I'm often asked which camera shops I would recommend, so I thought I'd pop a few down here.
Found in the High Chelmer shopping centre, this (like the other shops mentioned here) is a proper camera shop, with friendly, knowledgeable staff, and decent prices. They also have a good stock of secondhand cameras and lenses, which is nice to see. They've been very good to me over the last few years, happy to promote my tuition and host my free advice days, but I wouldn't be happy returning the favour unless I thought they were as good as they are.
My only reservation is that they don't stock Pentax anymore, which means customers don't have a full choice of DSLRs, but most camera shops these days seem to not stock at least one of the major brands.
London Camera Exchange (Colchester)
A little tucked away along Eld Lane in Colchester, LCE is a small shop (I think my lounge is bigger), but it has a good range of equipment, and that all important friendly atmosphere. It's where I bought my Pentax K-5, and when there was a problem with it that meant it had to be sent away, I couldn't have asked for a better service, which I think is the true measure of a good supplier.
SRS Microsystems (Watford)
A bit further away from me, but still local to many of my customers, SRS is the place to go to handle Pentax gear (even stocking the 645D digital Medium Format camera), but they carry most other main brands too (not Sony). Like Cameraworld, SRS are internet retailers too, and you can be confident buying from either online.
So those are the main shops I tend to recommend, simply because I know them and can vouch for their service and integrity. You can almost certainly get some things cheaper from other retailers, especially online, but I'd much rather spend a few pounds more and know that if there's a problem, I can get it sorted with little fuss, talking to real people. I also remember the day when nearly every town had an independent, good camera shop on the high street, and I think we have to help the ones we have left before we lose all chance of handling goods before we buy them.
If you have any other suggestions, perhaps for shops in your area, please leave them as a comment!