About us

Ming Thein new headshot border

Ming Thein

Armed with a camera since 16, my photographic career has spanned many subjects. Photography is beyond a job for me: it’s a passion. Actually, until early 2012, it was a full time passion and a part time job; I’ve shot commercial assignments on and off for the last eight years, but went full time in 2012. I’m a physicist by training – I graduated from Oxford at 16 – and subsequently left a senior corporate career in M&A/ private equity (and more recently, as a senior exec director of McDonalds) because it simply wasn’t what I wanted to do, and so far, have been lucky enough not to regret it.

This of course means it’s very important to photograph the things you’re passionate about in their own right. Every photographer aims to find a unique look to their images in order to create a signature look for their clients. I take inspiration from many sources – classical photojournalism, abstract art, motion picture and film – to deliver a unique look and style for my clients. Natural color and dynamic lighting create a strong positive emotion in the viewer, which in turn makes the subject of the photograph – your product or service – memorable. I work on location with both available light and controlled lighting, depending on the needs of the client and subject.

I am a commercial photographer specialising in product photography on location and corporate reportage. Lately, I’ve also served as creative consultant and director to ensure a consistent visual look and feel across all aspects of a campaign, including video/ commercials, printed materials and exhibitions – right down to lighting design. It’s no longer just about the visuals: it’s about the experience and the emotion, too.

I have a diverse international client base including Koenigsegg, Nissan, Chun Wo Engineering and Construction, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Van Cleef & Arpels, Maitres du Temps, Richemont, the Swatch Group, Hijjas Kasturi Architects, Tange Associates Architects, Sunway Group, Maybank, Eastern & Oriental, The Boston Consulting Group, several Michelin star chefs including Fergus Henderson and Bruno Menard, The City of London and Moon Travel Guides. I also maintain an extensive library of over 250,000 high-resolution images available to license, both directly and via Getty Images. For 5 years, I was Contributing Editor to CLICK! Magazine, Malaysia and Editor for 2010. I was appointed a Hasselblad Global Ambassador in 2016, and served as Chief of Strategy at Hasselblad and Advisor to the Board of DJI from 2017-18, though have resigned from all positions from 2019 to focus on my watch business. I am also a Nikon Professional Services member in the UK and was a consultant to Carl Zeiss AG.

Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss a project, request a quote, or a specific portfolio of images. In addition, limited edition fine art prints are available from time to time directly via this site.

Please note that I do not answer ‘what should I buy’ questions. Every person’s needs and shooting styles will be different, which means there is no right answer. There are also pages and pages of reviews on this site, along with the recommended equipment list to help you decide for yourself. Any technical support queries should be referred to your camera’s manufacturer.

Ming Thein
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Email: mingthein@gmail.com
Ming Thein on Getty Images


Exhibitions/ In the media:
The Idea of Man, Part II, the Ilford Galerie, Kuala Lumpur (20 Jan-20 Feb 2018)
Un/Natural, with Stephen King, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong (5 Dec 2015-15 Jan 2016)
– ‘The Idea of Man’, The Rangefinder Gallery, Chicago (2-31 Oct 2015)
‘Connection’, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, (11-17 June 2015)
‘Engineering Art in Metal’, The Centre for Asian Photographers, Kuala Lumpur (3-31 Jan 2014)
Interviewed on the official Carl Zeiss blog on food photography (14 Oct 2013)
DSLR Magazine, cover interview/ featured photographer (Feb 2013 edition)
‘Diametric opposites: East and West’, Leica Gallery Starhill, Kuala Lumpur (18 Jan-18 April 2013)
– New York Times/ International Herald Tribune – interviewed on watch photography (24 Nov 2012)
The official Leica Camera Blog – interview/ featured photographer (8 Nov 2012)
BFM 89.9 Tech Talk on Photokina 2012 (8 October 2012)
BFM 89.9 Tech Talk on photography (29 June 2012)
BFM 89.9 Careers unusual (4 May 2012)
The Edge Malaysia, p Op18 (July 2-8 Edition)
Horological photography exhibition sponsored by Jaeger Le-Coultre and Leica Camera, at Starhill Gallery (May 2012)
The Malaysian Reserve – commentary on democratisation of the industry and local support in Malaysia (14 Sep 2012)




  1. Thorsten Vieth says:

    Dear Ming,

    thanks for providing one of the most informative and thoughtful sites about photography and gear.

    I’m a massive fan of compact 28mm cameras and am currently using a Nikon Coolpix A in this category. Since I’m interested in getting on board with your Workflow II or III video course, I was wondering if you have a working profile for the Coolpix A as part of the workflow or if it would be a better option for me to switch to a Ricoh GR?

    In fact, I switched from the GR to A a while ago because I liked the color rendering of the A better, even if I love the handling of Ricoh cameras. Using your workflow and profile, I guess the GR files would come out great, though. Your help and opinion would be much appreciated.


  2. Hi Ming! After your reply on how to make natural images, I purchased the A3 photoshop video when I got home. But I really can not download it… I’m in China with a 100M internet (it’s 10mb/s for downloading things inside China) but I just can’t download this file. I tried two times for the Pt. 1 but failed. Now it gives me only one more chance to download Pt. 1. Is there any way that I can get this video? Order No.: JICXUAOSP placed on 2016-08-02 19:33:04

    • No problem. That sounds like The Great Firewall at work – please try a wired connection if possible, no download accelerators and Safari or Firefox. I’ll have my partner do the counter reset shortly.

      • Thank you a lot Ming! Yes.. The GFW is really a sucker… I tried to use safari to download earlier and it’s like 6kb/s and it fails eventually… Do you happens to have the video stored on another server (maybe a GWF-friendly one)? Otherwise it’s gonna be extremely difficult if not impossible at all to download the files from the current server…

  3. The iPad apps Compendium is taken off the shelf already?

  4. Hi Ming.
    Fits of all, let me be grateful to you for been so generous sharing your knowledge.
    This is just to tell you that your iPad app is not getting the feeds any more, the courses I bought still available and I can keep seeing them, I suppose that you are aware of this. Would like to buy an other lesson through the app and just would like to know if it is right for me to do it.

    • Support for the iPad app has been discontinued and it is no longer for sale on the store – the simple reason is that it has not been economically viable to support for some time now; for the couple of hundred copies we sold, I spent >$20k in development and ongoing support costs…and honestly, that’s really bad business 🙂

  5. Hi, I have been taking a lot of photos lately and would love to get feedback from a broader audience. I am therefore currently thinking of maybe joining flickr, but still want to retain all rigths to my photos and decide what they are used for. As you are a professional photgrapher (which I am NOT) and have a flickr account, I am guessing you have thought this through. Would you be so kind as to share your thoughts? I have been reading a lot about it, but I am still unsure what the actual reality is…

    • I only use Flickr as a hosting service for this site – it was the cheapest way to manage a lot of images and bandwidth requirements. Honestly, you’re not going to get useful feedback from most social media. It’ll either be ‘everything is awesome’ or the complete opposite. Giving a meaningful critique is actually much harder than you might think, because it requires both objectivity and knowledge beyond the level of the photo presented assuming you want something more than ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’.

  6. I noticed from reading your blog a lot that quite a bit of your personal work has been shot with film. Having been a film shooter in all formats (in addition, of course to digital) for the last 15 years or so, but just recently having purchased a scanner worthy of doing scans from home (epson v850) I was wondering if you have any plans on creating film specific workshops/videos, specifically something similar to your monochrome class dealing with scanning film and processing it to get the wonderful results I see in your blog images. Granted I am just starting to seriously try and educate myself on scanning, but I do not seem to be able to pull out the tonality and depth, even with 4×5 film and great negatives, that you seem to get from your scans and processing. I would definitely be interested in any sort of video you put out to this end, or even any tips/tricks you have.

    Rob Raymer

    • Sorry, not at the moment. There are too many variables to cover that can result in greatly different outcomes – exposure choices, developer, fixer, scanning etc. I wouldn’t be able to make anything meaningful except for a very specific set of parameters – which applies to far too narrow an audience.

      • Understandable. The numerous factors you mention seem make finding helpful resources more difficult, but on the flip side, experimenting with different developer/film combinations, different formats, and different scanning techniques is what makes film so fun (though I will be sticking to digital for paid work). Anyway, thanks for the reply and keep up the great work and blogging. Its one of the few blogs I truly find both entertaining ad useful.


        • No problem – as much as I want to make some videos, it just doesn’t make much sense backside they wouldn’t really be useful. It’s impossible to get Rodinol where I live, for instance – but I know that’s a mainstay in a lot of other places.

  7. Dear Ming,

    Do you still have any cameres for sale? If so, what are they?

  8. Brian Mosley says:

    Hi Ming,

    I just read a comment on another forum that luminous landscape are about to charge $1 per month membership… which includes access to their training videos online. I don’t know how many visitors you have, or whether the numbers would work similarly for you but I would certainly think this model could work for you.

    Worth considering?

    Kind regards


    • I think it would defeat the point of attempting mass education with the aim of raising the bar overall for photography, but in the future there may well be no choice if one is to remain independent…

  9. Hi,
    I cannot believe how bitchy some of the comments are on your mirrorless wish list! Only subscribed to respond. If anyone talked to me like that face to face, I would punch them! Seriously. As a woman, I might get away with it.

    I invested heavily in the top of the line olympus system which you seem to like the best. After 2 years I gave up and bought a Nikon D810 and am over the moon. For all the reasons you list, and more. A lot of money for a lot of semi-successful shoots. Its is not a pro camera in no way at all. I still use it from time to time, but as a work horse it fails miserably, yet it was promoted for pros.

    For me the speed of focus, the hunting during movement, the noise, and the ridiculous menus did me in, as did every firmware update that undid my settings.

    But probably the worst part for me was the difficulty in assigning focus to another button in a convenient place other than the shutter button. I managed it, but the button was a bit sticky and slow and so defeated the purpose of this assignation. The camera went back to olympus twice, it had all the guts replaced once as it was faulty. So did the mount of the pro lens it came with. It still is sticky and I have had to resort to using it like an amateur. Focus and exposure on the shutter button. Great at exposing, frustrating at most else.

    Keep up the work and nobody dare write anything nasty to me!

    • Stephanie, sadly I think this disconnect between a) what is acceptable in life and b) what is acceptable online and c) what you can do to others but perceive as a slight to yourself is getting out of hand. There is no policing of the small people who need to feel like they have some power, but somehow find it by abusing people. It never ends. I don’t know if it’s driven by jealousy, ignorance or just plain stupidity, but sadly this appears to be the new normal.

      Olympus: that’s about as good as it gets at the moment. Sony is far worse. Either it misses focus completely and just keeps hunting, hasn’t powered on, or worst of all, reports a false positive only to disappoint you later.

      • Hi Ming – I just saw your reply and thank you for that. I am a bit IT rubbish. Love your portrait – simply superb! I find your site very informative, your writing amazing and I wonder – are you native English?American? And if not, how is it that the English world, with a few exceptions, can never master another language like you do another one? I include myself.

        Finally – a cheeky request – I would truly love to know how you do the film border with your name. It is something I have wanted for ages, once did, and then in one of my computer disasters, lost the files and software and the memory of what software it was.

        Thank you, and a very happy and healthy New Year to you and family!

        • Thanks Stephanie. I’m a Malaysian but educated in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

          It isn’t a film border – just a border to separate the image from the page, much like a picture frame. The watermark is there because it doesn’t interfere with the composition. I suppose it has become sort of a signature in a way…in any case, it’s an action I wrote in PS: resize down, expand canvas black, add text, save.

  10. I do not expect a reply; I realize that the demands on your time are often overwhelming. But, I just wanted to drop you a note to express how incredibly valuable I find your erudite and intelligent reviews and comments about all things photographic. You have been able to combine incredible passion for photography with humor to a degree that is not available anywhere else. While I resist relying on only one source of information when considering equipment purchases and photographic technique, if I had to select only one place on the Internet to visit, it would be your website. The technical expertise combined with highly intelligent writing and a huge dash of humor you share with your readers is simply without equal. Thank you and I hope you keep at it for many more years.

    Best wishes,

  11. Nathaniel Alpert says:

    I am trying to purchase video package A1 + A2 and I am having a problem using my credit card! I click the PayPal button which takes me to the PayPal web site. They immediately try to enroll me in some payment-loan schemes that I have no interest in, instead of letting me do a credit card payment. I have a dormant PayPal account and I linked a valid credit card but that did not help. PayPal keeps insisting that I give them access to my bank account and mobile phone, which I will not do under any circumstances. I called PayPal who verified my credit card while I was on the phone. They said no problem on their end, it must be the merchant’s problem! So, there is no way to use my credit card unless I give them my bank information, etc; it is like a loan application. Please help. Is there any way we can do an invoice. I can send you a one-time-use credit card number for the transaction (called a virtual number by CitiBank) that is safe for me.

    • That doesn’t make sense at all. The checkout works on this end, but happy to send you a checkout link – should I use the email address in your message?

      Edit: Just checked, and it appears you had a purchase that went through?

  12. Ming: I am quite taken, and curious about the relative cinematic look to your images. There is, and please excuse the references as I search for some words, a thickness, a depth of tonality, and a real presence of contrast and light. I am struggling to make a jump to this stylistically. Though I am not interested in strictly copying the look of your work, I am more interested in learning the technical applications through post-processing. Do you cover this in any of your videos? And do you cover your methodology for web presentation of your images. These are elements I would love to learn about. Thanks.

    • Thanks Robert. There is quite a lot of work done in conscious color control and foreground use; I do cover it in this article and Outstanding Images Ep.4 and Ep.5 – these are for the capture and post processing aspects of various styles including cinematic. Web presentation is easy – resize with bicubic sharper, add canvas, add text, save as JPEG 12. You can even automate this entirely to save yourself the time 🙂

  13. Ming: I have not had GAS in some time. However, I am sensitive to diminishing eyesight and want something with a little more bite. I have read the reviews of the Ricohs, RX1R (had an RX1, sold it as it had a bit of a video game (or what I would imagine) vibe to it, and I have the original X100; I found the X100T’s menus to be, shall I say, verbose.

    I shoot a lot with my LX5 for high contrast B&W, and X100, but want better overall resolution and said “bite” for printing. M6 is great for this, but again, the eye thing. I already have the MP upgrade and .85 on this TTL.

    You were gracious enough to look at my pictures on Flickr, and followed me, so perhaps you can glean some hint at where I should be concentrating. (at worst, you’ll advise I take up gardening!) But, I welcome any opinion you have on equipment I might get.

    Again, the ones I’ve been considering:

    Fuji X100T
    Ricoh (latest GR)
    D-Lux 109
    X 113

    I’m not particularly enamored with bokeh madness, if that helps. I rather like the documentary style of buildings, small details, very defined and strong shadows, etc.

    Again, thank you Ming for the depth and quality of your shared knowledge.

  14. Chuck Nakell says:

    I’m just so happy I found your site a few months back. Love your writing, style of reportage, and opinions. A really valuable resource that I expect to return to many times. Thanks for what you do…it has been a serious help to me in my decisions about buying and using my photographic equipment.


  15. John Weeks says:

    Hi Ming,
    Just wanted to let you know I received my book earlier this week. Very nicely done and holds down a prominent place on my shelf with my most prized books. Nice to own and original!!!

  16. Bert Good says:

    Hi Ming,
    HB to you. I hope someone snapped a photo of you on your birthday to record the start of the next years adventures…perhaps in the cinematic style.
    A appreciate you birthday gift and ordered E1-5 to assist in my own adventure. The downloading went fine 1-4, but 5 started fine for 450 mb and started slowing to a crawl. A prompt indicated “couldn’t find the server”. I tried twice with same result. Any thoughts?

    • Thanks Bert. Are you using Firefox/Safari or something else? Chrome and IE sometimes have issues, and download helpers cause all sorts of chaos.

      • Bert Good says:

        Safari on the 21″ iMac

        • Hmm, no idea in that case – could you shoot me an email with the specific problem so we can take care of it offline? Thanks.

          • Bert Good says:

            Hi Ming,
            Am very happy with E1-4, but have been unable to download E-5 as mentioned in original July 22 post. E1-4 downloaded in 30 minutes each. E-5 started downloading at same speed , but after 15 minutes started slowing and an hour later the speed prompt indicated it would take 24 hrs to finish. Could you send E-5 again for another try, or perhaps you have another suggestion.

  17. Hello Ming. I’m a semi-regular poster on your excellent site.

    I recall reading somewhere on your site that you offer / offered a rangefinder calibration service for people in the Kuala Lumpur area. I am considering getting back into the rangefinder world with (probably) an M8. Naturally enough with that particular camera, used is the only option these days, and I would assume this increases the possibility of the rangefinder being off.

    Could you let me know (privately if you prefer) if you would offer the calibration service for people not in Malaysia and, if so, the price and payment method (in whatever currency works best for you)? In the event of an inaccurate rangefinder, I might be able to get it fixed at Leica Tokyo (I live in Japan), but if not, I would feel entirely confident sending it to you – and given that Japan and Malaysia aren’t THAT far apart, the shipping costs – which I would pay – should hopefully be reasonable. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about the turnaround times if you have to send a camera to Solms…

    With thanks

    Mark McDonald
    Nagoya, Japan.

  18. Hi Ming – Like everybody else her I am a huge fan. Any chance that you could take a moment and list what you think are CZ’s most interesting ZE/ZF lenses in terms of rendering.

    I know you love 28mm. The 25mm f/2.8? Others? Thanks for this blog!

  19. Ming, are you going to do a review of the new Sony A7rII?

  20. Niki Niarchou says:

    Hello, Ming I’m from Athens,Greece and I’d like your blog and all of your photographs.I have a mamiya 7ii and a Hasselblad 501cm with the 80 lens. What kind of software do you use to edit your photographs ? I’d like the black colour around the photographs with your name.
    Niki Niarchou.

  21. Hi Ming,
    I discovered your blog last week and really enjoy reading your informative, well-written posts, paired with amazing photography! Anyway, I was wondering which portrait lens you’d recommend I use with my Nikon D750 — the 85mm 1.8G or 1.4G?
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  22. Hi Ming,
    I just wanted to let you know that I recently discovered your website and I very much enjoy the articles that I have read. I also have purchased one of your online courses and I would highly recommend it to others. I have been shooting since 1994, but have learned a lot from your site. Most importantly, the reason I started to read so many of your articles was because your images really spoke to me. I have become a big fan of your work.

    Thank you,
    Alex G.

  23. Hi Ming,
    I have really enjoyed my Photoshop Workflow tutorials. In your interview with Wesley Wong you have a graphic that shows a workflow all the way to print. I would like to fill the gap now with my saved images processed in CC14 and get them to the print stage. Is there a tutorial on this? Thanks

    • Thanks Greg. The printing bit is something that can either be outsourced, or requires quite a bit of time to be there in person as the images come out of the printer so you can see the gaps in color etc. It’s thus impossible to do remotely in any form (article, video) etc. The good news is that if you’ve followed all of the PS workflow tutorials and have a solid file from a color calibrated monitor, Wesley will be able to print what you see (and he ships internationally).

  24. Ming,

    Just for your information regarding your review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, this is my review at B&H.

    Batteries run down while camera is off

    This is an addendum to a previous review. The batteries run down while the camera is off. They run down in four days with my copy. In the advanced owners manual on about page 22 it says to remove the batteries from the camera while not in use. Thus, it is not covered by warranty. The instruction to remove the battery when not in use is not in the basic manual that comes with the camera. The bummer is that this behavior started after the B&H 30 day warranty expired. For the first month of ownership the battery did not run down. I regard this as a major inconvenience and would not have bought the camera had I known this in advance. Now I’m stuck with the (expletive omitted) camera.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend


    • Didn’t happen with mine. Surely there’s a manufacturer warranty?

      • Ming,

        No warranty. The Advanced Owner’s Manual explicitly states that batteries must be removed. Perhaps I can argue with them, but it will have to wait until I return from a trip to Europe. The web reports instances of others who have argued with them successfully. But due to the fact that it took a month before the problem occurred, even getting the camera fixed does not have much of an appeal.


  25. Hi Ming, thanks for your blog … because I want to buy a nikon d810, in your opinion which are the best lenses to use with this camera regarding the sharpness? Thanks for your answer

  26. Michele Re says:

    Hi Ming, thank you very much for the competence and authoritativeness of your blog! It’s really rare and precious stuff. I am new to photography and would greatly appreciate if you could suggest me a camera that I would buy essentially for taking pictures during jazz concerts, that I love listen to.
    I need something not too big, but it should not necessarily fit in my pant’s pocket. My concerts are mostly in small areas, where I am about 5 to 15 meters far from musicians. My idea is at least to start essentially with b&w pics.
    Could you please give me an advice?
    Thanks a lot in advance

    • Thanks for your compliments. You probably need M4/3 and a small prime since you’ll be working in pretty low light. A Panasonic GM5 and 20/1.7 and 45/1.8 lenses, perhaps.

      • Michele Re says:

        Dear Ming, thanks a lot for the suggestion. I had already taken into account the M4/3 and especially the LX100 which, at a certain point, was my preferred choice. The problem is that now, after having read your review of the Sigma DP3M and having seen some great photos of the DP3M, well… you know… I feel some sort of attraction for it… and therefore I would like to ask you one more question: considering I will shoot mainly B&W low light live jazz stages, could the DP3M be a sensible solution for me? Or maybe it is inappropriate because of bad high ISO performance, or for its fixed 75mm lens, or because in my case I could always need a tripod?
        Thanks again

  27. Peter Hallam says:

    Ming, I would be gratefully appreciative, if you could advise me on a reasonable cost digital Camera,
    I am not bothered about size/weight but it needs to perform adequately.
    Thanks in advance

  28. wildmystic says:

    “Ming Thein has always been a high-flyer. At the age of 16, he completed his masters’ degree in physics at the University of Oxford.”

    Er… Wow! Really? So why aren’t you in the running for a Physics Noble prize? Or designing high-end lenses for someone like Carl Zeiss?

  29. Hi Ming. I was wonder what kind of monitor you use? I am also wondering if you have had and experience with the eizo coloredge line? I’m thinking about purchasing the cx271 27″ monitor. I am curious if it is worth the $1800 cdn Ill have to spend. I use lightroom 5 only and want more accurate color from screen to printer. Thanks a bunch. Love your site.

  30. Hi, I discovered your writings and your photography a few days ago. I am so impressed by everything: the technical quality of your images, their artistry, your ability to see the unusual and interesting that most of us miss, your understanding of commerce, your passion for and deep knowledge of photogrpahy. I suspect I am very much older than you (I am 59 right now) but you greatly surpass me in photographic skill and, more importantly, in wisdom. I have already learned a lot. Thank you so much. I wish you a very happy time in the holiday season and a successful and prosperous 2015.

  31. I really love your site. I appreciate your reviews, and just recently ordered a Zeiss 100 based on your review. I wanted to ask you two things. First, is there a manual focus screen you could recommend for the D800? Also, I am not sure if I have the left focus issue with the d800. Is there an easy way to tell. I am not sure since I know a lot of the further focus points are the best at locking focus, but it does seem to be more on the left. I bought a used D800 with only 6000 shots on it. Thank you.

  32. michael b gannon says:

    i have a Nikon d600 and working my way through the learning curve, I also have been buying a lot of Hasselblad equipment— what is out there for affordable film scanners and tec.back up

  33. I have a almost new Olympus e1 and wondered how it will work with the Olympus 35-100 2.0

  34. Thanks, that´s about what I also found out, so I ´ve hoped you would help to make the final choice, but anyway, thanks for taking your time!

  35. Hello, just bought the Olympus ED 60mm f2,8 macro, since I´ve read your test. Now my question; I happen to have two cameras, the OM-D E-M5 and the Lumix GX7. And I´m going to sell one of them. In your opinion, which one should I keep to match the 60mm 2,8 macro? I need a decent camera for normal shooting, but I´m also in small business with vintage wristwatches, and I´m also an “artist” with a simple homepage for my art. And that´s why I bought the macro ( the Lumix 45 mm macro was too expensive). If you have time to answer to my question I would be very thankful.

    Best regards, and thank´s for your impressive homepage/ Stefan Moberg,Sweden

  36. Ming,
    Some flashback questions for you about the OMD EM1/EM5. I’ve tried to find the answers by searching your site and looking at the exif data from some of your flickr pics, so pardon me if I have missed something along the way.

    What ‘Picture Mode’ did you normally use (vivid/natural/muted…)? I haven’t seen this in the Flickr exif data, although there is a ‘Scene Capture Type’ setting which is almost always ‘Standard’ (and I believe this is for ‘Landscape/Portrait/Night/etc’).

    Which did you find is a more important tool for image balance – using gradation, or the highlight/shadow adjustment tool? Any recommended settings (auto/normal)? I don’t see either item listed in the exif data. I suspected it was ‘Gain Control’ but that reflects ISO settings.

    Is it better to handle noise in PP, or in-camera (turn off Noise Filter (high iso) and Noise Reduction (long exposures))? I couldn’t find Noise info in the Flickr exif data. Even having the NF on, my high ISO pics don’t look as clean as many I see online claiming no PP of noise and I’m not sure why.

    Thanks so much for your time and wonderful site. Your instructional videos are great and I hope to add more soon.

    • Picture modes only affect JPEG. I shoot raw. Picture mode is irrelevant, same with gradation/ highlight/ shadow/ NR etc.

      • When I shoot RAW, the contrast, saturation, and sharpness settings I have for the Picture Modes are reflected in the Flickr exif data. I open the files in Olympus Viewer or Lightroom, make no changes, export to JPG and upload. Perhaps OV/LR have the camera profile and apply them on export. Or those settings are similar to wb, ss, exposure, etc. Whatever the case, I thought since those settings were intact then others might be and I had overlooked them somewhere. Thanks again.

  37. Hi Ming

    After waiting 30 years and after reading your stuff and looking at your work i had a couple of beers and dived in at the deep end. A mint 501CM & 80 mm Planar from its original owner (hardly used) and a reburbished Focomat IIc from Italy are now done deals.

    I see that you have used CMS20 in your 501CM. How did you keep it flat in your D800 rig? Sandwhiched between 2 glass plates? Was any of them AN glass or did you rely on correct focal length when you enlarged on your glass sandwhich? Or do you just remove dust by software?

    Reason is i need to somehow keep this film flat in the Focomat. Havent used it yet and Focomat has not arrived but i hear the film is extremely curly, is a complete dust magnet and scrathes easily so i am worried about how i will handle it when i print. Any help here would be greatly appreciated so i can set up the neg carrier properly.

    Also any tips on exposure with 80/2.8 planar and on developing the CMS20 would be great. I am using it outdoors in full daylight, morning and afternoons for landscape only.

    Great , look forwards to your reply!


    • Sorry, I have no clue what is CMS20, and I’ve certainly never used it.

      Scanning – special rig, no glass involved. It puts tension on the film. I scan immediately after developing/drying to prevent dust settling.

      • Hi Ming. Been using the 501CM and developing film in my bathroom. The camera blows my mind. Love shooting my M8 wide open at 1.4 in mono….but the 501 CM on a heavy tripod ….its another world. The viewfinder is 3d. The mono negs appear 3D under the 8x loupe. I took a test shot of an Ilford FP4 box tilted at an angle with the bar code side reflecting the incident light. When the loupe is flat on the neg you can hardly see the barcode, but tilt the loupe slightly and the bar code is clearly visible and jumping out of the neg, and on top of that your brain is tricked to thinking it can almost see round the corner of the box……. MF film in mono is awesome. I am now completely hooked.

        But need your advice on the scanning. My plan is to use a Focomat IIc as the light source and neg holder with 6×6 mask, make a cutout in the base plate of the focomat and underneath mount a D800 E and makro lens facing upwards. Will that work? What do you think woud be the ultimate best nikon/nikkor macro lens to use and do i need a bellows? Will this setup work?

        I have a second spare baseplate as i also will print to film for some of the better keepers and to make contact sheets hence the focomat.

        Look forwards to your reply, and also hope one day you have a section for Hasselblad and 6×6 film developing and scanning.



        • Sure, use the D800E and any of the Nikon macros. Your main challenge is keeping it all planar.

          • Hi Ming. Sorry for late reply…..been on the move. Geared manfrotto head, inverted copy stand , live view / tethered and a mirror in the neg holder slot might help. But not sure I have the patience. So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and produce prints, 8 x 10. the neg carrier with AN glass and the better enlarger lens are v. rare items, so I’m going to get them in before they go extinct. but first I will scan straight after developing with a plustek optifilm 120. It’s the same price as am M800 body.

            The scanning rig will have to wait another day. Your watch photos with the visoflex are mind blowing for such an old camera. So I will go the same route – visoflex and M-E or M 240 with Focotar II 100 mm enlarging lens from the Focomat. Check out these leica macro photos with this “cheap shabby ” lens. They are as mind blowing as your watch photos!


            Hope you can share your setup one day for scanning MF…..or would you use your Pentax MF to scan?



  38. Hi Ming….Recently discovered your site and am now a big fan. I know this is going to be one of those questions, but….I shoot a Mark III and Leica M9. Both with high end glass including the Otus. The only reason I mention this is to show I’m pretty discerning when it comes to what I want. Anyway we just had our first grandchild and I’m tired of getting cellphone pictures from my daughter. I want to get her a nice camera than she can carry with her. Bells and whistles are not important nor is price really. IQ and a higher quality of video are much more important. I’m just not sure the Ricoh GR with a 28 (?) equivalent lens is good for shots of kids. Seems like unless it was carefully crafted there would be a lot of background distractions. Thanks so much for help with this and all the info you provide for us struggling photographers.

  39. Hi Ming! I think the link for Video M (Monochrome Masterclass) is in error. It takes me to H2, Ep2. Thank you for your work!

  40. Steve Berte says:

    In your lens review today, you asked what galaxy a photo of the night sky depicted. It appears to be a nebula rather than a galaxy. If you can tell me: the nearest city, date, time, and approximate altitude (in degrees relative to the horizon) and compass azimuth, I could probably figure it out for you.

    • I probably should have recorded those things – I was at Queenstown, and facing due north with the camera about 60 degrees up from horizontal. Not very helpful, I know…

  41. David C. Fontanet says:

    Hi Ming, I didn t read yet you re phisiciant graduated by Oxford at sixteen. It s by far the most impressive date . Begin with top hard concept study: Physicist. Sorry to be condescendens.
    Well , the answer I love d800E with zeiss 50mp and 35 1.4. I was looking for large focal, something between 80 and 135mm. I was in list: zeiss 100mp zf2, 135 zf, leica R 100 apo 2.8 . Probably you would choose 135. I dared on leica R, maybe under romantic influences . Love in red dot. I m quite satisfaced but I feel I don t shot as well as I expected this classic eighties lens . It s no so easy to say WOW like with E-35 1.4 zf tandem.
    I don t think I made a wrong choose, because all options are good ,worthly enaugh for me. Is there a better soft to post produce shots. I use to work NX2 ,specially on 800E. Shall I try capture one? or LR to better final results.
    And the other side Leica R series (better of them 50 1.4 , 60 mp, 80 1.4, 90 summilux, 100 apo, 135 apo telyte) at same level as ZF2

    thanks for your time.

  42. Greetings, Ming: I recently purchased the Panasonic “Leica” 45mm f/2.8 macro lens for use on the Lumix GH4. I’m a professional photographer and when using macro lenses, being able to use small apertures is important to get the depth-of-field I’m seeking, something that reviewers seldom mention. I was very surprised to see how poorly this lens performs in the f/14-22 range. My Canon 100 macro is far superior, given the same frame composition in back-to-back comparisons made on the same tripod with cable releases used in both cases and mirror lock-up on the Canon. I would like to have a compact macro for field work with my micro-4/3 system, which is new to me. In your opinion, does the Olympus Zuiko ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro perform better?

    • It’s not the lens. It’s the pixel pitch of the M4/3 sensor that means you see diffraction softening at f8 and smaller. By f22 it’s going to be a disaster. You don’t need to stop down that far anyway with M4/3 for extended depth of field; f8 will be comparable to f16 on full frame and the same angle of view.

  43. You have an amazing blog, and your work speaks in multitudes. Thank you also for the nuggets of wisdom expressed through your philosophy and opinions ^^✨

  44. Dave Freeman says:

    Hi Ming – I’ve been a visitor to your site for a while now, love your work! I value opinions of those with good work and those that has had real life experience… I own a Leica, and a Nikon D800E, recently the Leica M 240 and a couple of lenses – Summilux 50mm ASPH and a Summicron 35mm ASPH. I was thinking of trading in the 50mm summilux ASHP to get the new 50mm APO – would it be worth it or would I be nit picking my own equipment?



    • You’re nit picking. By f4 there’s not much difference – your focusing accuracy will matter much more – and I’d rather have the extra stop of light.

  45. sono uno studente/appassionato di fotografia…spero un giorno di riuscire a vivere di questa passione…..sto guardando il tuo lavoro e ne sono inspirato, davvero magnifico complimenti! saluti Luigi =)

  46. Pritam Singh says:

    Greetings . . . and felicitations for having a wonderful website by way of the sheer quality of its content.

    I was born in KL and live in Haute-Savoie, France now. I am so happy to see someone from Malaysia shine. Keep up the great work.

    Taking photographs is a hobby for me. I have an 8-day trip planned to visit KL this August. I hope the weather in KL will be kind.


    Pritam Singh

  47. Fantastic work! Thanks for all the info on your site.

  48. Hello Ming, wondered if you’ll be posting your thoughts/review on the Lumix 12-32 that’s in your recommended gear list?
    I know your a busy guy but would be interested when you get time.

  49. Hey,

    I found your site a few weeks back and after having read for hours and hours I must thank you for the massive amounts of inspiration and information that I have found here! Looking forward to every new post 😀


  50. Your reviews about Nikon d800E VS leica M or S had moved a lot of words in several photo forums , abroad.. I think about ZEISS OTUS 55 on a d800E ,against you ever like more. Maybe a lens like this may change the story. A lot of Leica lovers hate bodies battle, they apreciate more body+lens pack against whole leica set. I suggest a little challenge.

    • I honestly don’t care what other people think. I use what I need to get the results I want. It isn’t an interesting comparison because even if the Leicas can match the D800E/Otus, they are many times more expensive. I’m running a business, not collecting cameras and trying to assuage buyer’s remorse…people treat camera brands like a religion forgetting it’s really about the photography.

  51. Joseph Walsh says:

    Did you contact me through Rangefinder Forum regarding buying my Nikon 35mm 1.4 AIS lens?
    A Ming Thein did but I want to be sure it’s not someone pretending to be you. This person has “0” posts on RFF which makes me suspicious.
    Joseph Walsh

  52. I love your blog – keep up the great work. I’ve nominated you for a Liebster, too 🙂

  53. Love your work and your thought processes. Can you point me in the direction of how you do your nice borders and name on each print?

  54. great blog, so glad i stumbled upon it. amazing pictures!! looking forward to seeing more of your work 🙂

  55. Hi Ming,

    For a long time, I believed that all digital photography tended to look the same, just as all digital recording tended to sound the same (at least for the first ten years). There was a kind of leveling to the images being produced – fine distinctions of technique and style were overridden by the uniformity imposed by the various technologies.

    Recently, there seems to have been major advances, both in sensors (not surprising) but also in lenses (surprising), advances that reveal technical decisions very clearly and which make a new kind of personal style possible.

    Do you agree?

    According to the Eastman House, Paul Strand used a 12-inch Goerz Dagor lens for about 20 years – his only lens. That his work possesses a remarkable unity of vision would be expected given this austerity of means. You, however, use a rather wide assortment of tools, yet your work has a pretty specific signature.

    Would you consider discussing the issue of stylistic unity across platforms and how to achieve it? I regard this as as much a technical issue as an aesthetic one.

    Best wishes for the impending new year and keep up the good work!

    • I don’t think the limitation was technology, it was understanding of it. Certainly more ‘neutral’ tools make it easier to achieve a certain end result.

      Interesting idea for an article. I’ve written on style in the past (here and here) but not in the way you suggest, though it’s complex enough that it’s probably more workshop material than written due to the limitations of the medium…

      • The second link was more to the point, I think. You have, it seems, developed a very specific type of technical mastery – especially of light – that lends your work its consistency. In you case, this is a very good thing, IMHO – it’s a kind of visual intelligence and acuity. I have enormous respect for really good product photography and it’s interesting to see how the disciplines it imposes have shaped your artistic and PJ work.

  56. Mark Thorne says:

    Ming, thank you for having one of the most intense websites on photography that I have had the pleasure of reading/viewing. I’m an electrician that has enjoyed photography for the past 50 years (wildlife photography for the last 20), and am always looking for inspiration wherever possible (finding it mainly in nature). Sadly selling my D200 (my wonderful entry into DSLRs) and purchased a D7100. The fun and learning never stops, and I thank you for your wonderful essays on a variety of subjects. Have a wonderful life!

  57. Love you Oly reviews they have helped me navigate the change from large SLRs to micro 4/3 and I love it. I just got my OmD1 with the 14-40. Lens. I love the combination but when I turn the zoom ring it makes noise and feels stiff. Is this just the the tightness and weather sealing? Has anyone else commented on this?

  58. Frederich Schepp says:

    Mr. Thein,

    First off, I am a huge fan of your work, and your specific reviews and commentaries on the Nikon D800E have been not only insightful, but extremely helpful. This is my first camera (D800E) and decided to get into photography after looking at your pictures, and seeing extremely interesting pictures and perspectives. This is refreshing as most pictures on the internet are not, even from some of the mainstream fan boys, which demonstrate by the book techniques, but are lacking a true raw talent and eye like you possess.

    To my Question: on my D800e, I use a 50mm 1.8 (mostly in reverse with a BR2A Reversing Ring) for macro work, and a 28-300mm as a general walkabout.

    Have you reviewed or ever played around with a AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED?
    Web Link to Nikon:

    I recently found one “New in Box” and paid a hefty sum for it, but was looking on what your opinion of the lens would be.
    I plan on using it for macro shots. and general near range shootings.


    Fred Schepp

  59. Suresha Bhat says:

    Dear Ming Thien

    I have been a big fan of your photography and blog. I am also a regular reader of your blog. You had in previous blogs mentioned that you process your camera post camera and I must say you make these images look stunning. Especially B&W shots. I have shot on various cameras from leica m9 to canon 5D MkIII to E5 and X100s, but I can never see my images the way you make them look.

    I was wondering if you have any class, course that I can get on how to post process to have my pictures look better. I have worked in light room 5, but as a novice. So please appreciate your help.

    Best regards

  60. Ming,

    I’m interested in a macro lens for my Fuji X-pro1, and wonder if you can explain what makes the FUJINON XF 60MM F/2.4 R MACRO, macro? I understand it provides .5x mag at it’s closest focusing distance, but as I’m considering waiting for the upcoming FUJINON XF 52MM F/1.2, wonder which would be better for macro and portraiture.

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

  61. Hi there,
    I have question about the iPad app, I downloaded with itune, when try to install on iPad it asking for money again?
    I have already paid once.
    Can you plz help me.
    Thank you.

  62. Ming, I am thinking of buying an Olympus OMD E-M1 with the 12-40mm 1:2.8 lens, I have read your and other reviews, and all appear to be more than positive. One question I have is, Given that a high quality image is taken at low ISO, how large can a print be made on coated quality paper before the image starts to pixelate – I understand that there are a lot of variables but a general idea would be fine. Are any of the prints you sell on your site made with your m4/3 equipment?
    I do use my camera for recording our projects and at times preparing client presentations
    Congratulations on a great site and turning your passion into your profession,
    P.S. I am also being lured by the Sony A7r but trying to resist

  63. Carl Chiulli says:

    I enjoyed reading the 58mm Noct f1.2 Article, and now another Nikkor 58mm f1.4 lens is available! How does the wide open aperture t-stop of the Noct with its special coatings compare to the wide open t-stop of the new 58 with its modern coatings? Could be close!

    • No idea, haven’t used the new one. Could very well be close – but the new one also has more elements, so that may land up tipping things back to the 1.2. The other thing to consider is maximum *usable* aperture – if you cannot reliably focus it, or it isn’t sharp enough, etc – that makes a difference in practical application too…

  64. Hi,
    You mentioned that you were selling a setup for scanning Hassy black and white negatives with the Nikon D800E with the 60 mm Micro lens. I have all this equipment. Is this equipment available for purchase yet? I read your interesting article about the Fuji Acros film with Hassy. Have had the negs scanned with every possible scanner here in Perth, Western Australia. Drum etc. I have not been totally satisfied with the results and find that monochrome conversion with the D800E in Photoshop can produce great tones. I spend hours on one image mind you using a personal type of zone system. Your method of scanning sound excellent. I can not be bothered DIY equipment. My images finish up on Torino Canvas from an Epson ABW driver (which I have calibrated to 20 zones).
    Thank you for your technical knowledge and most of all the use of this technology in a creative nature.
    Tony Green

    • Still working on it. We’re having some manufacturing issues causing delays. I will release it only when it’s right…or not at all. No point in putting out a half baked product, there are too many camera makers doing that already!

  65. Hi, Ming!
    Considering a system change I found my way to your blog, especially searching for informations regarding excellent lenses for the mFT system. I simply want to say “Thank you” for your great work! Your blog delivers very useful informations and a must for every avid photographer! For the moment all my questions are answered, but maybe I will contact you later, if I have a specific question.
    Thank you once more – from Austria 😉

  66. Ming, whatever social media stuff you have recently introduced has massively slowed down load time on your site. About half of this time is loading the vanity icons for “xx bloggers like this”. Please fix this, your site stops firefox dead in its tracks for an unreasonably long time and it is now on the verge of being unusable.

    • Hmm, that’s odd. I haven’t changed any of the social media stuff in more than six months; I don’t think it’s that. The last major change was to split the posts out to only show the first image and a small portion of text to massively cut down the cache size required. Load times are the same on my connection, and my internet speeds are positively glacial normally.

      I suggest a) try a different browser, b) it may be your ISP since nobody else has mentioned it, and c) if you subscribe via email, you get every new post sent to you…

  67. Hallo. I found your site a month ago while looking for reviews of the Olympus E-PL5 (which I ended up buying for the reasons you described: wanted tilting screen, no budget for OMD), and was struck by both the quality of the photographs you posted and the quality of the writing, which although technical I found quite accessible as someone who doesn’t know a lot of photography jargon. Now I keep coming back, not for equipment reviews but for the technique articles, to make better use of the kit I have.

    Most of my photographic experience has been as a tourist, and taking quite low quality photographs. In recent years I started to try street photography in London and Cambridge where I am now based, and have found your photos inspiring and motivational to spend more time practising – I’m from KL so your street photos containing food I find particularly appealing 🙂 I hope to keep learning and enjoying this hobby.

    Keep up your good work. Your photos and writing show clearly how much you enjoy it.

  68. James Leahy says:

    Thank you Ming, for providing the opportunity for direct contact.
    I am interested to learn, and you can tell me, what rig Bill Cunningham uses?

  69. Dear Ming Thien, A fan here. Please check out my basic and nascent site dedicated to monochrome photography using the Sigma Merrill DP-1/2/3, http://www.sigmarM2.com. Your comments would be most helpful.

  70. John weeks says:

    Yes I would like more info. on the email school…Also, is it a one time payment or can you make multiple through the course.

  71. John weeks says:

    I keep going back to you and your site having found it some months ago. And i have to tell you…I enjoy the way you write, your work is incredible, your technical knowledge…well, out of my league for sure, and i am a fan…really man…just awesome. I shoot a x pro and mainly enjoy long exposures though i end up doing moments for friends, or my grand daughter more than anything. I really want to make photographs…something people cant take there eye off of. Seriously considering your online/email course though I don;t see how you have the time. I shoot mainly jpegs…just don’t want to spend all day at a computer wit the limited time i have. Anyway…you are one of the few I consider a total professional all the way.

  72. Ravi Kumar says:

    Ming, So how does one graduate from Oxford with a bachelor’s degree by the time he is 16 years old? Finish high school when you are 12? How many grades do you skip? How many hours do you work each day? Just out of curiosity, but I am asking earnestly.


    • Pretty much. I skipped five years, started at 13, graduated at 16. It wasn’t easy. I thought I worked hard in corporate – 12 hour days were normal – but the moment you work for yourself doing something you enjoy, it’s basically every moment you’re awake; it’s nearly impossible to decouple.

  73. Dr. Elliot Puritz says:

    Very interesting site and well done comments and photos. My thanks for taking the time and making the effort to provide information and guidance to many photographers.

    For those such as I who shoot large format film and contact print our images the essential issue is if digital capture as exemplified by images taken by the Leica M 240 and MM are “as good as” those same images captured on film. It is difficult to make conclusions based upon the photos that are posted and viewed on a monitor. One would have to see the images taken by film and the Leica side by side, correctly printed, etc., etc. I would be interested in your comments about the digital black and white images from the newest Leica M240 using Leica glass as printed and compared to those images captured on 8×10 film and contact printed.

    Obviously LF film photographers do not pursue street photography. Thus, landscapes and more studied subjects are emphasized. From the images shown my initial impression is that the digital capture is lacking the mid tone gray separation that well executed black and white images on film evidence. Not that the digital images are bad; the film images are, to my eyes better. The differences are subtle, but obvious to me and perhaps others who are experienced in the tonal values rendered on film and then well printed on silver papers. Would such differences be obvious in the same Leica images that are skillfully printed, and compared to film images similarly printed? I suspect printed digital images would be superior to those seen on a monitor, and thus I would look forward to such comparisons.

    Users of large format cameras and film would do well to take a careful and detailed look at the new Leica M 240. The cost of both the M240 and the MM is prohibitive for many. Thus, alternatives using Leica M lenses on other mirror-less cameras well be worthy of investigation.

    Thanks again for the hard work.

    • Thanks. FF digital isn’t going to beat large format anytime soon, especially not Leica’s sensors; they’re better than the M9 generation but still not as good as the D800E, and I’d say that’s about on par with a good 6×6 negative. That said, you’ll have to print very large to see the difference – I can only start to see a gap between the M 240 and D800E/ 6×6 at about 20×20 inches and upwards.

      Film isn’t better or worse: it’s different. The difference lies in a) the native (nonlinear) tonal response, which makes for richer shadows and gentle highlight rolloff – compared to the linearity of modern CMOS and b) not having discrete pixels, which removes the impression of being resolution-limited due to the fixed reproduction ‘grid’ size.

      Leica lenses on mirrorless won’t give you anywhere near the quality of full frame digital, let alone large format. I think you’ll be very disappointed. The closest you’re going to get to large format in FF digital is probably the D800E and Zeiss glass.

      • Dr. Elliot Puritz says:

        Thanks for confirming what I had suspected.

        The price of the 800E is certainly more reasonable!

        Can you be more specific as to the Zeiss glass that you have in mind? Does Nikon make an adaptor so that one can use the Zeiss lenses on the Nikon….one can only assume so.

        Incidentally, would you care to comment about the comparison of an enlargement made from 35mm black and white film taken with Leica glass vs. the same scene taken with Leica glass on the M240….both enlarged to 11×14. One understands the additional variables of an enlarging lens, etc., etc., etc.


        • ZF and ZF.2 lenses are native. I’ve been asked this questions so many times there’s a full list of recommended equipment here and the Camerapedia.

          Any modern digital full frame sensor will beat 35mm film on resolution, dynamic range and color. NOT necessarily pleasing B&W tones; that’s a different and very subjective metric.

  74. Hi. You’ve got a great website and some fantastic content, really enjoy your pics. I was puzzled by a few of your pages where you say: This page will contain an archive of all of the main articles I’ve written by category and sorted with the most recent first – it seems that there are some fundamental navigational issues with WordPress that I can’t get around other than by manually updating this page with every new article. It’s a work in progress, of course…
    You shouldn’t need to update anything manually unless you have set up a static page rather than a category. Just select a category when you’re writing a post and it will appear there automatically. For Nikon, for example, set up a category called Nikon rather than a page.
    Great review on Nikon Coolpix A, you’ve convinced me to get one.
    Best wishes
    Roger Packer

  75. You are an amazing individual. Consider me an avid follower!

  76. Just discovered your site last week. I greatly appreciate being able to tap into your knowledge and experience.
    All the best!

  77. Hi Ming, Really enjoy and appreciate your site! I have a D800 and am thinking about getting a Zeiss 28mm f2 for scenics. Planning to do a bit of hiking this summer in Scotland and am also thinking that the D800 may be a bit heavy for long hikes. This led me to researching the Sigma DP1 Merrill with its 28mm equivalent f2.8 lens. I’ve read about the quirky workflow, but excellent results at iso 100. Do you have any thoughts on this camera? I know you’re a 28mm connoisseur and figured this camera would interest you, but you don’t seem to mention it on your site. Thanks very much, Larry

  78. Found your blog while blogging around elsewhere. Amazing blog; very sensible reviews and great photo’s. And a lot! must come back. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, harrie.

  79. François Toutain says:

    Hello !
    I write you from Toulouse in France.
    Could you tell me how you scan your black & white photos with a Nikon D 800 ?

  80. As a professional, I subscribe to Reid Reviews, Digilloyd’s DAP and Guide to Mirrorless. I think some people are perfectly happy to pay for good content. I’d encourage you to go that route too. Although there are many people who blog about photography, most of it is not updated frequently enough. I have my own blog but I have not updated it in probably 9 months and I also don’t have the time to devote to my blog. However, seeing that you write well and I do enjoy your articles, I think you are in a good position to move to a subscription based model. I’d support your site for sure.

  81. Hi, Ming
    Just discovered your site. I love your work, just neat. I have been living and working in Singapore in the 80’s and 90’s and frequently visited KL. Good to see such great talent coming from that region. My heart still there.
    Wish you the best for your future work.

  82. I’ve just begun to follow your blog. You’re an excellent writer with much to teach. However, I was surprised by your comments today regarding the camera-shy folks in Myanmar. There are many places in the world (notably the Congo region in Africa) where photos are taboo. It sounds as though Myanmar may be one of them. Photographers should respect the culture, traditions, and religions of the countries they visit. Just as with wildlife, it your human subject reacts to you, you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing.

    • I think I’ve figured out why: photos are not taboo, but Asians taking photos probably have too much of a bad collective cultural memory given their history. It seems that westerners have no problems, probably because the chances of the image being used for ID or some political purpose later is pretty much nil. I’d get people covering their faces even if I was just holding the camera by my side and not aiming it at them. The older generation would be much worse than the younger generation (<40 or so) – who were more than happy to be photographed most of the time.

  83. Hello, I give you the right to re-post my image as part competition announcements and posts.
    Palacio de congresos de Oviedo, exterior  6630
    Thanks Ming
    Best regards

  84. Greetings, Mr. Thein! Happy new year from Costa Rica although in Malaysia you’re day ahead of us 🙂 I have to tell you how much I am enamored with your deeply philosophical approach to composition and exposure which is so immediately apparent in your images. Yes, I hang on many of your salient points in your writings, but it always points me back to the pix to study and appreciate how you transpose your heart, mind and eye into your compositions. To me, a yogi, you are the Patanjali of photography. Sure, there are others, but few who are as articulate as your Self. Composition is about reducing to the lowest common denominator in a scene (most of the time) and capturing Essence, in which your mastery prevails powerfully…

    I’m almost finished gearing up again. I went with two outsiders, namely Sony and Fuji. After letting go of all my Canon gear, L glass, etc. years ago, I’ve had several small rigs: G10, NEX5, X10 and shot and loved each for differentiated reasons. Good fortune has allowed me to move up the food chain, now owning an A99 with the CZ2470, 70200G, cheap Sony 50 and a couple legacy Minolta primes just for giggles. Actually, I’m gonna de-click these little buggers and use them for video! I also bought an X-E1 got a walk-around and LOVE IT. Lesser rez LCD aside, this is a sweet improvement over the X10. Fuji has some really good ju-ju going on in their sensor technology… The colors are outstanding.

    Thank you so much for creating your iPad app. I bought it as soon as I saw it in a reblog on PetaPixel. I literally soak up your stories like a sponge… “Shoot less”… ¡Si, verdad! Philosophical composition and exposure… Om namah shivaya! Namaste.

    Clint Kapp

    • Happy new year – and thanks for your compliments, I’m flattered! Don’t gear up too much, photographic opportunities pass as one tries to decide what to use… 🙂

      • Exactly why I bought the X-E1 with one lens, the 18-55. And now that I’ve been using it frequently, I realize I could have just gotten the 60 as I generally use the longer end of the zoom to keep some distance! The A99 has other applications, so I’ll need the flexibility as the nature of my work varies broadly. Thank you for your reply. Clint

  85. John Prosper says:

    Hello Ming,

    One of our members at the Four Thirds Forum cited your blog, and I am sure glad I followed up. It’s just super to have a blog from a working pro/enthusiast, and one who loves macro as well.

    One comment and question: Olympus has started turning out superb optics (e.g., µ4:3’s 75/1.8) without weather-sealing. As a long time user of the legacy OM system, it seems almost obscene to produce world class optics with no protection from the elements. I know the 60/2.8 is dust/splash-proof, but some of us would love to build an Olympus ZD system with more than one lens.

    How do you protect your ZD lenses that lack weather protection? Hopefully, you are not forced to wrap the lenses in cellophane during rainy/snowy weather!

    Most respectfully yours,

    John in Atlanta, Georgia/USA

    • Thanks for your compliments. No idea why Oly has chosen to put weather sealing on the lower grade lenses – the 12-50, for instance, is hardly a candidate for demanding applications. And no, it doesn’t make sense seeing as the body is weather sealed.

      Honestly, I just tuck the thing inside my coat or bag if the weather goes bad, if not, I carry a small towel to wipe it dry intermittently. Not had any problems so far, except the time I had to change lenses in Macau and 99% humidity…the OM-D went nuts after that and didn’t fix itself until some time in a drybox.

  86. Ming, I follow your blog and I’m impressed of your sharp pictures. I’ve tried with lightroom, photoshop smart sharpen, highpass-filter, unsharp mask and whatever. And I can’t find the crispy taste of your images. Please, can you give me an advice?

    //Per Lofquist, Sweden

    • Thanks Per. What you see is downsized then sharpened for web – some look a bit oversharpened actually because flickr (the image host for the blog) has started doing another sharpening pass lately for the downsized images. But if you start off with an image that is sharp at the 100% pixel level – mine all are – then any size you display it at will retain the same sharpness. Using lenses with good microcontrast helps, too. Have a look at the post on shot discipline

  87. malachy shields says:

    Dear Ming Thein,
    Since coming across your blog/website, i have become less concerned about the equipment i have and concentrated more on getting the most out of it, getting to really know my cameras and taking time, thought and visualisation over each image. My workflow and editing has become much more careful, exact and i find myself even more critical, so most photos are removed leaving only the best. I owe this to you.
    Thank you for the time, thought and real effort you put into your blogs. Your photography is a genuine inspiration!

  88. Franco Morante (Adelaide, South Australia) says:

    Just came across your site … Wow! You are a prolific writer and a superb photographer. Thank you for sharing your experience and your expertise. You are amazing!

  89. Hi, I have been following your blog for quite some time. Your photos are really great! Here is a lovely blog award for you. If you accept it, you can see the rules of the award here. http://chikhongphotography.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/another-lovely-blog-award/


  90. Gabriel | 加百利 says:

    great works !

  91. Ronald Chapman says:

    Thank you for a wonderful web site. Your reviews and comments are extremely informative and practical. The quality of your writing attracts a lively debate and exchange of information, whereas the comments to some other photography sites all too often degenerate into the depressingly childish and pointless exchange of insults. You are providing an invaluable service to the international photographic community.

  92. Just wanted to say hi, and thank you so much for your generosity in terms of time and sharing your knowledge and talent so freely. I am just getting started in the world of photography, strictly for personal enjoyment. I am still getting to know the “lie of the land” in terms of the breadth of photographic styles, and where I fit in to the spectrum. I am looking for informal “mentors”, people whose vision and technical mastery can guide me to my own style. Though the level of technicality in your work, and in the blog, far exceeds my capacity to hope to achieve (this being a time-limited hobby for me), I am very inspired by your images, and your words. Thank you once again.

    • Thanks for your compliments, Ian. Perhaps you might want to consider my Email School of Photography? 🙂

      • I certainly will…once I have the basics covered, and a camera system (once i have decided what that will be…currently have an X100, which I love, and have a D800 on order – but might hang on and see what the next batch of mirrorless cameras and x-Pro 1 lenses bring). From what I can see with what you are offering, your email school (which sounds brilliant btw) will be best for people who have some insight into what they are trying to achieve, and need help to get there. So, I think it will be invaluable a little further down the line when I have identified my photographic goals and style.

        • A system isn’t entirely necessary. In some ways, mastering one camera and one focal length will give you much stronger results than if you were trying to decide which perspective of your 24-70 to use. I find one lens liberating…also to be the subject of a future article 🙂 ‘Goals’ can be as specific as ‘master wildlife photography’ or as general as ‘I want to be able to shoot like XYZ’. Style is an ongoing process, and before you get there you need to have sufficient control over your toolbox to be able to make the changes required to try the outcome you want. 🙂

      • I hear what you are saying, and I am loving the freedom and spontaneity the x100 gives me, and the faith I have in it to make an image which pleases me, if I take the effort to work within the fixed lens’ limitations. I live in Derbyshire, UK, just on the edge of the peak district, and want to be able to do justice to its impressive landscapes (thinking either a Zeiss wide angle or a tilt/shift option). The reality is though, with time and transport limitations, that most of my shooting is local walkabouts, and concentrates on details within the rural and old industrial environments in my area. There are times I wish had a bit more reach – 100-200mm say. Part of the reason I havn’t jumped into a “system” is because I don’t want to waste the opportunity I currently have, being unencumbered by brand loyalty, or money invested into lenses, etc. I want to make sure I choose well. I also feel that we are currently on a cusp of change within photographic technology, and am intrigued to see what the next year or so brings in.

        • Have a look at the OM-D…I think it makes an excellent portable camera system especially if you’ve got to carry it long distances.

          • Hello Ming , hope everything is alright for you. I have a great audiovisual representation on 18m2 screen at a festival in France , and I prepare an other one, what was was missing till now was the part of story telling although my presentations although they are only about wildlife in different aereas it is the all that comes with it that I missed to shoot ,but getting the big DSLRs with the big lenses. Ready is too painful. on trip i am somehow happy to have the stoffed away. But I still need the quality and post processing capabilities, ev printing. So what do you consider to bethe best in 2013? Thank you for your reply and thank you for your continuing enthusiasm and efforts

  93. Morton Leiter says:

    How do I subscribe to his blog/column ??

  94. Nettie Klappe says:

    Dear mr Ming Thein,
    Wauw, your photo’s are great. And thanks for your good reviews.
    I’m looking for a new camera now and I love the Fuji XF1 but I doubt between Fuji and the new Panasonic LF1. I’m not a good fotographer but I will learn. I think that the camera will often stand on automatically. Please can you give me an advise wich camera you think that’s the best at the moment. It should not be too difficult to operate
    Sorry for my bad English. I’m Dutch.

    Kind regards,
    Nettie Klappe

  95. Nettie Klappe says:

    Thanks for the list.
    From what I read, the Panasonic LF1 is largely similar to the LX7. Do you now about that maybe?

    I love the Sony RX100, but that camera is to expensive for me.

  96. No idea – they’re not available yet…sensor is the same, I believe. Not the lens though.


  1. […] stole this idea from a photography class from Ming Thein. There are four fundamentals of photography that so closely resemble the requirements of a music […]

  2. […] to view Making Outstanding Images Episode 4&5: Exploring Style! by the great photographer Ming Thing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and boy am I happy I did. This new series of videos is comprised of 2 […]

  3. […] to view Making Outstanding Images Episode 4&5: Exploring Style! by the great photographer Ming Thing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and boy am I happy I did. This new series of videos is comprised of 2 […]

  4. […] foge do escopo do Queimando Filme. O lance, porém, é que o autor – o fotógrafo da Malásia Ming Thein –  faz um excelente trabalho ao mostrar que câmeras digitais e analógicas são, sobre muitos […]

  5. […] Ming Thein is a member of (NPS) Nikon Professional Services and avid photographer dedicated to improving his craft and helping the photography community at large. How many professionals do you know are willing to do a photowalk with their readers while traveling? I highly recommend reading his photography blog. I personally have found the photographs compelling, the detailed explanations concise and to the point, and all of the helpful topics to be truly informative. While, not free, certainly reasonable to me and I am sure Mr. Thein isn’t going to be making a lot when all the dust settles. You can tell, he honestly is in it for the love of photography. […]

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