Friday, 20 May 2011

Preview of Grays of Westminster's Double-Page Advert in Amateur Photographer

An Aladdin's Cave of Second-Hand Nikon

Click the image for a larger version of the advert

Monday, 16 May 2011

Grays of Westminster...arguably the best store for Nikon worldwide

Downstairs at Grays of Westminster: the second hand Nikon department

"If you're in London and you're a Nikon user, this really is a must-stop."
I often find myself in shops in big cities and airports when I'm ready to buy my next toy, but I'm hesitant because I'm not yet certain. The trouble with chains and franchises is that you're usually being served by a spotty teenager whose understanding of a 'good quality point-and-shoot' is a pump-action-water-pistol. Photography is my hobby so my knowledge comes from my little experience, magazines, blogs and online reviews. When I'm in a shop, I'm almost sure of what I'm buying and if I'm still thinking, I need a little help. I don't want to get there only to hear someone read the product description from the box. I'm there to see the item in real life, feel it and perhaps hear an opinion about other potential options. I don't want to waste my time, nor feel obliged to buy something, just because I answered the dreadful question: 'Can I help you?'. No you can't... and no I would not like fries with that!

Amateur photographers fall into a strange customer segment. Our world of shopping is polarised between a shop whose product knowledge (and stock) is limited, and the virtual world where nothing can be touched nor tested. There are of course exceptions: you don't need to touch a battery, this can be bought online, and there are some chains with very professional sales people who've been trained to explain things better... BUT I'm often in and out of a shop in city far away for a maximum of thirty minutes... and I usually get the water-pistol guy!

Two weeks ago I was in London on business. I arrived in the evening, hired a car the next morning, drove to the east coast for a meeting, back to London in the afternoon and flew home that same night. With such a small window, I needed a shop. A real one. With people. I remembered my last experience (back in 2009) when I visited Grays of Westminster, which is arguably the best store for Nikon worldwide,. I went there to buy a replacement lens hood and a battery grip both of which were almost impossible to find anywhere in London.

This time I wanted to buy an every-day lens and a wide angle lens. The former to replace my 18-200, and the latter is something I really missed when I was in Turkey! 18mm is not wide enough for inside a beautiful church or a mosque so I thought it may be time for a wider angle. I emailed Grays asking about stock availability. I had a nice positive reply the following morning so I stopped there before heading to the airport.

This shop is mainly aimed at professionals, but you're made to feel welcome regardless of your knowledge (and budget). You can hear from professionals who know the cameras and the lenses better than anyone I have access to. They listen to your need and try to match it with the best option - offering second-hand options if available. They have a history with Nikon and they know every accessory, lens and camera body. My focus (sorry) is only on digital, but this shop covers it all. They have two publications, a gazette and a quarterly magazine. The gazette is available for download from their website. Speaking of their website, they have a great virtual tour (where the image above was taken from) and a few interesting links. The shop itself is small enough to be personal and large enough to hold the vast stock they maintain. Their second-hand section is a real treat even if you're not looking for anything specific. I was in and out of the shop having tried the lenses, made my purchase and got the VAT reclaim forms filled. I was there for less than an hour! When I checked in (foursquare) I added the comment: 'My Hamleys'. Now that I reflect to write this post today, I can't think of a better description. If you're in London and you're a Nikon user, this really is a must-stop.

Mohammad Abdullah

Story and image excerpted from:

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Nikon Deals: Grays of Westminster News including the Nikon D5100


The arrival of spring brings with it hundreds of things to be thankful for; the promise of longer days, warmer sunshine and new beginnings. And here at Grays of Westminster, you'll find us full of the joys of spring. In spite of ongoing supply issues due to the current situation in Japan, you will find that our shop is full to the brim with Nikon. For example, we currently have stocks of two hard-to-obtain DSLRs - the Nikon D3s and D90 cameras as well as limited stocks of two very popular lenses: the AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR and the AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.

Aladdin's Cave
If you have not had an opportunity to visit Grays of Westminster in person and see for yourself the Aladdin's cave which is our second-hand department, you might like to take a virtual tour by clicking on here:

We would also like to remind you that if you are buying either new or second-hand kit from Grays, you will be able to extend the warranty by taking out a subscription to Nikon Owner.


The anticipated replacement for the D5000 still features a vari-angled LCD Monitor, a very popular feature amongst travel photographers, but with all the censor capabilities of the D7000, allowing you to take fantastic photographs with the ease of several automatic and manual modes, and stunning HD home movies.

Key features include:

A vari-angle monitor which allows you to take pictures from above, below, around, and in-front of the camera. Ideal for those hard-to capture shots and self-portraits.

Built in filter effects and creative effects, including features such as a fisheye filter, night vision mode, colour sketch mode, low and high-key shooting modes and many more, for in-camera creativity.

Beautiful video recording up to 1080p HD shooting, including facial recognition features and auto-focus during movie mode. The D5100 is also compatible with the new Nikon M-1 microphone accessory, soon to be available sold separately.

A 16.2 megapixel sensor captures high-quality images.
This camera is available in stock now and the price for body only is £649.00 or with the 18-55mm lens £749.00 including VAT.

Our shop overflows with the best of Nikon from cameras to lenses and thousands of accessories both new and second-hand.

As always at Grays of Westminster, you can be sure of a warm welcome.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Internationally Acclaimed Wildlife Photographer Heather Angel Demonstrates How to Photograph Endangered Animals and Plants

The Heather Angel Wildlife and Natural History Workshop, now in its 15th year, will be held at Saint Hill Manor, Sussex, on Saturday 23rd July, 2011. The Manor is one of the finest historic sandstone buildings in England, set in fifty-nine acres of landscaped gardens and a wooded lake, and provides the perfect location for this workshop.
London – Professor Heather Angel, the author of over sixty books and the recipient of numerous awards, will be holding an exclusive wildlife and natural history workshop in coordination with Nikon UK and Think Tank camera bags at Saint Hill Manor on Saturday 23rd July, 2011. The event is sponsored by the revered Nikon dealer Grays of Westminster, currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary year. Grays of Westminster specialises exclusively in Nikon, offering what is probably the widest range of new and second-hand Nikon in the world.

The workshop will be of benefit to the newcomer and the experienced photographer alike, appealing to all photographers interested in capturing the infinite variety of nature, both rare and commonplace. The schedule for the day includes comprehensive lectures, demonstrations and the opportunity to handle and use a large range of new Nikon camera equipment and Think Tank camera bags. Heather Angel’s previous workshops at Saint Hill Manor have attracted participants from all over the world, including the USA and Japan.

Heather Angel frequently visits dangerous and inhospitable places in her quest to provide organisations such as the WWF, Kew Gardens and the British Council with images of endangered animals and rare plants. Heather will reveal how she prepares for trips, what equipment she takes and how she works to meet her targets. She will show how digital cameras have enabled her to capture some special macro shots with innovative lighting and focus stacking. One of Heather Angel's images of a red panda is featured in the set of Royal Mail stamps to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the WWF, launched in March 2011, and the attendees will gain an insight into how memorable photographs can help to raise awareness of threatened wildlife.

A recent first class British postage stamp used this photograph of a Red Panda by Heather Angel

Highlights of the day include:
  • Nikon Total Imaging System – a talk by John Clements
  • Practical Macro session with Heather Angel inside and in the garden
  • Outside Practical session with John Clements
  • Photoshop Techniques with Giles Angel
  • Outside Practical session with the birds of prey and flying falcons
  • Dinner on the Manor terrace (weather permitting)
Booking details:

The ticket price includes refreshments, lunch and the evening meal, and costs £245.00 (£185.00 for Nikon Owner subscribers) per person for the day. The workshop starts at 9.15 a.m. and runs until 5.00 p.m., followed by dinner. Bookings can be made online here:

About Grays of Westminster

The legendary award-winning Grays of Westminster is a charming period shop, specialising exclusively in Nikon. It offers what is probably the widest range of new and second-hand Nikon in the world. It is situated in a quiet location in central London and offers a fast and reliable mail-order service on any Nikon item - available to all world-wide destinations. Tax free shopping to non-European Community residents is also available.

For more information about the workshop or Grays of Westminster please contact:

Gray Levett
Grays of Westminster Exclusively…Nikon
40 Churton Street

+44 (0)20 7828 4925

Friday, 6 May 2011

Nikon Lens: The new Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens

 Evolution of the Classic

RRP: £199.99
Sales start date: 2nd June 2011

Nikon announced the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens, a fast, compact lens that affords photographers the versatility of the classic 50mm focal length and the benefits of a fast aperture for photos and D-movies. Whether a new D-SLR enthusiast or a seasoned pro, users will appreciate the tack-sharp image quality, extreme low-light performance, shallow depth of field and Nikon core technologies that improve upon the original to make a great lens even better.

Zurab Kiknadze, Product Manager Lenses, Accessories & Software, Nikon Europe says:

"This 50mm is an ideal second lens. It's a great chance for curious D-SLR enthusiasts to venture out beyond a kit lens and explore the creative possibilities that fast aperture can offer, like pleasantly blurred backgrounds in portraiture and comfortable low-light shooting."

Fast and bright The fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 makes Nikon's new 50mm lens an excellent choice for low-light situations or when shallow depth-of-field is required. You can single out subjects to produce portraits with smooth bokeh or shoot with available light and still capture striking, sharp images. The fast aperture also provides a bright viewfinder image, making it easier to compose your shots.

All-new design The all-new optical design comprises seven elements in six groups, including one aspherical element for superb image quality. The dedicated Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures discreet but accurate autofocus. Compatible with Nikon FX-format D-SLRs, it offers a 75mm (equivalent) focal length when used with Nikon DX-format D-SLRs.

Go light Weighing in at only 185 grams and boasting a weather-sealed metal mount. This remarkably lightweight and compact 'take anywhere' lens is perfect for portraiture or general photography. With its strong combination of classic focal length, speed and quality optics, it easily deserves a place in every photographer's bag. The lens is supplied with a lens hood HB-47, and a soft pouch CL-1013.
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

  • 50mm FX-format standard lens (75mm when used with a Nikon DX-format SLR).
  • Fast maximum aperture of f/1.8.
  • Ideal for shooting in low-light situations or when shallow depth of field is required.
  • Aspherical lens element for superior image quality.
  • SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for fast, quiet autofocus.
  • Two focus modes: M/A (manual-priority autofocus) and M (manual focus).
  • Remarkably lightweight and compact body.
  • Weather-sealed metal lens mount

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Nikon FM in Gold - Preview of Amateur Photographer Magazine Advert

The Gold Standard

Specialising in the Exceptional - Nikon FM in Gold

The Vintage Department at Grays of Westminster seeks out only the very best mint or near mint examples of Nikon equipment for our customers. On this advert we feature a very rare camera. It is a Nikon FM in a gold finish.

It was produced to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Nikon and the birth of the first Nikon compact 35mm SLR in May 1977. This example is fitted with a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor AI lens serial no. 60024 which matched the serial number of the camera. It was also supplied with a Nikon certificate in a gold-backed Perspex block. There were approximately 300 Nikon FM gold cameras produced, but apparently they were never officially available for sale.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Definitive Simon Stafford Photography Flash Seminar

Grays of Westminster presents
The Definitive Simon Stafford
Nikon Flash Seminar, Saturday 21st May

For a number of years, Grays of Westminster has presented and hosted a number of comprehensive photographic seminars, workshops, tutorials and events covering a wide variety of subject matter including wildlife and natural history, flash, general photographic technique, portrait, macro and many more.

Following the sold-out success of the Definitive Nikon Flash Seminar last year, we are delighted to be able to repeat this comprehensive training session on Saturday, 21st May in central London, at Fitzroy House, 37 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 6DX.

The seminar will be presented by Simon Stafford, technical director of Nikon Owner magazine and respected author of many Nikon books, and will take place from 2.00 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. The cost of the session will be £155 with a special price of £95 if you are a current Nikon Owner subscriber. To book, please send an email with your full name, (as well as your user name if you are a Nikon Owner subscriber), daytime landline and mobile telephone number to:

Agenda for the session

Part One: Flash basics
  • Introduction to Nikon Speedlights and the Nikon Creative Lighting System
  • Understanding light, sync speeds, flash modes, and flash sync modes
  • Shooting with one Speedlight on your camera
  • Modifying light, its colour, quality, and direction
  • Taking the flash off camera, using a cable
  • The Advanced Wireless Lighting system
Part Two: Digging deeper
  • Advanced Creative Lighting System features: FV Lock and Auto High-speed Sync
  • Shooting with multiple Speedlights using wireless control
  • Controlling light: get creative with filters and light modifiers
  • Practical considerations for location shooting
Part Three: Shooting with one light
  • A practical demonstration of setting up and shooting a still-life photograph, using a single Nikon Speedlight and the few simple lighting accessories
There will be ample opportunity to ask questions throughout the event.

Please note: We are anticipating a very high level of response, so please do reply as soon as you are able to to ensure you have a place.

About Simon Stafford

Simon Stafford

Simon Stafford is one of the foremost technical Nikon experts in the UK. With over twenty-five years of experience using the Nikon system, he brings his considerable expertise to bear both as technical editor for Nikon Owner, and as author of a number of comprehensive books on the Nikon system, including his best-seller series of Magic Lantern Guides on the Nikon D70s/D70, the Nikon D80, the Nikon D40, D40X, D50, D60, D200, D300, D700, D90, D3. The series includes a Magic Lantern Guide on the Nikon AF Speedlights & Creative Lighting System, and he is currently working on a fully updated, second edition to include the latest Nikon SB-900.

Special Nikon Owner discount off the price of the course

If you are not already a Nikon Owner subscriber, you are welcome to join Nikon Owner at the same time to receive the benefit of booking the seminar at the lower price of £95
with the discount of £60 off the normal price of £155 for the session.

Nikon Owner Subscription

If you are not already a Nikon Owner subscriber, you are welcome to join Nikon Owner at the same time to receive the benefit of booking the seminar at the lower price.

Standard Annual Subscription - special price: £59
  • 1-year Subscription to Nikon Owner
  • 3-year warranty on all new Nikon products from Grays of Westminster
  • Nikon Owner magazine, a superb, glossy full-colour 60-page quarterly magazine that is 100% Nikon. Each issue delivers benchmark technical reviews of the very latest Nikon equipment, thought-provoking interviews and articles with world-class images
  • Private user-name and password to subscribers-only website
  • Simon Stafford’s Technical Helpline
  • 18-month warranty on second-hand Nikon from Grays of Westminster
  • 10% off Think Tank bags purchased at Grays of Westminster
  • Special trips and events
  • Discounts on events and training sessions
  • 10% off any training courses run by Nikon UK
Silver Subscription - launch price: £129 (normal price: £179)
  • 2-year Subscription to Nikon Owner
  • 3-year warranty on all new Nikon products from Grays of Westminster
  • A half-hour tutorial on the phone or face to face, by appointment
  • Nikon Owner quarterly magazine as above
  • Private user-name and password to subscribers-only website
  • Simon Stafford’s Technical Helpline
  • 18-month warranty on second-hand Nikon from Grays of Westminster
  • 10% off Think Tank bags purchased at Grays of Westminster
  • Special trips and events
  • Discounts on events and training sessions
  • 10% off any training courses run by Nikon UK
Gold subscription - launch price £349 (normal price £450)
  • 5-year subscription to Nikon Owner
  • 5-year warranty on all new Nikon products from Grays of Westminster
  • 2-year warranty on second-hand Nikon from Grays of Westminster
  • Gold Priority waiting list for all new Nikon releases (top of the waiting list)
  • A half-hour tutorial on the phone or face to face, by appointment
  • Special offers to Gold subscribers throughout the period of subscription
  • A signed copy of Grays of Westminster - In the Company of Legends, or if you have one already, a Nikon Magic Lantern Guide of your choice
  • A Grays of Westminster umbrella (in store only)
  • Nikon Owner quarterly magazine as above
  • Private user-name and password to subscribers-only website which includes forum, message board, technical equipment reviews, events’ page and use of a photo gallery
  • Gold subscription card
  • Simon Stafford’s Technical Helpline
  • 10% off Think Tank bags purchased at Grays of Westminster
  • Special trips and events
  • Substantial discounts on training sessions organised by Grays of Westminster, including Mike Maloney’s Workshops , Heather Angel’s Wildlife & Natural History Workshops, Simon Stafford’s Definitive Flash, Portraiture and Macro Training Sessions, Michael Eleftheriades’ panoramic and colour-calibration seminars and Chris Weston’s Photographic Courses.
  • 10% off any training courses run by Nikon UK