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.
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. These shops are also site sponsors because I accepted them as sponsors (I turn down many every year).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Photo – These 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. CAMERAQUEST – Run by Stephen Gandy this long time 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!
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!
I’ve been a loyal customer to B&H for years but but my most recent experience with their customer service turned me down and I don’t think I will ever buy from them.
BTW, I got a chance to talk to some local photographers the other day and they all agreed that B&H is not as good as used to be.
I like B&H and have had good recent experiences, particularly when compared to Adorama and selling used equipment.
The statement that ‘one experience wipes out years of buying’ is so vague that 1) it is not very helpful, and 2) it could easily be a competitor’s plant. I wrote a factual and negative response in this blog about two bad experiences with Adorama and it was pulled. Specifics in the experiences help readers decide, IMO. Without them, we have nothing on which to base our judgments.
Yes, I get it, everyone is entitled to their view, but if B&H has slipped it would be nice to hear what is happening.
I’m not big on the super stores like B&H or Adorama. I buy from them only when I can not get something from a smaller or more personable source. I mostly get my gear from Sean at Camera West or (Stan) Dan at Tamarkin.
My local camera shop–Glazer’s in Seattle–simply sucks. I hate to be harsh, but that has been my personal experience. I gave Glazer’s at least 5 opportunities to deliver on various sales requests, and they failed me every time. They often times don’t have things in stock, and/or they forget to follow up with me. I can’t trust a business like that, especially when I need to them for after-sales service support.
Ken Hansen, on the other hand, has not failed me once, in the two years I’ve worked with him. He’s a stellar guy and runs a stellar business, and he has become a good friend. Thanks to Steve Huff for recommending him to me through this blog site several years ago. I wouldn’t go anywhere else, but to Ken Hansen, for my Leica camera equipment and support.
Adorama is my choice for service, reliability and prompt delivery.
Ordered a two lense package from B&H and while the package arrived as stated because of some sort of B&H hold. After many attempts with customer service their best response was it is an insurance hold. Never ever encountered anything like that with Adorama. Prices are matched so oftentimes it is customer service that determines where a purchase. Adorama has provided outstanding service, therefore they have my business.
I can’t agree more with the overwhelming sentiment as regards Ken Hansen. A true gentleman and a privilege to do business with. I’ve also enjoyed dealing with Dan Tamarkin very much as well. B&H also true pros and very honest and straightforward. I’ve nothing but respect for their principled observance of the Sabbath which gives me a measure of confidence that the almighty dollar is not where it begins and ends with them. It’s fairly refreshing that they are so successful despite the anachronism.
I used to shop at both B&H and Adorama, but my last experience with Adorama was bad. I needed a new and hot Canon 100-400mm II lens in a hurry, called B&H first, was told not in stock. Then called Adorama, a salesman told me it was in stock. To be sure that I would get the right item, I asked him agin that I needed a new and version two of that lens, he said yes and would leave the lens at cashier when I pick it up at store in the same day. It took me two hours to get to Adorama in a rainy afternoon, when the cashier handed the lens to me, I couldn’t believe it was the old and version one lens. A manager told me that Adorama didn’t have that lens until 2015. I was empty handed and my four hours was wasted.
You’ve never experienced just how wonderful a new Leica goodie can be until you’ve made the purchase through Ken Hansen. He gives the best customer service in any industry: marathon fast replies, two/three day shipping, gentlemanly attitude about everything, even payment. He buys used equipment generously, which means you can trust the used equipment he sells much more than the used goods at B&H, which is below market with prices it offers sellers. Tamarkin is also first rate–and so is KEH.
Steve, I notice you never mention CameraWest (now Leica SF) in your articles on great Leica sellers. Did you have a problem with them?
B&H has been flawless for me for over 30 years. Since long before online shopping was available, when they sent out comprehensive catalogs and had ads in the back of photography magazines. Bought a Canon A-1 and had it shipped to California….
Another vote for Tamarkin Camera if you are here in Chicago or even for shipped orders. Great customer service. All things Leica.
Popflash. Absolutely. I exclusively deal with Tony. Probably the best buying experiences I’ve had in the past decade. And no: He is not more expensive than the B&H/Adorama big-boxes. Same price (or cheaper) and you get service that the big places can’t touch.
Happy Xmas!!..I talked to Ken this morning and bought a great looking M6ttl black. He has couple of M6 classic in mint condition and other M’s. Ken is the man, never had any issues with him or his merchandise.
Ken Hansen is awesome!!! Highly recommend him as well. Amazon has way too many shipping issues due to their delivery carrier choices. USPS and UPS workers in my area botch their deliveries one way or the other regularly. BH lets me choose Fed Ex.
I too understand Adorama missing. They are on my do not use list now, sadly due to an issue. B&H has always come through for me, without fail. Been to their store and love the busy environment too!
Another vote for my buddy Ken. I think he is one of the best if not the best. 2nd closest is Steve from Bromfield Camera in Boston. With these guys, it is not just buying and selling but I ended up building trust and relationship. For me, that is what set them apart.
Bought hassleblad stellar from B&H as a Xmas present to my bro, arrived I hk in 3days during peak season. Whereas I bought an iPhone 6cover mujjo from Netherland roughly about the same time, nearly didn’t arrive for Xmas!! B&H superb online store!!
All stores can make a mistake. I’ve had problems with all stores I’ve done business with.
The main reason I do not like B&H, are their religious views. (shutting down their website due to religion.)
writing simply to correct Corvus’ ignorance: B&H does not shut down their website on religious holidays. Their website is up and running – they simply do not take payments or process on-line orders, but you can save your prospective purchases in the shopping basket for purchase when they re-open. You see, Corvus, there is no one present there to -process- them (because of the h-o-l-i-d-a-y they celebrate as part of their 3000 year-old religious tradition.)
Do you have an equal disdain for the “religious views” of stores that are closed on Christmas or Easter? Anyway, B&H is one of the best photo stores in the country, but I’d give my Leica business to Ken Hansen first.
Is it so much trouble to place an order on a day other Saturday? Or Jewish holidays?
Yeah ok Adolph.
Another shout out for Tamarkin Camera for purchasing Leica equipment and for service.
Hey Steve! I’d love a list/review of sites for professional printing. Leica seems to have a really nice new service for prints, but in Europe only. What options do we have here? Your opinion would help me tremendously!
Adorama. Not one single problem. Every time, plenty of times.
B&H. Once. Lots of inconveniences.
Amazon is ok but you don’t get the personal sales experience from the guys at Adorama.
Not my experience, and since this is my site..gotta call it as it was for me.
Adorama was a big disappointment twice in one year, and in both cases B&H outdid them…I am sticking with B&H from now on. There are a lot more people milling around B&H, yes, but I found the sales people very helpful, and without any rush. Adorama was a different deal. The so-called “up to 70% of retail” for used equipment is a marketing come-on. I sold a pristine Fuji X100S, and Adorama offered only 60% of current retail and B&H offered 70%. (The Adorama guy said their offer was 70% of a retail price that was about to drop! This was the second time that happened to me at Adorama, the first being the sale of a Nikon D7000…B&H beat Adorama’s price easily.) I am convinced that B&H is the best on every score, whether you are dealing with them in-store, online, or on the phone. B&H also has parking for the few times I actually drive into the city. My rank now is B&H #1 by a long shot and Amazon a distant #2…Adorama is off my list entirely.
Any shops in Tokyo that you would recommend? For good used Leica or other vintage lens? thanks!
Wish I knew of some, but do not. Sorry!
Map Camera in Shinjuku and Lemonsha in Ginza are good stores in Tokyo for Leica and lenses second hand.
ebay is great too.
LOL, so a 100% rating for everyone? Sure.
Yes indeed, those I list, yes. Those others have mentioned that I have not? No. There are thousands of shops, thee few get my 100% rating as i have bought from them for 15+ years without one issue.
While I’m at least as cynical as you and I don’t always agree with Steve Huff, I agree on his choices of Ken Hansen, B&H, and Popflash as outstanding retailers/sellers on their integrity and customer service. I can also a give you a long list of sites and sellers to avoid, but let’s keep this positive, being the holiday season and all….
I too would like to give Ken Hansen praise! I just got a great deal from him on a used 28 Elmarit and the post office messed up the delivery as they often do. Ken was in contact the whole time, down to this very afternoon on December 24th! He could have been offline enjoying a day off, but chose to help me out.
Thank you Ken, and thank you Steve for recommending him and these other fine stores.
Tamarkin Camera in Chicago is an outstanding company and a pleasure to do business with. They also provide superb service for all their focus products.
Without a Doubt, Ken Hansen. A true gentleman, too.
I’ve bought from Ken in the past. A one word comment: OUTSTANDING
I agree with David Hunter. My salesman at Adorama, Efraim Nussbaum, has given me personal service to such a degree that he is almost a member of my family. You absolutely cannot get that from an impersonal place like B&H. Efraim speaks eight languages and I have seen people actually lining up to have him help them. I buy in excess of $2,500 in equipment per year, and I would shop nowhere else. Happy Christmas to all.
Altman’s in Chicago. Long ago closed. Century Camera in Chicago is a must visit the 2-3 times a year I’m in town.
In NYC, I used to go to B&H Photo quite a bit but I’ve switched my allegiance to Adorama. They are a smaller outfit and they are far less crowded than B&H. I just want to be able to relax and breath in a camera store and Adorama gives me the space and time that I need. Also, when I need to make a major camera purchase, I instead use Bedford Camera in Massachusetts. Because I am ordering from NY, I save on tax and I get free shipping. That’s a big savings. Usually my order arrives within 2 days of my order. I can’t beat that.
I had an issue with Adorama years ago which is why I do not advertise them or use their affiliate program. Left a bad taste in my mouth back then. But I shop at B&H nearly every 2 weeks and have for 15+ years. Never one issue, ever.
Ken Hansen–used to buy and rent from his NYC store at 920 B’way way back in the 1980’s and was regarded as THE professional’s camera store, with very highly knowledgeable salespersons who dealt in pro level equipment and lighting. Many well-known pros used to buy and rent there, and I got my first Leica M4p there (as well as many Nikons, Hasselblads, etc.). Fondly remember Walter, Howie and crew (at least one is now at the BH used desk). Just bought a lens from Ken (it’s been a long time) and his service is still as excellent as ever.
I’ve also shopped at B&H since the 1980’s, way back when it was located at 17th Street! Always straight shooters, no gimmicks, no trickery, never had a problem, even though it always has very competitive prices. In a business known for bait and switch, false advertising, very dirty tactics, and poor business practices, I’ve just always been impressed by B&H’s integrity. In comparison, I had a couple of issues with Adorama that made me think twice, but since then it’s been much better.
I have to add some praise for Ken Hansen here. I just bought a Leica M-E off of Ebay from him, packaged with a 50mm Summicron lens. Everything was unused and still in the original packaging. Warranty cards and all. Listing was “buy it now” at 5300 with the option to make an offer. I offered 4900. He accepted, shipped in two days, and the camera and lens are in perfect shape. No tax, free shipping. Ken basically saved me 3000 retail for this package. If you need something Leica, I highly recommend him. Amazing.