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November 15, 2023

PhotoCo expo brings cameras and film into focus

PhotoCo Camera House in the Adelaide Central Market will host an expo on November 26, so CityMag sat down with co-owner Luke Bulley to talk all things cameras and how to take a bloody good photo.

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  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera

Luke Bulley, co-owner of PhotoCo Camera House, helps CityMag with the question: have mobile phones killed the camera industry?

Luke assures us — in PhotoCo’s case — it hasn’t.


Adelaide Camera Expo 2023
Sunday, 26 November
10am ’til 4pm
Adelaide Central Market, 44/60 Gouger Street, Adelaide 5000


“The advent of the camera to the mobile phone has actually sort of encouraged photography as a whole,” Luke says.

“It’s certainly created more demand — there’s been more photographs taken in the last five years than the entire history, given the camera phone. It’s allowed a camera to be in basically everyone’s pocket.

“It has killed the very entry level market of the digital camera. So you’ll see the sub-$300 category of cameras from Canon, Sony, Nikon Fuji[film], etc, have disappeared. However, the mobile phone cameras also encourage people to take photos, and then they want to take it to the next step.”

While digital photos continue to rise, Luke points out an old trend resurfacing in Adelaide.

“I was developing film 25 or 27 years ago, and we were doing 100 plus rolls a day of 35mm film,” he says.

“About 10 years ago, the numbers had declined down to roughly 20 rolls a day. In the last two years, we’ve seen a large increase in demand for it and we’re back doing you know, nearly 100 rolls a day of 35mm film again.”

Luke tells CityMag that film has been an important part of PhotoCo’s history because they have “always been at the helm of developing films”.

“My grandmother, back in the 60s, was a hand colour painter. So before colour film was available, used to come out in the black outline, and then you’d hand colour in the photograph,” Luke says.

“It’s so realistic, you honestly couldn’t tell it’s been hand colour painted.”


Luke has been first witness to camera trends in Adelaide. He basically grew up in PhotoCo, which is a third-generation, family-owned South Australian camera store.

PhotoCo Camera House set up shop in the Central Market in 1967, after opening on Gouger Street in 1965.

Now, Luke claims that PhotoCo is “probably” Australia’s largest second-hand dealer and Adelaide’s oldest camera shop.

Throughout its 60 years, PhotoCo has been at the forefront of camera technology.

“We progressively adapt to the technology, and the demand that our customers give us,” Luke says. “So, we’re constantly evolving to tick the boxes for whatever our customers want.”

Luke’s long experience comes into full swing when CityMag inadequately attempts to take photos around the store, removing our basic camera lens and replacing it with a Fujifilm XF 23mm F1 — a lens better suited for this style of photography.

CityMag departs PhotoCo with a set of new techniques and a new lens on the wish list.

Luke holding an old camera

Luke says that tips, tricks and those very wish list items will be on show at the Adelaide Camera Expo on Sunday, 26 November, hosted by PhotoCo in the Adelaide Central Market.

“We’re basically trying to incorporate everything photographic related,” he says.

“So we’ve got all the major suppliers here from every major brand like Canon, Nikon, Fuji[film], Sony, Panasonic… they’ll have all their latest cameras or their latest lenses on display to touch and try to be able to test out any of the equipment.”


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The expo will include speakers and workshops designed to give Adelaide camera enthusiasts the best tips and tricks to take home.

“They’ll be ambassadors on the main stage giving presentations on different forms of photography, Instagram style photography, or food photography or weddings,” Luke says.

“There will also be door prizes, lots of special offers on the day, discounts on film and basically anything and everything photographic related.”

The Adelaide Camera Expo will take place on Sunday, 26 November from 10am until 4pm, at the Adelaide Central Markets, located at 44/60 Gouger Street, Adelaide.

Connect with PhotoCo on Instagram for more, or head to the website to buy tickets.

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