Illinois Big B-Day Plans in Chicago (March)


Devin Bro
Local time
10:44 PM
Jul 9, 2009

So the gf has been acting a little odd the past couple weeks, especially about my plans for my birthday week, she finally spilled the beans that we have reservations for a weekend in Chicago!

She found us a nice apartment on AirBnB and splurged on passes for some of the typical to-do's (Science and Industry, Aquarium, Planetarium, Etc)

We obviously have to spend an afternoon touring the local camera shops!

We are definitely heading to Tamarkin for the Leica display!

What are some of your favorite places to buy camera gear in Chicago!?

I've got a little coin saved up, and I'm going to post a few things, to grab a new lens for my M8. Who has the best selection/prices on used Leica gear in town?
A quick google search gives me this list.

Dodd Camera
Central Camera Company
Daufenbach Camera
Schumacher Camera
Camera Ambassador

Are any of these closed? Any I'm missing?
Tamarkin -near north. Full price and hard to get to by design

Central camera. Chicago Central near Art Institute, walk one block west.

Neither is cheap.

Chicago used to have a dozen camera stores. Down to two

Marquette Park Photo if they are still around. Very hard to get to and bad neighborhood. Limited selection.
Damn... that's sad news for an outsider Ronald!

Maybe I'll just pick up a new lens to take with me.

Still Tamarkin has to be a neat stop?
Tamarkin is worth going to, if you're into Leicas. The last time I was there (a few years ago), I didn't feel that their used equipment was over-priced, and they had a decent selection (which I'm sure rotates continuously).

Have fun in Chicago - it's a great city to visit, regardless of what you may hear in the news.
There are many galleries, including some featuring photography, in Tamarkin's neighborhood. Ask Dan Tamarkin about them when you visit. Look at his web site to get a feel for prices. Seem reasonable to me.

And don't forget the Art Institute. It rotates photography from its permanent collection and has one or two dedicated shows. There are two "Provoke" shows running through April.

Personally, I find Central's used Leica prices nuts, but it's still worth a visit.


Tamarkin Leica also has its own Photo gallery. Here is what is there right now:

"A collection of images made in The City of Light by Chicagoan Mark Ballogg and by Parisian Olivier Meyer. This exhibit shows two wildly different views of this city of art, history, and romance."

I saw it last month.
Near Tamarkin is the Catherine Edelman gallery - it is, far and away, the best photo gallery in the city (and by extension, the Midwest).

Have a look, and see what might be showing while you are there. Their "permanent" collection is always good, even if the show up isn't to your taste. Lots you can see in storage as well.

Central Camera is fun. Good collection of old gear for sale, characters behind the counter, and close to everything downtown.