Update on Ken Hansen (Leica Dealer)

Update on Ken Hansen (Leica Dealer)

Hello to all. Recently I made a post about Leica Dealer Ken Hansen as he was sick and not doing well, therefore, all camera orders and purchases were on hold. You can read that post and tribute to Ken HERE.

A message from his family as of March 26th 2019:

“Ken Hansen continues to face serious health concerns. He is unable to do business at the moment. Ken and his family wish to maintain privacy during this time. There are no current plans for the future of his business. Updates will be made as time progress. Thank you al for your constant support and well wishes.”

Ken was a legendary Leica dealer and my first experience with him made me realize he did business in a way like no other. I remember buying a Leica lens from him, and I ordered it and he said “Just send me a check when you get the lens”. For years following we had a great relationship and while I displayed his ad here for the last 10 years, I never charged him a fee for this. Instead, he would help me out by loaning me lenses to review, or giving me a discount or even sending me a free gift every now and again (and these were amazing “gifts”). Ken is a true gentleman and truly loved by many in the Leica world. I will miss sending him an email asking his thoughts on what is coming, or asking him if he had a particular camera in stock. I will miss Ken dearly, as he was one of the nicest guys I have ever come across in the photo industry. No, scratch that, he IS the nicest and most generous guy I have ever come across in the photo industry.

I still send my prayers and love to Ken and his family and anyone out there who knew him, I ask you to do the same.

Thanks to all,

Steve

46 Comments

  1. I am so sorry to hear that Ken hasn’t been doing well. For the first edition of the Film Developing Cookbook I acknowledged the help of the Prince of camera dealers, and I am thanking him again in the forthcoming second edition. There has never been anyone like Ken. How I appreciate his knowledge, his joy in his work and his charm. And his sly wit, which made every visit memorable. I was always, I thought, the most appreciative and diffident of his customers. I remember the last time I walked in to his shop. The first thing he did was say to his assistant, loud enough for me to hear, ‘Be careful with this guy, he’s the biggest ball buster I’ve ever had to deal with!’ Then he went out of his way to find something obscure that he knew would be useful to me. And then he gave it to me. In the whole world, there isn’t anybody like Ken. I wish I could buy a hundred thousand cameras, just to have the pleasure of buying them from him.

  2. I bought my M10 and CL from Ken. He is a considerate gentleman, and always upbeat and positive in spite of his health issues. On March 5, 2019, he responded to my inquiry about his health by writing: ” I’m still dealing with some health issues but am hoping to be back to work within the next two weeks. I’ve been improving but have experienced a few minor set backs. Thanks for the well wishes.” I join everyone in praying for his recovery.

  3. I have bought a lot of Leica gear from him online and in person in NYC. I had ordered an M7, my first purchase from him almost 12 years ago. He sent me the camera even before I paid him , there was no other Leica dealer for me after that. Always got honest advice and best prices for used equipment from him . No other like him. He’s missing on eBay since months now, due to some health issues , I read here.
    ..my prayers and best wishes for fast and good recovery for him.

  4. Sad news, indeed! Wishing Ken the best recovery possible!
    In the early 1980’s I was introduced to Ken as THE BEST SOURCE of information to help me decide whether to stay with Leica reflex camera or go to Nikon. He graciously gave me two hours of his time as he also helped others.
    I lost track of Ken when he moved from NYC (to FL?). It is wonderful to know that he continued to work with Leitz equipment through on-line sales (?).
    Today, my son, a museum photographer, is considering a Leica as an investment, but is concerned that the value of digital Leicas will not have the long-term value of the film cameras. He had hoped to hear Ken’s comments about this decision.

  5. Ken is one of the best business people I’ve met. In fact, I brought way too much Leica gear because of him; getting to deal with him could make the difference. Ken, you need to get back soon …. I’ll save up those transactions until I can enjoy working with you. Fervent prayers and best wishes are wafting your way.

  6. Dear Ken,
    I hope you’re doing better. I bought my Dyna-Lites from the Broadway store before I moved up NYC. They’re still working fine at 31 years old. You were great to deal with and I was very excited to come to the store and late,r the one uptown.
    My best to you and your family,
    Ned W

  7. So very sad to here that you are in the Hospital Ken. I sincerely hope you have the energy to beat your illness. I go back to the days in NYC when my dad told me, son, if you ever get into the Leica system there is only one person you deal with, and that is you my friend. I have worked with Ken on many systems and never ever had and issue we couldn’t solve, and so did my dad who bought his first M3 from Ken.
    There will never ever be another like you, anywhere, period.

  8. I have been dealing with Ken for years. Kind, gentle, honest. Always such a pleasure to do business with him and his camera descriptions on eBay are always so funny. What a great sense of humor. He would ship me gear next day USPS and tell me to pay for it once I got it and decided that I liked it. No one does business like that anymore. And if you bought used gear from him, you never had to worry about it not being right. Sending good thoughts Ken!

  9. I’m quite sure my story of Ken’s influence on my life is not that dissimilar to those of you that have had the pleasure of interacting with him. Ken was my very first introduction to the world of Leica with the purchase of a second hand M6 and 50mm summicron. I still have the setup after all these years and he put a bug in me that over the years grew to several M bodies, and lenses, and an immense passion for photographing with the brand. I really enjoyed his slightly condescending sense of humour during our many random email exchanges in which I often referred to him as Opa. Ken’s genuine. I hope you battle your way out of this soon old friend.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  10. Get well, Ken! Praying for a speedy recovery.
    Unfortunately, my first time communicating with Ken was early fall, last year; I only wish it was decades sooner. I was shocked when he sent me a camera to look over, without wanting any credit card info, until I decided if I wanted it or not. I did purchase the camera, and got to know Ken a bit in the process.
    Ken, you are a class act!

  11. I’ve had the pleasure and joy of dealing with Ken and his staff since the mid ’70s when he had his shop in NYC. My first purchase was a Topcon DM (which I still have and use!). Since then I’ve bought Fuji’s, Mamiya’s and a host of other Leica and non Leica gear.I was always able to find that odd or unusual piece equipment. He was always kind and never rude or condescending. He is a gift to the photographic community. My prayers are with him and his family.

  12. My prayers for healing and comfort go out to Ken and his family. Ken was not only the best and most legendary Leica dealer ever, but we became friends along the way. I learned a lot about photography from him. I remember being in a small Leica museum on Broadway while visiting NYC. I heard this very characteristic voice conversing in the background. I went up to the man and said “are you Ken Hansen?” He said “Yes I am!” I said “I’m Kendric Wong! I’ve been buying cameras and lenses from you for years!” He hugged me and we spent a while chatting. Later I even went up to his home to chat and pickup a new lens. Such a warm and generous human being. I am saddened to hear this news. Please get well soon my friend…Kendric Wong

  13. I first did business with Ken Hansen when I began as an assistant at Nobart then Bob Barclay studios. I continued through the late 70’s, then ,80s and 90s. A great person to know and do business with. Ken know you are in our prayers. Please get well soon.

  14. My wonderful Ken…our wonderful Ken.
    That’s how he made you feel…like you were in his inner circle…
    We all love him for his kindness, patience, generosity, and trusting spirit. Such a wonderful specimen of HUMANITY.
    Ken i hope you are well enough to read these little messages and know how much we all care…
    My first Leica was that beautiful little white M8 that you sold me…i still have it and still love it! i am so grateful for all you have taught me and hope and pray for your health, comfort, and strength.

  15. If you can, perhaps ask official Leica representatives to make contact with his family. You could say that Leica dealers and customers are too big to be a ‘community’, but he is certainly an important part of the Leica world.

  16. Bought my first Nikkor lenses from his brick & mortar shop 25 years ago in NYC. Top quality stuff. Straight shooter.
    Such is life, but he will be remembered as a one-of-a-kind fellow.

  17. Prayers for Ken. I appreciate all the generous help he has given me. Currently have the M10 because of Ken. Thankyou Ken for your help and patience. Get well and enjoy your family and friends.

  18. Man, such sad news. I’ve bought a couple Leicas from Ken and actually emailed him a month or so back and was a little concerned when I didn’t hear back from him. Such a nice and helpful guy. He would ship an camera without payment and ask you to pay once received and happy. Truly a rare breed these days.
    I hoe that he’s with loved ones.

  19. Talked to ken about tennis in Waldwick and your daughter in realistate. I will pray for a miracle. Your the best.

  20. I met Ken Hansen along time ago before he had his first store. I bought all my Leicas and Leica lenses from him right up to a sale at his Madison Ave. store. My prayers go out to him and his family.

  21. I purchased a used Leica M6 from Ken about three years ago. Before he sent it to me he had the camera completely serviced and adjusted; when I received the camera it was essentially new. He sent the camera to me without me providing my credit card or a check. He dealt in trust. In our first conversation he stated that it was an honor to do business with me. He is such a special person. I send my love and best wishes to him and his family.

  22. As a professional photographer in NYC I was a customer and friend of Ken’s from the ’60s until he closed his last wonderful store on Madison Avenue. He was most importantly a wonderful man of unrivaled integrity and humanity, and in his chosen field there was none better. I was just thinking about him, and was so sorry to then read about his condition. My best wishes to him and his family.

  23. Simply one of the finest people you could ever meet, we all pray for your health. Ken has opened the world of Leica to so many (me included) and done is a way that was genuine, kind, patient and everything you could have ever hoped for. (Leica was SO LUCKY to have him as a world class ambassador!) I will always remember meeting him for a coffee in some Manhattan location– he never was in a hurry and always tolerated my ‘novice’ questions and showed the same enthusiasm!. Bis bald mein Freund!

  24. What a sad news.. looks like all of us, the readers here really owe him. Without him and Steve’s reviews we wouldn’t have had insights to the wonderful world of Leica and everything else …

  25. It is very sad to hear this news about Ken. I followed Ken from Midtown to the Photo District in NYC. His store repaired my Leicas. It was always a treat to go into the Broadway store in the Photo District of New York in the day. He was a special camera dealer and so knowledgeable.

  26. I first met Ken in about 1965 at the old Camera Barn on Broadway in NYC, and we hit it off immediately. I followed him in his various ventures, and when he opened his first shop, I made it a point to be his first paying customer. I consider him an old and dear friend. I am grieved that he is not doing well, and I wish him the best.

  27. Sad news about Ken my prays and thoughts go out to him and his family. I purchased a 50mm lux a year ago in his home in NYC, was a client of his when he had a store on Broadway in NYC many years ago. He is legend in the retail world in NYC. Best wished to family.

  28. Thoughts and prayers to Ken. He is a gentleman, a true treasure to the Leica community and surely to all that know him. Ken, if you are reading this, it has and always will be and honor to know you!

  29. I did sent an email to Ken and he replied still in the hospital on 3/10/2019. It is very sad to hear that he is not doing well.
    He knew everyone in the leica world, one time on a Sat and I had a problem of loading the SL new firmware. He gave me a number to call a person that he told me that he can help instead told me to call Leica. Sure enough that person called back and gave me some help.
    I also bought lots of leica bodies and lens. He never concerned when do I pay him. He just want to make sure I get the equipment first.

    • I met Ken as a young assistant in nyc way back when he had his store in the flatiron district. We stayed friends and became close lunch buddies throughout my own career. He is truly the best and there will never be another person like him. I once was on a location assignment when I dropped a lens. He sent me two lenses on an overnight flight and said not to worry. That was Ken . There was nothing more fun than going behind the counter in his store on Madison Avenue and playing with 40 twin lens Rollie’s . In the last few years I would have to grab the lunch check first because he always would pay. Ken ,you are a great man .
      Craig Cutler

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