“As you may know, I arrived somewhat rather belated and wearily last evening to collect my new Nikon D200!
“At last it is here and I gather I am very lucky indeed to in possession of it!
“I feel I may have appeared somewhat abstract in thought and less than ideally focused to have been making what amounts to quite a substantial personal purchase (the days have seemed very long indeed the last few weeks!) but my only concern was in fact returning on foot to Victoria station without making a wrong turn!
“I really wish to compliment Uri (Zakay) in his excellence at dealing with my further enquires about accessories and lenses. I cannot imagine that I could have returned home with a better solution to my slight concerns about investing in professional "DX Only" lenses whilst I still intend to use my 35mm Nikons! On reflection the solution offered could not have been better.
“Upon my return I was really very pleased with the options offered me and the choices made and I must say to Uri that he was an absolute master of diplomacy, efficiency and care in advising me! Even my route back to the station was flawlessly advised. In my view that is greater than "Legendary!"
“With best wishes and the greatest thanks,”
Email: Gregory M. O'Riordan
“Fortnums for food.
Berry Bros & Rudd for wine.
Hatchards for books.
The Ritz for cocktails.
Paxton & Whitfield for cheese.
The Savoy for dinner.
Grays of Westminster for Nikon....
“Different products all served with the same attention to Service, Style & Quality.”
Michael Sherry, Sky Imaging Limited, London
“I have recently bought from you the Nikon D2X and 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S Zoom-Nikkor lens. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the excellent and professional service that I received at all times. From initial enquiry, the helpful and enthusiastic advice given was most welcomed. This quality service ethic was always in evidence regardless of the nature of the enquiry.
“As a new customer it is very apparent that ‘quality’ is at the centre of every facet of your business. This, indeed, is a refreshing change. Such is my sincerity of the words expressed above, in this very week I have made an additional purchase, namely the very impressive AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G VR Zoom-Nikkor. I am eagerly awaiting combining this with the D2X. Whenever, possible, that is financially permitting, I intend to purchase all future Nikon products from yourselves and I would have no hesitation highly recommending Grays of Westminster to others.”
“I had been thinking for sometime on investing in a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, having read various reviews (all positive) I finally decided to 'go for it'. Forgive me for not contacting Grays in the first instance, but I looked around and made enquiries with some other dealers I have done business with in the past, all quoted around about the same price BUT none could supply or give me any date as to when a lens might be available. At the end of last week I called Grays of Westminster and spoke with Ani. She was EXTREMELY helpful, she explained they were expecting some lenses in and kindly put my name down on the 'waiting list'. A short time later she called me back to say they had an ex demonstration lens in stock with a 77mm filter. A price was agreed and I said I would call back in a few moments to confirm (Decision Time!). When I called her back she was on the telephone to another interested party however, this is where service at Grays is, as the website says "The kind of service of which legends are made" She had very kindly held the lens for me, for the short period of time whilst I made up my mind. When I spoke with her the deal was confirmed. She even mentioned that if, on seeing the lens I decided not to purchase, then I would be given a full refund.
“I attended Grays of Westminster last Saturday morning and spoke with a very helpful gentleman (I'm sorry I don't know his name). He explained the workings of the lens and gave me a very effective demonstration of the 'VR' capability. Whilst in the shop I was able to look at some other items of interest in the calm environment of Gray's without any 'hard sell'/pressure to buy.
“So, a very big THANK YOU to all at Grays of Westminster, I will certainly be visiting again!!
Email: Richard Griffith, LSWPP
“Of course you may call me Andrew - crikey, after saving my Nikon's bacon from the African sun and dust, you may call me anything except 'late for tea.'
“No seriously, I am deeply indebted at both your service and your courtesy, Gray. I shall make a habit of visiting your website on a regular basis, as I see there are also some tutorials listed.
Andrew Claxton, South Africa
“May I take this opportunity to thank you for the impeccable service that you have rendered my previous orders. Who knows? One day I may leave the ‘frozen north’, and venture south to visit your ‘emporium’ and offer my personal thanks, till then
“I have just safely received a brand new and expensive replacement circular polarising filter despite the damage being entirely my fault. Worse, I sought your advice and then thought I could do better! I am very grateful and not a little embarrassed. You have not charged me -even for the special delivery. Now I have experienced at first hand your quite extraordinary and justly famous service.
“Many, many thanks,”
Dr Peter McKenzie
“The Nikon Coolscan V ED scanner arrived safely at 08.50 this morning. Thank you very much for super-fast delivery, and helpful advice and friendly discussion yesterday.
Dr. James Harper
“My Nikon F2AS Photomic arrived safely (of course) on Friday. I am delighted with the condition of it, but there was never really any doubt that I would be. The number of reliable sources of high quality used equipment, particularly Nikon, have gradually reduced over the years. Grays have apparently not only maintained their standards but even improved, which at the time I would not have believed possible.
“My congratulations hardly seem of significance compared with those far more eminent than myself. However, I have the satisfaction of recalling an instance around the time you became exclusively Nikon, when I wrote expressing my pleasure on receiving an item from you. You wrote back asking if you might reproduce my letter in AP*. I confirmed my agreement and shortly thereafter it appeared among the testimonials.
“Very best regards,”
*AP Amateur Photographer magazine
“I am humbled by your stock control which is obviously designed around me.
“Many, many thanks.
“Almost in awe, but not quite. I was in awe when I met Don McCullin but it is a rare event indeed.
“People actually take it for granted that your establishment is so wonderful don't they. Extraordinary. Impressed as always.”
Email: Lawrence Cornell
“Just a brief note to thank you very much for your wonderful assistance when Anne and I popped into the store on Saturday to purchase my new camera/lens etc. I have to say that going to Grays was an unusual and refreshing experience when compared to the High Street. You know what you are talking about, you understand the customer and above all I felt as if I received an excellent personal service. Pricing was ultra competitive, and part exchange facilities welcome and generous. All in all, a most enjoyable experience!
“I'm a great believer that this country has descended into what I call the 'whaaat?' culture, which is generally the answer you get when you ask even the simplest question to an assistant in a High Street chain. This is why there will always be a place for a specialist independent, and thank God for folks like you!
“I'll look forward to my next visit.
Email: Jerry Froggett
“Don't you have the feeling sometimes, when in the process of evaluating a shop or supplier, that you read the testimonials and you see a couple of well known names and you think: yeah, well, those are big names or people with important positions. No wonder they receive great service. Wonder what it will be for me though. I'm not well known and I don't hold a position of importance.
“A couple of years ago I bought my camera from Grays of Westminster and I had a nice talk on the phone with Gray Levett and my new Nikon Coolpix 5700 camera arrived punctually and it was great and I was very satisfied with it. That was when I still lived in Scotland. Then I moved to Germany; a malfunction occurred; and the warranty had ran out. And that's when I experienced first hand, that your great reputation for outstanding service has nothing to do with importance or whatever. I found that the unmatched level of your service is simply the result of something which we all notice is rapidly disappearing from this world: honest care for the customer, no matter who he is or where he lives or how high his spending.
“So a big thanks to you and Gray and all the staff for your truly outstanding help and coming up with a most elegant solution to the problem I had with my camera. It proved no problem for you! I just sent in my camera and you helped me out!
“Superb service! Thanks again.”
Robert Matzken, writer
“Just wanted to say a huge "thank you" for getting the Nikon D2X across to me last week - have done nothing but smile for a week now, the thing is awesome!
“I appreciate the fact that I was not due to get one as early as I have (and I understand it was somewhat opportune that someone else hadn't paid) but I wanted to say thanks for getting back to me when you did - it is a huge help for a job I am doing and, as ever, the service you guys provide is second to none.”
Email: Paul Wilkinson
“Many thanks for the Nikon D2H I received in the post yesterday. I am VERY impressed with the speed and efficiency of your service - it is unusual even in this day of supposed 'next day' delivery for a company to actually achieve this.
“The camera is all I hoped and expected of it. Now out to take some photos!
“My thanks to all your staff for their help.”
Email: Ian Hill
“I ordered an MB-40 for my F6 at around 4:15 yesterday afternoon. Not only did you kindly discount the price, but it arrived at my front door at 8:30 this morning. That's what I call service!
Email: Seb Rogers
“Stanley Kubrick & Grays of Westminster
“Stanley Kubrick left school in the mid-1940s and became a professional photographer for Look magazine. In fact, as a teenager, he was the youngest staff photographer the magazine ever employed. He began with a plate camera and then moved on to the 2.25 format.
“In the early 1950s he moved over to 35mm SLR cameras and never looked back. He probably had more cameras than shirts and though he sometimes dallied with other makes Nikon was always his preferred system.
“I only ever knew him to defer to two people on matters photographic: Geoffrey Crawley, one time editor of the BJP, and Gray Levett and the Grays of Westminster gang down in Pimlico who continue to give us an unrivalled service.”
Personal Assistant to Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick Estate
BJP: British Journal of Photography
“Some people think that Grays of Westminster is a camera shop, but that is a clever façade to fool those who are not in the know. In reality, Grays of Westminster is more like a temple or shrine to the Nikon brand, a place where enthusiasts of this unique Japanese company can come to not only buy Nikon products, many of which are unavailable elsewhere, but also to talk the language of Nikon with people who speak it as if it were their mother tongue, which it may well be. Then of course, there is the ambience, the atmosphere of the shop itself; quiet, tasteful, reeking of old fashioned ideas of customer service and loyalty, like a gentleman’s club, but not exclusive in its members; you simply have to want to own Nikon and then you are welcomed into the family as a friend as well as a customer.”
Garry Coward-Williams, Editor, Amateur Photographer magazine
“You only need to look at some of the greatest names in press photography to realise that the Nikon brand has etched itself into photographic history. When I set out as a rookie photojournalist I aspired to own such a camera system. In my quest to obsess myself I came across the 'font of all Nikon knowledge' - Grays of Westminster. It wasn't until years later - and as a photo writer - that I finally visited the place I had read about for so many years. Yes, it did live up to expectations; a Graceland for Nikon lovers.
“I have been a devoted Nikon user now for over 20 years and even when I gave up full time picture taking I could not bring myself to get rid of my trusty 'all manual' Nikon FM2, a 35mm lens and an 85mm f/1.8 lens. It's such love affairs that bring Grays' customers together in the Pimlico shop.
“And what of its owner? Mr. Nikon himself, Gray Levett, is one Nikon lover you would not be disappointed to meet. This is a man with connections; a who's who of Nikon users that includes royalty and celebrities as well as the greatest names in photography today - and many of them his personal friends.
“Call in, say 'hi', take in the atmosphere. It's a must see for Nikon fanatics.”
Former news editor, British Journal of Photography
Former editor, Master Photographer magazine
“Grays of Westminster
“Having watched Gray and his company’s progress with great interest for many years, I have to say that I am very impressed with what has been achieved! Grays of Westminster successfully combine traditional values with high technology, which the English manage to do so well.
“The photo retail business is, and has been, tough and anyone who finds a niche and becomes successful by being different deserves our admiration.
“Grays of Westminster has grown from one man’s concept into a valuable “Brand”. This brand stands for commitment to quality and outstanding service in the supply of an outstanding product range. They are responding to customers who obviously desire more than just a great camera system and the service that should go with it, they seem to also fulfil some emotional need that goes beyond functionality and practicality.
“The Nikon Owners’ Club International has deservedly become successful and the Nikon Owner magazine is a great read, just the right mix of information and entertainment. I read each copy from front to back (Nikon has always been my first choice for 35mm SLR cameras!) and find it a visual delight!
“Long may it continue!”
Sales & Marketing Director
Hasselblad (UK) Limited
“Grays of Westminster – Exclusively... Nikon. In the Company of Legends
“When Gray Levett first suggested I should run two one-day Nikon workshops – way back in 1998 – they were fairly modest affairs. But thanks to the superb organisation by Gray and his team at Grays of Westminster, as well as our hosts at Saint Hill Manor, the workshops have grown from strength to strength. Everything is planned to perfection and nothing is left to chance. Now firmly established – after seven years – my annual Nikon workshops have become a fixed date in the photographic calendar. The innovative formula combines an attractive venue with splendid views over the Sussex countryside, the provision of technical expertise and ample opportunity to try out a wide range of Nikon equipment. All this provides a memorable experience for everyone, enhanced by superb food. Small wonder we see many familiar faces returning year after year.
“Having written – over several decades – for the photographic press in the UK, the States and Japan, I can honestly say that nothing has given me more pleasure than seeing my features reproduced in Nikon Owner. For one thing, Gray gives me a completely free rein; but, quite simply, it is a splendid production that should be seen by a much wider readership.”
Professor Heather Angel
International wildlife photographer
“My first encounter with Grays came as a young Area Sales Manager at the start of my career with Nikon UK. I’d noticed their adverts in Amateur Photographer and decided to go and take a look.
“I’ve always been passionate about the Nikon brand and immediately I opened the door of Grays, I was awe-struck. It was like being a child in a sweetshop. Nikons I’d only seen pictures of were sitting behind the glass doors of the cabinets in that wood panelled room.
“I realised that this was a very different kind of camera shop. It felt more like a bespoke Saville Row tailor, where the staff were knowledgeable and treated their customers with old-fashioned courtesy. Talking to Gray and the team, it became clear that this was something special.
“Shortly after opening an account with us, they took the decision to become an exclusive Nikon outlet. This decision of theirs was met by some with doubt that it could ever work. They were very quickly proved wrong, as Grays of Westminster soon became one of my top ten dealerships.
“Perhaps this kind of business could only really work with a brand like Nikon, which has attained an almost cult status, but from the beginning Gray had a very clear vision of how he wanted the business to develop, what kind of clientele he wanted to attract and how he wanted to communicate with them.
“Grays have built up an enviable clientele, from all corners of the globe that includes high profile celebrities - even royalty. However, no matter what walk of life you are from, you will be treated to the same courteous service. Today this clientele is even better served with the creation of the Nikon Owners’ Club International, which is growing from strength to strength and reflects the same strong values as the shop.
“The shop itself is little changed since my first visit. The same sense of calm descends as you walk through the front door and the clock still chimes the hour in the background. The main changes are the Nippon Kogaku Room downstairs and the invasion of the digital age with products like the D series SLRs.
“Grays of Westminster remains the only camera shop where you can see a boxed, mint condition 1959 Nikon F SLR alongside the very latest digital SLR. The fact that you can buy both under one roof is astonishing. The fact that you can do this, served by some of the most knowledgeable, courteous people in the business, over a cup of soothing tea or coffee is a testament to Gray’s vision and determination.”
Jeremy Gilbert, Group Marketing Manager Nikon U.K. Ltd.,
“Grays of Westminster - ahhh ! I wish all camera shops could be as totally professional and committed as Grays.
“It’s a real pleasure to spend money there. If you ask a technical question, very kind and considerate staff knows the answer. For example if you need to know if a new Vibration Reduction lens works with your existing Nikon body - they can tell you, in complete contrast to some very large camera shops whose staff seem to be inexperienced or temporary and have to refer to a manufacturers catalogue for even the smallest technical problem or enquiry.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Grays of Westminster are the business! I enjoy my visits and especially enjoy having a coffee or a glass of wine in the inner sanctum chatting to Gray, Gillian or Simon Stafford.
“May I wish Grays of Westminster many more years of fine service to an industry which has changed enormously, not always for the best, but I’m happy to say that Grays uncompromising passionate commitment has never altered and should be a benchmark for all other photographic companies.”
Official Photographer for Jimi Hendrix
and major commercial work
“Just as a general practitioner treats general ailments and a neurosurgeon specialises in his craft, so there are general dealers in fine photographic equipment and there are specialists. At the apogee of expertise there is that unique British institution: Grays of Westminster.
“Having enjoyed business in photography and cameras for forty years, I had long sought superlatives: the finest grain films, the sharpest lenses, the most reliable shutters, etc.. Eventually, I also found a remarkable shop specialising exclusively in Nikon that dispenses unrivalled advice and offers the superlative service that had thus far eluded any avenue of my search.
“Grays’ attention to the minutiae of detail impressed me immediately. Not only was the company focused on knowledge connected with Nikon equipment per se, but also on the uplifting ambience in which it is displayed and the transaction completed, the welcome afforded each visitor, the speed of delivery, the after-sales service and the unrivalled, unequivocal understanding of optical, mechanical and cosmetic excellence. For example:
“Grays’ definition of MINT is not merely ‘as new’. Grays’ definition is nothing short of perfection to the human eye – no more or less than the critical attitude of a coin dealer such as Spink or of the legendary engineer Ettore Bugatti.
“Service that goes beyond the immediate supply of the available into the realm of the intercontinental, no-expenses-spared hunt for the unavailable, regardless of whether the item is a lens cap or a lens, a camera or a case. This degree of service comes to Grays at a cost as, despite being a profitable concern, the company has often sacrificed their margins to bring that elusive retail panacea to the client – total satisfaction.
“Price – finally that important element of retail which seems to obsess those who would spend hours of their time and substantial contributions to British Telecom in order to finally grasp that shilling difference available through the manic zealotry of ‘shopping around’. Grays will offer the speediest service, with flawless guarantee, obsessive attention to mechanical, optical and cosmetic quality in a package, which when measured as a whole presents the esteemed client with best possible value for money.
“Gentlemen – what a pleasure and what an education it is to do business with you.”
Founder of Vintage Cameras Ltd
Founder/owner of Nipponcamera.com
Apogee: the farthest or highest point
Spink: Founded in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Since our foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity . Holders of three Royal Warrants and nineteen records for prices achieved at auction, we offer an unparalleled range of services to anyone wishing to start, add to or dispose of a collection Holders of three Royal Warrants and nineteen records for prices achieved at auction, they offer an unparalleled range of services to anyone wishing to start, add to or dispose of a collection of coins, stamps, medals and books
Ettore Bugatti: (1881-1947) is perhaps most famous for his racing cars of the 20s and 30s which, as well as winning races, have been acknowledged as works of art.
“Throughout my association with Grays of Westminster over the last 7 years, we have seen photography change from the silver halide age through to the digital age. Developments have been extraordinary, and the pace at which this change has occurred has taken many by surprise. Through Nikon’s close association with Grays of Westminster this change has been managed from a local to international level with visitors from the UK, Europe, US and Japan all calling at Churton Street to discuss relevant areas with Gray, Nick and the Grays team, and to seek their thoughts and ideas. Feedback from Grays has been invaluable in enabling Nikon to better understand and cater for the ever-changing photographic marketplace.
“Professionalism is the name of the game here. The level of service at Grays is second to none, and it is a feature of the Grays experience that every customer should arrive and feel "at home" immediately. From body caps to AF-S Nikkor lenses every customer will receive the same level of immaculate attention, something that I have also had the pleasure to witness at the now legendary Grays of Westminster Heather Angel Wildlife and Natural History Workshop weekends.
“In short, it has been my pleasure to be part of this relationship for the past 7 years, and to witness a growing bond between the 2 companies, enabling both Grays and Nikon to further develop their business aspirations.”
National Account Manager
Nikon U.K. Limited
“The Pursuit of Excellence
“I have yet to read Grays of Westminster - Exclusively...Nikon; that is a pleasure still to come, but already I know what to expect. It will be a "quality" production: the title, with its two key words Grays and Nikon, says it all.
“Such excellence is instantly recognizable; you can see it, feel it, taste it, even smell it. But for all that, it is often hard to pin down as it is to analyze the 'star quality' of, say, the late Rex Harrison or Laurence Olivier.
“The car in a Rolls Royce dealer's showroom exudes it, as do the college lawns at Oxford and Cambridge. The formula in both cases is deceptively simple. Untold man-hours go into the making of a Rolls Royce, along with much skill and pride of workmanship; for the latter, you take a level patch of ground, scatter some grass seed over it, then mow it and roll it regularly for some five hundred years or so.
“The truth is that excellence is not something that happens out of the blue; it is a goal that needs to be aimed for in the first place. Aimed for and worked on with unswerving dedication.
“The story of Nikon is one of dedication to quality; you only have to hold one of their products in your hand to realize that. Pass through the door of 40 Churton Street, Pimlico, take a look around, and you will find a similar story.
“To parody the well known song: "Grays and Nikon go together like a horse and carriage": in culinary terms, the French would say it is 'un bon marriage', and in a world where all too often standards seem to be falling around us, these are things to cherish.!”
Michael Bond (creator of Paddington Bear)
“I was first introduced to Grays of Westminster in 1994 while editing the leading UK camera-buying magazine Buying Cameras. I'd seen the huge list of Nikon products advertised in my magazine and I'd received the informative monthly Grays of Westminster Gazette, but nothing was to prepare me for the experience of entering the shop in Pimlico. It was almost like the missing episode from the 70's children's cartoon series Mr. Benn - once through the door the shopkeeper takes you into a fantasy world. At 40, Churton Street it's a world of Nikon - show cases full of new and highly collectable cameras, the leather desk (which turned out to be the sales counter), the smell of fresh coffee and the charm of Mr. Levett and his highly passionate staff. Grays of Westminster is like no other camera retailer I've ever experienced. I was so impressed that I presented Gray with the exclusive Buying Cameras Dealer of the Year award.”
Publisher of www.ephotozine.com
Mr. Benn: First broadcast in 1972, only 13 episodes of Mr. Benn were ever made. Each weekend Mr. Benn, a London based businessman complete with suit and bowler hat, would visit the curious costume shop he had discovered. 'As if by magic' the magic shopkeeper would appear and aid him in his choice of costume. Ushered into the changing room Mr. Benn would try on the costume and go through another door, to find himself in a different world, befitting the costume. There he would perform good deeds - helping mermaids, dragons, hunters and even a genie. Finally the magic shopkeeper would appear once more and summon him back.
Mr. Benn would hand the costume over, having had quite enough excitement, and return home to number 52 Festive Road. And somehow he always found a souvenir in his suit pocket to help him remember his adventures.
“For some, photography is an essential vocation. For others, it is a rewarding avocation. In either case, it is a deeply personal medium of expression, a requisite marriage of art and science. And it is here, where art and science meet, that photographers of all description must inevitably seek out a trusted resource. Grays of Westminster is such a resource.
“Extensive knowledge. Benchmark customer service. Unmatched attention to detail. All maxims of the Grays experience. This is an organization built upon an incessant love for photography and an unyielding passion for one of the finest manufacturers of photographic apparatus: Nikon. No matter where in the world you reside, it is from Grays that you can depend upon cheerful and knowledgeable answers to any of your questions, be they related to Nikon, photography, or anything in between.
“If Nikon Corporation were to open a shop, this is surely how it would be run.
“Moreover, thanks to Grays of Westminster, we have the establishment of the Nikon Owners’ Club International and Nikon Owner magazine, both of which have elevated the Nikon experience and enabled photographers worldwide to share resources and form new friendships.
“If you are a serious Nikon photographer, you really must make the acquaintance of Grays of Westminster.
Avocation: a subordinate occupation pursued in addition to one's vocation especially for enjoyment: HOBBY
“I am no camera expert and knew a little less than nothing about Nikon when I first met Gray Levett; cameras were at that point not even in my vocabulary.
“But nonetheless, I have had the pleasure of knowing Gray Levett, long before he became internationally known as "the Gentleman" to see when you wanted to know about anything Nikon!
“I was invited down to view the Westminster site, before it ever opened up. At that time it had the air of the old curiosity shop. Yet even then, standing in in the rather dusty surrundings, before and of the refurbishments had begun, I sensed the beginnings of something remarkable. Gray Levett is a truly unusual, a man of his word, with vision and insight that go far beyond the capabilities of most people I have ever met. So I knew right there and then that he would somehow alter the status quo and reinvent the idea of the camera shop.
“There is a strange phenomenon that occurs when you step through the doorway of the "time portal", that is Gray's of Westminster. Suddenly you are transported to a better place, instantly leaving the noisy bustling city far behind, arriving in a flash to a yesteryear destination, where those in attendances actually seem to care. Where, as if by magic, the traditional concept of service effortlessly appears before your very eyes as you are inexorably caught up in the gentle world of P.G. Wodehouse.
“It is no surprise to me that Grays of Westminster has now become the premiere league name in the world of the camera. One needs look no further than the spirit of the man behind the flag. His piercing blue-grey eyes hold an ever-inspiring look that seems to say. "Whatever else happens, you know you can always depend upon me."
“Even after twenty-two years, I still know I can!”
Triple Gold Award winning Record Producer
“The mists of time cloud my memory as to the exact date but it was sometime during 1990. I had made my way, for the first time, down what is now a very familiar and well-trodden path to the door of 40, Churton Street, Pimlico. Drawn, I suspect like so many others, by the intriguing spectacle of a shop devoted to just one brand of camera – Grays of Westminster - ExclusivelyNikon.
“Passing through the door on that occasion I remember feeling as though I had been conveyed to a bygone era when courtesy, elegance, and style where the norm. The dark wood panelling, leather topped desks, and display cabinets filled with all things Nikon, from rare treasures to contemporary marvels, created a unique ambiance and well set stage for the obliging and well-informed staff. Those very favourable first impressions remained with me as I evolved from wide-eyed newcomer, to regular customer, and from thence to an occasional contributor to the Grays of Westminster Gazette. This process of evolution has now reached its inevitable conclusion; these days I am considered as ‘family’ by Gray and the team, because during my frequent visits to my favourite shop it is not uncommon to find me resolving an obscure technical question for a customer, explaining a photographic technique, or just enjoying a conversation with like-minded souls about anything Nikon. The years may have rolled past but the warmth of welcome, the charm of the surroundings, and the inimitable qualities at Grays of Westminster remain undiminished.”
Nikon Owners’ Club International
“THE SOUL OF PHOTOGRAPHY
“As a fine art photographer who has spent a lifetime printing his own photographs I am more interested in putting something of myself into the end print, than in the technicalities of the equipment I use. Because of the strength of this creative urge my knowledge of cameras is often wanting and I have always been wary of visiting a photographic store. Too often the staff bombard you with a plethora of unintelligible information, with only one thing in mind - to make a quick sale, and forget you just as soon as you are out of the door.
“I discovered Grays of Westminster in 1992 and remember feeling instantly at ease as I wandered downstairs, marvelling at the collection of old and new Nikons in the large glass cabinets. After a while a gentleman came in and sat a desk. We both smiled at each other and carried on with what we were doing. Eventually he asked me if he could help, and two hours later I found myself on my third cup of coffee discussing various experiences we had both had of the paranormal. To my great relief I had met Gray the owner, a like spirit, who has since supported my work in many ways and sympathetically filled in the technical gaps in my photographic knowledge.
“Those of us who have spent hours, days, sometimes weeks in a darkroom at a time are now a dying breed with the rapid advance of digital photography. It has always been difficult to return to the real world after spending so much time fantasising in this small, darkened room – rather like being cut off in the tower of a great gothic castle with only one’s imagination and the chemical magic as one’s friends. Gray, knowledgeable in both the new and the old forms of photography, like the alchemists of the past recognises that the marriage of opposites, in their case the mystery of nature and the reality of science, is the way forward. He is therefore invaluable to a photographer like myself as a guide through this rapidly changing medium and his shop a peaceful haven from the stress and madness of our modern day world.”
Sir Simon Marsden – 17th August 2003
“I do not profess to be an experienced or particularly knowledgeable photographer and the most appealing aspect of Grays of Westminster to me is that they treat all photographers, be they amateur or professional, the same.
“I greatly appreciate their sound advice and gentle encouragement and they have helped me enormously with a hobby which has gradually become a great passion in my life.”
The Duchess of York
from the book In the Company of Legends by Gillian Greenwood
“People who care do a better job than people who don't. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that and it's the same in all walks of life. So when I first met Gray Levett and had a tour round his shop I could tell immediately that he cares, really, really cares - and so do his team of experts and enthusiasts.
“Of course, I am luckier than many of his customers and can drop in for a cup of tea and a chat whenever I want, but the Grays of Westminster reputation is worldwide and I'd imagine many of his regulars have never set foot inside his plush establishment. They don't know what they are missing. There are enough Nikon products, odds and sods and classics to keep a keen photographer entertained for hours. On my first visit I recall seeing in real-life for the first-time a Nikon SP rangefinder camera.
“As a keen rangefinder user I couldn't resist a play of this classic machine. If I could have justified it or had the cash, I would have been very tempted. I think that's one of the qualities of Grays - it engenders this sort of enthusiasm for lovely kit and that's probably why their formula is unique and so successful. Long may they continue.”
William Cheung, FRPS,
Editorial Director Archant Specialist
Former Editor Practical Photography magazine
Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society
“It is seldom that an area manager is asked to put words to paper for such a prestigious request as an inclusion into the Grays of Westminster book, so it was no surprise that when asked personally by Gray if I would like to do just that, I jumped at the opportunity.
“I have had the privilege, and that is precisely what it is “a privilege”, to have known both Gray and Nick since the start of their business partnership (although I have known Gray even longer, going back to the days of Keith Johnson Photographic to be exact) when they were retailing specialist photographic books from Nick’s flat in Pimlico not too far from where their present shop now is, and conducting business with both Gray and Nick was as enjoyable then as it is today.
“In the years since, I have taken enormous personal pleasure in watching their business grow into the most renowned and respected Nikon specialist dealerships there are today, and have also seen their personal reputations deservedly grow with it.
“Fortunately both Gray and Nick’s loyalty to their suppliers over the years has enabled me to continue one of the nicest business relationships I have with two true gentlemen, this relationship has further allowed me to be a part of their annual Grays of Westminster Heather Angel Wildlife & Natural History Workshops at Saint Hill Manor, an event I would highly recommend to any photographer, irrespective of accomplishment or standard, a truly enjoyable experience.
“No one can praise too highly Grays of Westminster, their staff or their accomplishments. I take my hat off to each and every member of the team and long may you reign.”
Allan Withers Area Manager Lowepro UK
“M. Hercule Poirot
56B Whitehaven Mansions
Telephone – TRA 8137
“To all the persons of Grays of Westminster.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say 'merci beaucoup' for all the kindnesses and the many occasions of advise that you have afforded to me.
“I have to say that the taking of the photographs with the Nikon F90 is an experience most pleasurable. It seems to posses very many excellent little grey cells of its own which allows mine to have the little rest. Of course when I wish that my own should have the exercise I can make use of the little switch which is used for the rotations and then I take full control.
“Also when it is very dark my excellent SB-25 flash is just superb – just as intelligent as the camera. En effet, there are times when I wonder if my presence is necessary at all!
“With many felicitations,
From a letter written by the distinguished actor David Suchet O.B.E., on the stationery created for the Poirot television series
“I placed an order with you on Friday afternoon for a second hand 85mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. It arrived first thing Monday morning.
“This is the fourth time I have ordered equipment from Grays and each time I have been delighted with the service I have received. The arrival of the second hand items has triggered, on both occasions, a 'hunt the blemish exercise'. Your usage categorisations are much stricter than any other organisation with which I have dealt over the last thirty years.
“Thanks again, excellent service such as yours always deserves acknowledgement.”
“I was very pleased to receive my lens yesterday well ahead of the expected delivery date. Your service is superb.”
Email: Jeff Marshall. England
“Just a quick note to say thank you for the exceptionally quick delivery of an order I placed last week on Friday after 4.00 p.m. You promised Tuesday delivery (which was fair enough), but the item arrived on Saturday morning - in time for the job I needed it for.
“Nick dealt with the order, so thank you for your efficiency!”
Email: Richard Hanson
“Just a quick note of thanks for the safe arrival of my new (to me) 80-200mm Zoom-Nikkor lens. You described it as Mint-, I can only think that this applies to the original Nikon packaging, the lens itself looks unused!
“Your service was very pleasant (thank you Uri) and efficient. I had always heard good things of Grays, now I know its true.
Email: Adam Bowman
“Thank you very much indeed for shipping me the Nikon Circular Polarising filter. as I expected you were indeed correct and Nikon customer support wrong!
“The Nikon CPL-1L fits the 200-400mm whilst the CPL-2L does not.
“Thank god I rang you to ask as I'm off to Yellowstone tomorrow. I'm returning the CPL-2L in the post today (Saturday) so hopefully you'll have it Tuesday.
“This experience reconfirms my thoughts on Grays "not always the cheapest :-) but always the best, the legend lives on”
Email: Steve Wyman
“My pleasure - particularly since Nick has ensured that yesterday I bought the right flash unit (SB-28 Speedlight) for my Nikon F100, not the inappropriate one I had decided on before speaking to him. I have arrived home this evening to find that it arrived earlier today, and it is even better than I had been led to believe, on first inspection perfect. He has filled the chamber with four new batteries AND thrown in an extra pack to boot.
“It's the little things, as well as the big things, that confirm your reputation for unbeatable service. Fantastic.”
Email: Tim Meldrum
“Just wanted to say a big THANKS for the excellent service with my recent order for the D70 + 18-70mm and for waiving the courier charges.
“Sometimes even little things make all the difference - I very much appreciate it!”
Email: Mike Eleftheriades
“I am writing to thank you for the excellent service that I experienced last week. You made an extra effort to obtain a Lowepro Photo Trekker backpack so that I could use it when I go on holiday to the USA today.
“The goods arrived safely on Friday 3rd September, the day after you telephoned me to inform me that you would be able to supply me with the backpack in time.
“Such service must be considered exceptional even by the high standards that Grays of Westminster sets itself. I look forward to the next occasion that I'll be doing business with your firm.”
Email: Stuart Burns, Scotland
“Thank you ever so much for your prompt dispatch of my recent order for a Coolpix 5400; your parcel arrived by return of post at 7.30 Saturday morning, which must be some sort of record! Naturally, I am delighted with you quick and efficient service - you have another very happy customer!”
Chris Davis, Dorset, England
“Just a quick note to confirm safe receipt of the two lenses. Thank you very much for your high quality service and assistance.”
Ian Edser, Somerset, England.
“I send this e-mail just to thank you for a fantastic service. A brilliant concept: Acceptable prices, you have most pieces in stock and you are quick. That's all it takes to make good business!
“The package with the Nikon F5 focusing screen arrived at my home address today in just two days from London. Impressive result. And despite the normally bad and slow service by the Swedish mail everything worked out well this time. You have sent me packages before and it has always worked well from you.
“So once again, many thanks!
“All the best and until next time!”
Ralf Antblad, Sweden
“P.S. I will spread some PR to my mates as well.”
“Just a quick note to say, Thank you! Whilst down in London on a wedding my flash unit blew up during the 'getting ready' shots at the brides house. Realising that I had lent my spare to my assistant and not put it back in my car afterwards, you can imagine my panic levels starting to rise! In hope and desperation I phoned your shop on Saturday at 12.55 and explained my situation. Despite the fact that your shop was due to close at 13.00 Nick and Uri did there utmost to help the situation and calm my nerves.
“At the church a black cab arrived only twenty-five minutes later carrying my new flash unit! I have never been so relieved to hear the words, "Taxi for Williams!" I was able to photograph the rest of the day, integrity and nervous system intact!
“Doing this for me was obviously a huge lifesaver, but what really impressed me was the fact that when I hurriedly put the new flash on the camera and instinctively turned it on, I discovered Nick had put fresh batteries in the flash prior to sending it out! He also phoned me to ensure the taxi had got it to me okay staying after the shop was supposed to be shut.
“Dedication to duty or just a good Samaritan, I was pleased I phoned Grays of Westminster and found Nick at the other end of the phone on that day!
“If you could pass on a huge, "Thanks" to Nick and Uri on my behalf. You guys run a tight ship, and as they say, "It's nice to work with professionals!"
“Just a belated note to say thank you for forwarding my new Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR AF-S Zoom-Nikkor lens and TC-20E II 2x teleconverter, which arrived promptly the day after I ordered it. Excellent service yet again!
“The ease of use, image quality and flexibility of this lens, especially when coupled to the 2x converter, exceeded my expectations and it has moved my photography along considerably. Thank you again."
Email: Dave Sallitt, North Yorkshire
“It was good to meet with you and Nick again yesterday, you both continue to offer your customers the quality and level of service that has long disappeared from many of the trading establishments throughout the United Kingdom.
“With kindest regards and best wishes to you both,”
Derek W. Richards
“Just to let you know that the second-hand Nikon F100 I ordered yesterday arrived safe and sound this morning. Thank you for the excellent service, including the instruction manual which was a nice touch. I'm looking forward to getting out and taking some pictures with it.
Email: Mark Bauer
“Thank you for the successful search for a different Nikon MD-3/MB-2 motor drive and the painless exchange. What you and your firm offer with your knowledge and trust is so exceptional and is, of course, why so many of us remain more than loyal customers.”
Email: John Krish
“Well, the Nikon F2AS Photomic camera arrived this morning. I suppose I should say that I cannot understand how you can describe it as EXC++ as it is certainly MINT- and although I imagine that others selling it would describe it in the latter terms, I remind myself that in dealing with Grays, I am not dealing with the "others". Thank you for your excellent service and for helping me, as an unapologetic traditionalist, to fulfil an ambition [of many years standing] of owning such a good example of an undoubted legend. It is now loaded with Tri-X, I have an itchy trigger finger, and am anxious to see the results!”
Email: Martin Seamark
“This email is long overdue and I have been meaning to write for some time. On Saturday, 22nd May this year, I came into your shop for the first time to discuss slide film, SLR cameras and digital SLR cameras, in order to make a better informed decision regarding the purchase of a camera and lens to replace one that unfortunately was stolen. I find it regretful that I was not aware of 'Grays' before. I am now. At least now, I am aware of where I will be making the purchase once I have come to some sort of decision.
“The main reason for this email is to thank you, gentlemen, so very much for returning my wallet to me, which I had carelessly left in your shop. I cannot express adequately the gratitude I feel for your help here. It prompted me to check out your website and to discover amongst many things, as others have, that your service is second to none.
“Thank you, once again,”
Email: John E Buchner
“I would like to express my thanks to Grays of Westminster for making sure that I had the best 60th birthday present ever in the form of a new Nikon D70 kit. Special thanks to Nick Wynne who knew the target date in early April just after the launch of the camera, and had it available for my wife with two days to spare!
“Having used the Nikon D70 kit now for nearly two months I am delighted with it - it does everything I need and delivers fantastic quality pictures straight from the camera with only occasional post processing work required. Also for the first time I have a digital camera that can be used heavily without having to worry about when the battery will give in. Congratulations to both Grays and Nikon.”
Email: Sandy Mathieson
“Just a brief note to say a heartfelt thank you for helping me onto the digital SLR ladder.
“The end to end customer experience from first call to sale closure has been an absolute pleasure. My visit to your beautifully appointed store was the first time in ages I have walked out of a shop feeling like my business mattered, or my issues had been addressed beyond my expectations. Beyond that you had ALL the 14 items on my invoice IN STOCK!!! Real retail therapy!
“My partner and I both work in supposedly customer focussed(!) industries, and when we compared customer experience at Grays against our own organisations we couldn't help but feel embarrassed by what we deem acceptable. We were still talking about the impact our visit had on us the next day.
“I took the opportunity to test the D2H at Oulton Park race circuit the next day, I can safely say that your advice has ensured my money has been well spent. The performance of this new SLR is staggering. Despite it being my first outing I feel that in time all the specified kit will perfectly accommodate my requirements. The AFS 70-200mm f/2.8 VR you suggested was without doubt the right choice (over my original choice AFS 80-400mm). The autofocus speed was superb and optical clarity even with the 2x teleconverter was exceptional. The carefully constructed package has already added a dimension to my photographic ability.
“Once again, many thanks to you and your staff who were frankly exceptional. I won't hesitate to recommend you to other Nikon users here at Vodafone HQ, and look forward to using you for future purchases."
Email: Warren Cox
“Grays of Westminster. We use only Nikon cameras, and we highly recommend Grays, a quality supplier. They have a world class reputation combining market competitive pricing with unrivalled quality of service.”
“Thank you for sending the Nikon D70 which arrived earlier than I had anticipated, following our telephone conversation. The first results are very promising and I am very sure it is the way forward for photography.
“It is a treat to deal with a photographic shop that knows what it is talking about and how to treat potential customers. The majority of the big multiple photographic dealers have incompetent staff and could not care less about the goods or the person buying them.
“Many thanks once again,”
Ken Mosey. Lancaster, England
“I am writing to thank you for the lightning-fast delivery of my Nikon F bits. The ink on the beautifully handwritten receipt was scarcely dry when I opened the box.
“I mean, Ye Gods, if you are this quick to support a 35-year old classic Nikon, then I simply shudder to think how rapidly Grays of Westminster would come to the aid of a modern Nikon user in need of accessories.
“Please consider me a very satisfied customer.
Email: Tony Wade
“Just a quick note to say many thanks for the fast service on my last two orders. The little Nikon Coolpix is a gem, a great introduction to digital photography. My parents love theirs too! I know it was only a small order, but thanks to both Uri and Nick for their attention. Both cameras arrived fast and beautifully packaged. I am saving now for my D70!
“I don't think you will ever top the purchase of my FM3A though, hand delivered to the North of England, but that is another story...”
Email: Jonathan Pledger
“Recently, the world of photography has undergone an evolution, if not a revolution, from a medium dominated by film to an increasingly electronic medium.
“Grays of Westminster serves as the definitive bridge in understanding this phenomenon, spanning the gulf of techno-babble, helping the photographer reach his goal. Whether the photographer is working with film or electronic media, Grays of Westminster stands behind the product with unsurpassed knowledge, guidance and support before and after the sale.
“Over the years, I have continued to rely on Gray Levett and his team for assistance on special projects.”
Technical Services Branch Supervisor
Nikon Professional Services
Nikon Inc., U.S.A.
“Wow! That is what I call service. From my initial enquiry about the availability of a humble lens hood (HB-27) late on a Sunday evening via e-mail, reply received early Monday morning, my order placed same day, and second-hand lens hood received at 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday here in Northern Ireland - that is the sort of service that many retailers might boast about, but few could achieve.
“Many thanks and best wishes,”
Email: Charles Scott
“Secondly, I took delivery of my D70 yesterday. I would like to congratulate you on the first class service I have received. I would also like to say what a great camera this is. I have found the controls remarkably intuitive and the build quality is excellent. You now have an additional loyal customer.
Email: Iain McKerchar
“I am the Revd. John-Martin Mc Gowan OP, and I am interested in selling a camera lens. I have been in the London shop a few times when I get the chance to visit the big City, and I will always say that I have found a little bit of Heaven in Churton Street selling the best cameras in the world, Nikon. I am devoted fan and user of Nikon equipment.
“Keep up the excellent work and tradition with every good wish.”
Email: Revd. John-Martin Mc Gowan OP
“Congratulations on running such a magnificent shop. Fantastic!”
Email: Rufus Duffin
“Many thanks for your helpful and courteous attention when I telephoned on Tuesday. The (Lowepro Stealth Bag 650AW) bag arrived yesterday which was service indeed and at speed.”
Email: Niall Ritchie
“Thank you very much for the Nikkor lens I received today. Talk about Concorde service!!!”
Email: Yvan Decoster, Belgium
“I was in London in November (on holiday from Saudi Arabia) while on my way back from Canada. I’ve often visited your website and I decided to visit your shop because of what I’d seen on it.
“Being from Canada, I’d expected that any shop with such a great website would have been a very large place indeed. When I first entered your shop, I was a bit disappointed. After looking around for a while, I began to really enjoy your décor and the whole set-up of Grays. My initial disappointment soon became a thing of the past. (My girlfriend really told me off for being critical of your facility.)
“What really impressed me was that you had two items that I’d been looking for in Canada, the United States and Saudi Arabia. I was delighted to get these items, a cover for the monitor on my D100 and the bottom bracket for my girlfriend’s Nikon F80 camera case. Every other shop had told me that these items would have to ordered and that the bracket probably wasn’t available. Your staff located them on your shelves and the deal was done.
“I regret that I didn’t ask for the name of the young man who helped me in your showroom, (the date was November 14th if that helps) because I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed my visit because of him. This young man was extremely polite, pleasant and helpful and a real pleasure to deal with and I feel that he’s a real asset to your company.
“People are usually to quick to complain and too slow to make a compliment, but I must thank you for your service when I visited Grays, it was a pleasure doing business with your company.”
Email: John P. Wiese, Saudi Arabia
“Re: 80-200/2.8D AF Zoom-Nikkor, filter and lens hood. Package arrived safely just after 10.00 a.m. Fantastic lens (totally mint), fantastic value and outstanding service. In fact all the attributes that makes you so famous.
Email: Tony Course
“Camera and lens received safely this morning. Thanks very much for your help, I am very pleased, and very impressed with your service. Certainly lives up to your reputation... I will be recommending Grays of Westminster to all my friends. Thanks once again.”
Email: Paul Hepple
“I am happy to report that the battery pack arrived today and works beautifully. I was expecting a used one, but to my great delight the one that came was in its original box which had never been opened!
“I have told all of my Nikon people in the Miami area who I have been having help me for over a year to find this piece of equipment about Grays of Westminster. Thanks again!”
Email: S. Anthony Wolfe, M.D. Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
“I thought I would take a moment to write in to you and express my thanks for your assistance. Your willingness to support me as a customer and to "go the extra mile" was very much appreciated. It is very rare to find such exceptional service from any organisation and, without question; Grays of Westminster demonstrates the very best customer service that there is.
“Overall the support from Grays, including the newsletters, website, Nikon Owners' Club and so on has made the move to Nikon equipment particularly productive. Every time I visit the shop, or the website, or the Nikon Owners' Club I learn something new and importantly I enjoy the event. That's worth lot to me.
“With best regards,”
Email: Michael Smith
“I purchased my second new Nikkor lens from you this week and once again, I'm knocked out by your efficiency and personal service. Many thanks to Uri (Zakay) with whom I dealt.”
email from: Neil Atkinson, LRPS, LMPA, Master Photographer
Writer & Presenter : ITV series A Moment In Time
Lecturer : Photography, Digital Imaging & Multimedia
“Thank you for such a speedy service!. I only ordered the MB-10 pro grip yesterday and it arrived this morning at my work place. Brilliant. Absolutely amazing, just as your web site said, mint- condition not a scratch AND boxed. Can't wait to try it now.
Email: Steve Maylin
“I have just received the Nikon MD-2/MB-1 motor drive. It works perfectly and I am very pleased.
“Thank you for your excellent and fast service, I wasn't expecting it to arrive so soon. It was a pleasure making business with you and look forward to future purchases should the need arise. I will definitely recommend you.
“Thanks again and regards,”
Email: Konrad Agius, Malta
“Just a note to thank you for a wonderful day. The attention to detail, Heather’s Workshops, the friendliness of the staff, and the food was breathtaking. I felt that the amount I paid could not possibly have accounted for the service given.”
Email: Lydia Maher
“I recently bought some kit from you guys and let me say from the outset that I am a very happy customer.
“Uri made an effort to get a 12-24mm f/4G AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor for me in time for a trip to Austria and as a result I didn’t miss out on a couple of shots from the glacier field behind the Kitzsteinhorn.
“So I just wanted to pen this note to offer my appreciation.
“Thanks and regards,”
Email: Ralph Baer
“Just a short email to say thank you very much for the excellent service.
“I read a review of the Nikon F75 in Photography Monthly and, as I wanted a film camera to supplement my D1 lenses, this seemed an ideal candidate. I found you via a 'web search' and, as I was most impressed by your site, and prices, telephoned to confirm the lenses would be compatible and, following a very informative chat, placed an order with you last Wednesday.
“I came home today to find a note from our postman to say he had tried to deliver a parcel on Friday. Imagine my surprise when I collected my camera!
“Next time I am in London, I will try to call in and thank you in person, but in the meantime I hope this email will suffice."
Email: Paul B
“What a pleasure it was to visit Grays of Westminster on Tuesday, to meet with you (and Nick), and complete the purchase of the Nikon F90X and FM2n. It was indeed fortunate that the 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor AIS lens was also available to complete the outfit.
“I had always promised myself that when I was able to afford (can we ever?) to replace my Nikon equipment, it would be purchased from Grays - and that was an experience in itself.
“Thank you for your personal attention and advice on my purchases and Nikon equipment generally.
“I am truly pleased with my "new" (as good as) Nikon equipment.”
Email: Ivan Watling
“To anyone visiting London do take a trip to Grays of Westminster to see the best Nikon shop in the world. There are nice surroundings, friendly atmosphere and the staff are the nicest gentlemen one could wish to meet.
“To them I say thanks for helping me find the parts for my Nikon F2AS Photomic. I will be back.”
Tommy Dickens, Sweden
Founding member of Nikon Owners' Club International
“I've just signed for a box containing the Nikon D100 + MB-D100 Battery Pack. I've not opened it yet.
“I felt moved to send you a e-mail to thank you for the truly incredible level of service I've received from you. I only posted the paperwork to you on Monday, you must have received it yesterday, and I receive the goods today, Wednesday. A special thank to Uri for his helpful advice and professionalism.
“On the whole, I'm use to good service from suppliers these days, but your service must be ranked as exceptional. Well done.”
Email: Bill Brady, Scotland
“You may be aware that I purchased a second hand Nikon F90X and 28-105mm AF D (IF)Zoom-Nikkor lens this afternoon. I just wanted to comment that I found the service and advice from Grays excellent (as ever) and I am so pleased I ended up with an F90X rather than the new F80 as the build quality is familiar when compared to all my old (and alas no more) gear.
“Having been a traditionalist in terms of manual focus, prime lenses etc I now realise I have been living in the past for far too long. I have yet to shoot a roll of film but my impressions of both camera and lens - and what they can do - are extremely positive (I am actually awestruck). The last time I looked at any AF gear was back in the late 1980's - how things have moved on (and how I've kept my head buried in the sand for so many years!).
“You never know, in another twenty years I might get round to using Digital...!
“Thank you again for the excellent service at Grays.”
Email: Gareth Davies
“Thank you for your fast processing of my order. UPS delivered this morning 10.30 a.m. CET*, and I was really excited during waiting for my two new Nikon lenses.
“Your service is extraordinary, in every aspect. As well, thank you for my subscription to Nikons Owners' Club which I received yesterday by mail.
“I am happy to have "found" your shop indeed!”
Walter - Vichy/France
*CET: (Central Europe Time) Central Europe mean Time
“I have received my Nikon D100, and am delighted with it. Thank you for your prompt and helpful service.”
Email: Dave Hunt
“Grays of Westminster is a must for anyone that is looking at buying a Nikon whether it is new or second-hand - modern or early.
“I was looking for a spare Nikon F to compliment the one that I have used for 30 years. I’m not one to read photographic magazines so I had no idea where to look for place to buy my camera. Fortunately, a good friend of mine recommended that Grays of Westminster should be my first port of call.
“The moment I visited Grays of Westminster I realised I was in very good hands. I spoke to Gray Levett who understood my requirements immediately and like a magician he produced a pristine Nikon F in perfect working order. I had not had to search the globe for what I was seeking.
“I’ve visited Grays of Westminster many times since to purchase various items. I am always warmly greeted with the same enthusiasm and interest in satisfying my request. As I mentioned earlier Grays of Westminster is a must for anyone that is looking at buying a Nikon.”
Nigel Dicker, Hatton Garden, London, England
“Once again, I'd like to thank you for living up to, and indeed exceeding, your reputation for fantastic customer service. I am sure this will result in future business and recommendations.”
Simon Burgess, Hampshire England
“The Nikon F4s I ordered has arrived last Friday in 'like new' condition and I have already shot a few rolls with it, having for the first time the option to use Matrix metering with my beloved manual focus Nikkor lenses.
“As much as I like the new digital SLR’s, nothing (yet) comes close to the pure pleasure of shooting with a good pro film camera.
“Thank you very much for your assistance and congratulations to Grays of Westminster; one cannot ask for a better service!
Email: João Salvador, Portugal
“Just a quick note to thank you for your exemplary customer service, and taking personal care of our recent transactions.
“The service/repair to the 35-70mm has solved the mystery of the "focus hunting"...and the two AF-S Nikkor lenses are busy keeping the D1x and F5 3D colour matrix sensors fully occupied!!!
“Great equipment. Even better service. Have a wonderful weekend - you deserve it.”
Email: Rob Shrubsall, 120 Design Limited
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: T. Goto, Head of R&D for Nikon SLR cameras, Nikon Corporation, Japan
“Still continues as one of the most unique Nikon stores in the world. Great hospitality.”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Tom Kostyk, New York, U.S.A.
“A thoroughly up to date approach in a fully unique setting - excellent!”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Martin Seamark, England
“It's really lovely here!”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Katherine Haines
“Thank Heavens for Nikon!”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Hy Money, West Sussex, England
“Excellent website, warm people, my pilgrimage spot every time I visit London”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Rajendra Belvalkar, India
“First to be of many visits.”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Peter Williams, England
“Wonderful. Very helpful indeed”.
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Steven Godby, England
“What a fantastic shop - I don't want to leave!”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Javier O Ruiz, Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
“Finally I've visited this fantastic dream!”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Sergi Sasso
“Great customer service and unbelievable collection of Nikon equipment.”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Dustin Wyatt
“Toy heaven - When I die I'll come here forever.”
Grays of Westminster Visitors Book: Tony Sullivan
“I admit my recent negligence in, apparently, not recently visiting your store's website (I cannot recall my last visit - sorry - though I have spent time recently on the Nikon Owners' Club website.) Your new opening page is simply gorgeous. Of course the storefront pictured on the prior opening page always felt a bit like a personal visit. I recall the four or five occasions when I was fortunate enough to personally visit you and your staff. The store is warm and your staff is welcoming, not to mention helpful and tremendously professional and knowledgeable.
“No matter whether I visited in person or arranged transactions from overseas the service has always been impeccable. For instance, when I first saw the used Nikon rangefinder camera I purchased from several thousand miles away, unseen by me prior to the transaction, I was amazed at its condition -- I believe you understated its fine condition considerably. Indeed, I think the elegance of the new opening page is a perfect fit."
“Thanks as always”
Daniel A. Devay, Attorney At Law. U.S.A.
“And thanks again for the time yesterday I can honestly say I really enjoyed taking the time buying the camera. What a difference from the big discount sheds and chains.”
Email: J. Daisy
“And may I also say thank you for your friendly and efficient service. I've had to go through hoops while purchasing specialised consumer items in the last two months, but dealing with you was a distinct pleasure.
“I look forward to doing business with Grays of Westminster again in the future.”
Email: John M. Hoare MICS
“Many thanks to Nick for his excellent service and this is one old customer, who after 8 years will be coming back on a regular basis.
Email: Richard Cook
“I am happy to confirm the delivery of the Coolpix 5700 - and in plenty of time for my wife's birthday!
“I have bought many items from you over the years, and as ever, I am grateful for your prompt and courteous attention."
“With very best wishes,”
Email: Allan Gormley
“Thank you for all your help with the purchase of the Nikon D1X. I received the cover this morning - thanks yet again. As always I'm more than pleased with the friendly service you provide and will of course recommend you to all my Nikon using clients.
“I am also very pleased with my membership of the Nikon Owners' Club. When I add up all the discounts from purchases, insurance etc - I have free membership and then some!!
“Best wishes to you all,”
Email: David Leaver
“If I wished to part exchange my Nikon F90X body for an F100 body, what in mint condition plus original packaging would I be looking at?
“I bought my camera (F90X plus 28-105mm) from you because I felt you were the best for service and I was not wrong (Gray dealt with me so I must be right!).
“By the way, I think your web site is superb and very informative, I spent a good hour on it - congratulations to whomever set this up.
“Also, I have recently contacted you about purchasing an SB-80 DX Speedlight and I am currently waiting to hear from you. I know I can buy this from other places but I would prefer to buy from Grays.”
Email: Brian Dawson
“First of all I would like to thank you for all the help and advice you have giving me during my two lengthy visits to Grays of Westminster. The personal attention, the clear explanation of options, and above all, the patient demonstration of all the functions of the F90X and the SB-26 were a tremendous help to me. I particularly valued the combination of courtesy, patience and informed knowledge shown by all the staff of Grays with whom I have dealt.”
Michael Boyes, Cheltenham, England
“There is a growing perception that the average exchange between commerce and the customer is founded upon a cash incentive with little regard to customer needs or professional integrity. I wrote recently to enquire about my impulse-bought TC-16A teleconverter and compatibility with current Nikon bodies; a small matter of cost efficiency.
“Your reply to my query was thorough, clear and very professional and left me with a positive opinion that Grays of Westminster are capable and well prepared to handle all levels of customer requirements. I shall enthuse your example to as wide an audience as possible and take very opportunity to broadcast the lessons learnt from such an efficient service.”
Paul Baker, South Wigston, Leicester, England
“Very many thanks for sending me the correct (BF-1A) body cap for my new camera. I had noticed that the camera was sent to me with the white plastic cap but, as your service had been so good, I did not intend to pursue the matter! Your attention to detail only goes to prove that the customer service that your firm provides is second to none!”
Robin Bryson, Perthshire, Scotland
“After exemplary service from yourselves via mail order I was finally able to visit your shop in person on the ninth of November.
“I was on a tight schedule and didn't have a lot of time to browse unfortunately.
“I did however purchase a much-needed eyecup for my Nikon FM2 and was treated with the same courtesy and professional service that I have became used to from your mail order operation (something that one cannot take for granted). I purchase my F4S, 80-200mm f/2.8 ED and my 35mm f/2 second-hand - a misnomer surely? Considering the, to my eyes, brand new condition of the lens.) from Grays and I have to say that in my experience your service and expertise is a shining light in a sea of mediocrity.
“When I first entered the shop I remarked that I had come from Belfast to purchase an eyecup for my FM2. I was being rather generous with the truth but believe me, to get the type of service you provide I would travel.
“My only complaint would be that the Guinness in London isn't as good as it could be, but then, Grays aren't in charge of that, are they?”
D. R. Brown, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
“I received the Zoom-Nikkor lens today (Saturday). This was after you promised it for next Wednesday. I have to say that the service you have provided me is second to none and I shall be more than happy to recommend you to my friends and colleagues.
“I would like to say thanks to Nick (Wynne) and Uri (Zakay) for their help.”
Mr. Lane, Nottinghamshire, England
“I want to take the opportunity and thank you for your kind service and the wisdom you quietly managed to include in our brief transaction in November.
“The early Nikon items I took home with me are a joy to hold and behold so I haven't packed them away as yet, but my meagre collection is otherwise secured in a Peli case. The curse of temporary living arrangements.
“Thank you for your service and advice.”
Asbjorn Blondal, Iceland
“Please let me express my gratitude for the careful attention you gave to my wish to become the owner of a Nikon F5. Your natural courtesy and professional efficiency make a new customer as I am, feel himself comfortably "at home". The quality of service of the Grays of Westminster team, the quiet and friendly atmosphere you offer to your clients, (all that I observed with pleasure), are outstanding and are what makes Grays of Westminster unique.
“As an Airline Commander Pilot I've travelled across Europe, North America, South America and South Asia, so I have lots of references that allow me to make my judgment. At Grays of Westminster I sincerely feel I am at MY NIKON HOME.”
João M.N.Costa Gonçalves, Portugal
“Thank you very much for your attention! Your opinion is very valuable for me, indeed. I sent a dozen of letters in different agencies, but you are and a company in USA were the one and only who responded me. That’s very nice and I appreciated your time you spent answering me very much!”
Email: Andrew Lagunow, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia
“Just to let you know the second-hand 135mm 2.8 Nikkor lens I ordered by phone on Friday afternoon arrived safely on Saturday morning.
“Outstanding service - thank you. Not sure why you listed it as "Mint-", it looks completely Mint to me!”
Email: Chris Webb
“Digital imaging seminar on Nikon D1X and D100 at the Le Méridien, Piccadilly, London.
“Sorry to be a bit tardy in writing to thank you, Simon Stafford (Technical Editor Nikon Owners' Club) and the Grays of Westminster Team for a most enjoyable and informative seminar last Sunday. It was thoroughly professionally organised.
“It was also an excellent venue and a superb lunch and refreshments, and some good new contacts during the breaks. As one of my fellow delegates commented, "Simon certainly knows his stuff".
“A daylong presentation such as this takes the most enormous amount of preparation.
“Please pass my personal thanks to Simon for helping me to continue my climb up this big digital imaging learning-curve !!! He has a knack of presenting even complex technical subject matter in a way that helps to make it understandable and informative for all members of an audience with very varied levels knowledge of the subject matter.
“Thank you again for a very useful day and very good value for money. I just hope I can remember half of what we were taught !!!!
BLUE PLANET IMAGES CO LIMITED
“The Nikon DE-3 finder has arrived!
“I would like to say how impressed I am with your service! I don't think I have ever seen a company get a part through from the manufacturer and deliver it to the customer so quickly!
“I shall definitely return to yourselves in the future. Many thanks for all your help.”
Email: David Ferrone
“I would like to thank you for the early delivery of the Nikon LS4000 (Super Coolscan 4000 scanner) which I ordered and which arrived safely on Wednesday.
“Once again, many thanks to Uri (Zakay), who processed my order and Grays of Westminster for excellent customer service. I for one much appreciate the personal touch provided and the efforts made to keep me up to date with the latest situation.”
Email: Roger Gilbert, Business Advisor
“Many thanks indeed for the prompt despatch of my order for the Nikon Sales Guide 2001-2003 which I received yesterday morning (it took just 5 days from your despatch date of 22nd August to arrive here in Brunei on 27th August which in itself is a record time!) It's fantastic!”
Email: M.S. Yusof, Brunei
“Hello. The items (Nikon Coolpix 5700 accessories) I ordered earlier this week arrived today. They seem to work perfectly, well packed as always from you and, of course, your usual exemplary service.
“Why look elsewhere? You are the best, whether by calling when in London or, as it more usual, by mail order.
“Just wanted to send this note of appreciation for your service.”
Email: Howard Fisher
“I want to thank you very much for your helpful and competent advice when I descended on you after a walk in the pouring summer rain. It was kind of you to give me your time; my needs were doubtless small beer by your standards, but to me it was a massive outlay, and I much appreciated your courteous help. It was very welcome experience in a town not altogether renowned for its warmth towards naive strangers.
“I chose your establishment because I much hoped it would live up to its reputation, and I was not disappointed.
“So I shall press on with learning how to use my new toy, and I'll end by thanking you again for kindness and very good service.”
Peter Hope Jones, Anglesey, Wales
“Brilliant service! Having waited seven months for a local Nikon dealer? to supply me with a HB-20 lens hood to fit the lens I bought from him last November along with a F80 camera. I have been fobbed off with just about every excuse in the book, from Nikon withholding supplies to computers crashing erasing all orders.
“One two-minute phone call to you and two days later I have the aforementioned (HB-20) lens hood on my lens.
“I know where to shop in the future.”
D.A. Bell, Lincolnshire
“The Nikon F5 outfit which I ordered was received by me at 8:45 a.m. today, beautifully packed as always.
“I have dealt with you for a number of years now and on every occasion the goods despatched have been delivered on the following day. I know of no other company who comes close to your exemplary service.
“Thank you once again for the superb service you give to all Nikon devotees.”
Godfrey Cantrell, South Yorkshire
“Just a few words to say thank you very much for your outstanding service in being able to get my Nikon F mated with the F-36 motor drive before my friend returned to Malaysia at short notice.
“My friend, Teik, was pleasantly surprised when he was finally told that the camera was ready and was very pleased that you were able to send it to him the very next day. (The day he was to fly to Malaysia). Due to this, he was able to bring the camera back to me in Malaysia.
“'The kind of service of which legends are made' could not be said any better. You have a customer for life from Malaysia!
“Once again, many thanks.
Email: K.S. Lim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“Following two telephone calls to you yesterday, June 24th, I ordered a used Nikon F60 body and sat back to wait.
“I am writing to express my surprise and delight at your amazing service as the parcel arrived on my doorstep in today's delivery, 25th June! How you and the Post Office managed to deliver well within 24 hours I have no idea!
“It is marvellous, in this age of frequent disappointments and broken promises, to find a company that can still achieve "Good Old Fashioned Service.
Email: Mike Wootton
“Just a quick email to say thank you for such a good service. My new Nikon D1x arrived today as promised and saved my life.”
John Johnson Photography, Peterborough
“How impressive it is! Well done, your website is classy, well laid out and very informative.
“All my best to you and your staff.”
Email: Joava Good, U.S.A.
“When I was in London it was really great to visit Grays of Westminster with my pal photographer, Richard Young.”
Patrick McMullan from an interview in Nikon Owner magazine.
Patrick McMullan is New York City's ultimate celebrity, fashion and society photographer.
“I just want to say that Grays offer a postal service second to none. I ordered a catalogue during the day and the very next day it was delivered to my door. Whilst it may not seem important to some people, it just shows the care Grays take over ANY order, be it an expensive piece of equipment or a relative cheap catalogue. Thank you.”
Email: Eddy Wood
“I came into your shop on Saturday hoping to pick up a used manual Nikon, and left with a new FM3A. I just wanted to say how true the testimonials on your website are. I will be recommending you to my friends and will certainly be returning!
“The camera is a joy, many thanks.”
Email: Jamie Whitehorn
“May I conclude by thanking you for all the pleasure Grays has given me over the years.”
Email: Professor Roger Ellis
“Grays of Westminster is a unique establishment. This multi award-winning retailer deals exclusively in Nikon equipment, and their unashamedly old-world atmosphere is matched by the quality of service that is sadly disappearing from our modern world.”
Robert Sanger, Blue Planet Images website
Some background information. We had just sold out of Nikon FM3As. A telephone order came in that day that we were due to get a delivery from Nikon U.K.. Alas' the delivery arrived too late to enable us to send the order which our customer needed the following day (Thursday). The long Easter weekend was beginning the day after that (Good Friday) it would have meant that the camera could not be sent until the following Tuesday to arrive Wednesday a delay of six days! One of our staff took the decision to catch a train after closing time to the north of England to deliver the camera to the customer. This journey from start to finish took eight hours. The camera was delivered on the day promised! Here follows his response:
“Just a quick note to say thanks again for the truly extraordinary efforts you made to deliver my new FM3A camera to me.
“I have told many people the full story of what you did. Most people reacted with raised eyebrows!
“I have never ever come across such an amazingly high level of customer service, and with such a lack of drama, as if it were an everyday occurrence!
“I could never imagine that a "setback" with my order could have been so well handled.
“I recall saying to you that you had moved heaven and earth, your truly modest understated reply..."but that's just what we do every day".
“With regard to the new FM3A, it is a joy to get back to a manual camera. I have already found my way around it, shot several rolls over the weekend, and it feels like an old friend!
“I would urge anyone to buy one. It is a superbly made, solid, and compact camera. It has already surprised me to learn that I am using it more often in full manual than in aperture priority mode. The manual 50mm 1.8 lens is perfectly damped and the image through the viewfinder so incredibly detailed and clear that composition and focussing are a joy.
“The first rolls are being processed as I write. I will let you know about the results...I am confident!
“After the extraordinary effort that you made I feel sure that this camera will take some truly memorable images.
“I wonder what they will be...”
Email: Jonathan, Preston
“This is just to say 'Thank you' for the prompt and efficient way with which my telephoned order of last Tuesday, was dealt.
“Although I did not telephone you till after 4 p.m. I had the lens in my possession by 9.30 a.m. the next morning!”
Brian Checkland, Wirral, England
“A couple of weeks ago I wandered in to your shop in order to, perhaps, purchase a second to partner my F5. Little did I know that I would discover an F3/P and walk out of the shop with it.
“I have to say that it is a wonderful, tactile and enjoyable (not that my F5 isn't!) photographic tool. The results with the 50mm f1.4 lens are simple stunning. Maybe it's the purity of use, but it does seem to create better images both image quality and compositionally wise. Maybe it's just my imagination...?
“Either way, this purchase has re-emphasised my love of the art and has increased my love affair with the Nikon brand.
“Your shop is outstanding and the product even more so! Keep it up!!”
Email: Mark Orchard
“I also wish to express the pleasure and excitement I have on returning to your web site, which brings back memories of a visit I made to you while in London some years ago. In fact, you are like a memory of what it was like to fall in love for the first time, as the smell of your perfume lingers still on my mind after all this time, as I recall that visit. Please keep up the good work.
“Yours, from an old romantic photographer,”
Email: Brian Fissenden
“There's only a couple of serious and specialist dealers in Nikons in the UK. Grays of Westminster are the guys who provide unparalleled service in Nikons in the UK.”
“If anyone wants to buy Nikon equipment, please use Grays of Westminster for knowledgeable, polite, helpful and patient detail.
“When I first bought into the system, I kept changing my mind about what I wanted. Later my camera bag with two bodies, lenses, flash and so on was stolen. Some gear was recovered damaged and Grays did the repairs and returned the items within three weeks and bore my constant 'phone calls with patience.
“The Post Office dropped the parcel and a filter was smashed. I had to ring Grays again and throughout it maintained a gentlemanly charm - though it was hardly my fault.
“I wouldn't have been in the least surprised to hear a groan when my voice came over the 'phone again, but I received nothing but kindness once more.”
Sue Storey, Lincoln, England
Letter Page entitled NO BLUES WITH GRAYS Amateur Photographer magazine
“What a fantastic job! The camera is as good as new. Thank you. If ever I have another Nikon problem, I know where to get expert help.”
Duncan Findlay, Clackmannanshire
“I had the pleasant experience of visiting your Nikon shop on Saturday. Usually having to work on a Saturday morning I was glad of the opportunity to visit you, I have visited no less than a dozen so called camera shops and had left them all without making a purchase. I had seen your advert in a photography magazine and also visited your web site.
“It was nice to be received by one of your staff who was extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Nikon products. I had also read about the Nikon Owners' Club on your web site which was also of great interest, having been a Nikon owner for about 24 years. I have enjoyed reading the back issues of Nikon Owner magazine that your member of staff gave me and look forward to being a member and also to the next issue.
“I bought a Nikon F5 camera and lens and I am extremely pleased with them. I have run 2 rolls of film through already to get to know the camera.”
Email: Michael Powell
“If you ever find yourself in London, be sure to visit Grays of Westminster. You won't find a finer Nikon retailer anywhere. They are exclusively Nikon. Every year when I visit London, I stop in at Grays, usually looking for some rarely seen Nikon part (usually an 8 week special order part here in Florida, or even unavailable), and while he may not necessarily have the part in stock (these are pretty infrequently requested items after all), Gray invariably gets it for me before I head back to the states. Grays isn't just a local retailer, you would be amazed at the places people call in orders from (international is a bit of an understatement).
“Grays of Westminster is a full service shop; they know and believe in the equipment they sell, and if you buy equipment from them, they'll make sure you do too. In addition to the full range of new Nikon equipment, Grays also deals in second hand Nikon equipment (though seeing it you'd be hard pressed to tell it wasn't also new) as well as vintage and collectible equipment.
“If you have any interest in vintage and collectible photographic equipment, the Nippon Kogaku room is worth the visit by itself. When you visit the Grays of Westminster web site, be sure to look into the Nikon Owners' Club International: www.nikonownermagazine.com as Grays is the host for this as well.
“To get to the physical store follow the directions on their site or just punch these coordinates into your GPS: N 51° 29' 33.3" by W 0° 08' 26.4”
Glenn Eisen on his website
“Many thanks for your phone call regarding the second hand version of Nikon Photo Secretary. Unfortunately I was away and didn't get the message until the new version had arrived.
“Can I thank you for the superb service. It arrived within a week of ordering in person from the shop. This was despite the fact that it had to be ordered from Nikon UK first. It is refreshing to know that old fashioned pleasant and speedy service does still exist.
Email: Roger Lear
“Henry James, the Bostonian novelist who moved to London in 1876, wrote in 1886:
'There are winter effects, not intrinsically sweet, it would appear, which somehow, in absence, touch the chords of memory and even the fount of tears; as for instance the front of the British Museum on a black afternoon, or the portico, when the weather is vile, or one of the big square clubs in Pall mall. I can give no adequate account of the subtle poetry of such reminiscences; it depends upon associations of which we have often lost the thread... The interior glow of the clubs in Pall Mall... I positively like best when the fog loiters upon their monumental staircases'.
Henry James words are very reminiscent of the type of London atmosphere of which Grays of Westminster is a part and to which it contributes.”
Definitions: portico (pôr'te ko) - roof supported by columns, forming a porch or a covered walk <Latin porticus.
“It is impossible to describe what Grays of Westminster means to Nikon customers, such as myself, around the world. I recommend you check the website and subscribe to the newsletter service. When you visit London, the shop is well worth a visit. In its unique ambience you will really see how legends are born.”
Quote from a link to Grays of Westminster's site from Constantinos Petrinos website
“All who are familiar with Grays' own publicity know that this peaceful corner of Pimlico fairly hums with mahogany-panelled, glass-fronted assistants, ticking quietly in the corners as they rest upon their leather upholstery. So we move swiftly on to look beyond appearances, at the personalities and the standards that make the enterprise what it is. What is the secret of the legendary Grays magic?
“Lurking in his preferred territory at the back of the room is Nicholas Wynne, Esq. His brief as second-hand specialist at once evokes a Dodgy Geezer with a bulging wallet. Someone with the descriptive powers of an estate agent, and the scruples of a gangland lawyer. Some of us have had dealings with the like, and lived to regret it. Am I the only person who has ever been sent a lens on its last legs, whose alleged rating of "near mint" can only charitably be attributed to the close proximity of a packet of Polos? And then dealt with shirtily when arranging to send it back? I think not! But Grays is a different sort of establishment, and Mr. Wynne a different sort of operator. Perhaps you have played the diverting parlour game involving an item of EXC+ Grays' second-hand, where you try to spot the difference from the new article. Aficionados will, after a few minutes, discern a suspicion of a rub on a baseplate, or the faintest signs of use on a lens mount; but that is generally about the measure of it. Suffice it to say we no longer shop around for our needs, but come straight to Grays, even if it means a little wait for an item to appear.
“While passing the time of day on the ground floor, you may become aware of a slightly distracted figure, blinking in the full light of day as he emerges from his subterranean lair. You have caught sight of the eponymous Gray Levett, briefly forsaking his substantial collection of steam-powered and horse-drawn Nikons in the room with the funny name (Nippon Kogaku Room). (Something to do with insecticide and martial arts, I think, but I'm not much of an orientalist.) To readers of Wodehouse the descent into Gray's underworld retreat recalls nothing so much as a visit to the butler's pantry at Blandings Castle. Ensconced like the worthy Beach in his natural element, he dispenses gossip and information (of a Nikon variety) in grave and confidential tones, over - not, alas, a glass of port - but a more-than-passable cup of coffee, nonetheless. And, like that good butler, there is a whiff of a bygone age about this connoisseur of vintage machinery. One can only hope that when he shortly discovers the twenty-first century going on around him, the shock will not prove too grievous.
“Here, then, we have the Wise Men of Churton Street, plying their wares with their accustomed and unsurpassed knowledge, courtesy and efficiency. Never mind the scenery, pleasant though it is; it is the service delivered by these sterling fellows that truly sets Grays apart. A shop as shops used to be, perhaps? Certainly a shop as shops ought to be. Thoroughly worthy, in fact, of such outstanding customers as ourselves.”/p>
An extract from an article called Et Ibidem Tibi * by Howard Spencer
*Or, in plain English, "And the Same to You!"
P.G. Wodehouse. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975) was an English humorist who wrote novels, short stories, plays, lyrics, and essays, all with the same light touch of gentle satire. He is best known as the creator of the irredeemably dim and unflaggingly affable Bertie Wooster and his invincible valet Jeeves, but Wodehouse also produced multi-volume story cycles on Blandings Castle, Mr. Mulliner's extended family, Psmith, the Oldest Member, Uncle Fred, and the Drones Club.
“This is going to be a very long email if I try to describe what Grays of Westminster means to Nikon customers, such as myself, around the world. I recommend you check their website and subscribe to the newsletter service.
“When you visit London, the shop is worth a visit even if you are a Canon user... In its unique ambience you will really see how legends are born.”
world-famous award-winning underwater photographer
“Just to say how great it will be to get hold of the Nikon F2AS Photomic camera and how very useful and clear your website is. Quite exciting to read your newly posted page on Thursday late and then order a highly desirable bit of kit by phone first thing next day, knowing from experience that your mint- description is virtually a guarantee of perfection.
“Floreat res Graysiana...”*
Email: Thomas Hooley
* literally translated: 'May the Grays business prosper'
“Ref: Nikon Handbook
“Thank you very much indeed for the prompt despatch of my order for the above item. I faxed my order on 27th March 2001 and received the book on Saturday afternoon of 31st March 2001. I am indeed very impressed with your service.
“I had the same experience (which also prompted me to write back to express my gratitude then) back in late 1988 or early 1989 when I placed an order for a used NIKON FE which incidentally is still working perfectly and it is still a much valued piece of my modern classic Nikons collection.”
MS Yusof, Tutong, Brunei via email
“I must thank you and the staff of Grays of Westminster for the courteous and individual attention shown to me on my recent first ever visit to the establishment to have my Nikon equipment serviced and recalibrated.
“The walk from Pimlico station reminded me of the architecture of the Royal Crescent in Bath and to enter the Nikon Emporium in Churton Street was worth the visit alone, to see the array of past and present photographic equipment.
“Again many thanks for the excellent and prompt service.”
G. E. Spain BA LRPS. East Yorkshire
“Today I have received the DW-1 Waist level Finder for my Nikon F2, which I had been looking for a long time in my Country . Thank you very much for your great service, for the high quality of the finder, and for all your attention and kindly patience guiding me. I am sure we are dealing again very soon.”
“Many thanks for your outstanding services.”
KS Lim. Malaysia
“Just a line to say how pleased I am with the Nikon SB-16A Speedlight I ordered by phone on Wednesday morning and had delivered first thing Thursday, carefully and methodically packed.
“Thank you very much for your truly excellent service, your reputation - of which you should be justifiably proud - is well-deserved.”
Email: Michael Cockerham
“I just got your items. Like I have said before, I like your company. It gives perfect service, perfect price, perfect transaction. Thanks a lot...”
Michael Shen. USA
“Still cannot get over the superb service you guys offer!
“Best of British to you and the business.”
Andy Goloskof. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
“PS: I work in retail electronics, it is surprising how many of my customers are your customers as well.”
“P.S. Just standard service from "Grays of Westminster", that is why I, and many, many others, purchase our Nikon equipment from you.
“I think that I may also say, "best wishes for the future from myself and all your customers.”
Email: John Campbell
“First I would like to thank you for your excellent advice and service relating to my purchase of second-hand Nikon F Photomic body and 28mm f/3.5 Nikkor lens. I am absolutely delighted with the quality of my purchase and the results obtained to date.
“I am becoming a complete bore with my digitally enhanced , AF (autofocus) loving friends being as I am a long standing lover of manual Nikon cameras and now a convert to Grays of Westminster. Perhaps there is scope for a Grays of Stormont!
“Many thanks for your help.”
Charles Scott, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
“My AC adaptor arrived today.
“I would like to thank you for the prompt and no hassle efficiency of your Company.
“It is a pleasure to deal with Grays of Westminster.”
D L Terrace, Glasgow
“This is just a note to let you know that my 35-105mm lens arrived yesterday afternoon. I am delighted!
“My husband and I enjoyed meeting you and briefly taking a look at a few items in your wonderful establishment. What a pleasure you and your staff were do business with. We thank you for your help.”
Jane Catalano, California, USA
“London's fabled shop for the Nikon user.”
Marion Kaplan Photographer website
“It was good to meet you this morning.
“I'd like to express my thanks for such excellent service. No pressure selling, just patience, sound advice and an obvious passion for all things Nikon.
“The F5 is a wonderful machine and on first inspection not as complicated as I imagined.
“The Nippon Kogaku room is truely wonderful. It bought back memories from when I bought my first Nikon FM and dreamed of owning an F2, thanks for showing me around.
“I've added a link to yourselves from my web site as a thank you for today.
“All the best and I look forward to dealing with you again soon,”
“The class and service of a bygone age with the technology of the new millennium. It is no wonder that you are the most famous camera shop in the world!”
Soujata Devaris. Cellist. London SW1
“You are the most cost effective camera dealer in the United Kingdom.
“I think anyone who has purchased second-hand for any length if time has experienced the vagaries of certain photographic dealers descriptions of their second-hand wares. The time wasting and money wastage can be enormous.
“I never for a moment have to doubt the equipment that I buy via your mail order service. It is always arrives in exceptional condition and in perfect working order and I do mean perfect. The fact that you are willing to send it on a 15-day money back approval and you give a one year warranty says a lot about you.
“Therefore I do not have to waste hours of my time travelling or telephoning round for second-hand Nikon or even scanning through adverts in the press. I just buy from you with complete peace of mind.
“The money I save and time not squandered on fruitless searching is a thing of the past. I just telephone a rather special shop in the small village of Pimlico in the heart of London and hear the words 'Hello, Grays of Westminster...' Magic!”
“I am just writing to you too take this opportunity to thank you for the kind and helpful service from you and your staff in the shop. Grays of Westminster is an education in its own right and must be seen to be believed.”
Ed Byrne. Warwickshire
“Thank you very much for the F90X it is in immaculate condition. I am slowly getting used to an automatic camera, after a manual and I'm beginning to wonder how I survived without it!
“Once again thank you for all of your help and what seems like a superb camera.”
Sally Thomas. Pembrokeshire
“Just a short note to say thank you very much for the excellent service I received from you this week. I ordered a lens from you on Monday morning and I was delighted when it arrived first post the following morning superbly packaged with a beautifully handwritten receipt, a nice personal touch.
“...once again many thanks for the great service.”
Chris Myddleton. Brighton, Sussex
“It was a pleasure to meet you and visit your fine shop while we were in London last week. I want to thank you once again for the (History of Nikon) poster which shall soon be properly framed and hung in my office.
“It will be my pleasure to recommend Grays to all of my friends to visit whenever they are in England. Thanks again.”
Jerry & Janine Mendelsburg. USA
“In all my years I have never had such good service as I had when did business with you. Not only was it prompt but also backed up with sound information as to what was the correct item for my needs.
“I shall be doing business with you again. I have not had the pleasure of visiting your shop in person. However Nikon UK said 'It is out of this world' and if they say that it must be good.”
Dave Winsor-Green. Birmingham
“One of the most striking images of No. 40 Churton Street is its total lack of any advertisements stating, SALE! MASSIVE REDUCTIONS! MASSIVE SCOOP PURCHASES! Etc, etc...
“Once inside what greets you is the quietness, the warmest of welcomes, courtesy and a team of experts who not only read the outside of boxes but are competent to explain what lies inside them.
“As a result of my most recent visit to purchase Nikon equipment, I must echo the many adulations you have already received from so many other satisfied clients.
“In the arid desert that today represents retail sales, Grays of Westminster is a very welcome oasis.
“A well deserved Thank You and long may you be of service to us Nikon users.”
A.B. Field. Northamptonshire
“It is over eight years since my first purchase from you (that 80-200mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor lens that I cannot move without!) and it goes without saying that your support in my professional career as a photographer has been unwavering and invaluable. From the moment in 1999 that I made the gigantic leap from the role of keen amateur to professional wedding and family portrait photographer you have been a constant source of knowledge and wisdom. I would not, and could not, go anywhere else for my Nikon equipment - your service is unique and your support is invaluable. Thank you.”
Pippa Hart, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire
“At last I have put pen to paper. I have used Nikon cameras for at least 15 years and have built up a collection (F-301, F-401, F-501, F-601, F-801S and FM2).
“In all these years I have never had such good service until I did business with you. This was not only prompt but also backed up with sound information on which item would give me the result I was looking for. This can only mean one thing, that is I shall be doing business with you again.
“I have not had the pleasure of walking into your shop. By the way Nikon UK said I must do this because"it (Grays of Westminster) is out of this world" and if they say that it must be good. So I promise I will do just that next time I am in London. You can print this letter if you so wish to back up your First Class Service.”
“Grays of Westminster - Exclusively...Nikon This unique shop has supplied me with equipment over the years (I use 35mm Nikkormat FT2 cameras) and supported my work in many ways, including sponsorship for books, book sales and exhibitions. But most importantly with technical advice, not always one of the strengths of the creative mind!
“Grays is far more than just an ordinary camera shop, where the staff have only one thing in mind, to make a 'quick sale' and forget you once you go out of the door. Here you will find a relaxed atmosphere where one can discuss many varied aspects of photography and life in general - a quite haven from the madness of our modern world.”
Simon Marsden. Lincoln
“They have a modern day quality, with yesteryear service, meaning personal knowledge is of the highest standard. No detail is too much trouble and their word is their bond.”
Kenneth R. Palmer, Haughley, Suffolk
“When I am on safari I take two things to read, National Geographic and The Grays of Westminster Gazette.”
Paul Joynson-Hicks. Tanzania
Author of Uganda: The Pearl of Africa and Tanzania: Portrait of a Nation
“I paid a visit to you shop last Friday to purchase an F90. I'd like to express my thanks for the warm welcome I received and the way the business was carried out.
“I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to view some of the classic Nikons some of which I have never seen before.”
S. Vencat, London, England
“It (24mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor) arrived safely on Saturday, and appears to be perfect - the usual Nikon standard!
“Your promptness and courtesy with which you dealt with this matter was exemplary, and I will have no hesitation in ordering further lenses from you in the future.”
Mrs. Nesbitt, Hampshire, England
“Please say thank you to whomever took my order and despatched it so promptly.
“I am getting so much pleasure from my Nikon equipment. It really does live up to its legend.
“Many thanks to you and your staff for unfailing courteous and prompt service.”
Mrs. F. Olbrich, Clackmannanshire
England & Wales.
40 Churton Street
SW1V 2LP, England
Company Reg. No. 5652450
VAT No. 872 2684 03