Damaging your camera gear, although not inevitable, is a particularly high risk that you take when you visit Iceland. Although the conditions may seem calm one second, the next second you may find yourself faced with a wild storm that closes the roads and leaves you stranded. Worst of all, your gear might even be lost or broken in its wake.
That’s why it’s important to know where to get your camera repaired and where to purchase new camera equipment both inside and out of Reykjavík, so keep this information handy in case you need it!
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One of the main places where people tend to break or lose their camera gear the most is at Breiðamerkursandur, a glacial outwash plain that is better known as the ‘Diamond Ice Beach’. This is where large icebergs come washing in with the waves, after calving from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. They drift out from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon towards the sea, where they are reshaped and deposited back onto the black sand beach.
Though these icebergs make for stunning photographic opportunities, capturing them amidst the waves can sometimes be a life or death experience. While it’s always best to be cautious and to stay further back from the shoreline, some of the most amazing photos of the icebergs may only be captured by getting your feet wet. Be careful though, as rogue waves have been known to crash into photographers, sweeping many people and their camera gear straight out into the sea.
This was exactly what happened to me a few years ago and what led to the demise of my Canon 5D Mark III.
Back then, I was ill-prepared and had no other choice but to return to Reykjavík to purchase new equipment. I didn’t know where the camera shops were, so I ended up at the first one that I found in the city centre. The camera store had only one type of DSLR in stock; though it wasn’t the model that I wanted, I had no other choice but to purchase it. This left a huge dent in my budget given that everything in Iceland is expensive!
Common Photography Terms in Icelandic
camera – myndavél
lens – linsa
memory card – minniskort
film – filmur
photography bag – ljósmyndataska
tripod – þrífótur
lens cap – linsuhettu
filters – filterar
remote controls – fjarstýringar
battery – rafhlaða
battery charger – hleðslutæki
cleaning equipment – hreinsibúnaðir
card reader – kortalesari
lighting equipment – ljósabúnaður
light stands – ljósastandar
photographic backgrounds – ljósmynda bakgrunnar
Quick Fix Solution for a Water Damaged Camera
While prevention is always better than the cure, these days I keep silica gel cat litter in the car at all times, in case I have any mishaps. The silica used in cat litter is similar to the desiccant that you’ll often find in small pouches packaged with food, shoes or in electronic equipment. It’s incredibly absorbent and comes in a large bag that is big enough to hold your camera, as well as a lens or two. This is useful for when you happen to get moisture inside the camera, or accidentally drop it into a source of freshwater.
You can easily order 5 pounds of Ultra Micro Crystals Cat Litter on Amazon and pack it into your suitcase prior to travel. However, this will probably take up precious space that you could use for packing other gear.
Alternatively, you can also purchase silica gel cat litter once you’ve arrived in Iceland. The best place to shop is at Dýrabær pet shop in the Kringlan and Smáralind shopping malls in Reykjavík. It’s handy to have while you’re travelling and worth every cent if you are unfortunate enough to sustain water damage to your camera while in Iceland.
If you happen to damage your camera gear in some other way, or if it falls into saltwater, then you’ll likely need to take it to the professionals for repair. Most of the camera shops in Iceland are situated in Reykjavík, though there are a few dotted elsewhere around the country. Not all of them offer repairs though, so be sure to give them a call before you take a detour to head in. It’s also best to shop around and look at prices before you commit to purchasing any new camera equipment.
Where to Get Your Camera Fixed in Reykjavík
The best place to get your camera gear repaired in Iceland is Beco, a professional camera store and service point. They are able to repair Canon cameras and lenses in-store, providing assessment and a price quote, often within 24 hours for a fee. However, for other DSLR camera brands such as Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and Leica, they’ll likely have to send your camera overseas to the nearest service point.
If you are using a different system, then it’s best to take your camera to Fotoval. However, while they do perform some minor repairs onsite, there are times when they will also have to send your camera or lens abroad to a registered service point. Having said that, they do have a range of new and used camera equipment which can be useful if you need to replace your gear in a hurry.
Once you leave Reykjavík, there are only a few places where you can buy new camera gear or get your camera equipment repaired.
Below, you’ll find a list of all the camera stores in Iceland where you may purchase new and/or used cameras, lenses and other photographic supplies.
Stocks a small range of camera gear, lenses and other photographic accessories.
Camera Gear Rental in Iceland
If you need to hire camera equipment during your time in Iceland, then it’s worthwhile checking out some of the companies below. As always, call ahead first to make sure that they have the camera gear that you need and to confirm what kind of ID and deposit is required upon rental.
There are also a number of general electronics stores all around Iceland that stock cameras, lenses and other photographic equipment, such as Elko and Origo.
These are worth checking out if you lose something small or need general things like memory cards, USB cables, hard drives, camera bags and other photographic accessories.
What has been your experience with buying camera gear or getting your camera repaired in Iceland? Have I left out any places that you know about? While I travel around the country often, I may not be aware of new camera shops that open up, so feel free to leave a comment below to help me keep this list of camera stores in Iceland up-to-date!