Happy new year – and a garage sale (price reduction!)

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Wishing all of my Asian readers a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year of the Snake*! MT

*If the image below doesn’t look familiar, or seems interesting, then it’s time to get invited to a Lou Sang or Yee Sang – it’s a kind of salad with symbolic components that gets tossed ritually for prosperity, luck and health in the company of friends and family. The sauce is also quite sticky, so don’t get too close with the camera; from personal experience, it’s hell to clean off lenses.

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On to the more photographically interesting second part: the garage sale. Up for grabs today are a couple of items:

1. The ultimate Nikon D700 body kit – Price now reduced to US$1,500 excluding shipping, but including paypal fees Sold!

Shortly after buying the camera, I modified it personally to be perfectly set up for manual focus work. This means that the mirror zero position has been aligned, and the focusing screen shimmed: what you see in the finder is exactly what the sensor sees. I then went one step further and added a type J screen (extra snappy, central split prism) from the Nikon F6; this is not a simple modification because it doesn’t fit. The screen has to be cut down and filed to fit in the D700’s focusing screen carrier. The camera also includes:

  • DK-17M 1.2x magnifying eyepiece;
  • MB-D10 battery grip and adaptors for EN-EL3e batteries, AA batteries and the optional EN-EL4a adaptor;
  • Two extra EN-EL3e batteries;
  • Two EN-EL4a batteries and a MH-21 charger – this lets you get to 8fps and extends battery life dramatically;
  • New, original, unused strap;
  • All boxes and papers (except for the MH-21, that’s from my busted D2H).

It’s been used professionally but taken care of. Shutter actuations are slightly below 70k, but it was checked recently by NPS and given a clean bill of health. (The D700 is rated to 150,000, so there’s plenty of life left in it yet.) Otherwise, it’s cosmetically perfect with no rub marks, paint, scratches etc. – I believe in taking good care of my equipment.

You’re probably wondering why I’m selling it. Simple answer: I need the D800E’s file size to keep commercial clients happy, and I hardly do any reportage anymore. I felt it should go to a good home and somebody who would appreciate it rather than sitting folorn in a drybox. This is the ideal camera for manual focus lens aficionados! I have a full long-term review here, and a great many of the images on this site were shot with it.

2. Sony RX100 with Franiec grip and extra battery – US$500 excluding shipping but including paypal fees. Sold pending payment

Self explanatory, really. The camera includes a Richard Franiec grip and one spare original battery, plus boxes/ papers and whatnots. Just throwing this one out there as I could keep it or not; it’s an excellent pocket camera. It’s just that I seem to be using the GR1v a lot more than the RX100 these days. Also, if I sell this one, I can pick up something else to review for you guys 🙂 Note: the camera has a couple of small paint loss marks on the left border of the LCD, otherwise it’s perfect. Under 4k actuations on this one. My full review is here.

If you’re interested in either of these cameras, please get in touch. Thanks! MT


  1. One reason I gave up film was a series of bad experiences with airport security scanners, particularly in China and in Hanoi.

    I guess in recent years their equipment has improved. But what do you do to protect undeveloped film you want to carry with you?

    • You can request to have it hand searched, which solves the problem. I don’t travel with anything faster than 400 though. And certainly not film for a commercial job if I’m traveling internationally.

  2. Happy New Year Ming. As much as I want the D700 I don’t have lenses for it anymore. Oh wait I do, legacy ones, great for MF. But I think I will benefit more with your mentorship than another new camera.

  3. Happy New Year to you too! And all the best in New Year! I have a question : Do you still use a light meter with Ricoh GR1v or any of your film cameras? If yes,what brand of a light meter you would preffer ?
    Inspired as always by your photos,just bought one from Bellamy Hunt.
    Would you be so kind please to give any recommendation on using this camera?

    Kind Regards,


    • Thanks Sergey. It doesn’t have manual mode, so the best thing to do is leave it in P mode, and then override to f2.8 if needed (it won’t open wider than f4 in program mode). You don’t need a meter. I generally don’t use a meter with my manual film cameras – an eyeball works with practice – but I do carry a Voigtlander VC-Meter II in my pocket to double check or if I’m not sure. Alternatively the spot meter function in a compact can serve as a very accurate meter as well as a good backup camera 🙂

      • Todd Lawton says:

        On the subject of the GR1v, what focusing mode(s) do you find yourself using most, Ming?

        • I just leave it in auto, or use the single point mode. I haven’t done much street photography with it, so the snap mode – as useful as it seems – has also been rather under-utilised.

      • Todd Lawton says:

        Totally under-utilised on mine too, I’m glad it’s not just me! Interesting to hear you’ve been picking the GR1v over the RX100 recently; quite different cameras I know, but I had been considering purchasing the latter. In my opinion, as yet no digital compact has captured the charm and tactility of even more recent film compacts; they tend to be a bit too gadgety.

        • I have to be honest: I’m just getting bored of the Sony. Compacts tend not to last very long with me; I keep them for typically under 2000 frames and then time for the next one. This one has lasted the second-longest of any of my compacts at 3,800.

      • Todd Lawton says:

        That’s the gadget effect, isn’t it? I feel the same about compact (digital) cameras as I do about phones: they have a certain appeal when they’re shiny and new, but they tend not to leave a lasting impression (not for want of image quality, in the RX100’s case). What’s your #1 most-used compact/frame count? 🙂

  4. Ming- to follow up on your film camera’s piece you did I have decided to give a M5 a run… while you are cleaning out the garage- if you have one- ill take it!… Dan

  5. If you sell the RX100, you could pick up an E-PM2 to review 🙂


  1. […] Note: I’ve still got another unique camera up for sale here! […]

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