Garage sale time again!

nov2013 garage sale

Following on from the last couple of days’ musings, it’s about time for a clearout. This is your opportunity to get equipment that has been tested, QC’d and used by me – so you know it’s good. The overwhelming reasons for me disposing of gear are consolidation and upgrades. So, without further ado, on to the items. Please send me an email if you would like to buy something; from historical experience, don’t wait too long as everything is usually gone within a day or two. Those who’ve bought from me before know that I tend to rate my gear very, very conservatively. Feel free to make me an offer if you’d like multiple items, or you think my prices are out of whack.

Please note: items are first-come first served; Paypal fees are included but shipping is not (it will of course depend on your geographic location, impatience level and risk appetite 🙂 Any white dots in the images are dust; they have not been retouched in the interests of authenticity. Lastly, I’m happy to do a face to face transaction if you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur.

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1. Olympus OM-D E-M5 body (review here)

Price: US$700, or US$860 with the HLD-6 grip

Includes: box, battery, charger, cables, body cap, strap (unused), mini-flash and baggie, protective rubber caps on hotshoe and accessory port – basically, everything that would be included with a new camera.

Condition: Excellent plus; one tiny paint rub on the corner of the prism; LCD is flawless (has a screen protector on it); just replaced the rubber eyecup, too. Shutter count is about 32k.

Reason for sale: This was my primary travel and teaching body for the last 18 months. My E-M1s have arrived; I don’t need a third body… Sold!

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2. Olympus HLD-6 battery grip for the OM-D E-M5 ON HOLD

Price: US$200, or $160 with the E-M5 body, and you of course save on shipping, too.

Includes: box and contents

Condition: Excellent plus; some rubber marks.

Reason for sale: Doesn’t work with the E-M1.

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3. Panasonic Lumix G 14-42/3.5-5.6 X PZ pancake lens, Micro 4/3 mount (review here)

Price: US$240

Includes: caps, box and contents

Condition: Mint

Reason for sale: Replacing it with the 12-32, once it’s available. In the meantime, replacing it with the 12-40. Otherwise, an ideal compact travel zoom – handy to keep in a pocket if you’re running fast primes and need some intermediate focal length in a pinch. Sold!

Bonus: Take the E-M5, HLD-6 and 14-42 X for $1120. In case you need further convincing, here are some images I’ve shot with this combination on flickr.

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4. Zeiss ZF.2 2/50 Makro-Planar STILL AVAILABLE!

Price: US$950

Includes: Box, caps

Condition: Mint. ZF.2 version with chip; will work with full electronic communication on all Nikon bodies – lock down the aperture ring to f22 to select aperture from the body; otherwise you can use the ring on non-electronic (i.e. film) bodies. Works great on both.

Reason for sale: My 1.4/55 Otus Distagon is going to be delivered soon. This lens, however, is one of the fastest macros (1:2) you can buy, and has outstanding optics at all apertures – even on the D800E.

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5. Saving the best for last: Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH, 6-bit, black (current version)

Price: US$3500

Includes: Inner and outer boxes, caps, leather case, paperwork, undated warranty -a full 3 years remaining.

Condition: Near mint. The one thing that prevents it from being mint is a tiny internal dust spec that’s been there since about day three. It does not affect image quality; it is priced accordingly. Note: these lenses are notorious for QC variations; this is my sixth one, and I only bought it after being able to QC it personally. It is optically the best sample of this lens I have used. To be honest, I’m not in a big hurry to sell this one after the hassle I went through to get a good sample…

Reason for sale: Same reason for selling the 2/50 MP: that 1.4/55 Otus ain’t cheap. On top of that, I no longer have any Leica M bodies and I’m using the 75/1.8 more on the OM-D for cinematic work. Upshot is that the lens is basically underutilized and should go to somebody who will enjoy it. Sold pending funds!


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the 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. Just googled some stuff and this popped up, by any chance is your HLD-6 still available? I noticed it doesn’t say ‘sold’.

  2. Hi, I have been an avid reader of your blog. There is a question in my mind, since the otus is not out yet, is your acquisition of the lens considered a leap of faith or educated guess?

    • It’s a very educated guess. I’ve seen samples and spoken to both testers and industry insiders whose opinion I respect. This is the only lens I’ve pre-ordered; let’s just say that at this price, I have to be pretty darn sure 🙂

      • Zeiss has been making exceptional glasses, it is only too bad they are only in manual focus on zf mount. Any tips coming up on manual focusing on modern ovf? Shame on the Japanese, for advancing on sensors but backwards on the ovf. I really miss split prism.

  3. Joel Venable says:

    Just curious, but what’s the motivation behind switching the 14-42 PZ to the new 12-32? Mechanical zoom ring? The extra WA?

    I was thinking of picking up the PZ for a small combo for m43, but just thought I’d ask if there was something compelling about the new one…

  4. What do you mean by “risk appetite” ? If it’s a joke its really a bad one.

    • Risk appetite is a financial industry term for how much risk you’re willing to take proportional to your cost of insurance/ probability of something bad happening.

  5. I will never understand how can somebody sell MP 50/2.

  6. David Grossi says:

    Unlike MIng, who makes his living in the field of photography and has hard-nosed business reasons for what he does, all the early adopters/G.A.S. guys are on to the nextest, bestest, gotta-have-it shiny new thing and selling, sometimes just dumping, their virtually unused OMD-EM5’s. The deals are really great! A friend of mine just picked up a barely used EM5 with the grip for a bit less than 700 USD. I kid you not. I bought the same combo about 9 months ago for 850 USD. Living near the Microsoft campuses here in the Puget Sound area means being close to the guys with “money to burn”. A year from now I’ll be adding an EM1 to my kit, no doubt at a great price.

    Back in the olden days (early-1980’s) I worked for Yashica/Kyocera in San Francisco as a tech rep., and we used to hype the latest and greatest to the old farts (no G.A.S. pun intended) with the big money who could afford new German made Zeiss lenses. “What’s the matter with you Jack, still shooting that crappy Nikon F? Get with the program and switch to Contax. It’s all about the glass and we got Zeiss made by German elves. Better yet, why not get an M3 double stroke – with that Leica glass you’ll shoot just like Eisie” Same crazy stuff as nowadays. Back and forth – same, same. It was tons of fun. 🙂

    So IMO, even as things seem to change but don’t, it doesn’t matter where you are on the gear-head to artist spectrum – there has never been a better time to be a photographer, and the best photos are the ones you take today with that really neat camera you love to shoot – especially when you get it at a great price – yipeeee !!!

  7. Amazing! First time I’ve ever seen the OM-D E-M5 as a handsome camera, until now I’d always thought it very ugly. Who says the camera never lies? – I won’t believe your photos in future -:)

    • It’s all in the lighting and angle. There’s a reason why most of my income is from product photography…

      • On that note – am I the only one who thinks most cameras would look at least 2-3x better without that protruding hot shoe?

        • David Grossi says:

          I agree that most cameras do look better hot shoeless, but I really like using those hot shoes when I need them …

        • No, but where would you put it otherwise?

          • From a usability standpoint, I would not move it. From a selfish standpoint, I wouldn’t have it there in the first place (I never use on-camera flash). Worst case scenario? Have it level with the rest of the viewfinder prism, a la the Nikon EM (I’d like to think that Giorgetto Giugiaro was thinking along the same lines).

  8. Interesting in how tastes and needs differ: I wouldn’t give up my Makro-Planar, just oot good and well balanced for someone who prefers 50 mm 🙂

    Hope you’ll have time at some point to write a few lines on what the Otus 55 offers compared to the Makro-Planar 50.

    • If the Makro-Planar isn’t sold by then, sure…

      I’m going to have a number of really spectacular lenses in the normal range – the 58/1.2 Noct, the Otus; I don’t need another one. My macro needs require a bit more control and working distance, hence a preference for the 85 PCE.

      • To be clear, I wasn’t thinking of review; both lenses are great, but it would be very interesting to know what roughly tripling the price gets besides the obvious f1.4 aperture (and losing the macro).

        I can see your rationaly; having expensive lenses around when not used is a bit of a waste, unless it’s primarily for collecting. The 85 PCE is great, but my style usually takes me to the wider angle of the view of the 50 in macros. OTOH I don’t shoot watches, but think I should learn one day…

        • Too little working distance has issues with lighting and reflections; I personally like the rendering of the Nikon 60 AFS, but sometimes it’s just impossible to get the reflections out.

  9. Hi Ming, I own an Olympus OM-D EM5 and a few prime lenses, and I use it as my primary system. I’m very happy with it. I’d like to purchase the new 12-40/2.8 zoom, and it’s now being offered as a kit with the EM1. Do you believe the EM1 is a significant improvement over the EM5 ? Is it really worth upgrading ?

    • You need to ask yourself precisely what it is that your current gear isn’t doing for you. Then, re-read my detailed review, which was written precisely for questions like this. I upgraded for the viewfinder, the PDAF, video bitrate increase, and the mic-in port for video work.

      • Thanks Ming, sorry I noticed the review and I gave it a quick look, but I’ll read it more carefully. BTW, my main reason to upgrade would be significantly better image quality. As you observed, the size of the camera leaves you a bit baffled. The whole point with m43 is the size (great image quality vs small size), otherwise why bother? Specially now with the new mirrorless full frame at competitive prices that are coming on the market.

        • That’s not quite right: the size of the camera for the spec and build are still significantly smaller than anything else; it’s really a mini-D4/ 1DX. Image quality is a notch above the E-M5, but it’s not a quantum leap. Improvements in digital these days are mostly incremental rather than revolutionary…

  10. I’m on my third copy of the 50mm Summilux Asph. The first one was very soft at F/1.4. The second one had oil on the aperture blades. Both were purchased brand new too. So much for Leica QC! My current one is a “keeper.”

  11. Paul Lloyd-Roach says:

    Hi Ming

    just curious to know whether you considered the Nikon 58mm f1.4 before you plumped for the Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4. The Nikon is crazy expensive but it’s half the price of the Zeiss ;-))

  12. Aaaah,I see dust specs in some of those photos 😉

  13. I’m interested in the 50mm Summilux. I am based in Yangon right now.

  14. wonder why u seal the “olympus” & “E-M5” at your camera ?

  15. Hi Ming,
    Your images of lenses are gorgeous. Could you write an article on your light setup and other tips for these photos?
    I would buy the Summilux if I didn’t already own one.
    Thanks for all the great information each day.

  16. Ming, may I know whether you ordered the Otus from B&H please? Thanks

  17. Gary Morris says:

    What’s with Leica QC… my 50 Summilux was DOA (last year) out of the box. These things ship with an inspection certificate and it still came out of the box broken (lens shade just pulled right off without stopping). My Noctilux died after maybe 50 shots (aperture ring mechanism fell apart internally). I’m not hard on cameras or lenses and even if I were, DOA out of the box isn’t my fault. Are you finding this sort of QC issues with other brands (not trying to put you on the spot with any vendors you might have relationships with; just curious).

    • I’m glad to hear it’s not just me!

      Other brands have far fewer QC issues. I think it’s a consequence of ‘handmade’.

      • Gary Morris says:

        So when the Leica folks sign the certificate, what they’re really saying is… it’s cool, no worries, we’ll fix it after you buy it. Hand-miss-made is more like it.

      • Have had two new 50 Summilux’s before setting on the current chrome one with the first two copies suffering from internal dust fibre fresh from the factory. The QC at Solms is apparently not as stringent as it used to be given my experiences with older Leica lenses. Perhaps backlog-caused full-capacity production with the resultant rushing things through to deadlines compounded the inherent higher risk for errors in hand making precision machines.

        • I wouldn’t be surprised. Unfortunately final quality with anything handmade is going to be somewhat less than machine made since the tolerances simply can’t be as tight; they’re limited by the humans doing the assembly.

          • Hmmmmm. If that’s the case, one wonders what the point is of the inefficient and crazy-expensive handmade method.
            And also what the final inspectors are doing.
            I understand the romance of skilled technicians lovingly hand assembling jewel-like components (and all that) but if the results are less consistent than machine-made, maybe it’s time to re-think the process.

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