me how some not-so obvious controls function. The expert at the photo supply store is an essential person on the photo team that thankfully is just a call away.

Ken Sintz, owner of Essential Photo Supply, which just opened, has extensive local experience in the photo gear business. Patient, he was my go-to guy when I made the big shift from film to digital in 2005. He explained and demonstrated like the kind of teacher whose greatest happiness is when a student finally gets what he’s talking about and goes off to make it work.

Essential Photo Supply
Photo by Scot Zimmerman

Sintz’s vision is a community camera store synced to the pedestrian environment of the Ninth & Ninth neighborhood. There’s a table and chairs in the landscaped front for people in the business who meet up at the shop to chat and catch up. For pedestrians, who stop in while walking the neighborhood to browse, there are unique gift items and books. The cameras are both new and previously owned, and digital as well as film.

Essential Photo Supply
Photo by Scot Zimmerman


There’s a cooler with a large selection of film, and more planned for the big cooler downstairs. With a memory for detail, Sintz is stocking the types, sizes and speeds that he knows are favorites of local photographers who work in film. I understand film processing is soon to come, which is sure to add convenience.


The 19th century home-turned business has a rich history, which is reflected in the brickwork. There is plenty of well-lit space to look at the gear and accessories, and the tables are placed so that pieces can be carefully examined and functions demonstrated. The flexibility of the building allows for services like classes, lens calibration, and sensor cleaning, all intended to meet the community camera store vision.

Previously, the building was home to a flower store that specialized in orchids. The floral business outgrew this space and moved on leaving behind the big cooler in the basement that will contain film, and the green house visible to the rear of the store.

Essential Photo Supply
Photo by Scot Zimmerman


The former greenhouse makes a wonderful daylit shooting studio that is available hourly. Another source of photo goods! Whoever said you can have too much of a good thing wasn’t a photographer, especially one who never thinks he has enough gear.


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