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I started my career as a photographer in the early 1990s, and one of my happiest moments was the discovery of a small brick building, tucked into a corner of a residential road in the East Sussex town of Uckfield: MXV.

No idea what MXV stood for – I never bothered to ask. But it was a treasure trove of used photographic equipment. Some of it well worn, some of it frankly looked unused. It did not matter what you were after, the chances were that they had it, or had recently had it, or thought they might get it in soon, and when they did, they would let you know.

It was pretty good for selling stuff to. If you had something you wanted shot of, they’d give you a reasonable price (assuming they figured they could sell it on), and if you were happy to wait, the would sell it for you on a commission basis to earn you a better price.

I lost track of the number of times I went in there, or phoned, or checked their stock on the clunky but perfectly usable website. I sold things, and I bought things. The most recent thing I bought was a Mamiya 6 rangefinder (rare beyond belief now and at least double what I paid for it if you can find them). Probably my best buy from them was a Mamiya RZ Pro II 6×7 with a 110mmf2.8 lens, waist level finder, and a couple of film backs. I paid half what it would have been new, and it was so “mint” it still had a protective shipping sticker on it. Not a finger print anywhere. Apparently someone had been labouring under the impression that a professional camera would improve their photography, a notion which to my advantage they were clearly dissuaded of.

MXV was full of stuff like that – an invaluable source of the odd thing that a photographer might need. Sadly, within the last couple of weeks, they have ceased to be; a victim not only of the astonishing speed with which so many serious photographers ditched film to dive into the brave new digital world, but also of that other digital creation – eBay. Paul Beaumont tried to take MXV in the right direction by creating an online shop on eBay to help shift the gear, but in the end there can be little doubt that the seismic downward shift in the value of their stock must have made survival near on impossible. While odd items like the Mamiya 6 have gained in value according to their scarcity and desirability, the vast majority of second hand gear simply lost its market, and most first, second and third generation digital cameras have little residual value with short shelf lives and rapid advances in new generation equipment replacing it.

Probably the only place left now of its like in the UK is Mr Cad, run by the inimitable Alex Falk. To be fair, Mr Cad always was in a different league, and whereas MXV was really about cameras, Mr Cad has always been about photography: cameras, darkroom equipment, studio lighting. You name it, Mr Cad is the Mecca of traditional photography. If your heart is in film, then Mr Cad will probably be your spiritual home. Whether you are a small scale hobbiest, or you want to kit out an industrial darkroom, Alex Falk has forgotten more about the paraphernalia of photography than the most dedicated of students is ever likely to know. When I needed a second hand specialist darkroom water heating unit (designed to keep mains water running at a temperature stable to within 3 tenths of a degree) Mr Cad had it. Actually they had about half a dozen. You get my point. But while Mr Cad may survive, it was the Tesco to MXV’s boutique.



  1. Andrew Bruce
    Andrew Bruce April 12, 2010

    I too was really sad to hear of MXV’s demise. It was an amazing place, so many times I would turn up without even phoning up, asking if they had something, and ore often than not they would – and well, if they didn’t it was just a good excuse to ask about items they had which I could only dream of owning.
    I’ve needed them several times recently, their repair service ProTech, was brilliant also..
    On a purely selfish note, I often wonder where their stock went..

  2. Andrew Bruce
    Andrew Bruce April 12, 2010

    by the way, nice to meet another mamiya 6 user!

  3. stuart goodman
    stuart goodman June 20, 2010

    mxv… m= flashbulb
    X= electronic flash
    v= delayed action

    probably the best most honest mail order dealer for used stuff…very sad when they went down. gather it was the inland revenue which closed them.

    paul, colin, jim and the rest of the team… well done and many thanks

    LES MITCHELL January 22, 2011

    on countless occaisions i had visited this aladin cave ! staffed by people who understood the true meaning of our art now having to deal with spotty saturday oiks[ wottever innit ]
    mxv had supplied me with advice and equipment but most importantly good old fashioned service ! sadly lacking in this modern money grabbing new equipment only buisiness !
    i only hope they come back soon ….thanks guys

  5. J Boyer
    J Boyer June 8, 2011

    I did not realise until today these guys were no more – what a shame! I fondly recall using them as a photography student (I go tmy first Mamiya RZ 67 there. I just remembered them as I now need some more equipment. For those looking for a new supplier there is Clock Tower in Brighton. They do cost more than MXV in my experience but they are very knowledgeable and have a range of Second Hand equipment. Park cameras in Burgess Hill are good too. Worth a try!

  6. Peter Clarke
    Peter Clarke June 23, 2011

    so sad to read of the demise of this wonderful Company. thank for your help in the past Guys


    HELLO dear Photo Enthusiasts!
    I read on another thread posted 11.Nov.2013 that Paul Beaumont of MXV had taken his life a few years ago. This is very sad and I can only honour him as a fine fellow Camera Dealer whom I had the pleasure of meeting, doing business with, and have fond memories of. Our trade has been most enjoyable with meeting so many photographers who share our passion. The last years have been hard on us all, and Paul is sorely missed. We will try and keep the flags flying up high!
    Best regards and hello to all that know me.
    Carsten Lemmermann
    CONTAX SPECIALIST and Specialist Photographic Dealer

  8. admin
    admin September 15, 2014

    It is so sad to learn about this. I spoke to Paul on many occasions when doing business or seeking advice. He was an enormously helpful and generous person. My condolences to his friends and family.

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