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 22 January 2015; new additions in italics

Ming’s current equipment
Ricoh GR** (Digital V) – review B&H Amazon
Nikon D810** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon D800E** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 20/1.8 G** – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-120/4 VR** – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 80-400/4.5-5.6 G ED VR II N** – review 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 1.4/55 Otus APO-Distagon** – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/85 Otus APO-Planar** review B&H
Zeiss ZF.2 2/135 APO-Sonnar** – B&H Amazon
Voigtlander 90/3.5 APO-Lanthar** and 180/4 APO-Lanthar**- sorry, out of production… but there’s always ebay and Japan Camera Hunter.
Any Hasselblad V series, and CF/CFE/CFi lenses** (currently, I have a 501CM and 80/2.8 CF – the essence of Hasselblad) – no longer available new, but isn’t the hunt part of the fun? review
Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film** – review B&H Amazon
Billingham 307** – B&H Amazon
Think Tank Airport Navigator** – B&H Amazon
Think Tank Perception Tablet** – B&H Amazon
Kata D-Light 272** Owl – 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
Really Right Stuff TVC-24L tripod**

Other recommended equipment – it may not fit my specific needs at this moment, but this is gear I’ve used and enjoyed in the past:

Serious amateur/ pro compact
Fuji X100T – B&H Amazon
Sony RX10 – review B&H Amazon
Sony RX100 Mark III – review B&H Amazon
Panasonic LX7 – review B&H Amazon
Panasonic LX100 – review B&H Amazon

Mirrorless system
Fuji X-T1* – B&H Amazon
Zeiss Touit 1.8/32 – B&H Amazon
Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M – B&H Amazon
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* – B&H Amazon
Panasonic 20/1.7* – 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 D750* – review B&H Amazon
Nikon D4S – review (D4) B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 16-35/4 VR – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-70/2.8* – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 70-200/4 VR* – 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 2/100 Makro Planar* – review B&H Amazon

Medium format digital
Pentax 645Z* – B&H Amazon
Pentax FA 35/3.5 – B&H
Pentax D-FA 55/2.8* – B&H Amazon
Pentax D-FA 90/2.8 SR Micro* – B&H Amazon
Pentax A 150/3.5* – sorry, out of production, but try eBay
Pentax A 35/3.5* – ditto

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** – try  Japan Camera Hunter.
Nikon F6* – B&H Amazon

Billingham Hadley Pro* – B&H Amazon
Gitzo GT1542T Traveller 6x Carbon* – review B&H Amazon

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


Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

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


  1. You don’t mention a focussing rail for macro work (the sort that moves the camera … not extending bellows) in your gear list. Does that mean that you don’t use one, or just that there is none you would especially recommend?


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