The recommended gear list

In the interests of even further simplifying the question of ‘what should I buy’ – and answering many emails and requests simultaneously – I’ve created this guide to gear, complete with purchasing links and links to reviews (where applicable). Treat it as a growing, evolving offshoot of the Camerapedia. This is what I’d buy personally (and mostly similar to what I already own, denoted by two stars**; one star* denotes something I’ve owned in the past). For full disclosure, every purchase through one of these links does give me a small commission that helps keep the site going (we run through something like 5 TB of bandwidth a month) but won’t cost you any extra. Thanks for the support! MT

Last updated 24 June 2014

Serious amateur/ pro compact
Sony RX10 – review B&H Amazon
Sony RX100 Mark III – review B&H Amazon
Panasonic LX7 – review B&H Amazon
Ricoh GR** (Digital V) – review B&H Amazon

Mirrorless system
Olympus OM-D E-M1* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus OM-D E-M5* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 12-40/2.8 PRO* – B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 45/1.8* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 60/2.8 macro* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 75/1.8* – review B&H Amazon
Panasonic 12-32 pancake zoom** – oddly does not seem to be available separately outside Japan
Panasonic 20/1.7* – B&H Amazon
Panasonic Leica 25/1.4 – B&H Amazon
Panasonic 100-300/4-5.6* – review B&H Amazon

Rangefinder system (there’s really only one choice, isn’t there?)
Leica M Typ 240 – review B&H
Leica 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH* – B&H Amazon
Leica 28/2 Summicron-M ASPH* – B&H Amazon
Leica 35/2 Summicron-M ASPH* – B&H Amazon
Leica 35/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH FLE* – review B&H Amazon
Leica 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH – review B&H Amazon
Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH* – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZM 2.8/21 Biogon* – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZM 2/50 Planar* – B&H Amazon
Voigtlander 15/4.5 Super Wide Heliar* – B&H Amazon
Voigtlander 50/1.1 Nokton* – B&H Amazon

DSLR system
Nikon D800E** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon D4** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon D4S – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 16-35/4 VR – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-120/4 VR** – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-70/2.8* – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 28-300/3.5-5.6 VR (for 12MP and APS-C cameras)* – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 70-200/2.8 VR II – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 70-200/4 VR** – B&H Amazon
Nikon AF-S 80-400/4.5-5.6 G ED VR II N – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 28/1.8 G** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 50/1.8 G** – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 60/2.8 G Micro** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 85/1.8 G** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon PCE 24/3.5** – B&H Amazon
Nikon PCE 45/2.8 Micro** – B&H Amazon
Nikon PCE 85/2.8 Micro** – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2.8/15 Distagon – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2.8/21 Distagon** – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2/28 Distagon** – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2/35 Distagon* – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2/50 Makro Planar* – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/55 Otus APO-Distagon** – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2/100 Makro Planar* – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2/135 APO-Sonnar** – B&H Amazon
Voigtlander 90/3.5 APO-Lanthar** – sorry, out of production… but there’s always ebay and Japan Camera Hunter.

Medium format digital
Pentax 645Z** – B&H Amazon
Pentax D-FA 25/4** – B&H Amazon
Pentax D-FA 55/2.8** – B&H Amazon
Pentax FA 75/2.8** – B&H Amazon
Pentax D-FA 90/2.8 SR Micro** – B&H Amazon

Film
Any Hasselblad V series, and CF/CFE/CFi lenses** (currently, I have a 501C, 501CM, 903 SWC, a CFV-39, six A12 backs, 50/4 CF FLE, 80/2.8 CF, 120/4 Makro-Planar CF and 150/4 CF lenses) – no longer available new, but isn’t the hunt part of the fun? review
Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film** – review B&H Amazon
Ilford Delta 100 and Delta 400 films** – B&H Amazon
Ilford DDX developer** – B&H
Ilford Rapid Fixer** – B&H Amazon
Ricoh GR1v* – review
Contax T3 – review
Nikon F2 Titan**
Nikon F6** – B&H Amazon

Accessories
Billingham Hadley Digital** – B&H Amazon
Billingham Hadley Small** – B&H Amazon
Billingham Hadley Pro* – B&H Amazon
Billingham 307** – B&H Amazon
Billingham 555** – B&H Amazon
Kata D-Light 272** Owl – B&H Amazon
Gitzo GT1542T Traveller 6x Carbon** – review B&H Amazon
Gitzo GT5562LTS Systematic 6x Carbon** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon SB900/ SB910** – B&H Amazon
Wacom Intuos 6×4 pen small (best introductory tablet) – B&H Amazon
Arca-Swiss P0 Monoball ball head** – B&H Amazon
Arca-Swiss C1 Cube geared head** – B&H

Full disclosure: anything purchased from the links gives me a small referral fee; it doesn’t cost you any more, but it does help me keep the site running. Thanks for the support! MT

____________

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. Nice List Ming! Thank you!

  2. No 14-24?

  3. Gary Evans says:

    Nikon D600, 28/1.8G and 85/1.8G got,got,got. My only mistake according to your list is my 50/1.4G instead of the 1.8 G. Still 3 out f 4 ain’t bad eh.

  4. Daniel Fung says:

    Why the Nikon AFS 14-24/2.8 VR is not included for super-wide?

  5. Richard says:

    Regarding the mirrorless system, how about the Panasonic 7-14 for UWA?

    Why the Panasonic 20/1.7 rather than the Olympus 17/1.8? Your review suggested choosing one over the other was a matter of personal preference.

    thanks

    • Haven’t used the 7-14, so can’t really comment. If it was a stop faster I’d probably have one instead of the 12/2, and use it as a very flexible 28mm equivalent. As for the 20 and 17 – if you’re after the very best optics, the 25 is better.

  6. I m keen to know your thoughts on Leica D-Lux 6. As such its is Leica’s version of the Panasonic Lumix LX7 – Nevertheless would you recommend to consider to buy for Leica badge ?

  7. Thanks for the list, it’s really helpful. Do you really find 50mm f/1.8G’s resolution sufficient for D800E? I’ve read some mixed opinions and I see that you don’t own it.

    • I don’t own it because I also have the 45/2.8P, 50/2 Makro-Planar, 58/1.2 Noct and 60/2.8 Micro all in the same range. But I have used and tested one, and yes, resolution is most certainly sufficient. There is some sample variation, though.

  8. I notice that your Leica M9-P has gone missing from the list – an M-240 on order perhaps??? I was blessed to have discovered your site early on and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every post in the interim – you are the definitive technically inclined artistically impassioned craftsman.

  9. Surprised the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm are missing from the list, although I can definitely see that if you prefer primes that these would be omitted.

    I’m currently in the market for the PanaLeica 25mm and either the Oly 12mm or the Panasonic 12-35mm, initially for travels…

    • The 12-35 has some corner CA and field curvature issues, plus harsh double images in the bokeh. I too was hoping to be able to replace my 12mm with something a bit more flexible, but landed up disappointed. Tried several samples and wasn’t impressed. 35-100 isn’t available where I live, so I’ve not been able to take it for a spin.

  10. Too much gear! Less is more! Isn’t it?

  11. Your Christmas list recommended the D700 over the D600. Change of heart? Really enjoy your site, by the way.

    • Nope, simple economics: you can’t buy it new anymore. It seems the last of the stock has been sold.

      • Yes, you’re right, no more new ones – so I just bought a used one! A longtime Nikon SLR film shooter (FE, F6), the D700 is my entry into the brave new (for me anyway) RAW DSLR world. It’s going to be weird not having analog masters, ie slides or negatives. Really appreciate your comments on the mindset of shooting film vs digital as well as your thoughts on digital post processing. Not sure I’m looking forward to the “workflow” :-) I still enjoy shooting film but It’s time to explore digital. Thanks for the time you put into your web site. It’s excellent. Cheers.

  12. I really like the way you process your digital black and white files, the one with the 28mm f/1.8 afs Nikon. will you tell us the steps you take, what program you use to process these? Thanks much John

  13. I did read your reply about the workflow videos covering how you create your black and white photographs. So, which video would apply to the black and white process?

    • Assuming you’re starting with a color image, there are a lot of ways to perform the conversion – A: Intro to PS would cover the options and subsequent treatment of the file. If you’re starting with a Leica M Monochrom image, then you need video B, which is about getting the most punch out of the file.

  14. Some good recommendations here, I am currently in Afghanistan and am giving the Billingham Hadley Pro bag a good work out. It has quickly adopted the weather-beaten “nothing to see here” look (I have the black on black model, the other ones are far too yuppy) and doesn’t seem to have any problem with the dust and wind here. I am getting a 445 for an upcoming tour of Vietnam/Cambodia/HK/Japan since I want to bring more kit with me. They’re not cheap, but then nothing good is.

    • Thanks. I’ve got two – and the 555 for a jumbo holdall/ weekend bag/ big gear bag. Wanted the black stealthy one but they didn’t have stock – will probably pick up a Hadley digital in black/black when you don’t need to carry that much gear.

  15. What is your thought on X100s? I just got the X100s a week ago. I think it is quite good. Thanks.

    • Had a play with one today, actually – seems MUCH faster than the X100, and the sensor looks very, very clean indeed…could be interesting, except for the price.

  16. Peregrine says:

    Have you looked or had any experience of the new Sigma Arts range starting with the new 35 mm f1.4. It looks good on paper but that is not the whole story .The coatings etc could make or brake it.

    • Nope, not something that interests me to be honest – I have lenses I’m already happy with in the FLs covered, and 35 isn’t something I use at all.

  17. Will the Oly EP-5 make the list?

  18. How does Ricoh GR compare to OM D 12mm f2 combo? Cheers

    • Higher image quality at like for like apertures, but it’s not a fair comparison as the OM-D/12 is actually 24mm, a stop faster, and has a stabilizer. It’s also larger. Plus the Ricoh is cheaper than the 12/2 alone…

  19. Ahmet Ozdemir says:

    In your pocket cameras list two are with zoom, two are FFL . This is exactly where I can not make up my mind. How important is zoom for a person like me who just wants to make good pictures only for himself . I can not be a photografer after becoming 67 years old anyway!!!
    With regards

    • Depends on how you see the world: you can of course shoot anything with any FL, depending on your composition. If you just want to be able to shoot 99% of things without thinking too much, have a decent range of perspectives and something pocketable, go with the RX100…

  20. Guillaume says:

    I’ve see that you own a Leica 50 Lux ASPH and a Planar. You recommend the M240 but I could not see any ** to show that you own it. So now I am wondering on what body do you use your Leica lenses ?
    Regards,
    Guillaume

    • I replaced the Planar with the 50 lux ASPH. If you want a DRF, you really only have one choice now. I don’t own one because it makes no commercial sense for me and doesn’t offer em anything my other bodies don’t already have. The 50 Lux is actually used on the OM-D now for cinematic work…

  21. Thanks for all your hard work on this blog. Your writing has inspired me to get back into the game. A couple years ago I gave away all my equipment (Canon crop DSLR) and decided I was going to make it work with just an iPhone 4S. The iPhone has an amazing camera, no question about it – but I’m back at the point where I feel the limitations. Taking the next step with the RX100.

    Bought through your link, hope the B&H affiliate tracking worked! :)

  22. Hi Ming.
    Purchased both your videos and found them very inspiring and really made me think.
    I have just picked up the OMD (from reading your review) and am amazed how good this is, so much so that i am considering selling my D800 and trinity of £2.8 zooms due to weight and when comparing image quality with the OMD there really isn’t as much difference as i thought there would be.
    I shot the 45 f1.8 on the OMD against the 85 f1.8G on the D800 and the OMD really impressed.
    My question:
    What bag would you recommend to hold?
    OMD Em5, 12 f2, 17 f1.8, 45 f1.8 & 75 f1.8
    What do you use?

    Looking forward to the release of more videos in your series and if you find an alternative method to the Paypal payment i’d be happy to comply.
    Regards

  23. Hi Ming, I bought the Panasonic 7-14mm on your advice. It’s a great lens though I feel I need something a little faster like the Oly 12mm for, say, night shots of the city. What might you recommend as an affordable strategy for night shots?

  24. Does the Nikon D610 make the list?

  25. Hi Ming,
    Just downloaded the next 2 installations in your video workshop – excellent stuff!
    I wonder if you could review the OLY 12-40 F2.8 zoom when you get chance? I have my EM5 and am using the Pany 12-35 & 35-100 f2.8s (along with OLY 45 & 75 primes) and have ordered and patiently waiting for my EM1 and the 12-40 f2.8 zoom. It would be really good to hear your opinion on the new lens.
    Regards
    Colin

    • I reviewed it some time ago already here: http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/09/13/lens-review-the-olympus-12-40/

      Might I suggest trying the search function or category archives in the header next time? :)

      • Ah! yes, thank you. I was on your recommended gear list and didn’t see the review link next to the lens and assumed it hadn’t been.
        Really enjoying your tutorials! :)

        • Ming, I would like to see you expand this list to include the computer hardware and software you would recommend for storage and processing on the digital side.
          Thanks
          David

      • Hi Ming

        wonder that the 42.5 1.2 pana is missing….no lust for the PanaLeica Nocticron 42.5 1.2 ?? Have you played with it ? …should have amazing bokeh for m43 but according to dxomark it has a huge amount of chromatic aberrations 30 never saw a higer value….shocked…!!!….

        How to evaluate this fact…..better to choose the oly 75 (and 45 1.8 or 60 2.8)….??? Gonna buy it over your site at the end of next month…for sure so…;)

        Would you still choose the 75 1.8 Oly over the Nocticron nowadays/anyday? Why?

        Greetings from hot brazil….Rio the most beautiful metropolis followed by cape town….;)….

        World Cup is coming! Do you like watching soccer/football? ;)

        Kindly regards!

        • Can’t recommend or comment on something I haven’t used and have no interest in. M4/3 is about light and small, and I rarely shoot wide open anyway – the 45/1.8 is a much better fit for my needs.

  26. Hi Ming!

    Just to be clear – you believe that the OMD EM5 with 12/2 lens has better image quality than the Ricoh GR?

    Thank you,

    Stephan

    • No, I said the complete opposite. The GR (APSC version) has better image quality.

      • Sorry – I got confused because of the stats – stop faster, more expensive, larger, etc. Still get my head twisted when i read these analyses between m4/3 and APSC, with some concluding that the OMD equals or best APSC. Back to learning with what I got.

  27. I’m waiting for “The recommended watch list”.
    (typo error on : “Voigtlaner 50/1.1 Nokton” ;) )

  28. Hi,

    I have two wishes Ming…could you make a review (perhaps comparison) of the nikon 70-200 2.8 vs. f4 and of the new nikon 35 1.8 fx vs. Sigma 35 1.4 Art lens although we all know you are a “28mm shooter and prefer this lens as a run and gun prime on the d800e”!

    I think I’m not the only one who would love to see your thoughts/review about the mentioned lenses…

    I am asking because I have to make a decision between the Sigma 35 1.4 Art and the new Nikkor 35 1.8 fx (leaning to the new Nikon because of weight/size issues although no reviews are still available in terms of performance of this lens).

    Furthermore, I am thinking about replacing my “dark”-telezoom, the Nikon 70-300 4.5-5.6, with one of the newer nikon telezooms. As in the other case, I am actually leaning towards the 70-200 f4 because of several issues. There are some indications that this lens has even a lot of advantages in comparison to the 70-700 2.8 VRII (lighter/traveling, better VR III (5Stops), sharper, better resolution, fx corner performance and especially no focus breathing at 200mm, better minimum focus distance, higher max. aperture f32 like other reviewers/reviews nasim mansurov/photographylife, cameralabs, lenstip, photozone, ephototzine already suggested etc.)

    Is the 70-200 f4 so much better than the 70-300 4.5-5.6? I would guessing yes…..!

    And especially the issue of the focus breathing of the 70-200 2.8 at 200 mm makes me nervous and leaning me even more towards the 70-200 f4 but i would like to use the telezoom not only for nature/landscapes/wildlife/cityscapes but also for portraiture….

    Is the f4 (one full f-stop less) then still sufficient enough for portraiture and some low light cityscape shots or do you really need the 2.8 for such actions on a d800e?

    Content background:

    How important is for you the 1 f stop extra capability of gathering light for portrait ? (e.g. low light portrait situations)
    How useful and how often do you really need and use the 2.8 wide open on the tele instead of stopping down to f4+ ? Is the one extra stop in terms of better bokeh, shallower DoF really important (or in low light portrait) to you? The majority of made portraitures (studio) on ff are not between f4 and f 5.6 either way having the best sharpness?
    Would you buy the 70-200 f4 instead of the 2.8 even If you were a “fulltime-pro”?
    What about the impacts of the huge focus breathing of the 70-200 2.8 VRII and your experiences in this regard?
    How often do or did you generally make portraits from 5 to about 13 feet at 200mm? (refering to focus breathing/article/source http://photographylife.com/nikon-70-200mm-f4-vs-f2-8)?
    Would you agree with the opinion and conclusions of the mentioned article/link above in terms of the 70-200 f4 might be even better for portraiture especially for close ups?

    So why I am still asking you? I am doing because a lot of your lens recommendations have been a blessing in disguise after buying and using them everyday. ;)

    Thank you in advance and so far!

    Keep it up and take care!

    Kindly regards

    Sp.

    • Sorry, I don’t have the time to do this nor am I going to buy lenses to review – especially if they are not useful to me afterwards. There are plenty of other sites that do the comparisons you’re looking for. I use a Zeiss 2/135 APO-Sonnar to cover my short tele needs. Use it at any aperture and distance you please; there’s no focus breathing and brilliant clarity.

  29. Hi Ming. I need a pancake zoom for my em5. Have you tried the new MZuiko 14-42EZ yet?

    • Yes. I prefer the 12-32 because of the extra on the wide end and the mechanical zoom ring.

      • Hi Ming

        have you ever tested or played with the Sigma 105, 150 or 180 2.8 Macro lens (all 1:1, very good reviews partially)? Maybe they are interesting for you as well and your kind of photography….maybe they are even better than Olympus/Nikon 60 2.8, Nikon 105 2.8VR or the Zeiss 100 ZF2 MF Planar……???

        Take care!

        Kindly regards,
        jeff

        • Nope, no intention to do so. I’m using the Nikon 85 PCE most of the time anyway – it’s the only tilt shift macro option there is for the Nikon system…

  30. I can tell you are not a fan of canon.

  31. Dave Freeman says:

    Hi Ming, do you ever use a film scanner, if so, which on is a good one that does not cost a million dollars? i.e Hasselblad’s, can’t afford that one… Being used to scan some 35mm from my M6 and 120 for my Hasselblad 503.

    Thanks,
    Dave.

  32. Colin Fry says:

    Hi Ming, I see from the single 1 * next to the Olympus EM1 & 12-40 (and most of your M4/3 equipment that you’ve sold it or not using anymore? I sold all my Nikon gear a while ago after reading your reviews amongst other and am happy with the Olympus EM1, the light weight etc considering i have no need for large prints. Is there something else that you’ve replaced this system with? Just out of interest.
    Look forward to reading your blog each day .. and i must treat myself to another ‘How to see” video!
    Regards

    • It’s been retired from photo work partially because of the shutter shock problem, and partially because of my larger print size requirement which necessitates more pixels. We still use them to film the workshop videos, however. No replacement as yet, sadly – the closest I get for that kind of function is a D4 and 24-120/4.

      • I didnt get it….So you are just using the em1 with 12-40 2.8 for your video productions and the other mft lens (60 2.8, 45, 75 1.8, 100-300) were sold?
        And just for completeness issues the Nikon Coolpix A should easily make the list as the Ricoh GR is doing….you said The A “has amongst the most pleasing color of any camera I’ve used, period.”….

        So you’ve to add the Coolpix A….

        • E-M1 x2, 12-40 and 75mm. The rest are redundant and were sold.

          Between the GR and the A, I’d take the GR. I can make the GR’s color look like the A with a bit of work, but I can’t make the A’s B&Ws look like the GR. There are also ergonomic/ control issues with the A that mean it doesn’t make the list.

  33. Which one is optically better 14-24 or zeiss 15 2.8 in your opinion/experience? Will beused on d810 for landscpae photography…..for the 14-24 the fotodiox wonderpana filter system is gorgeus!! Havent found anything about the 15 2.8 in your camerapedia….;)

    THX!

  34. I was wondering why you dont use a D7100 as a backup camera or even as your first camera for macro works???
    Higher pixel pinch –> more details & informations –> comparable to a 54 fx sensor?

    Hope it isnt a silly question….was hesitating asking you;) Only due earlier diffraction limit??

    • Because I don’t need that much magnification, the D800E still has more total resolution, and diffraction sets in at 5.6 which is almost no depth of field whatsoever. Stitching is impractical for macro. It isn’t just pixel density, it’s overall total resolution also.

  35. Hi Ming,
    I am new to photography and i have technical questions with regard to shutter speed, DoF and ISO in order to find and buy the right gear/system for me meaning imo not automatically to get the technically best gear…even it gets a bit thereotical with my cases/scenarios but i think only an experienced pro can answer these questions….

    1. Can the IBIS, 1/8000, 1/250 flash sync of the omd em1 compensate the advantage of the slightly larger aps-c sensor and better low light performance (2/3-1 stop advantage) of the fuji xt1 or even of a fullframe cam?
    2.Following case/scenario: at a beach in sunny australia
    Olympus EM1 + panaleica 42.5 1.2 (85 2.4) and or 75 1.8 (ff equiv 150 3.6 fov)
    Fuji XT-1 + 56 1.2 (ff. equiv. 84 1.8 fov/dof)
    Nikon D810 + 85 1.8

    2a. Can the IBIS, 1/8000, 1/250 flash sync of the omd em1 compensate the advantage of the slightly larger aps-c sensor of the fuji xt1 (no IS, only 1/4000, 1/180) or even better/more capable of a fullframe cam (let alone resolution!) despite the fact that the m43 might be 1.8 (if you shoot with the 75) instead of the larger aperture (1.2) of the fuji lens? Dont need a nd filter, lower iso, lower shutter speed etc.–> So is the larger aperture/bigger sensor better or can the IBIS/higher shutter/ flash sync comepensate the slightly less large aperture in this case?

    2b. And what about if you were using a lens with stabilization???–>So is the IBIS more effective in than the majority of OIS or VR lens? How much stops?

    3. Which listed setup would yield to the shallowest depth of field?
    Olympus EM1 + 75 1.8 (ff equiv 150 3.6 fov) or the pana leica 42.5 1.2 (85 2.4 ff. equiv fov/dof) due to larger aperture?
    Fuji XT-1 + 56 1.2 (ff. equiv. 84 1.8 fov)
    Nikon D810 + 85 1.8
    So which factor has the most impact on the depth of field larger sensor, larger aperture or longer focal length (ff equiv. fov) excluding the distance from camera to subject and subject to background and or if it would be the same in all three cases/setups?

    Thank you so much!
    Best regards!

    Wish you al the best especially for your wife –> quick recovery! It seems for me that more people getting infected/ diseases due to mosquitos! They are getting more and more aggressive and the dangerous species spreading around the globe even on the northern hemisphere not solely the tropics! Its a serious problem….

    • 1. Shutter speeds are irrelevant. IBIS can compensate so long as your subject isn’t moving; it can’t stop that from happening.
      2. Almost zero difference between the E-M1 and XT1. D810 will have shallower DOF and more resolution, as well as more dynamic range.
      2a. I don’t know what you mean by ‘compensate’ in this case: it won’t give you shallower depth of field, but it will bring image quality fairly close because you can use a lower ISO. Higher shutter and flash sync are again irrelevant.
      2b. Depends which OIS or VR lens. Different effectiveness depending on the hardware and your handholding technique. Impossible to say but in general IBIS is as good or slightly better.
      3. I suggest you try this website.

      Hope you remember to use my referral links when you do decide what to buy!

      • Wow ultrafast answer from the ultraprint master ;)

        To 1: So the IBIS could completely compensate the 2/3-1 stop iso advantage of the slightly bigger apsc sensor of the fuji? Also of the ff cam 2 stops if subject isnt moving??
        To 2a: So the fuji and the nikon would yield shallower depth of field due to bigger sensors and partially larger aperture (in case of fuji!) but the omd em 1 and d810 (additionally lower native base iso 64 vs. iso200 both others!) have the advantage of the higher flash sync and shutter speeds in comparison to the fuji where you might need or use a nd filter earlier due to 1/4000 if you are shooting at a sunny place…True??? Ii hope you understand it better….
        To 2b: Most of the newer OIS and VR lens (70-200 f4) have a 4 stops at least or even 5 stops….so the ibis is even better? 6+ stops if similar handhoding technique same person would use the cams…??And what if you use an omd with ibis and a pana lens with ois….so “synergistic effects” meaning even more stops advantage/handholding advantages ??
        To 3: THX for the link gonna read carefully…but as your answer (to 2) stated it seems the larger sensor d810 / 85 1.8 has in the mentioned scenario/setup the highest impact on dof (shallower) more than a larger aperture (56 1.2 Fuji xt1 apsc sensor vs. 1.8 primes) or a longer focal length Omd em1 75 1.8 (150 3.6 ff. equiv. fov/dof)…..
        Should be logical somehow 4 times larger sensor, 4 times better light gathering capabilities, informations, details etc. than m43 or 1.5 ?? times larger than apsc the ff is the king……if both distance (subject to cam and background) and all other reöevant factors/coditions are equal….

        Referral links – sure need some time (or a bunch) for decision and have to read a lot….it should be a longterm decision investing in one system so tends to d810….!

        • 1. That’s what I just said.
          2a. Yes, shallower DOF because of aperture and real FL. You might have higher flash sync but you’ll still need more flash power at a lower ISO, the requirement is proportional to subject distance and aperture. If you have a lower ISO you need an ND filter only when it gets brighter. These three questions are NOT related.
          2b. Read my reviews. The manufacturer’s claims are not accurate. 4/5 stop claimed VR is more like two.

          FF is not always the king if your shot discipline is insufficient for the pixel density (pixels per degree FOV) resulting in blurriness.

          I am not sure I would recommend the D810, because frankly, it seems like far more camera than you need or can handle at the moment. And it makes no sense to ‘grow into’, because two, three, four years from now – technology will have moved again, and I bet you’ll have the upgrade itch. :) Save your money and go with an E-M1.

          • I think the omd is still not the ideal entry cam or system despite the fact that they are praised and being very successful! For me an old dslr might be better eg. d7000 because the omd system makes it too easy /unforgiveable due to ibis & excellent af system to make good photographs/having success at the beginning and you dont think that much or learn the basics about the “triangle” shutter speed, iso and aperture because you just dont have to due to the fact that always everything will be in focus and you dont get blurry images very often and have to think why did i getr an blurred image…..?

            Just my opinion!

            • The same principles still apply to all cameras. You might also want to try spell checking and punctuating your sentence(s), it’s very difficult to understand what you’re trying to say.

  36. Hi Ming

    is the panaleica 25 1.4 optical better than the olympus 17,25 1.8 and the pana 20 1.7 mk I or mk II? I am asking you because you recommend the 25 1.4 panaleica on your gear list but within the camerapedia section, I couldnt find anything about the recommended 25 1.4 only about the others….
    Sorry for inquiring….

    THX in advance!

  37. H Ming,

    do you always use the MB-D12 for better ergonomics, more stability and additional battery power??? Or is it only attached when big glass is mounted on the d800e like the Zeiss 135 zf2 or the otus??
    And do you use the en el18 battery with adapter (the one of the d4/s!) in your grip or the ordinary en el 15….??

    THX!

    • Ergonomics with heavy lenses, I use the ENEL15 because I don’t want to travel with the enormous charger for the D4 battery. I’ve never exhausted a regular D800 battery in a day of non-studio (i.e. non live view) use anyway.

  38. Hi Ming,

    could you tell me which af system is better, faster focusing the one of the d600/d610 or the hybrid pdaf of sony A7? So are the 39 /15 cross points better, faster and more accurate than the 119 pdaf cells? If not what would you guess….

    THX!

    • ‘Better’ has many components: faster, more accurate, better at tracking, more area coverage etc. The D600/610 is better at tracking. The A7 is more accurate because it focuses on the sensor. Speed depends on which lenses you’re using it with.

      • Thanks for answering quickly! So the Sony A7 or mirrorless have better af system than dslrs in general?? So Sony a7s AF system even better, more accurate than d800/d810….oh my god…thx anyway!

        • No, you’re misinterpreting what I said. Contrast detect AF will always be more accurate because you’re focusing on the imaging sensor, using the imaging sensor. It won’t be faster because it has to go past the point of focus and back to know that it’s reached maximum contrast.

          • I understand! But i meant the sony a7′s not sony a7s !!!! So which af system is overall better then, the sony a7′s 119 pdaf cells or the pdaf 51/15 cross points of d800/d810 in your opinion?

            Last check with you….sorry!

  39. Seems you left the Mirrorless system.

    • I maintain a pair of E-M1s for video work. Insufficient resolution for the kind of printing I’m doing these days; it’s D800E or medium format.

  40. Hi Ming,

    after reading extensively your camerapedia there is still one question remaining for me to be answered from you….

    Would you prefer or choose the omd system / m43 over fuji x system/x transsensor anyday? Despite the fact that you never have been tested the xt1 and that fuji has even a broader and better lens lineup than m43/oly/pany after only 3 years….?? Your main issues/reasons against are the controls, workflow as well as your subjective non liking of fuji colors rendering….not lack of flashes, flash sync 1/180 or shutter speed limit of 1/4000….

    Did I get it right?

    • I have tested the XPro, XE1 and 2, and the XT1 – there just happens to be no review because it would be a waste of my time to write, and a waste of your time to read subjective negativity. Not to mention the number of rude fanboys who would come out of the woodwork to complain and troll.

      I disagree with the statement on lenses. There is no f2.8 constant pro zoom. There is no 75/1.8 equivalent. There is no telephoto solution. How is that better and broader?

      The XT1 has excellent controls and ergonomics. But the workflow remains a disaster, the files have aliasing along fine detail/ hard edges, and yes, there’s the color problem.

      If I want flashes or faster sync I’ll use the D800.

      • Thanks. But the 56 1.2 is comparable to the 75 1.8 for portraiture, shallow dof i think…

        • No it isn’t. 85mm vs 150mm equivalent FOV? Regardless of DOF, you’d have to move nearly twice as close to get the same angle of view. That’s definitely not an equivalent lens.

          • Indeed. I am no fuji owner or even fanboy! But you could do this vice versa…oly/pana has no 10-24 f4 ois equivalent lens with filter thread (7-14 2.0 pro is coming 2015 and pana 7-14 horrible purple fringing on em1!!) and a equiv. 35 1.4 is missing as well….(17 1.8 is not as good as the 23 1.4 fuji!)…

            • Agree with you there. The 17/1.8 is a bit of a disaster, and you need to use the ACR profile for the Panasonic 7-14. Haven’t used the 10-24 – it’s far wider than I normally need anyway.

              That said, I don’t think either system has everything, nor are they exactly incomplete…

              • Hi Ming,

                followed your discussion with Nasim and your reviews and negative experiences with fuji so far, i just wonder then why there are a lot of “pros” using or switching to fuji (e.g. Zack arias) despite the fact of poor workflow issues, lack of flashes/appropriate/competitive flash system, 1/180 flash sync and 1/4000 shutter speed limits etc..??? Only due to nice handling, controls/ergonomics,manual focusing and the “cheaper leica/retro feeling”??? Cannot believe….Or do they have a completely different workflow as you? Is this even possible? I thought every pro has a similar workflow or am i proven wrong…?

                • I wonder too. Perhaps free cameras are a motivation? Note that Zack etc. do a lot of promo work with Fuji, which makes me question objectivity somewhat.

                  • So they are just being kids (excited and interested in new stuff!) or wanna try the “the leica for the poors” and or getting paid from fuji for making their brand more attractive (appealing) and gaining significant faster and broader publicity….
                    Anyway, thanks for the fastest reply i’ve ever seen and got! You must have very quick hands, your shutter speed wasnt actually measurable as you pulled err pushed the trigger! Nearly light velocity…;)

                    Have a nice weekend, have a kitkat!;)

                    • We’re all kids at heart, but the gear either has to be really, really special to justify that kind of enthusiasm or there has to be money involved. Having used it, I’m certain it isn’t the former.

  41. Mtchell says:

    Hi Ming
    do you think that you can use the d800e with a monopod (like the p 326 model http://www.sirui.com.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=76&Itemid=468) only??? Would it still be enough stabilization in order to prevent blur etc??

    By the way due to the fact that you give us a lot of recomendations for free i wanna give you a recommendation for the best backpack used so far from me for photography equipment/traveling (nearly same gear as you, honestly “only nearly” t&s lens and otus are missing sadly ;)) its the “lowepro flipside 500 aw” (had no issues with chest straps so far!!! http://www.lowepro.com/flipside-original#prettyPhoto) and i can recommend the heads and tripod of sirui especially the tx-series of sirui (t-1205x and 2205-x http://www.sirui.com.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70:t-x-series&catid=83&Itemid=470) I use the t-1205x carbon even more compact for traverling than the 2205 and its more than sufficient for me and my purposes!
    Excellent price performance, quality etc. not on par with gitzos but in my point of view, they come relatively close and i dont say this easily….

    Thanks!

    • Sorry, no idea. I haven’t used that monopod. There can be huge differences between similar looking models.

      And I’ve got the bags I need, thanks.

  42. Hi Ming,

    I have a question to your recommendation for the wacom Intuos pen and touch tablet. Do you use a model of the pro series intuos pro or even one of the cintiqs series? Have you tested or made any experience with the pro or cintiq wacom tablet models?? Are they much better than the pen and touch models? Which is best in your opinion?
    Cheers!

    • I used to use the Intuos4/5/pro, and I’ve tried the Cintiq. I find my hands block the image too much on screen, but new tablet users find it very intuitive. Not much difference in feel or responsiveness between the 4/5/Pro, but they are a lot physically larger and more expensive – I wear one out every year on average, and have to travel with it, so I’d rather have smaller where possible.

  43. Patrick says:

    Ming, you do now own any mirrorless system anymore? Or use? Where are your two stars?** I am waiting for the day, soon I expect, where I will be able to shoot sport with such a system. Olympus is on my list: a better AF from an upcoming camera, and this lens http://2.static.img-dpreview.com/files/p/E~articles/0520169368/300-news.jpeg

    • I don’t own any mirrorless systems for stills. We (my partner) retained a pair of E-M1s, 12-40 and 75/1.8s for video work. That’s it. Resolution is insufficient for the kind of printing I do these days.

  44. Hi Ming,

    i have a question with regard to your opinion (I value as high as possible by the way!–> your work) about the crop capabilitites of the d800(e)! Could you just crop later instead of take a longer tele prime or zoom with you due to the high resolution and the different crop modus in order to travel as light as possible (e.g. only with 28 and 85 1.8 without a 70-200 f4 or even 2.8)?

    Regards!

    • You could, but you also throw away resolution. And it’s not easy to visualise where those crop marks lie, exactly, which is bad for strength of composition.

      • So you would still say it is more “safety” to carry one lens more despite the fact that it might be not used /much on a trip than crop….

        THX!

        • Not at all. I don’t crop because I might as well just take a lighter/ smaller camera and lighter/ smaller lenses then. I bring what I bring because I want every bit of image quality I can get out of it.

          • Fine but you re contradictory yourself a bit at least! In order to get always the best image quality, you have to carry then a complete fx setup (14-24, 24/28/60 2.8/ , 70-200 f4 at least. Better even MF setup….
            What would you do, if you would make a world trip for one year around the world not knowing which situation might happened and in order not to miss one shot (cover most of the possible situations/motifs!)? ….

            • No, if you compose for the lenses you’ve got and not crop, why would I need more lenses?

              And I was carrying a complete FX setup – for what I want to shoot – 28/55/70-200 on the last trip, and complete medium format on this trip.

  45. Hi Ming,

    i am thinking about switching from my 24 1.4 to the 28 1.8 nikkor (d800e) due to weight/size issues as you’ve already done!
    But I am uncertain about the loss of the 4mm on the “wide-end side”….any thoughts how to gain back the 4mm other possibilities than improving my compositional abilities and use my feets if possible (sadly not always possible)?? How much meters do I have to go back in order to compensate for the 4mm loss generally?
    Dof of both lens is similar despite difference in aperture!…vice versa it is easier to crop 24–>28mm but the other way (uncropping) is sadly not possible 28 –>24mm;)

    Thanks so much!

  46. Hi Ming,

    wanna buy first ff cam… Which one d600 or sony a7? You have already been played with both…which one is better ? Which one would you recommend? FF Mirrorless vs ff dslr?

    Thanks!

  47. Terrence says:

    Hi Ming,

    ware you gonna test and write a review of the d810? Sadly, gps and wifi is not built in / missing….have you ever tested the wt5 (for d4) should work with the d810 according to nikon…. Is it useful and recommendable for transfering images to e.g. i pad mini retina?

    THX!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to creating it. This will be an updated, living document that has its own page. You can find the Recommended Gear List here. [...]

  2. [...] you’re considering of getting a camera yourself for that coming season, have a look at Ming Thein’s list of recommended gear. Interesting thing is that he’s just one of so many professional photographers who [...]

  3. […] not the camera, that makes the difference; a good photographer can use anything. Here’s a handy list, and there’s also the Camerapedia, which contains a concise opinion on every piece of gear […]

  4. […] makes the difference (a good photographer can use anything) – I’ve got a handy list here, and there’s also the Camerapedia, which contains a concise opinion on every piece of gear […]

  5. […] items I’ve discovered during the course of the year. For a complete list of recommendations, see this page. Please note, all links from this page do award me a small referral commission; it doesn’t […]

  6. […] see lenses that have actually been shot a LOT, on different cameras, for long stretches of time: The recommended gear list ? Ming Thein | Photographer and for the 85/1.8 AF-S G that I recommend to most people, go here: Lens review: The Nikon AF-S […]

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