Hidden in Pettah there’s a large and full-featured photo supply shop. As a bonus, they also sell telescopes. This place is also called Batik Center, or its branch is.
Pettah is weird. They have everything you could want there, but if you don’t know your way around all you see is plastic buckets and fake hair.
For example, Sense Photo is the only place we know of in Colombo to get a telescope (tell us if you know more). They also have most camera memory card and batteries as well as tripods, lights, camera bags, etc. The stuff ain’t cheap (about Rs. 10,000 for bags, 10,000+ for telescopes, even Rs. 750 for a lens cap) but they do have almost everything.
We’ll cover the location first because it’s, well, weird. As you enter Pettah from Fort you hit the Khan Clock Tower and Front Street. Note that there’s a big parking lot just before the clock tower, hidden inside. Front Street is where you can get watches, bags, all of dubious quality. If you walk down you’ll then spot a place called Batik Center near the end. This shop no longer sells batiks, it sells camera equipment and stuff and is the front for Sense Photo. If you ask they’ll direct you down a narrow lane just before them (Mayuri Lane we think, not sure) and there you have Sense Photo.
Sense Photo, in contrast to the box that is Batik Center, is a big, cool and quite modern camera store. And there you are. One of Pettah’s hidden wonders.
We went for the telescopes. They’re out of the big (few feet long) ones, but the small ones are still available for Rs. 13,000.
What we noticed upon arriving there is that this is primarily a camera supply shop. They have solid camera bags for around 10k, those huge photographer boxes, tripods, lights, spare batteries, lens caps, etc. The stuff isn’t cheap though. A lens cap was like Rs. 1,000 which we negotiated down. Still, they do have everything we could imagine. If you’re a tourist and you’ve lost a battery or charger or something it can be a godsend.
Regarding the telescope, which we bought, it’s pretty good and not way over-priced. You can see mad detail on the moon. We haven’t really tried the stars yet, heading out to Yala to give them a gander this weekend.
The guy working there is nice enough and we went we were the only people there. Prices are negotiable.