Bucks County Herald

Family business

Cundaris multiply at New York Camera & Video

DAVID CAMPBELL



Frank Cundari, who started New York  Camera & Video in 1978, had locations in Abington, Feasterville, Montgomeryville and Quakertown. He moved his Feasterville store to Southampton in 2003 and closed the other three

Frank Cundari doesn’t necessarily see dollar signs when he sets foot in New York Camera & Video, his business of nearly 40 years.
Cundari sees family, lots of family.

“What’s nice about that is I don’t have to be here all the time because there’s always somebody from the family here,” he said.

Cundari rattled off employees who double as family members: his wife, his daughter, his son-in-law, his son, his two sisters, his two nephews, his niece, even a couple of family dogs who roam the “22,000 square-foot photographic superstore” at 1139 Street Road, Southampton.

“At one time,” Cundari said, “I had four stores and it was like three headaches because nobody was there from the family.”

Originally, Cundari, who started the business in 1978, had locations in Abington, Feasterville, Montgomeryville and Quakertown. Feasterville moved to Southampton in 2003; the other three locations were shuttered.

The business started out as Surplus Photo, selling mostly used stuff. When he began selling new stuff, Cundari felt a name change was in order, thus his enterprise became New York Camera & Video in the mid-1980s. The name stuck.

But Cundari’s offerings have changed.

“Well, it’s basically services,” he said. “Today, you can’t be in business selling cameras. You can’t make money. We buy cameras and sell them for almost cost and that’s pretty much to be competitive. You have to be the same price as everybody online, which we are, but the problem with that is there’s no money in it.”

Cundari rents out “higher-end cameras and lens, especially lens.”

“It doesn’t pay for you to spend $2,000 on a lens if you’re only going to use it once or twice a year,” he reasoned.

New York Camera & Video handles a lot of printing, too. With everyone now seemingly getting into photography with the advent of the smartphone, Cundari wants customers to consider using his business for their printing needs.

“We developed a nice photo lab business,” he said.

The printers are on the premises as are cutting-edge pieces of equipment to accommodate video and film transfers. The technology at New York Camera & Video to process such requests is very rare and top of the line, Cundari said.

“We utilize Bosch Quadra digital film scanners to convert all films to DVD and other formats. These are the same systems used by national television sports organizations, major archiving organizations and professional Hollywood feature DVD production firms,” it reads on the New York Camera & Video website, nycv.com.

“The system utilizes SDI (serial digital interface) to keep the signal completely pure during the transfer process to DVD, HDD and digital video tape. Film sharpness is retained down to the film grain and color rendition is superb. No projectors are used, so there is no claw or intermittent sprocket to pull film through. The process is very safe for all films.”

“We do a lot of transfers,” Cundari said. “It used to be from old movie film. Now, it’s from old movie film, VHS tapes, 8mm tapes, Beta tapes.”

Old home movies inevitably deteriorate over time, Cundari cautioned. The rate of decline is dependent on the conditions where the video is stored and the vehicle of choice. New York Camera & Video can help preserve precious memories, Cundari said.

“Get your tapes transferred now because eventually you start losing the information that’s on the tape,” he said.

“And even if they go bad,” Cundari continued, “we have a service where we can do what they call ‘bake’ the tapes.”

Baking, according to Wikipedia, “is a common practice for temporarily repairing sticky-shed syndrome.” The website added: “Baking the tape temporarily restores the tape by driving the water molecules from the binder so that it can be safely copied to another tape or a different format.”

“We process all film from 35mm, 110, 120, 220 and even APS (Advanced Photo System) in color and black and white, in house,” Cundari added.

New York Camera & Video also carries a wide assortment of frames and, among other things, can snap professional passport photos, Cundari highlighted.

One day Cundari would obviously like to turn over the keys to the family business to, well, a family member. He has plenty of “employees” to choose from.

“It’s nice to come to work simply because it’s not like really work because I see all my family here,” Cundari said, “and I think they hopefully feel the same way.”

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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