The recommended gear list

In the interests of even further simplifying the question of ‘what should I buy’ – and answering many emails and requests simultaneously – I’ve created this guide to gear, complete with purchasing links and links to reviews (where applicable). Treat it as a growing, evolving offshoot of the Camerapedia. This is what I’d buy personally (and mostly similar to what I already own, denoted by two stars**; one star* denotes something I’ve owned in the past). For full disclosure, every purchase through one of these links does give me a small commission that helps keep the site going (we run through something like 10 TB of bandwidth a month) but won’t cost you any extra. Thanks for the support! MT

Last updated 15 February 2017; new additions in italics. Some older/superseded equipment has been removed to tidy up the list

Ming’s current equipment – please contact me if you are interested in purchasing new Hasselblad equipment
Hasselblad H6D-100c** – early thoughts B&H 
Hasselblad H5D-50c** – review B&H (with wifi)
Hasselblad HCD 4.8/24** – B&H
Hasselblad HCD 4/28** – B&H
Hasselblad HCD 4-5.6/35-90** – B&H
Hasselblad HC 3.5/50 II** – B&H
Hasselblad HC 2.2/100** – B&H
Hasselblad HC 3.2/150 N** – B&H
Hasselblad HC 1.7x TC** – B&H
Hasselblad HTS 1.5x** – B&H
Hasselblad V series, and C T*/CF/CFE/CFi lenses** (currently, a 501CM, 4/50 CF FLE T*, 2.8/80 CF T*, 2.8/80 C T*, 5.6/135 CF T* bellows, 4/150 CF T*, 5.6/250 C Superachromat) – quick guide to the Hasselblad V series
Hasselblad CFV-50C digital back** – B&H Amazon
Olympus E-M1 Mark II – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 12-100/4 PRO IS – B&H Amazon
Nikon D810** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon D800E** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-120/4 VR** – review B&H Amazon (best value combined with the D750 kit)
Nikon AFS 50/1.8 G** – B&H Amazon (not good wide open; stop down past f4.)
Nikon AFS 60/2.8 G Micro** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 85/1.8 G** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AI 45/2.8 P** (discontinued)
Nikon PCE 24/3.5** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon PCE 45/2.8 Micro** – B&H Amazon
Nikon PCE 85/2.8 Micro** – B&H Amazon
Sigma 20/1.4 DG HSM Art** – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/28 Otus APO-Distagon** – review B&H
Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/55 Otus APO-Distagon** – review B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/85 Otus APO-Planar** review B&H
Zeiss ZF.2 2/135 APO-Sonnar** – B&H Amazon
Contax Zeiss 2.8/85 Sonnar MMG** and Leitax C/Y to F conversion
Contax Zeiss 100-300/4.5-5.6 Vario-Sonnar MMJ**
Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar** – review
MT x Frankie Falcon Ultimate Daybag** – available direct from me, for a limited time only
Think Tank Airport Roller Derby** – B&H Amazon
Nikon SB900/ SB910** – B&H Amazon
Wacom Intuos 6×4 pen small** – B&H Amazon
Arca-Swiss P0 Monoball ball head** – B&H Amazon
Arca-Swiss C1 Cube geared head** – B&H
Really Right Stuff TVC-24L tripod** – B&H
Zoom H5 audio recorder** – B&H Amazon
Zoom SSH-6 stereo shotgun mic** – B&H Amazon
Sigma USB dock** – B&H Amazon
Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film** – review B&H Amazon
Ilford DDX developer** – B&H
Ilford Rapid Fixer** – B&H Amazon
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13″ late 2016 with Touch Bar, 3.3 i7/16GB/512GB space grey** – review B&H
Apple 27″ iMac 5K late 2015 4.0 i7/32GB/1TB SSD/4GB** – B&H

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

Serious amateur/ pro compact
Ricoh GR II* – review (GR I APSC) B&H Amazon

Compact mirrorless system
Zeiss Batis 2/25 Distagon T* – B&H
Zeiss Batis 1.8/85 Planar T* – B&H
Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21 Distagon* – review B&H
Zeiss Loxia 2/50 Planar* – B&H Amazon
Olympus E-M5 II* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 25/1.8* – B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 45/1.8* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 60/2.8 macro* – review B&H Amazon
Olympus ZD 75/1.8* – review B&H Amazon

DSLR system
Hasselblad H6D-50c* – B&H
Nikon D750* – review B&H Amazon (best value combined with the 24-120/4 VR kit)
Nikon D5500* – B&H Amazon (caveat: some AF-shift occurs in incandescent light)
Nikon AFS 16-35/4 VR – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-70/2.8 VR E – B&H Amazon (significantly supersedes old non-VR version in optical performance)
Nikon AFS 35/1.8 DX G* – B&H Amazon (if you are on a budget; otherwise skip for the Sigma 18-35)
Nikon AFS 55-200/4-5.6 DX VR II* (collapsible) – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 70-200/4 VR* – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 80-400/4.5-5.6 G ED VR II N* – review B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 200-500/5.6 VR E – B&H Amazon
Sigma 18-35/1.8 DC HSM Art* – B&H Amazon (note: actually covers FF at 28mm up; 1.2x at 20mm up; square at most FLs.)
Canon 5DSR* – review B&H Amazon
Canon EF 24-70/4 L IS USM* – B&H Amazon
Canon EF 40/2.8 STM* – B&H Amazon
Canon EF 70-300/4-5.6 L IS USM* – B&H Amazon
Canon EOS 100D – B&H Amazon
Canon EFS 18-55/3.5-5.6 STM – B&H Amazon
Canon EFS 24/2.8 STM – B&H Amazon
Canon EF 50/1.8 STM – B&H Amazon
Canon EFS 55-250/4.5-5.6 IS STM – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2.8/15 Distagon – B&H Amazon
Zeiss Milvus 2.8/21 Distagon* – review (older ZF.2 version, optically identical) B&H Amazon
Zeiss Milvus 1.4/85 Planar* – B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZF.2 2/28 Distagon* – review B&H Amazon

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


Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography. 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. Hi there,

    How does the otus compare to Leica S lenses? Looking at either Canon 5DSR/Nikon D810 + otus versus Leica S…

    • Not all of the S lenses are apochromatic, the Otuses are. Everything else isn’t directly comparable: price of S lenses is much higher; you get AF; max apertures are slower. Otuses are faster, somewhat cheaper, but manual only. Depends on your application, I guess. Hard to justify the Leica S’ price, though – especially given the X1D, GFX, 645Z which all have better sensors, and the D810 which has a comparable one.

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