Where can I buy Leica equipment online?
Too many to list. The following all have good reputations (and are listed in no particular order):
|Leica Forum Classifieds||<l-camera-forum.com/…/classifieds/>|
|Photo.net (rangefinder) Classifieds||<photo.net/…/35mm non-SLR>|
|Ken Hansen (NYC)||<kenhansenphoto.com/contact.html>|
|KEH Camera Brokers (Atlanta)||( See discussion below… )|
|Sherry Krauter||Contact Info…|
|West Coast Cameras
(USA new & factory demos)
|Dale Photo & Digital
(USA grey market)
|Kevin Cameras (LA)||<kevincameras.com>|
|New York Camera & Video||<nycv.com>|
|Woodmere 2nd Hand Cameras||<woodmerecamera.com>|
(Boston USA - rebuilt M2 & M3)
|Robert White Cameras (UK)||<robertwhite.co.uk/products.htm>|
|Ffordes Ltd (Scotland)||<ffordes.co.uk>|
|Aperture Photographic (UK)||<apertureuk.com>|
|R. G. Lewis (UK)||<rglewis.co.uk>|
|Jonathan Harris (UK)||<jonathanharris.co.uk/leica.htm>|
|MW Classic Cameras (UK)||<mwclassic.com/acatalog>|
|FieldGrass & Gale (UK)||<fieldgrassandgale.com>|
|Jessops Classic (UK)||<jessops.com/classic>|
|Peter Walnes (UK)||<peterwalnes.com>|
|Shutterbugs Direct (UK)||<shutterbugsdirect.co.uk>|
(Neth - collector edition cameras)
|Foto Professional (Neth)||<fotoprofessional.nl/>|
|Leica Shop (Aus)||<leicashop.at>|
|Meister Camera (Ger)||<meister-camera.de>|
|Foto Hobby Rahn (Ger)||<foto-hobby.de>|
|Leica Bei Meister (Ger)||<leicabeimeister.com>|
|Foto Koester (Ger)||<foto-koester.de>|
|Foto Gregor (Ger)||<foto-gregor.de>|
|Photo Dose (Ger)||<photo-dose.de>|
|Cathay Photographics, Singapore||<cathayphoto.com.sg>|
|Dr Joseph Yao, Hong Kong||Contact Info…|
|HK Supplies, Hong Kong||<hksupplies.com>|
|Man Shing Photo Supplies
(Hong Kong grey market)
|Camera Lane (Melbourne)||Contact Info…|
|The Camera Exchange (Melbourne)||<cameraexchange.com.au>|
|Foto Riesel (Sydney)||<fotoriesel.com>|
|Paxtons Camera Video (Sydney)||<paxtons.com.au>|
|Graces Cameras (Sydney)
N.B. 2nd hand only
|Auckland Cameras, New Zealand||<aucklandcamera.com>|
NB. with the European Union dealers, their listed prices are almost always higher than the actual price they are prepared to sell at. So email them, or better still give them a phone call. Also don't forget that if you live outside the EU, then deduct the 15% VAT added to their prices.
In Australia, deduct 10% GST if you are buying from overseas. Generally speaking, your first port of call should be Melbourne dealers, who tend to have more stock and a closer relationship with the Leica distributor Adeal (also based in Melbourne). Also you will find it more efficient to phone Australian dealers as they are all frustratingly slow in answering their email:
- Camera Lane (Melbourne) - 03 9670 0560
- Foto Riesel (Sydney) - 02 9299 8833
Also note — Australia is international dial code +61 and you must leave off the STD "0" from "03" and "02" etc. Thus when calling from overseas, the number for (say) Camera Lane is actually "61 3 9670 0560" .
If you are specifically looking for other Sydney & NSW dealers, then see this page on the Adeal Australia website.
Beware as this can be a huge trap! Make sure you exactly nail down how much the seller intends to charge for postage and delivery. Take time to confirm this in writing, and if they are vague or unwilling to commit to a precise amount, then drop them fast and buy from someone else.
There is nothing more irritating than having a transaction go through and the parcel arrive safely, and then receive a e-mail a week later demanding further payment because "FedEx charged us an extra $200 broker's fee".
Here is a useful link to an online international currency converter:
Merchant / Buyer feedback
Once you have found a dealer who has what you are looking for, it's prudent to check their buyer feedback in the photo.net Neighbour to Neighbour forum before handing over any money:
You will notice there are a lot of camera merchants listed, and that buyers are ruthless in exposing the less efficient & dishonest amongst them.
FWIW, see also the "Feral Merchants" topic elsewhere in this FAQ.
Leica lens price guides
See the following pages for price guides for (excellent quality, used) Leica lenses & cameras:
- M lenses — <members.aol.com/dcolucci/a.htm>
- M bodies — <members.aol.com/dcolucci/mmoun.htm>
- R lenses — <members.aol.com/dcolucci/b.htm>
- LTM bodies — <members.aol.com/dcolucci/lsm9.htm>
- LTM lenses — <members.aol.com/dcolucci/c.htm>
Apparently "the data was gathered from sales on photo.net, ebay auctions, Tamarkin auctions, the LUG, and camera dealers". So it appears to be generally accurate, but as in all things online, YMMV. Also, as of November 2008 the pages appear to have been taken down. I have retained the above links however to allow you to track down the content in a web-archive if you wish.
Buying from KEH
KEH Camera Brokers are a large online camera dealership based in Atlanta Georgia USA. They have a constantly updated list of hundreds of items of used equipment, and are a reputable source for Leicas, Hasselblads or anything else you could possibly imagine.
The main URL for their used-items page is:
Most people consider they rate their items realistically and conservatively, so "Ex+ condition" is usually that. You can expect prices 10-50% higher than those on eBay, although of course you won't run the risk of getting caught in a typical eBay scam. You also get a 14 day money back guarantee — try and get that from your typical <firstname.lastname@example.org>!
International Purchasers - note
Non-USA purchasers should beware of the following Gotcha: if you are making a first-time large $amount purchase and are located outside the USA (or Canada), then KEH will not accept payment by credit card. Despite being prompted to give your c/c details on their order form, you will have to pay via a bank wire transfer or (mailed) international money order.
They claim they do this because there is no way to check international customers' credit and address validity. Fair enough, but there is no mention of this anywhere on their web-site, nor is there warning when you fill in the purchase form. Instead it comes as a complete surprise after you place the order! C'mon guys, how hard is it to add a short disclaimer beforehand?
Thankfully for subsequent purchases, once you have been issued a customer ID number, you can use your credit card. It is only the first purchase which triggers the foreigner C/Card prohibition.
Condition ratings - "Bargain" may be just that
I have heard from a number of sources that "bargain condition" items often turned out to only have trivial faults (a scratch on a lens cap, thumbprints on the camera box etc.).
I'm guessing here, but it appears that sometimes (but not always) these "bargain" ratings may be KEH's way of shifting slow-moving stock. So it may be worthwhile buying these things. After all, you can always use the 14 day money back guarantee if it's a dud. Also, it is wise to contact KEH first to discuss potential "bargains" and see if they have any killer faults. That way they won't have any excuses if the item indeed turns out to be a dog.
See this May 2005 discussion at:
KEH value estimator
Finally, KEH have an online estimator to help you calculate the ($US) value of your used cameras and lenses. Fill in the form(s), click the button(s), and it will spit out a value for your gear dependant upon its model and condition.
There are a couple major caveats though: (1) you have to be a registered KEH user and (2) the estimated amount is only approximately what KEH are willing to pay to buy your equipment. It is not the resale value and is significantly less than what you can expect on the open market.
So use their calculator with caution. Add approximately 30% to the estimate to obtain a more realistic $ value.
Leica LTM thread compatible lenses and Bessa L & R bodies and accessories:
Hard-to-get Leica accessories
For 2nd hand LTM camera cases, body caps, Visoflex parts and the like:
Thompson Photo, <thompsonphoto.com/usd/leica.html>
See this separate topic elsewhere in the FAQ.
Leather camera cases
See this separate topic elsewhere in the FAQ.
Wheeling and dealing on eBay
FWIW, my advice is to completely stay clear of this Gangster's Paradise. If you find you must use it, then do so for selling your stuff only. Some broad tips: fully describe your item including every scratch and dust spec; always set a (realistic) reserve price to protect yourself from phoney over-bids (which are inevitably withdrawn after the auction closes) & finally, use an escrow service to make sure you get paid!
Next Highest Bidder Scam
The auction ends, you lose and think nothing more of it. A couple of days later you get a mail from the original seller: "The winning bidder has disappeared. Since you are the next highest bidder, I'm offering it to you at a substantially lower price".
Sounds good — so what's the problem? Easy, if you agree to purchase the item, and the seller reneges, then you won't have any protection from eBay because the sale was contracted outside their system. It's merely an independent transaction between yourself and the seller. If the deal goes sour then you won't even have the recourse of posting negative feedback to their auction history!
Similar model for sale
Here is a another sort of scam reported by Ivar Bredesen in Aug 2003:
Last week I participated in an eBay auction for a Leica MP, but I did not win. No problems with that, but since then I have received 9 mails from other people claiming they have a similar model for sale. These sellers have been in Romania, the US and other places around the world.
I asked one seller for serial numbers, and had the reply that for security reasons they had to be kept secret.
I am more or less 100% certain that all of these "second offers" were fraudulent. Sometimes it is absolutely obvious — why should someone offer an MP for $1100 when they fetch prices more than double that on eBay every day.
I have been a member for nearly two years, but I have never before been flooded with mails from people claiming to have similar items for sale. My recommendation to all is to take great care — only buy from people with many solid feedbacks. One guy has also offered an ultra rare Canadian Leica M4 a few times lately. I notified eBay who closed his account, but now he has resurfaced with the same camera and a new user ID. A shame.
Since this was written, this sort of scam has become almost routine. Whenever you bid for something now, you are bound to receive fraudulent offers via direct email - for example see this post on the LUG: <LUG - v25/msg14779.html>.
eBay seller tips
If despite all this you find you cannot resist buying that special Leica bargain on eBay, in June 2001 Austin Franklin noted the following traps and work-arounds:
I would suggest the following. First, tell the seller of the scratches. Providing he doesn't try to blame you for them (yes, that happens!), give him the choice of either refunding you something, like $50...I don't know what lens it is...so I don't know what's fair. The seller's other option is taking it back and giving you a full refund. After all, he DID not describe it accurately.
If you get no satisfaction from the seller, file an eBay 'Fraud' complaint. You are entitled to do so if the item you received is significantly different than the seller described it. You can get up to $175 back. I have had to do this to two sellers, and in both cases, I got my a refund of some kind. The thing that you really need to do is find someone professional (someone with an official letterhead) who can write a letter detailing what the discrepancy is, and giving an estimate of what the value difference is. I know it's a pain, but I found someone in who could do it for me. If you can do that, you are assured of getting some money back.
If you paid by credit card, just return the item, and if the seller doesn't give you a full refund, dispute the charges. Providing you have proof you sent it back, they CC co. will give you the refund. That has never failed me, even when the seller refused the package...I still got my money back. If the seller wants the package, they can come and get it. I already paid once to return it, and am not going to pay again.
I REALLY hate it when sellers misrepresent items, whether intentional or unintentional, and they try to make it my fault! I got one Super Ikonta that was described as 9.5...and had rust all on the inside, and a broken off self timer lever. Needless to say, I sent it back, and am expecting a full refund.
There are a LOT of louse sellers on eBay right now, so be careful. I've stopped being 'understanding' and really have been pressing for full refund, including shipping, if it was really described wrong. I also don't hesitate to post negative feedback these days. I still give them a chance to come clean, and about 2/3rds of them do come to some agreement...but the ones that don't, need to have others know, and feedback is the only mechanism. Prepare for retaliatory feedback though...which is usually easily deflected...like it was my fault the guy described the camera as a 'Rollei 6008 Integral' and it was clearly (written on the side of it) a '6008 Professional'. Different camera, yet he somehow claimed it was my fault...go figure.