My Favorite Camera Shops & Dealers. Ever.

dealers

My Favorite Camera Shops & Dealers. Ever.

There are so many camera shops, store, internet sites and dealers out there ready to take our cash and send us a new fresh box of happiness. If you are like me, receiving a new package from the Fed Ex or UPS man brings  not only a smile, but a rush of energy, happiness and joy. A shiny new or even a new to you (used) camera can really bring you motivation as well. For example, I remember back many years ago I was shooting an Olympus E-1, yep, the original Olympus digital SLR. They now sell for about $60 on e-bay but at the time, I loved the E-1 and paid $1400 for the body only!! It had gorgeous color and solid build and its measly 5MP, at the time was plenty for me.

My local shop at the time (which has now closed down) told me “This is Canon 1d quality”! Well, it was not quite 1Ds quality but it was fantastic. After a while though I remember seeing full frame cameras and some cool film cameras. After a while of shooting the E-1 I moved to a Leica M7 and was wowed by the slim and solid camera. It just felt right. That camera motivated the hell out of me and I went on to shoot hundreds of rolls of film, even taking classes at a local college to finally learn how to do my own B&W film.

That was years ago but today I still remember that motivation, rush, excitement and joy from using that new camera. Even though it was film, for me it was so enjoyable to use. It taught me many things, just using that camera. I eventually went on to full digital of course with an M8, M8.2, M9, M9-P, M 240 and now MM and M-P 240. I also own a Sony A7s and adore it. Olympus still rocks for me as well, as I enjoy the E-M1 as well.

I love my cameras and over the last 20 years I have learned WHERE To buy from to get the most hassle free and enjoyable experience, as well as the best deals sometimes. I always get e-mails asking me “where should I buy XXX camera”? Well, here you go.

Over the years I have recommended the same dealers here. Those that I have worked with and bought from on many occasions. I have shopped from a few other sources but sometimes have had a negative experience so this is why I only recommend those who I trust and those who have really went above and beyond. I only allow advertisers and sponsors whom I trust and support back and know would never rip anyone off.

Look what the USPS man drug in..direct from Ken Hansen. The Leica Monochrom in silver chrome and the new M-P in black. 

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Below is a list of whom I buy from, who I have had great experiences with and all of those that I trust and put my name behind when it comes to camera dealers and shops!

1. Ken Hansen – This guy is everything LEICA. He has been a Leica dealer forever and used to own a store in NY. He now works from his home as he is semi-retired but his Leica business is still going strong with many Leica shooters praising his name every day. Ken has become a legend..legendary. I have never in my life experienced anything like Ken from ANY shop, dealer or store, ever. He goes above and beyond and the funny thing is he does not even have a web site, a Facebook or twitter 😉 He runs it all from his home via phone or e-mail. He has been with me since day one and you may have seen his ad in the sidebar before. It will be there for the life of the site because if it not for Ken (and a couple of other friends) this site may not have made it!

Ken has new Leica and often times has used items and unique items as well. Just call him at 212-879-3263 or send him an e-mail at khpny19@aol.com and let him know what you want, need or are looking for. Most likely, he will have it. Plus, mention my name and you may get a bit of a deal..maybe. I stand 100% behind Ken Hansen.

2. B&H PhotoThese guys are the king of Retail and Online sales. They do MASSIVE volume. I mean MASSIVE. I have been to the store and it is a sight to see. Hundreds of customers at any given time, long lines to check out (but they go fast) and conveyer belts that travel through the store to deliver your goods when you exit. Amazing. They have the best online experience I have encountered. First, if an item is in stock and ready to ship, it says so clearly. If it is not, it clearly states this. No guessing games. They ship same day as well if you order before a certain cut off time. So technically you could order a lens on a Monday morning and have it arrive Tuesday. They also are top notch on their returns, undo nay to Amazon. It is an online automated process, never needing to email someone or call someone for an RA number. B&H Is the king of camera retailers. You can see their site here and they sell all kinds of goodies, not just photo related. They are sort of a giant electronics megastore. I give them a 100%!

3. Amazon Who does not shop from Amazon? Myself and everyone I know shop at Amazon and they are doing amazing things..amazing. Amazon is the future of internet shopping, food shopping and everything in between. I believe in 10 years Amazon will have the most amazing services. You can get anything and everything from Amazon. I have certain household items get delivered every month using their subscribe and save feature and I also buy tons of music (LP’s) and camera accessories such as Gariz cases, caps, batteries, lights, etc. They have anything and everything. Click here for a link to Amazon and see for yourself. Never an issue with them, ever! The return policy and process is painless and simple. You even get a label to print for easy return. My score = 100%!

4. PopFlash.com PopFlash has been around for a long long time and Tony Rose is the man who owns and runs it. He is well-known among Leica shooters but he also sells Fuji, Olympus, Zeiss and many other brands at his online shop. I have purchased Leica lenses, cameras and Artisan and Artist bags and cases from PopFlash and Tony always comes through. They have some superb prices as well and when you see the “used/mint” pricing on some Leica items you may be super tempted to go for it. Check out the site at PopFlash.com! 100%

5. The Pro Shop These guys are great and know their stuff. They have years of experience and sell Leica, Nikon, and even the Hasselblad Stellar and Lunar line. They have so much to choose from so here is where I would go for not only the best camera brands but for some of the best advice and experience. 100% for these guys as well! You can call them for info at 561-253-2606 or see their website HERE.

6. CAMERAQUEST – Run by Stephen Gandy this long tim Voigtlander dealer has just about anything you could ever want from the brand. There are a few Voigtlander lenses that stick out to me and some I like better than Leica glass! The 35 1.2 II, the 15 4.5, the 50 1.5 Nokton, all superb and all a fraction of the cost of a Leica lens. If you want a great buy and fast shipping on Voigtlander lenses then you must check out CAMERAQUEST! 100%! Check out the shopping site HERE!

7. Leica Store Miami – These guys are in actuality Dale Photo in Florida, but this site is much improved and all about LEICA. This shop has it all from cameras, lenses, cases, accessories and even used Leica cameras and lenses. I bought my fancy Leica case from them and my shipment arrived in one day. You must check them out! I give them an easy 100%. Never an issue. Never a problem. You can see their site HERE. 

As you can see, all six shops/dealers get a full 100% from me because I would not recommend anyone who I did not shop with, buy from or feel 100% about. If I was 90% I would not recommend them! If you buy from ANY of the above dealers you will not be disappointed. With Amazon, if you have an issue the return policy is so good you can just return it. No questions asked. Just be sure to buy from Amazon and not a third-party (or prime). Same with B&H and some of the others. For me it should be about customer satisfaction and all of these do it very well.

So there you go, my fave dealers and vendors. When you want to buy a camera or lens or accessory or ANYTHING, check them out! They are what help to keep this site running!

15 Comments

  1. Until two years ago, I lived in midtown Manhattan. At that time, I loved B&H for the sheer expansiveness of the store, but also PhotoVillage, for just the opposite experience. It’s a small jewel of a shop, with a Leica boutique, and specializing in rangefinders. They’re also online as PhotoVillage.com. The kind of place where you know the owner and get to know the one or two salespeople over the years. Try it.

  2. Ken Hansen just sold me my first Leica camera and lens. Incredible service!!!! Of course I heard of him on this site. All the recommendations are deserved!

  3. Your referrals are dead on for these dealers. I have bought an M9 and M240 from Ken and he is amazing to deal with. Also, you cannot go wrong with Leica store Miami. I have purchased a couple of lenses through them and their pricing is great and service is excellent as well. They are not quite up to Ken’s standard but I feel he may be one in a million.

  4. I too am a fellow GAS sufferer and I’ve bought from all the shops on your list and have had very good experiences with them. For now, I only buy inexpensive gear from Amazon because they charge tax to Californians, which none of the other east coast outlets do. Also, I’ve got to add one more store to your list: Camera Land in Manhattan. They are absolutely reliable and honest, and they often undersell the bigger guys by $50-$100, thanks to holding in-store events where a camera may be show on the floor for a few hours and sold at the “mint-used” camera” price. They are particularly strong on Fujifilm and they tend to be the first store to get new models (sometimes ahead of Adorama and B&H), and they do everything possible to satisfy the customer. I’ve just bought a Fujifilm body and 4 lenses from them in the period of less than 2 months. Twice, although I paid for 2-day delivery, they knew they might miss delivery 2 days from when I placed the order, due to my ordering late in the day and Fedex getting a zip code wrong, and in both cases they changed to Next-Day delivery at no extra cost to me. They also usually ship within an hour of receiving an order. I’ve dealt with 4 of their sales persons, including Joel the owner, and they all seem to have decades of experience and they truly respect their customers. No “New York attitude,” and I can say that because I’m originally all New Yorker! They often sell their specials through Amazon and eBay, but you are better off calling them directly when you see one of their listings. Please understand, this testimonial is unsolicited and Im not expecting any special favors from them in the future!

  5. Good info.
    Anyone buying Leica in LA , I can only recommend the official Leica Store in West LA.
    My experience with the other shops has been miserable…
    For everything else, as well as Leica if you want mail order, then Steve’s recommendations are excellent.
    I use B&H almost weekly it seems!

    Best regards
    Huss

  6. I’m with you Steve, I think that’s the combo I’d get if I could, black M-P with chrome Monochrom–there is just something classic about it. Happy shooting!

  7. I live in Italy. In my experience, all times I tried to buy some elements in US on-line shop (including amazon.us) I discovered that then the shipping costs are added to the original (very interesting) price, the total costs are higher than in Europe on-line shop. It is not possible to buy at american price for European people; it is a possible that couriers sympathize each over or a result of business war between EU and USA on different theme…Regards

  8. I have to agree with your list Steve as I’ve dealt with 5 out of 6 of your selections. I did not buy anything from Ken Hansen but he was willing to go out of his way if I hadn’t already found a used Leica lens I had been looking for.

  9. I have to say that I also bought an E-1 back in 2005-6, my logic being that here was a camera with lenses specifically designed (Telecentric) for the format, and also I was looking for a decent super-wide angle lens, but nothing vaguely comparable to the Zukio 7-14mm was available for APS-C cameras, and has only been available until quite recently. I’d tried the 12mm FF RF prime, but, it had excessive vignetting, was an f5.6 lens, but in order to correct this with a circular heliopan gradient filter, this took it’s working aperture down to f11 … !! The 7-14 is a wonderful lens, and on each more advanced body, it’s quality continued to deliver the goods. Of course, there is now the Panasonic version which is a hell of a lot less bulky and weighty, but I don’t think I’ll bother to upgrade to this. I also gather that Olympus have a f2 or f2.8 version ‘under development’; I just might be tempted, if it delivers better images (regardless of the aperture) than the original. As far as I am aware, I don’t think Steve has tried either version of the currently available 7-14mm, but I gather, most reviewers, have a hell of a job getting their grubby little mitts on these! If I lived in the US, I would be very happy to let Steve have a go with it, but unfortunately I live in the UK!

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