Funeral Services for Ken Hansen. All close friends welcome to attend.

Funeral Services for Ken Hansen. All close friends welcome to attend.

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have to announce today that Ken Hansen, legendary Leica dealer and friend has passed away. Many of you here dealt with Ken when buying your Leica gear and Ken was always happy to help answer questions or even take a crappy trade in that you didn’t want anymore so you could get your hands on a Leica.

He was a one of a kind, a unique and generous type of camera dealer that doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve spoken highly of Ken here for 11 years as it was him who helped me start this website, and without even knowing it. I spoke of this before but it goes to show what a great, generous and kind man Ken Hansen was. I was notified by his granddaughter that he had passed and that all close friends of his are welcome to attend his funeral service. The info is below:

The arrangements have been made for my beloved grandfather, Ken Hansen. His funeral will be held this Thursday, May 2nd from 4-7pm. The funeral is taking place at Van Emburgh-Sneider-Pernice Funeral Home located at 109 Darlington Avenue in Ramsey, NJ 07446. We welcome all close friends of Ken. 
Ken will be missed but I know his soul lives on and he will be in a place where the good souls go, without question. Ken was and always will be the best Camera dealer I have ever come across and I am sure many of you here agree. I am sending my love and prayers to his family and want to say a huge thank you to Ken for just being one of the good guys and a terrific friend to me for these past eleven years.


  1. I’m very saddened by this – due to constant business travel, I have not read your site Steve nor the Oscar Barnack Blog that I used to read every couple of days – today, of all days, came and saw that Ken passed away. I’ve bought multiple items from Ken – my Leica M240, Leica MP and several lenses over the last 2 or 3 years. He was a fun person to speak to (never met him – as a matter of fact we tried to connect in NYC this past March but our schedules did not work) and had so much knowledge. My sincerest condolences to the family. RIP Ken!

    • I loved Ken Hanson and Walter that worked there.
      I experimented with all kinds of equipment all of the time. Ken would just tell me to bring it back the same way it went out, Never charging me. He respected my talent and wanted to see me succeed doing creative sh.
      RIP and Thanks Ken.

  2. It’s with great sadness that I read this notice. I conduct sales training around the world and I frequently use my experience with Ken as an exemplar of trust, loyalty and customer service. Ken was one of a kind. I purchased many Leica cameras over the years. The process was always the same. I’d email Ken and no matter what day of the week it was, within an hour I’d have a response.

    Then I’d get an email with shipping ref and his bank account number for payment. Who does that. We’ve never met and I live in Ireland.

    I still can’t believe he’s gone. I have a Leica M10 that I was going to sell but as it was the last Leica Ken sold me, I’m going to keep it as a permanent moment of the great man

  3. Ken Hansen was a true gentleman. Ken sold me my first Leica and lens about 4 years back. A working Leica M3. We had a nice discussion about cameras, etc. He took the time to find out what the customer wanted and imparted his own brand of gentlemanly wisdom. There are too few people like him in the world today. That one experience has stuck with me all these years later and will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

  4. Steve, I learned about Ken through your website a number of years ago. Over the years I purchased all my Leica equipment from him, and had the great pleasure of dealing with such an honorable, trustworthy,and hard working person. I referred many people to him and I am sure their opinions would echo mine. With tears in my eyes I say goodbye to one of the finest gentleman I have ever dealt with. My condolences to his family and friends.

  5. Ken was one of the finest and honest Leica dealers I ever known. I will miss him for he had a place in my heart.

  6. I found out about Ken belatedly in November 2018, wrote to him immediately regarding my interest in a used Leica film camera, and shockingly found myself the recipient of a pristine M6 a few days later without having provided so much as a credit card number. All as a result of a single phone conversation. Thanks to Ken, my dream had been realized. My heart sank when I heard just a few days after my last conversation with him — in which I provided him with that credit card number and thanked him for his trust, plus talked about my interest in a lens next —that he’d gone into the hospital. Needless to say, in just my brief interaction with him, Ken made a big difference in my picture-taking life and left me with an indelible impression of a very special person. RIP

  7. He was an amazing man. When I would call, there was always a wonderful lilt in his voice. I can hear him saying “Ken Hansen,” even now.

    My life was made so much richer for having know Ken as a customer and friend.

    Rest well, sweet prince.

  8. I was introduced to Ken through this website.

    What a kind, honest, trusting person in this crazy world. I would never have written this on a public website for fear of someone taking advantage of Ken’s trust, but I was in complete shock when Ken sent me a $4000 50mm Summilux the day I called him about a trade…no credit card, just trust. I questioned him on it as I deal with so much fraud in my line of work. He told me he talks to a lot of people and knew I was trustworthy.

    I had a couple of additional deals with Ken and really wish I had a chance to meet him in person when I travelled to NY for work. I’ve been mesmerized with Ken’s business model and character. I really with I knew him better.

    My sincere condolences.

  9. Ken was much more than just a Leica dealer (and I say this as someone who worked for Leitz.) He was incredibly knowledgable, generous and very funny too. We had more than a few laughs discussing some of the limited edition cameras. Sometimes I’d want to buy a used item and he’d say “Wait until I get a nicer one.” I’ll miss him.

  10. So sorry to hear about his passing. Ken was an amazing gentleman and truly generous. Loved working with him. Condolences to his family.

  11. I am very sad to hear this news. I have known Ken for more than 50 years. I can not tell you how many Leica’s and lenses, Nikon lenses and camera bag dohickies over the years at all his stores. Starting at his first downtown to mid town and finally his home with just Leica’s alone. What a wonderful man and Leica was what made him his delightful living. He was proud to be their best rep in the US and I was pround to call him a friend for over 50 years. NO one will ever replace him. My condolences to his family.

  12. I bought my M7 .58 from Ken many years ago, and about two years ago a 21mm SEM. Both are special to me and they are now even more special. I will fondly remember Ken when I use both.

  13. I am very sad that I lost a great friend. I will cherish every story you shared with me. You were truly the best and will never ever be replaced.
    Craig C.

  14. I first met Ken in 1975 when he was working at Camera Barn on Broadway + 32nd St., then once he setup his legendary shop on 34th Street, I purchased my first Leica M4 in 1978. Ken Hansen Photographic on Broadway + 21st St. became a Mecca for anyone who was serious about our craft, and Ken & his fabulous staff made it so. Ken will be missed by all of us!

  15. My dear friend, To say that you’ll be missed would be a great understatement. You’ve shown us all an unattainable standard by most to be kind and generous with a wicked wit in an industry that no longer exist. Ken Hansen’s was not only a destination amongst professionals domestically and abroad, it was an experience with an icon and his family which felt like home to us all. My deepest condolences to your family and friends. Your memory lives on.

  16. A passionate legend who has writen Leica history in USA and NY, the reference to meet for foreigners men/women traveling to NY and loving photo and Leica.

  17. I was always so excited when I knew I was going to Ken’s store in New York City. As soon as I would walk in with my longtime friend Rene Perez, a big smile would come across his face, even if he was talking to some bigtime photographer. He set a tone in his store that was upheld by the men who worked there. I never felt demeaned in any way because I was a woman and that wasn’t always true when I went elsewhere so I rarely went elsewhere. But Ken was more than a smile for me. He was a gentleman, and he had a wicked sense of humor. He treated all people the same from the biggest names to the smallest ones. I know he gave me deep discounts so I could become a Leica owner and I never stopped being one. I loved that man so much. I thanked him in my book on Haiti when Aperture published it as one of the moving forces in my career because he was and it was just by being a nice guy, supportive of women, encouraging to all. There was no one like him. When he moved to Florida, I kept promising myself I would go visit him….I lived in Miami and he wasn’t that far but life got in the way and I just never did it. Now I deeply regret it. But if there is a heaven there is surely a crowd for this king among men. And Ken can be sure that every single person who crossed his path will forever love him and appreciate his kindness and honesty and generosity. Ken Hansen—the one, the only, and that is as it should always be for there is and will never be anyone else like him. He is part of the history of photography.

    • I am Ken’s daughter. I love him because he was an incredible father, my best friend, my hero – I adore him because he was the most admirable man . He was a man filled with goodwill. Thank you for your most gracious words.

      • I am Ken’s son. And I agree with my sister, he was an incredible father,incredible grandfather to all the kids and everyone loved him. My dad had a heart of gold which was full of love as he followed his dreams. I will always miss you and love you… He was my hero and I will never forget you…. Thank you everyone for all the loving and caring words about my dad

  18. Sigh.
    Ken you can now chit chat with Henri Cartier-Bresson.
    Such a Rich life you lived Ken to be able to give to so many to be so treasured by so many.

    • My sincere condolences on Ken’s passing to his family. He was a great person who loved helping people and photography. I will miss him a lot. It was rare to meet someone as kind, gentle and people focused as Ken.
      RIP Ken
      Bruce Kimelblatt

  19. Going to the School Of Visual Arts i was told by my instructor Julio Mitchel if you want a Leica you must meet Ken.
    Ken served me and I left with an M4; what impressed me most about Ken is that he gave his time equally to whomever you were.
    RIP Ken
    Robert Goldstein

  20. Like everyone else commenting here, I’m deeply saddened to hear of Ken’s passing. Like many others who have already posted, I bought my first Leica from Ken. Then another…. always a fun and confidence-inspiring experience. Such an asset to the industry and community. RIP Ken. You will be deeply missed.

  21. Ken’s largest goal in life was to get a Leica into your hands. Once that happened, there was no turning back regarding our feelings for Ken (he was always thinking of us) and our desire to shoot with a Leica. Thank you for all great memories Ken, you will never be forgotten!!

  22. An amazing man who made it possible for me to own and use Leica cameras. I could never have done so if it weren’t for Ken. I will miss his funny camera descriptions on his eBay store and our always great email banter. I am so fortunate to have known him and will miss him dearly. I wrote a piece about him on my blog a few weeks back and it does not even come close to the tribute he deserves.

  23. My sincere condolences to Ken’s family on his passing and to you Steve on the loss of such a wonderful friend. His passion for his craft and his caring for his fellow man will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those he touched.

  24. I am with the Leica brotherhood. I have heard so much of Ken from many people who were touched by him.
    A rare breed of a man. Bring your Leica to Haven, Ken. I wish I had the pleasure of meeting you and buying my
    Leica from you. Rest in peace.

  25. So sad to hear this. I only started dealing with Ken a few years ago and bought my last two Leica cameras from him. He was amazing to deal with. Even very recently he replied to me ordering the new SL 35mm. He will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to the family.

  26. Ken was a prince of a man. A highly respected pioneer within NYC pro photo circles. So sorry to see him leave us.

  27. I met Ken almost 30 years ago. He is the one who introduced me to, and enhanced my love for, the Leica. Over the years Ken has been most accommodating, making it possible to get new equipment – something I doubt any other camera dealer would go to the extents he did. It was easy to take to Ken right from the first day I met him. In time see him more as a good friend than as just suppler of great photographic equipment. I pray for his soul to rest in peace. He is in a better place now.

  28. I met Ken through your site several years ago and purchased my first Leica through him. Over the years Ken was always my go to person for all things Leica. He was always accessible and always always gave great advice. He going to be truly missed. An amazing person. Condolences to the family.

  29. Ken will be greatly missed. I suggest that Leica commemorate him with a limited edition camera or lens inscribed with his name.

  30. I bought a number of cameras from Ken over the years. The man was “first class” all the way. He will be greatly missed. I know it’s a cliche, but they really don’t make ’em like Ken anymore.

  31. My most heartfelt condolences…on the loss of a truly good man.

    With respect,

    Lee Aronfeld
    Grand Cayman Island

  32. I first was introduced to Ken at his shop in New York City in 1989. I was a new 19 yr old photographer wanting a Leica so badly. Ken treated me with so much respect and helpfulness. I traded in what bits and pieces I had to get my first Leica M4-P and 35 cron. I never forgot that transaction.

    Sincere love and gratitude to Ken and condolences to his family.

  33. I dealt with Ken just once but he left a lasting impression. My condolences to his family. Rest in peace Ken!

  34. Steve,

    Along with you and many others I share your sadness on the loss of Ken Hansen. I feel as if I have lost a dear friend. For many years he was not only my source of Leica gear, but a source for honest advice. Someone who always took the time to understand my interest and needs.

    The community has lost a good friend.

    Rest In Peace Ken.

  35. I am Ken’s daughter – Claudia Hansen Sanchez. Thank you all for sharing your memories of my father. He was a true believer in good will to all, to trust and believe in people. Success was measured by helping others succeed. A picture is worth a thousand words. Your words are gracious – my family and I thank you all a thousand times for them. Thank you for understanding who my father truly was.

  36. Ken was kind enough to sell me my first Leica. Although I knew him through a few phone calls and several emails, he struck me as a kind, decent and fair Man. Once I had outgrown that Leica, he bought it back from me – no questions asked. From the outpouring of testaments about him, it is apparent to me that the Community has lost a great friend. I am saddened by his loss and thankful to have been able to have spent just a few moments learning from him.

  37. Wonderful man, and one of the truly best souls I have met in photography. Rest well, my friend. You are loved!

  38. A real jewel of a guy and an inspiration to those of us in the biz. I first met him when I was a child and my father bought a tripod from him and 20+ years later when my shop sold some odds and ends to him. I will never forget those days on 920 Bway and the way NYC used to be with guys like Ken working every day to make it great!

  39. Hello Arnie,
    It’s Oleh olden camera i’m going to go to the funeral if your there i will say hello cell 9177165611

  40. Hello Steve,

    I am sorry to read you have lost such a dear friend. My condolences on the passing of Ken. May you and Ken’s family find strength in the beautiful memories of him.

  41. Ken Hansen was more than a Leica dealer. He was hard-working, consistent and honest.

    In a mail from October, he wrote, “Yes, I am working my ass off, every day, just like you!”. And he was. Up early, busy all day.

    Always reliable, and almost immortal. He was walking around with an oxygen tank years ago, and he said, “I thought that was the end. But it wasn’t”.

    The most important lesson I think Ken Hansen taught thousands of people is that you are worthy of trust. He trusted people, and lived by it. Shipped any product to almost anybody, now questioning that would pay. Exchanged any product with a perfect one if anything was wrong.

    Often it’s the unsaid that you remember about a person. In the case of Ken Hansen, it’s not the products I bought from him, or the cameras and lenses he bought from me when I wanted to let go of something without alerting the whole world … it’s the man and what he meant for me and the many people he was in contact with over the years.

    Ken was a hustler, and Original Gangster, a Viking and a New Yorker. The greatest Leica dealer ever. And a good friend to too many to count.

    Farewell, Ken.

  42. Dear Steve,
    I share your thoughts about Ken. He was my dealer and friend for many years. There was not a finer person than Ken, nor a more ethical or helpful businessman. I will be out of the country at the time of his funeral, but otherwise would certainly attend. I would be grateful if you could extend to his family my deepest sympathy, especially to Claudia and Victor whom I got to know at Ken’s last store on Madison Avenue. Thank you, Russell Munson

  43. So sad, such a wonderful man, teacher and friend. My contacts with Ken were always wonderful, he was a gem of a man and will be much missed by so many. Warm condolences to the family. He was very special, wonderful sense of humor and such a dedicated professional. Has anyone done more for Leica than Ken? Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Leica to make a very special Ken Hansen tribute model(s) …..hint hint

  44. I’m so, so sad to hear this news. Ken was a one-of-a-kind amazing guys who helped me so much with a number of Leica purchase decisions. Such a wonderful guy who will be very much missed.

    • I’m in shock.Ken was the finest the finest person I’ve ever known. We got to know each other when “Soenke” arrived in America. With tears in my eyes I wish his wonderful family my sincere condolences.

      • Sorry to hear about Ken. Also, a shout out to Arnie Duren, first guy I bought camera gear from in 1968 when I started at the Amarillo Globe News, Amarillo, Tx.

    • I’m in shock. Ken was the finest person I’ve ever known in this rough and tough Camera business. He’ll be greatly missed both personally and in business. With tears in my eyes i would like to send his lovely family my sincerest condolences.

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