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). 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

You can also find a complete list of my equipment here at B&H.

Last updated 21 December 2020 with post-retirement coda

Current recommendations (not exhaustive, but what I’m using most at present)

Cheap, cheerful and/or portable
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max** – Amazon
Nikon Z 16-50/3.5-6.3 DX** – B&H Amazon

For me
Hasselblad 907X 50C** – B&H
Hasselblad XDC 4/45P** – B&H
Hasselblad XCD 1.9/80** – B&H
Hasselblad 503CX**
Hasselblad Zeiss C 4/50 T* chrome**
Hasselblad Zeiss C 2.8/85 T* chrome**
Hasselblad Zeiss C 4/150 T* chrome**
Leica M10 Monochrom** – B&H Amazon
Leica 28/1.4 Summilux M ASPH** – B&H Amazon
Leica 35/2 Summicron M ASPH Titanium LE** – (non titanium) B&H Amazon
Leica 50/2.8 Elmarit-M collapsible**
Leica 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH Titanium LE** – (non titanium) B&H Amazon
Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH** – B&H Amazon
Leica 28-35-50/4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPH**
Leica 90/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH Titanium LE** – (non titanium) B&H Amazon
Zeiss ZM 4/85 Tele-Tessar** – B&H
MS Optical 2/28**
Voigtlander VM 75/1.5** – B&H Amazon

For work
Nikon Z7** – review long-term custom-profiles B&H Amazon
Nikon Z 20/1.8 S** – B&H Amazon
Nikon Z 24-200/4-6.3** – B&H Amazon
Nikon Z 24-70/2.8 S** – Amazon B&H
Nikon Z 85/1.8 S** – B&H Amazon
Nikon FTZ adaptor** – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 70-200/2.8 FL ED VR E** – Amazon B&H
Nikon AFS 300/2.8 VR N** – B&H Amazon
Nikon PCE 19/4 E** – 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
Techart Sony E to Nikon Z adaptor (full electronic compatibility)** – B&H Amazon
Techart Canon EF to Nikon Z adaptor (full electronic compatibility)** – B&H Amazon
Canon EF 135/4 L TS-E Macro** – B&H Amazon
Voigtlander 110/2.5 APO-Lanthar Macro (Sony E)** – B&H Amazon
Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar** – review
Godox V1** (available for multiple systems) – Amazon
Godox XPro** (available for multiple systems) – B&H  Amazon
Godox AD400** (system independent but gains TTL with the Xpro remote) – B&H  Amazon
Peak Design Everyday Sling 6L** – Amazon  B&H
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L** – B&H Amazon
Think Tank Airport Roller Derby** – B&H Amazon
Arca-Swiss P0 Monoball ball head** – B&H Amazon
Arca-Swiss C1 Cube geared head** – B&H
Gitzo GT2545T Series 2 Carbon Exact Traveller** – B&H Amazon
DJI Mavic 2 Pro** – review B&H Amazon

Apple iPad Pro 11″** – B&H Amazon
Apple magic keyboard for iPad Pro** – B&H Amazon
Apple Mac Pro 2019** – B&H (I have the 16 core/ Radeon Vega 32GB/ 2TB SSD model, with RAM upgraded to 224GB with an OWC kit).
Wacom Cintiq Pro 32″** – B&H Amazon

Previously enjoyed, now rationalised
Nikon D850* – custom-profiles B&H Amazon
Nikon D3500* – B&H Amazon
Nikon AFS 24-120/4 VR** – review B&H Amazon
Nikon Z 50/1.8 S* – B&H Amazon
Nikon Z 50-250/4.5-6.3 DX* – 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 Ming,

    As you recommend the Nikor 60 2.8 Micro as all of your recommended lenses with regard to use with D810 (lens performance benchmark/D810)…what about the Nikkor 105 2.8 VR….
    1. Would you still recommend it for the D810?? If someone wanna do macro seriously not only some flowers but some insects and other small animals where you simply need a longer FL, 1:1 magnification, VR partially handy is the 105 better suited and still sufficiently for D810 or is the 60 that much better ??
    2.What is the best option out there? The Nikon 105 2.8 VR or even third party solution Tamron 90 2.8 VC is highely praised or Sigmas 105,150 or 180 2.8 OS Macro lenses???
    Sadly Nikons 200 f4 mirco lens didnt get an update so far……one big mistake from nikon not to refresh and update their broad and wide lens selection with underperforming lenses ( 24, 3.5 pce, 24 1.4, 35 1.4, 50 1.4 etc. simply all lenses not performing well on d810!!! ), outdated/ old lenses like the 200 f4, 180 2.8, 16 2.8 fisheye and close the gaps in the lens line up (simply the lenses that canon has which nikon doesnt have!!!) 17 f4 tse, 8-15 f4 fisheye zoom, canons 65 mpe lens, radio flash…
    A new 200 f4 micro vr maybe with PF phase fresnel for a little more compactness as the new 300 f4 would be the new macro king…..
    Anyway thanks!

    Kind regards!
    Dirk! not Nowitzki ;)!

    • The 105VR has very noticeable LCA and LoCA. I don’t shoot small animals or insects, so the 60 is fine for me. Good things are said about the 200/4 also if you need working distance, but I’ve never used one (not needed it). I’d suggest you email Nikon if you want new product…not much I can do here!

      • Sorry for adding some content but I can wholehearedly recommend the tamron 90 2.8 vc for Nikon! Its much optically much better corrected than the 105 2.8 Vr and cheaper also, maybe slightly less build quality but only by a margin……personally i find it also even better than nikkors 60 2.8 g micro afs lens only weighs 100gr more so if you dont need 105 or a shorter macro for your work as ming needs for food and watches…..the tamron might be the best option……

  2. Hi Ming,

    i just wanna ask you what series would you personally choose if you could only afford & want one series of prime lenses, the lighter 1.8 Nikkors or the optically even better but more bulky Sigma Arts for using on D810 (Otusses are out of league!)?
    So according to your list only the 20 and 85 1.8 would make it + 60 2.8 macro as a standard (no 28,35 and 50 1.8 Nikkor FX on d810 despite dxo mark claiming the 50 to be better than the 60 on d810 just as a side note i know sample variation could be one reason which is a shame that they have realitvely such a high impact on results/ big tolerances in production –> QC procedure/assessment.;))

    20 + 60 + 85 vs Sigma 24, 35 and 50? So lightweight vs IQ?
    And is the 60 2.8 a good portraiture alternative /sufficient instead of the 50 1.8?

    THX! Take care!
    Jack greetings from Asbury park!

    • Probably the Arts but they’re twice as expensive as the 1.8Gs, so that’s not really a fair comparison either. You can use any lens for portraiture, success comes down to composition and that has nothing to do with hardware.

      • Thanks a lot and twice as heavy (big issue if only one series/lot of traveling…) but also twice as good as the 1.8Gs??? 😉 I have some doubts….anyway thanks…probably 1.8s + d810 + education best option than just the Arts+ d810 and no education ;)!

        • Well, there’s no free lunch – you need more physical glass for faster apertures and better correction/ resolving power. Slightly worse equipment and education will always win out over better equipment and no education.

      • Sorry Ming for interrupting your discussion with Jack but would it be a good solution/viable option to pick the 28 1.8 Nikon and use it in the 1.2 crop mode on d810 to have a nearly equiv. 35 FLmm prime lens with slightly less resolution???


        • Why would you do that instead of just using the 35/1.8G?

          • You wont need/carry an additional lens the 28 would be a 28 and nearly a 35mm in 1.2 crop mode! So no need for the Nikkor 35 1.8 which has also some major flaws very huge vignetting, lack of sharp corners on fx in comparison to the 28 1.8 issues (mainly focus shift) or Sigma Art 35 1.4..;)
            Uncropping isnt so easy….;)!

            Nice weekend!
            Kind regards!

  3. Which raw files are overall better thereotically and in practice??

    Sonys 11+7 bit files of A7II or Olympus 12 bit raw files of EM5 II??


    • That’s a good question. I don’t think we can compare directly because the pixel pitch is different, as is the sensor size.

      • But just in theory?

        11+7 bit vs 12 bit??? Andd with your experiences using omd for a long time and tryinfg the a7II ??

        • I honestly can’t say. The Sony files are overall better under similar circumstances, but again that’s unfair because the sensor is much larger. You’d never shoot the same things with the same settings anyway because of DOF differences, so the comparison is meaningless.

        • I don’t know about in theory. In practice, I’ve owned the OMD EM1 (I know you asked about the EM5 II) since it came out and I recently spent 10 days shooting the A7II. Mostly sunny daylight conditions. I’m keeping my OMD instead of “upgrading” to the A7II. The EM1 images are plenty good enough, M4/3 system has a great selection of lenses, and the price is hard to beat. Of course, the A7II beats the EM1 in low light (imho). I’m thinking of picking up an A7S instead, for those times where I need to shoot in low light. It could be a good combo with the EM1.

        • One more thing. I’m always surprised/shocked by how meaty the RAW files of the EM1 are. Very Impressive! I’m sure the EM5 II will be just as impressive. Hope this helps!

  4. Fabrizio Zerbini says:

    Hi Ming: quick question for you. Is the Gitzo GT1542T adequate (assuming I couple it with the Arca-Swiss P0) to shoot with the 80-400? Weight-wise would seem so, but I am concerned with the lens extension at 400. Curious to see your advice on the subject. Than you!

  5. I like the new format and the italics portion to show new additions.

  6. Hi Ming,

    do you think the 50-60 FL range is still useful a lot of people claim its a boring perspective for portraitures etc.? And would it be not better to have a 35 and 85 pair than a 28, a 50-60 and a 85 trio or would the trio even be better for portraitures as well more flexibility and you could crop 28 to 35mm???

  7. Is the lens hood/filter adapter GH-3 useful for the Ricoh GR? Good advice or not –> How flare resistant is the camera/lens?

    • Very flare resistant, and the front element is actually quite a bit recessed into the lens barrel anyway. I happily shoot into the sun all the time. I’d only get the GH3 if you want the 21mm converter (it’s necessary to mount it). And even then I don’t use the hood.

      • Hi Ming,

        I would like to know if you would prefer the Ricoh GR V over the Fuji X100s/t even if its mainly used for portaiture (28 vs 35mm FL and Fujis has some things in favor 0.8 larger aperture, faster flash sync of 1/4000 vs. Ricohs 1/2000…..)??
        Or maybe the Ricoh GR has even nicer b&w rendering (monochrome) than the Fuji but the Fuji is better if used for colors like the Nikon Coolpix A is in comparion to the Ricoh GR…???
        So, is it more a question of shooting portraitures in B&W (Ricoh GR) or in colors (Fuji colors, filter modes velvia etc.)??

        So which one would you choose and is the decision making impact in your opinion (FL, larger aperture, higher flash sync vs. specific rendering)?

        Thanks! Hopefully a new Ricoh GR VI is coming this summer anyway …..

        Kind regards!

        • If portraiture was the primary objective I probably wouldn’t use either camera, and I prefer 28mm over 35mm. But if you know what you’re doing you could make great images with either.

          • Which one would you prefer or buy then if weight/size is a concern?

            • Um…the GR is obviously quite a lot smaller.

              • Tats the reason i am leaning to the GR…

                1. If your using the GV-2 optical viewfinder on the GR could you turn of the display if shooting in low light (more stealthy)? Is a funciton to turn off the display completely within the GR menu?
                2. Is the GR lens overall better than the one used in the Fuji X100s/t despite 0.8 smaller aperture i heard the lens of the fuji is soft wide open at the corners? So both at 2.8…is the GR overall better /sharper??

                Thanks a bunch!
                Nice weekend! by the way

                • 1. Yes, just hit the DISP button. You don’t even need to use the menus.
                  2. Yes again. Smaller aperture lenses are easier to make sharper…my experience with the Fuji suggests it doesn’t match the GR at f2.8 til f4-5.6 or thereabouts. The GR has excellent corners even wide open, no CA and much better microcontrast across the board.

  8. I find this much more accurate than DxO

  9. Hi Ming,

    is the 24 3.5 PCE the most versatile and also best performing wide angle lens for the D810?

    I am a DSLR user/shooter since 30 years…i restarted photography after retirement last November…
    D810, 50 1.4 Sigma Art, Nikkor 85 1.8, Zeiss 135 Apo 2 were bought but i am seeking one wideangle prime for landscapes/architecture….Zeiss 15 2.8 might be excelletn but i think its too wide isnt it??? I could crop but, the field of view will stay…., the Nikkor 24 1.4, 28 1.8 are not good enough….so I am asking you is the 24 pce better?? Or should I take the 35 1.4 art but personally for me the 35mm is not a wideangle prime lens its more a standard FL….No 24 Art avaiable so far, the otusses were to much for my wallet 😉 so I chose the 50 Art….
    Any recommendation? You had a lot of Zeiss and wide angle primes, 21, 28,35 etc….??? Or 15 zeiss + 35 1.4 art would be the best compromise without any better options so far? Maybe even the Pentax 645Z has a better option with its relatively new released 25 f4 pentax lens than the D810 sadly…..

    • Nope, it’s a tricky lens to use, slow aperture and no AF. ‘Versatile’ and ‘best’ are highly subjective terms. For a still life shooter, yes; for a reportage shooter, no. Depends on what you’d use it for.

      • THX! I have seen something…so maybe the Nikkor 20 1.8 then…;)

        • That’s not a bad lens, stop down to >f4 for best results in the corners.

          • And not as expensive and heavy as Zeiss 15 2.8 and /or Sigma 35 1.4 Art as well 😉 So a good personal compromise! In general, the 1.8G lenses are simply having great price/performance ratios….650 Euros (Germany) are still somehow acceptable for this lens imo and no used lenses are avaible so far…its to new ;)…

          • What are your thoughts on the 20 1.8 in general? Better than the 28,35 and 50 1.8 Nikkor FX primes??? Better suited for the d810 than the mentioned or only usable on D750……

            • Still haven’t really had a chance to put it through its paces. Early tests suggest that the central zones are fine at f1.8 on the D810; the edges need f2.8 or smaller. But hey, it will AF and go to f1.8, which the Zeiss 2.8/21 won’t.

              • Sorry for joining this discussion – your review of the (Ming’s current equipment: ) Nikon AFS 20/1.8 G** would be highly interesting!
                Thank you!

                • I still haven’t had the time to use it properly yet.

                  • According to it doesnt have so much LoCa and slightly better overall contrast but in every other regard/aspect (sharpness, center, corner, midframe, bokeh etc.) the 28 is better…..but of course its 28 not 20….and i would assume it doesnt have such a highly noticeable focus shift than the 28 has…..

                    So i predict that your 20 will be soon not on the recommended list anymore due to the fact that the 28 is already gone….the 20 is not sufficient on the/for use with the d810 as well… no 28 and no 20 1.8…….35 and 50 1.8 additionally only 1.8 lens is the 85 1.8…..;)

                    • There aren’t really a lot of fast 20mm options…so we have to make do for now.

                    • I would disagree with you Boris!!!

                      I would always choose the 20 1.8 instead of the 28 1.8 even its slightly worse, the 20mm is somehow more flexible! Great for landscapes, astorphotography low light, architecture and on street you could use it with some imperfections as well for shooting street scenes with people you could always crop later in PP to 28mm if needed… you wont need a 28mm, 35mm lens or 50mm save weight, money and not good on d810….for shooting people on streets/street scenes it is often the case that a tele lens is better to get closer (ming even shot with the 70-200 f4 in havanna!!!!)….so the 85 1.8 is an underrated gem for this purpose in my experiences at least its not just solely a portraiture lens….

                      D750 or 810 with a pair of 20 & 85 1.8 is a great, versatile and light combo if you consider FF etc…no other/additional lens within this FL range is needed /essential….

                  • Ming! I’m in the market for a wide-angle lens for my DX. I’m just a student, so I don’t have much $$$ to buy a bunch of lenses. Right now, I only have the 35 1.8g + 55-200VR, so I need a wide-angle. The lenses will also be used for video work – I’m currently looking at the 20 1.8, sigma 17-50 2.8 and also older AI Nikon primes (just because of their high focus throw). I don’t have any question in particular, so is there any input you would like to give me?

                • Now I had a 20 1.8G for 2 day’s to shoot with my D800. I feel it is sharper than the 20 2.8 AF: good in center, better in corners than the old one, some CA. Best apertures are F4 and F5.6, F8 is still better than the 20/2.8 at F8, which was the best with the 2.8 lens togehther with the D800..One win’s almost two LW compared to the old one, but I’m hesitating to keep the new: to me the colours seem to look oversaturated and a bit fat, just as if this small colour-differences which can be seen in a coloured surface where equilibrated. Can this be sample-dependent?
                  In comparison to the Distagon 21/2.8 – I don’t know, never used it. DXO rates the old 20/2.8 sligthly higher than the Distagon. Ming, you seem to love the Zeiss? The MTF of the Zeiss seems to look better than the MTF of both Nikkors, and its said to be a measured MTF instead of the theoretical Nikon ones.

                  • I sold my Zeiss for this, because the situations under which I was using it really needed AF and a bit more shutter speed. By the time we hit f8 on both, there isn’t that much difference.

                  • Probably the solution will be the Sigma 24 1.4 Art (end of april shipping for Nikon F mount!) will be better than the Nikkor 28 and 20 1.8 I think! It weighs nearly as much as those both together! I will only miss the 4mm less wide but there is no free lunch..;)
                    I had the 28 sold not good on the D810 as Ming already stated like it is the case with the 50 and 35 1.8 FX primes only 85 1.8 is excellent on the D810 if you have high expectations to IQ! The 1.8 light primes are more made for the FX prosumer customers so for the D6XX and D750 series so there limit is the 24 MP CMOS sensor! So personally the same is true for the 20 1.8…the D810 sensor is just too demanding for this lens!!!
                    I still have the 20 1.8 its center sharpness is good and no signififcant focus shift so overall better than 28 but honestly the corners doenst look as good as on the 28 (maybe due to the 28s wavy field curve/focus shift /spherical abberrations?) ! My main dissappointment with the lens is the bad (sagital) coma if you wanna shoot astrophotography/use it therefore! And thats a shame because Nikon advertise/claim this lens specialised “for astrophotography” among other mentioned purposes (lowlight, reportage, landscape)..I hope the Sigma 24 1.4 will be overall better IQ wise and esp. with regard to coma…..sadly the art is not 20mm 😉 but we have to take one pill at least 😉

                    Hope you still write some notes on your experiences with the 20 1.8 in a “quick and dirty 5 minute paper/entry” 😉 if you had enough time to shoot with the lens of course….

                    Kind regards!

                    • Thank you Dwight!
                      My short answer: I prefer Nikon over Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, but don’t have ever tried those ( besides a Tokina 80-200 F4 in 1980, which suffered from very low contrast:))) . Just feeling that the original should be the best fitting equipment. The 1.8G series is ok for me: lightweight for trekking: IQ so-so the 28 (best at F5.6 with 3-dim looking results in good cases), good the 50, best and less used the 85. I own the 20, 28, 50, 85. After having bought I sent them in to Nikon for optimization.
                      Best, Paul

  10. Is Sonys A6000 the better street camera than the ricoh gr???

  11. TranslucentTraces says:

    Hi Ming,
    what are your experiences with the Nikon SB 910 vs SB 900? The SB 900 is more powerful but had/have the overheating issue which led to the result that Nikon released SB-910….so would you still recommend the SB 900 over the 910???


    • I have five SB900s and haven’t had any overheating issues. It’s cheaper to buy two second hand 900s than a new 910…more flexibility, more redundancy, they’re firing at half power, and it solves the overheating too 🙂

  12. Hi Ming,

    i have a general question could be a topic for one of your essays as well ;)!
    What is the better strategy to get the best possible lenses for a large sensor ff camera (as it is often is mentioned lenses will stay /could be used for the whole life but bodies will often change in the future!) or a slight compromise in IQ of lens performance but a little lighter/more handy for traveling and more different FLs for gaining flexibility and versatility ?
    My question relates to a previously publsihes article of Thom Hogan…
    I would generally say every photograoher wants to have the best IQ but he argued that the majority of users wants more the second alternative, so large sensor camera fullframe but smaller lenses with slight decrease in IQ performance….
    As an example if you replace the Sigma 35 and 50 1.4 Art lenses on/for a D810 with the Nikkor 28 or 35 and 50 1.8 you will save over 1 kilogramm but lose some IQ of course…

    What is your opinion about this topic???..I guess you would choose case 1 no compromise in IQ despite carrying more and would disagree with Thoms assumption/his opinion….

    PS: I dont mention the otussi because for most of us they are out of our league/out of reach from a price point of view….sadly 😉

    • I have the Otuses and the 1.8Gs, depending on whether I need ultimate image quality and weight doesn’t matter, or weight does matter and I need AF because I’m mobile.

  13. Would you still get the Ricoh GR for stealthy-street shooting nowadays or waiting on the successor which should come in this summer June/July? Or anything else like Sony RX100 Mark III, Panasonic LX7 or LX100, Fuji X100T?

  14. Hi Ming. How would you compare the EVF size/quality of the Fuji XT1 to the Sony A7II?

  15. Hi Ming,

    the short time you have it….Does the IQ performance of the xt1 come close to the one of the d750 ??


    Kevin Ross

    • Can’t answer that conclusively, haven’t shot with it enough. I don’t think so though.

    • Me too…. I just notice that Nikon D750 + 4 primes I want or Canon 6D + 4 same fl primes weight only 0,5kg more than Fuji X with small grip it needs + 4 primes. Fuji killed the argument of the weight benefit…..the 20,35,50 and 85 1.8 + d750 vs xt1 and equivalent primes 14,23,35 and the 56….

      Every system has own advantages and disadvantages…..smaller ovf vs. bigger evf, better flash vs. crappy flash, dual slot vs single slot, full frame bayer sensor with more resolution vs xtrans aps-c etc…

      Its up to you and us which system we do wanna choose…

      But I think the d750 will have the edge with regard to IQ and it is not that much bigger…so you could also use this for family photos and for leisure esp. for children its better i guess due tot the better af pdaf system and its tracking abilities for moving kids…

      I think you could easily use your d750 for family….if not better option than the xt1 but thats just my personal opinion dont get angry/afraid!

  16. Hi Ming,

    what do you think is the problem of the compressed raw files (11+7bit) of sonys a7 series? Is it simply an software/algorithm issue could be fixed via firmware update or is it the whole bionic Z processor engine?

    Sony is very appealing to me they are so innovative….the new 28 f2 (would be wide enogh for me, other wide angle lens have problems it seems with the short flange distance/small fe mount), the gorgeous 55 1.8 and the upcoming macro and/or large aperture prime would fill my needs…a nice flash would be nice too not sonys hvlm 60 flagship flash, the sb910 is better …i think this is the other territory where nikon and especially canon with its radio flash RT ex 600 speedlite still lead…

    • No idea. But I do know that the artefacts become very visible as banding/posterization in large areas of smooth tone, and this looks pretty bad…

      • Thanks so far! So you would still invest in Nikons old fashioned DSLR system rather than going the innovative mirrorless route via sony a7 series nowadays….even as a high amateur/enthusiast or only as a real fulltime pro?

        • They’re not on the list for a reason. Many, in fact. Maturity isn’t there yet, and Sony doesn’t seem to be interested in making a complete product – only one that catches headline numbers but lets you down in some other way.

          • Thanks again!!! Good to know that you would not choose sonys a7 series even as a high enthusiast and stay with nikon….that tell us “waverers” a lot…

            Nice weekend & take care!

  17. Hi Ming,

    quick one…
    Is the rendering of the Zeiss 135 zf2 apo even better than the 100 2 macro planar?

    Happy New Year!

  18. Sorry Ming

    but you contradict or underwhelm your high standards with regard to optical performance and recommendations of lenses….the 24 3.5 pce is optically not better than the 28 1.8 on the d810 imo…..interestingly none of the nikon wide angle prime lenses with exception of the pce did make it on the list but the 16-35 f4 vr zoom…….maybe the new 20 1.8 will if you get your hands on one…

    Nevertheless thnak you so much for your blog, experiences you give us for free…and especially for your camerapedia and recommendation list which you continously improve/update and that you always answer on upcoming questions…

    Its clear that the sensors tech is generally years/generations ahead and the lens development is behind on average at least….we do not need even more megapixel / resolution sensors …thats not necessary or essential…it would be much better to get better lenses or that the lenses can comply mcuh better with high resolution sensors….why get an engine of a ferrari when the fuel is of a low quality….;) l the sigma art series or the otusses as well as the zeiss apo or nikons 85 primes are the ones to get and showing thats already possible although with a certain price tag and weight (sadly the 50s,35s, 28 and 24s are not so good as the 85 maybe because esp. high quality wide abgle primes are difficult to develop and they do not have enough money for R&D and Q&C…….;))

    Best for you and your family in 2015!


    • Remember, there’s also sample variation to consider. Whilst I can try a few of each, it’s quite possible that my sample of one lens may be better/worse than another. The 24 PCE unshifted IS better than the 28/1.8. Regardless, the 28 does not offer movements, so it’s not an alternative tool. I’ve used both extensively and found that the 24 requires a lot of care because of field curvature and focus shift when stopping down.

      Improved technology is useless without improved vision or clarity of output. All you’re going to get is bigger files.

  19. Interesting to see the Fujis make it to the list. Any chance you put up some articles on updated experiences with the X100T and X-T1? And why Zeiss lenses for that system instead of the Fuji lenses? Thanks

    • When I’ve had a chance to complete testing and workflow evaluation.

      • Thanks, looking forward to it. I got rid of my D90 due to a lack of dedicated DX lenses from Nikon. Currently only shooting with an X100S limitations and all, I do like it. My next decision for an interchangeable system is either stay with Nikon and go FF with the D750 or consider the X-T1. Pro and cons of each are somewhat apparent at this point, but the Fuji sensor is a little dated at this time and 16MP so that gives me slight pause. In truth the wait has not been terrible. Being restricted to one camera and one focal length at that, has taught me more about photography in the past months than previous years. It is easier to start thinking; light, subject, composition, idea, perspective when you simplify the equipment part of the equation.

  20. Ming may I ask which L-bracket you recommend for the D810. Your recent winter-scape verticals has wetted my appetite ;^) and could you please put up a link for purchasing on your gear list so you can get the benefit for the sale.


    • Doug Rivers says:

      You sold your beloved Nikkor 28 and 50 1.8….but fuji xt1 and two zeiss touit lenses find a way to your bag,…..for whatever reasons……it seems you changed your opinion about fuji or did they solve their problems via firmware update for the xt1 with regard to workflow, raw converter problem xtrans files, iso cheating, often smearing and smudging as well as artifacts of files in post processing…so just a loaner or.simply ergonomics and manual controls have convinced you so much???

      • Not that I have to defend my personal equipment choices, but I finally got around to updating the list:
        After further testing, the 28G leaves a lot to be desired on the D810. I don’t recommend it.
        My personal 50/1.8 G was never ‘beloved’ but used when necessary and suffers from focus shift at distance. I still have it but again don’t recommend it.
        The XT1 is NOT a loaner, I purchased it with my own money at retail a couple of days ago. Further testing is required, but it appears a lot of the previous issues have been solved with both the latest 3.0 FW and last ACR/CC update. I have been looking for a small normal/short tele FL for personal/family/social photography for some time. There are almost no fixed lens options and few mirrorless options. The XT1 was simply the best cost/image quality/size tradeoff and back in consideration after workflow issues have been mostly rectified.

        • @ Ming

          But would you still recommend the Nikkor 28 and 50 for the D750??? Are they sufficient for the 24 mp cmos sensor?

        • So the Nikkor 24 1.4 or 20 1.8 are better options than the 28 1.8 for the d810 then if AF is wanted (so no zeiss)???

        • I am surprised that you chose the fuji xt1 over the sony a7/a7s/a7II? Is the xtrans sensor / apsc sensor and the gorgeius ergonomics and manual control adjustments of the fuji as well as the best evf and split screen magnification better than the full frmae cmos sensor from an IQ/size point of view despite 11+7 bit raw files compressed raw files? I have doubts…..i think the fullframe sensor twice as large as an apsc sensor has the edge even its a xtrans apsc as the other guy mentioned it has more to do with fujis iso cheating oversaturating/underexposing….

          Nevertheless enjoy shooting witt your xt1

          • Compressed raw files. Shutter vibration. AA filter. Large lenses. PRICE. NONE of the A7 series come without serious compromises. If I want performance I’ll use the 645 or D810.

    • I’m using a Sunwayfoto. There are links on the sidebar, in the recommended gear list, and at the bottom of every post…:)

  21. Peter Wright says:

    Ming. Here is a different type of “recommended gear” question for you. I have been finding your photoshop videos most useful, but what computer h/w is best for post processing? I need to replace my 2009 iMac and a 23″ Apple Cinema display soon. I would like a boost in operational speed, an upgrade from USB2 interfaces, and perhaps wide gamut/high res displays to help my printing. I don’t do video or games. If I go by Lloyd Chambers, I will be buying a 6 core Mac Pro and an NEC 32″ 4K wide gamut display, and have no change out of about $10K! I know you are somewhat of a minimalist using your 11″ MBA on courses, and you did at one point use a Mac Mini for post processing (do you still?). I am wondering, as someone who post processes for Ultraprints, what respective need you would place on:

    1. High resolution display 4K, 5K, or regular.
    2. Wide gamut display.
    3. CPU horsepower.
    4. Graphic engine. (Every m/c has something different, but it’s impossible to tell what is actually required for PS work.)

    Your real world feedback would be most welcome to me (and I’m sure to others as well!)


    • I’m still using a Mac Mini and 27″ Thunderbolt display. The reason is because I cannot retouch on 4K or 5K – the pixels are simply too small; I’d miss things clients would see on normal displays. Gamut of the Thunderbolt Display is adequate, and I can stitch gigapixel-size things on the Mini. A 3000px feathered brush works smoothly. Note: the old Mini will let you put your own ram and HDD in; the new minis running the latest OS won’t provide support for third party SSDs, so you’re out of luck (or out of cash).

    • Allow me to add my own experience to Ming’s comments above since I just upgraded from a 2008 Macbook Pro to a 2012 Mac Mini similar to Ming’s. My old computer had become inadequate when I got a Nikon D810: a 600-pixel brush would lag really badly. So I waited for a refurbed Mini to come up on the Apple Store, and got a quad-core 2.3 GHz Core i7 model which I maxed out with 16GB of memory, and a 1 TB Samsung Evo Pro 850 SSD formatted with 25% overprovisioning to maintain its speed without TRIM support (which isn’t easily activated in Yosemite as Ming alludes to above). The new one is sufficient for my D810 work, and even makes Sigma Photo Pro tolerable.

      Those Minis are pretty valuable these days, with used ones going for more than new on eBay. If you watch the Mac Mini forum, people will post when Apple puts a new batch of refurbs on the Apple Store, and they used to be gone within an hour. The newest ones only have 2 cores, and the fully optioned versions are very expensive. They are also more difficult to open up than the 2012 models. They can drive a 4k display, but only at a low refresh rate.

      You should also budget for a Wacom tablet. The cheapest non-pro version ($79) works well.

      If you follow the basic Ming workflow, you don’t need much more horsepower than this computer.

      • I’m running pretty much the same hardware (2.3 i7, 16GB, but two 500GB Sandisk Extreme Pro SSDs in RAID 0) – it works even with the ‘advanced’ Ming workflow 🙂

        • Peter Wright says:

          Thanks for the feedback. I’ll go with the new Mini rather than the previous version as I want the TB2 interfaces. Incidentally, I looked at the 5K iMac in the local store and was underwhelmed – I don’t like groping round the back for the card reader, and cables, I prefer a non-glossy display (preferably one of my choosing), and I have reservations about PP on a 5K monitor (thanks for your input on this). I am now leaning towards the Mac Mini (3.0 i7, 16GB, 512 GB PCIe), and the NEC PA272W. The NEC is now available for the same cost as the 27″ Thunderbolt, which makes it a no-brainer. The Mini as thus equipped, is about half the cost of a similarly specified Mac Pro, and should give me everything I want. (I already have the Wacom – very useful.) I reason that if my 2009 iMac can handle the Ming basic/advanced workflow 😉 then this configuration should be fine.

  22. Hi Ming,

    i have a more speculative question for you with regard to gear! Is it a wise move to reduce the dslr/nikon gear to the minimum amount of what is actually really needed maybe with some slightly limits in daily shooting/situations? I am asking because the sony will take the lead with the sony a7II, a7rII and a7sII and IBIS….

    They put so much money in developing their camera business….and also more and more native fe mount lenses with AF are coming in 2015 like the 28 f2 with 21 and fisheye converter, 35 1.4, 90 2.8 macro and probably a 85 1.4 as well beside the MF only loxia Zeiss line 2.0….

    Only missing pieces are better AF /tracking , better flashes/system and true 14 bit raw support, dual card slot, gps and efcs/the fully electronic silent shutter and the af of the sony a7s (its going to -4EV even better than the Nikon D750s!!!) in every of their upcoming cams…

    Is it time to switch to minimize the financial loss??

    Sony is too big too fail….canon is lightyears behnind only leading in their PDAF is amazing better than nikons see the 1dx and 7dmark II so many crosstypes gorgeous, nikon maybe the one crashing first despite having best overall performing dslrs they are the smallest of the three and are making very risky moves investing in medical stuff despite the financial problems and loss/competiton of smartphones and mirrorless cams….

    • If you’re a pro, no. Too risky (and you probably wouldn’t be asking the question anyway). If you’re a hobbyist…use whatever makes you happy. It’s still the photographer that makes the image, not the camera. You’d gain far more by buying education rather than taking switching losses, and countering weight by shooting with one lens, and composing well.

      • THX! I will still wait until some reviews of the Sony a7II will be online/published in order to see how effective the IBIS works i guess a littles less than oly’s due to bigger sensor, if lossless 14 bit raw format is supported and how much better the af is esp. in low light (they claim 30 % faster but this is just marketing and has to be proofed in reality, wont be as good as d750 for sure)!

        Nikon and Canon simply dont know how to win this game and have no clue within the competiton, Sony will win this race I predict (wont make the mistakes of the past switching/changing lens mounts quite often and then dont support the older ones) lenses with af are coming with the time flashes if wanted as well af and tracking is continously getting better on mirrorless as well…
        Sony is just using their financial power as big player and simply following Steve Jobs statement which is so true and undisputable: “Innovations and Ideas distinguishes between leaders and followers!”

        You will use the Sony A series/fe mount gear in 3 years at the latest Ming…I predict ….even it is a tough one ;)!

    • Investing in Sony gear always has been a high risk. The last thing they screwed was the PC and notebook business. Ask the Vaio fans. Nikon is still selling far more DSLRs than Sony DSLMs and this will stay for a while. If Sony ever reaches break even with this strategy anyway!?

  23. Hi Ming,

    what are your thoughts on this new upcoming cam from sony so far ?

    Still lack of dual sd slot, not many fe lens available and announced ones not so impressive and price sensitive & propably still no lossy raw compression but 5 axis ibis in a full frame body, 1/8000, 1/250 etc what the d750 doesnt feature….

    Is this the final punch for any Nikon and Canon DSLRs???

    THX !!

    Best regards…

  24. Hi Ming,
    I just would like to inform you and esp. others that I may developed a little secret…
    Do you already know that we have a AFS 16 2.8 FX prime lens with filter thread for Nikon FX line performing nearly as good as the 14-24 2.8?? I find its performance showed there impressive not much of a difference esp. with smaller apertures…and this is on the d600… relatively new sensor….
    I know you throw away resolution dx lens on fx lens (so its not for landscape phototgraphers wanna have highest resolution, sharpness, tonality and uww angle) but for upgraders to fx having this lens or guys not shooting much in the uww territory can keep this lens after their upgrade if they wanna have at least one lens in uww or to spend money elsewhere fx tele, primes…..
    The Tokina seems to be the best dx lens/ most usable lens still for fx…the Nikkor 10-24 and 12-24 AFS only from 18mm on ..much less so sadly…

    Ming as a fulltime pro will probably not recommend to keep any dx lens on fx after switiching but i find this very interesting esp. the performance of the tokina against the known fx uww king of the holy trinity!….


  25. Hi Ming,

    i am interested in your experiences with Nikkor lens and the D810 combo so far (e.g. your results 85 1.8 vs 1.4)….anything interesting for us readers differences between D810 vs D800 vs D800e??

    Is the D810 more behaving like the D800e or more towards the D800? I would probably guessing more like the former due to lack of AA and on the D810 the OLPF is missing additionally…

    Take care!
    See and meet you hopefully someday!


  26. Hi Ming,

    is the Nikon DR-5 sccrew in angle viewfinder with 2x magnification a viable alternative/option and as good as the Zacuto Z Viewfinder magnification 2x for the D810 for focusing with more accuracy and precisition, control of taken shots afterwards etc…

    Your opinion….which one is better….??
    Kindly regards

  27. Hi Ming,

    have you ever tried the Tamron 90 2.8 VC 1:1 macro lens so far?? If not, do it if you gonna visit your camera dealer next time…it got a excellent reputation and evaluation in several tests…..i am thinking to replace my 60 2.8 AFS and 105 2.8 AFS with it and getting more space in my bag always good… has image stabilization, longer working distance than the 60 at least, 1:1 magnification, threeway focus switch build quality is not as solid/fully metal than the 105 more like the 60 afs but as an advantage and result of this it only weighs 520 gr…so over 200 gr. lighter than the 105…
    I am really impressed with the optics so far and i dont say that easily… seems it is really an sleeper ;)…..
    Is there any excellent 135 1:1 macro out ?? I would love if i could have 135 macro lens with 1:1 VR which can simultanously being used as an additional portrait lens beyond my 85 1.8 afs….thats the only thing i am missing with the tamron FL…135 would be nice…90 is too close….


  28. Hi Ming,

    you dont use any Strap or Holster System (Blackrapid or Spider Pro Holster)??…just the strap coming with your Nikon and the Billingham bags for lens & accessories as well as if you dont wanna hold your cam….

    I am really impressed by your work and by the fact that you dont have any lens wider than 21 (Zeiss) especially while you’re focusing on architecture (24 TSE ok /fine) and landscapes….so I shouldnt have a lot of fear of losing 3 or 5mm on the wide side after my planned switch from DX to FX… the 10-24 has to be replaced with either the 18-35mm AFS or with the new 20 1.8 due to the fact that i wanna have a light (as possible) fx setup that i can easily take always with me and carry around… so no big, bulky 16-35 f4 680 gr zoom or even more……;)

    Take care!

    • I just use normal straps. Too bulky otherwise and there’s a risk of attachment points breaking, plus I need L brackets on the cameras all they time anyway.

      There is no right or wrong focal length for topic or subject – it depends on how you frame with it.

  29. Hi Ming,

    decisions have to be made…..i love shooting macros flowers, insects, water lilies etc……my old d90 has to be replaced shutter mechanism is really dead…my lens are all fx compatible….so my question:

    D7100 having the built in magnifcation which is quite useful for macro or going to FX D750 or D810….having even more resolution, sharpness, overall better IQ…..???

    Or D750+ D7100 (i buy the latter used) instead of one D810…..

    What is better for macro in your opinion??

    Cheers! Thanks so much gonna use your link for buying either of them!

  30. Hi Ming,

    quick question – quick answer…;)

    Do you recommend the DK 21-M (or the DK-22M to use the round one??) for the D750 as you did recommend the DK17-M + DK-19 combo for the D800(e)/D810? I have doubts simply due to the fact that the DK 21-M doesnt get so nice reviews, even more bad ones in comparison to the DK17-M…..?? Any experiences with the DK 21-M?? If not, what else…is a viewfinder magnififcation needed for the d750??


    • No, and it’s because the 21M seems to reduce eye point more than the 17M, whilst giving you less additional magnification – I think it’s partially down to the design of the rubber bumper around the outside. I’m fine using the camera without any magnifiers.

  31. Hi Ming,
    I’m currently thorn between a system crisis here. Been a Nikon shooter for years, but are considering more and more to switch to mirrorless. Easier to travel with and easier to carry around every day. Have tried several systems (except Sony which I’m not really interested in anymore). I shoot mainly landscape and nature, some birds, daily scenes and social gatherings. I rarely print but I like to have the option, though. My considerations are:

    1. Stick with Nikon and get the D750. However, I feel Nikon no longer have the lenses I want. Small primes. Don’t like their 50s (and most reviewers are saying they are barely okay), the new 35 is sort of on the big side and then there is often the need for a tripod. However, I prefer a DSLR with OVF when shooting birds (which I don’t do very often, but have the 80-400 AF-S for this).

    2. Stick with Fuji. Have the X-T1 with several lenses ande love it. Menues are as good as my Nikons, frequently updates even older cameras is great. AF is not for action (like dog play), though. Love the IQ but have had a few AF bummers. I’m impatience – point and shoot! Point, focus, check focus and recompose is not really my way of working. A DSLR is much better in this regard… However, except for when pixle peeping, I’m much more satisfied with the overall exposure with my Fuji. Less blown sky compared to my Nikon, which always seems to go for the darker areas (using matrix/average metering most of the time).

    3. Go back to m4/3 and get the E-M1. Had the E-M5 but disliked the confusing menues and noise was always a present problem even at low ISO. Affraid of the limitations in printing and less dynamic range. I’m a little afraid of going smaller than APS-C and I also more worried about the future of m4/3 and Olympus in particular. Today it’s Nikon/Fuji, but I could go for a Fuji/Olympus solution, but feel the two systems are too much alike. Like you wrote in your D750 impressions, it’s easy to get used to higher pixle count… Handled the E-M1 the other day and was reminded about the lag in the viewfinder when taking a shot, because the image stabilization systems kicks in. This anoyed me too…

    I see so many excellent images from others and understand all these systems can produce excellent results in the right hands. I’m just not sure I need a D750, which will be left at home most of the time (or never taken out of the bag. I’ve shot quite a bit with both Fuji (X-T1 and X-E1 and the X100/X100S) and simply love the output and handling. Menues are easy to understand. Have had several m4/3 from both Panasonic and Olympus, but like they say, the grass is always greener on the other side…

    I know it is impossible for you to answer my questions without being me. I know…

    • You know what I think of Fuji workflow. After FX and MF, and for large output, M4/3 doesn’t cut it for the way I print. I think your choice should be dictated by your intended output…

      • Thanks for a quick reply! Yeah, I know what you think of Fuji workflow and I respect that. I just wish I saw the same. If not only to understand.

        The E-M1 feels great and the all weather proofing w/12-40 is therefor tempting for a hiker like me. I was greatly disappointed when Fuji chose to release a slow super-zoom in their weather proof category…. I know one better is coming, but I need something to use in the rain in the meantime! And I should never have handled the D750 in a store. I was everything physical I dislike about my D600.

        This is probably just some acute GAS 🙂

        • I think you’d see pretty clearly it if you tried a good Bayer camera in raw and converted via ACR side-by-side with the Fuji – say the GR, for instance.

          Can’t help you with the D750, I landed up buying one. Personally didn’t like the way the D600 felt at all, either.

  32. Hi Ming,

    Nikon AFS 18-35 3.5-4.5 G ED vs Nikon 20 1.8 G ED (nearly the same weight/size…)

    which lens would you choose as your widest on FX to pair it with the other mentioned lens.???.. I know you havent got tested the latter….

    D7000 is gone already replaced with D750
    28,50 and 85 1.8 already in my bag…

    Could the 18-35 replace both 20 and 28 mm FL for you ?? and add additonally a 35mm “dark prime”..;)??

    Or would you choose the two primes 20 and 28 1.8 over the 18-35mm anyday despite 2mm less wide, flexible and more weight/size but with better optics, more light gathering, more control of shallower DOF etc..??

    I will use your link if i decided to take the 20 or the 18-35mm….


    • Haven’t used either; the latter isn’t even available (though it is mighty interesting, especially for documentary work). That said, I’d rather have the two stop bonus of the prime…it’s difficult to imagine it being worse than the zoom, especially if stopped down to the same f3.5 starting point of the zoom.

      • Just in order to inform you I got an interesting post in a german camera forum “” where a lens and camera tester Thomas working for answered exactly this question on a readers request… are the link to the results all zooms 16-35, 18-35 and even the 14-24 were included all tested at 21mm f4 vs the 20 1.8 at f4…..….so you see the fx corners are not much better on the 20 1.8 prime lens…so if youre thinking about using the 20 1.8 just occasionally/in some cases for landscape shooting reducing the weight instead of carrying the 16-35 or 14-24 all the time the 18-35 might be better choice….but also in general the optics of the 20 1.8 are not that much better than the 18-35s if you see the fx corners….

        In general, the optics of the 18-35 are nearly better than those of the 20 1.8!!!! And that is a zoom lens vs a prime!!!!!
        Thats really remarkable and doesnt cast a positive light on the new 20 1.8!!!!!

        Both lens nearly same price (18-35 even less due to longer on the market!), same weigth/size… if you dont need the 1.8 for your purposes low light/astrophotography or documentary stuff, the 18-35 is a much better bang for the buck/choice…i would choose the 18-35 over the 20 anyday after seeing those results…..

        • Well, this is what happens when the prime is trying to push maximum aperture, price and size – I bet if there was 20/21mm Otus, it’d be enormous…sadly, we can’t have everything – simple limitations of engineering. I suppose all we can do is pick the best compromise for our own purposes…

  33. Hi Ming,

    did you get already your hands on the new Nikon 20 1.8 G ED? What are your thoughts on this lens? Could you imagine to take this one over the 28 1.8 or replacing it (d810 has a lot of crop potential) or is it not a viable option due to the the fact that the 20 is a completely different FOV, wider more distortion, less usable for portraiture……

    I am leaning to the 20 1,8 as my widest lens for landscapes, documentary etc….dont like the bulky nikon uww zooms and the 18-35 is not an option either, just love primes ;)…

    I am asking because i dont know if i could still use the 20 like the 28 despite the fact that the 28 is my preferred FL for street and environmental portraits if i’m gonna crop in order to carry as less as possible…d810 +20 + 85 1.8….??

    Thanks for your advice as a longterm experienced pro….!

    Take care!

    Best regards

    • Haven’t used it. B&H can’t ship it outside the US, Nikon Malaysia does not seem interested in lending me review gear, and I can’t even find one to buy (unlikely that I would anyway, since I already have a Zeiss 2.8/21 Distagon). Sorry!

      • THX! But would you agree or disagree that the 20 can replace the 28 somehow??

        • Er…no. 20mm is a very different FOV to 28mm, and renders with much greater foreground prominence. You could use a 28mm for environmental portraiture quite comfortably with little odd-looking distortion, but not a 20mm. They’re not really interchangeable.

          • You traded in your D4 and your 70-200 f4 for a D750…..interesting…..

            I am guessing you dont need the 70 -200 f4 anymore due to the 80-400 Nikkor and are you planning to quit completely from your pentax system accordiung to your list…you only have the 55 and the 645z….

            Anyway, excited on your detailed review of the d750 and your thoughts/comparison to the d810….

            Only advantages of the D750 in comparison to the d810 imo:

            1. II 3500 FX Modul -3EV better AF and better Low light possibilities & less noise due to 24 mpx…is the AF going to -3 EV really noticeable in comparison to the D810/D4s???
            2.tilting screen
            3. WIFI nice to have it onboard/internal but somehow (it could be easily achieved in the d810 just get an eyefi card for wifi jpegs or tp link mobile router mr 3040 + dslr dashboard app for IOS or android or the more expensive camranger….
            4.u1 and u2 odes beter than the memory setting banks……
            5. cheaper, lighter and smaller….

            D810: EFCS/quiet shutter, 1/8000, 1/250, Af on button, better build quality, better crop modes, split screen modes, 3 mpx better crop possibilites, sharpness no aa and olpf, iso 64 better DR etc…for me the d810 is still the better camera…..just my opinion…

            • Not quite. The 645Z when downsized gives a two stop cleaner file than the D4, and speed wasn’t/isn’t the priority for me – responsiveness and low light is. The 70-200/4 was replaced by an 80-400/4.5-5.6 VR for an upcoming job that required long reach (aerial).

              I haven’t reviewed the 750 yet, but you’re presuming a lot of things, some correct, some not:
              1. Agree
              2. Agree
              3. Makes no difference, frankly – I’ve never used wifi in any of my cameras. Just too darn fiddly in practice.
              4. Absolutely!
              5. Nice to have, but not that much smaller actually. You do notice the weight, though.

              The D750 also has EFCS, and is much cleaner than the D810 at the pixel level at high ISOs – something which even downsizing/oversampling cannot match. It’s actually cleaner than the D4s, too…

  34. Fabrizio Zerbini says:

    Hi Ming I very much appreciate your site and have been for a while a frequent user. I noticed you barely mention in your pages the Nikon 24-70. I am considering it in combination with a D800 but have seen very different considerations about that pair. I have noticed you owned it but apparently you substituted with the 24-120. If this assessment is correct, what is the rationale of the switch? How would that work on the series D800/D800E/D810 according to your knowledge? I will really appreciate your feedback thank you Fabrizio

  35. Bryan Gonzalvo says:

    Ming, I shoot with the D700. The lowest ISO is 200 and then there are the “Low” ISO settings. What are the “low” iso settings? I’ve had the camera for years and have never used it. I figured it’s like the “high” settings and are just not terribly functional or reliable. Do you use “Low” on your cameras?

  36. Did you sell your EM-1 due to shock issues?

    • No, we’re just using them for video. Insufficient resolution to Ultraprint, and yes, shock issues for stills.

      • Is there a general problem with shock-issues in smaller mirrorless-cameras to be noticed? I recently heard that due to it’s compact size and mechanical shutter the vibration can’t be absorbed by the whole construction – but in the end I could also mix things here. Is it still recommendable for stills? I mean if there was a general problem with those highend-mirrorless, it kinda kills its advantages… thanks for your input anyways and all the articles written here, its a treasure!

  37. I noticed at one point you did have the X100, was the slow autofocus the reason you never kept it? Any interest in the X100T or X100s?

  38. Does the Nikkor 58 1.4 make the list?? Have you ever tested one? What are your thoughts on this controversial lens (indications/reviews saying not sharp wide open, very soft, seems was made for making “bokehlicious” images, much overpriced not much better than 50 1.4…)? Is it as stellar as the Noct 58 1.2 optically?

    Would it not be better out of an photographer perspective to go with the Nikkor 85’s (longer FL compensating the 1.4 and making even shallower DOF than the 58 true???? ) the 85 1.4 for smooth bokeh or even better to grab a 1.8 (price performance, overall sharpness /wide open, less CA, slightly less smooth bokeh than 85 1.4) …..

    • I used one briefly, and didn’t like it at all. Let’s just say Nikon missed an opportunity with the likes of the 55 Otus and 50 Art. It’s an atmospheric lens rather than a sharp one. Both the 58/1.4 and 58/1.2 are not so great wide open on digital f2-2.8 is significantly better, and not bad, but still not even close to the Otus at 1.4 – especially in the corners.

      58 vs 85 is a different question entirely.

      • Hi Ming,

        I have two questions….
        1. Is it worth to trade in my second/backup body d7000, nikkor 10-24, + AFS 50 1.8, 60 2.8, 105 2.8 VR for one otus 55 1.4 mint condition in your opinion?? You stayed with your 60 2.8 and 50 1.8 (i know it is a “use it and throw it awaylens” in term of its price…)….any valid reasons???
        Remaining items:
        D810 first cam
        Nikkor 28 1.8
        Nikkor 85 1.8
        Nikkor 70–200 f4
        Zeiss 135 APO ZF2
        No real macro lens anymore but this should be manageable for the few macro shots i am doing….
        2. I am not sure about the best option for the telerange….have both lens the zeiss 135 and nikkor 70-200 f4 lens their own specific valid place in a photographers bag in your opinion?? Are they really complementing each other or not justifiable ?? Nobody wants doubling FL or lens for specific purposes if there are no real reasons for…..
        Less is sometimes more despite all photographers having GAS…..;)

        THX & Cheers!

  39. Any paticular reason why Zeiss 18mm/3.5 is not on recommended list?

  40. Ming,

    What are your thoughts on the GR w/ GW-3 does it give you the same performance as the native 28mm focal length or is there a noticeable degradation in image quality?

  41. For the ZD 75/1.8 did you get rid of it since you are no longer using m43? I was thinking of picking it up over a 35-100 (70-200 equivalent) zoom for the m43 system.

    • We still have one for making the outdoor portion of the teaching videos. At one point we had two (one for stills while being videoed). I’d pick this over the zoom any day.

  42. Hi Ming,

    if you have to choose between fuji x series (xt-1) and the sony fe mount mirrorless (sony a7) which one would you take??

    Aps-c and more lens, horrible workflow vs. ff and limit lens offer, horrible price for lens and accesories?


  43. Selamat siang, Ming!

    Have you ever tested the new nikkor 18-35 afs lens?? It is rumored /reviewed to have better optics (better performing!) than the Nikkor 16-35 f4 vr…..?? Only 385 gramms due to this fact interesting for traveling….

    Terima kasih!

    Selamat tinggal! Take care!

  44. Laurent says:

    Hi Ming,

    i would like to know which lens setup would you prefer for a d600 and or d800 if you has to choose two (at least), three or max. four primes for everything….please let alone the otus….;) too expensive for the majority….

    I know it isnt possible to generalize it due to the fact that everybody has some favourite FL /Field of view which work for him or not (e.g. 28 vs. 35)

    But how would you split up a lens setup based on primes solely? What is generally best to choose and about the intervalls (e.g. 24-35-50-85-105..or 28-60-85…? Which focal length is the most underrated, which the most overrated? So which one could you easily leave at home, not missing on a trip?

    So start the with the widest FL 24 ?? Is 24 a must/best start ??

    If you have D800 you could use crop modes or having more crop possibilities due to the resolution which could lead to replace some FL and caryy less FL with you if you accept lower IQ to some extent….

    Classical/Traditional ones:




    I think a lot of your blog readers are interested in this topic too….so i’m not the only one….
    So what would be your or your recommended FX lens setup for d600 and / or d800 based on primes ?

    Thanks a bunch!

    Take care !

    Best regards!

    • Generally something wider and something normal to short tele, or all three. So, a 28, 50 and/or 85. I seldom go wider unless I know I’m doing documentary in close quarters because the perspective is unnatural. The Nikon f1.8G primes are good on a budget, but I prefer to use a Ricoh GR for 28mm and pair that with the Otus or 70-200/4 on the D800/810, or a 55/90 on the 645Z.

      Pick whichever works for your preference of focal lengths.

      • So you would choose the 28 1.8 Nikon over the 24 1.4 as the widest for d600/d800 despite the 4mm less wide anyday?? Therefore the 28 is cheaper and lighter…and what about the “normal” lens is the 60 2.8 a viable option instead of the 50 1.8 if you want a real macro in your setup?? Or would it then to be close to the 85 1.8??


        • That’s what I just said. I owned the 24/1.4 and wasn’t happy with the optics, so I swapped it for a 28.

          Yes, the 60 is an option against the 50 if you don’t mind losing 1 1/3 stops.

  45. Terrence says:

    Hi Ming,

    ware you gonna test and write a review of the d810? Sadly, gps and wifi is not built in / missing….have you ever tested the wt5 (for d4) should work with the d810 according to nikon…. Is it useful and recommendable for transfering images to e.g. i pad mini retina?


  46. Hi Ming,

    wanna buy first ff cam… Which one d600 or sony a7? You have already been played with both…which one is better ? Which one would you recommend? FF Mirrorless vs ff dslr?


  47. Hi Ming,

    i am thinking about switching from my 24 1.4 to the 28 1.8 nikkor (d800e) due to weight/size issues as you’ve already done!
    But I am uncertain about the loss of the 4mm on the “wide-end side”….any thoughts how to gain back the 4mm other possibilities than improving my compositional abilities and use my feets if possible (sadly not always possible)?? How much meters do I have to go back in order to compensate for the 4mm loss generally?
    Dof of both lens is similar despite difference in aperture!…vice versa it is easier to crop 24–>28mm but the other way (uncropping) is sadly not possible 28 –>24mm;)

    Thanks so much!

  48. Hi Ming,

    i have a question with regard to your opinion (I value as high as possible by the way!–> your work) about the crop capabilitites of the d800(e)! Could you just crop later instead of take a longer tele prime or zoom with you due to the high resolution and the different crop modus in order to travel as light as possible (e.g. only with 28 and 85 1.8 without a 70-200 f4 or even 2.8)?


    • You could, but you also throw away resolution. And it’s not easy to visualise where those crop marks lie, exactly, which is bad for strength of composition.

      • So you would still say it is more “safety” to carry one lens more despite the fact that it might be not used /much on a trip than crop….


        • Not at all. I don’t crop because I might as well just take a lighter/ smaller camera and lighter/ smaller lenses then. I bring what I bring because I want every bit of image quality I can get out of it.

          • Fine but you re contradictory yourself a bit at least! In order to get always the best image quality, you have to carry then a complete fx setup (14-24, 24/28/60 2.8/ , 70-200 f4 at least. Better even MF setup….
            What would you do, if you would make a world trip for one year around the world not knowing which situation might happened and in order not to miss one shot (cover most of the possible situations/motifs!)? ….

  49. Patrick says:

    Ming, you do now own any mirrorless system anymore? Or use? Where are your two stars?** I am waiting for the day, soon I expect, where I will be able to shoot sport with such a system. Olympus is on my list: a better AF from an upcoming camera, and this lens

  50. Hi Ming,

    I have a question to your recommendation for the wacom Intuos pen and touch tablet. Do you use a model of the pro series intuos pro or even one of the cintiqs series? Have you tested or made any experience with the pro or cintiq wacom tablet models?? Are they much better than the pen and touch models? Which is best in your opinion?

    • I used to use the Intuos4/5/pro, and I’ve tried the Cintiq. I find my hands block the image too much on screen, but new tablet users find it very intuitive. Not much difference in feel or responsiveness between the 4/5/Pro, but they are a lot physically larger and more expensive – I wear one out every year on average, and have to travel with it, so I’d rather have smaller where possible.

  51. Mtchell says:

    Hi Ming
    do you think that you can use the d800e with a monopod (like the p 326 model only??? Would it still be enough stabilization in order to prevent blur etc??

    By the way due to the fact that you give us a lot of recomendations for free i wanna give you a recommendation for the best backpack used so far from me for photography equipment/traveling (nearly same gear as you, honestly “only nearly” t&s lens and otus are missing sadly ;)) its the “lowepro flipside 500 aw” (had no issues with chest straps so far!!! and i can recommend the heads and tripod of sirui especially the tx-series of sirui (t-1205x and 2205-x I use the t-1205x carbon even more compact for traverling than the 2205 and its more than sufficient for me and my purposes!
    Excellent price performance, quality etc. not on par with gitzos but in my point of view, they come relatively close and i dont say this easily….


    • Sorry, no idea. I haven’t used that monopod. There can be huge differences between similar looking models.

      And I’ve got the bags I need, thanks.

  52. Hi Ming,

    after reading extensively your camerapedia there is still one question remaining for me to be answered from you….

    Would you prefer or choose the omd system / m43 over fuji x system/x transsensor anyday? Despite the fact that you never have been tested the xt1 and that fuji has even a broader and better lens lineup than m43/oly/pany after only 3 years….?? Your main issues/reasons against are the controls, workflow as well as your subjective non liking of fuji colors rendering….not lack of flashes, flash sync 1/180 or shutter speed limit of 1/4000….

    Did I get it right?

    • I have tested the XPro, XE1 and 2, and the XT1 – there just happens to be no review because it would be a waste of my time to write, and a waste of your time to read subjective negativity. Not to mention the number of rude fanboys who would come out of the woodwork to complain and troll.

      I disagree with the statement on lenses. There is no f2.8 constant pro zoom. There is no 75/1.8 equivalent. There is no telephoto solution. How is that better and broader?

      The XT1 has excellent controls and ergonomics. But the workflow remains a disaster, the files have aliasing along fine detail/ hard edges, and yes, there’s the color problem.

      If I want flashes or faster sync I’ll use the D800.

      • Thanks. But the 56 1.2 is comparable to the 75 1.8 for portraiture, shallow dof i think…

        • No it isn’t. 85mm vs 150mm equivalent FOV? Regardless of DOF, you’d have to move nearly twice as close to get the same angle of view. That’s definitely not an equivalent lens.

          • Indeed. I am no fuji owner or even fanboy! But you could do this vice versa…oly/pana has no 10-24 f4 ois equivalent lens with filter thread (7-14 2.0 pro is coming 2015 and pana 7-14 horrible purple fringing on em1!!) and a equiv. 35 1.4 is missing as well….(17 1.8 is not as good as the 23 1.4 fuji!)…

            • Agree with you there. The 17/1.8 is a bit of a disaster, and you need to use the ACR profile for the Panasonic 7-14. Haven’t used the 10-24 – it’s far wider than I normally need anyway.

              That said, I don’t think either system has everything, nor are they exactly incomplete…

              • Hi Ming,

                followed your discussion with Nasim and your reviews and negative experiences with fuji so far, i just wonder then why there are a lot of “pros” using or switching to fuji (e.g. Zack arias) despite the fact of poor workflow issues, lack of flashes/appropriate/competitive flash system, 1/180 flash sync and 1/4000 shutter speed limits etc..??? Only due to nice handling, controls/ergonomics,manual focusing and the “cheaper leica/retro feeling”??? Cannot believe….Or do they have a completely different workflow as you? Is this even possible? I thought every pro has a similar workflow or am i proven wrong…?

                • I wonder too. Perhaps free cameras are a motivation? Note that Zack etc. do a lot of promo work with Fuji, which makes me question objectivity somewhat.

                  • So they are just being kids (excited and interested in new stuff!) or wanna try the “the leica for the poors” and or getting paid from fuji for making their brand more attractive (appealing) and gaining significant faster and broader publicity….
                    Anyway, thanks for the fastest reply i’ve ever seen and got! You must have very quick hands, your shutter speed wasnt actually measurable as you pulled err pushed the trigger! Nearly light velocity…;)

                    Have a nice weekend, have a kitkat!;)

                    • We’re all kids at heart, but the gear either has to be really, really special to justify that kind of enthusiasm or there has to be money involved. Having used it, I’m certain it isn’t the former.

  53. Seems you left the Mirrorless system.

    • I maintain a pair of E-M1s for video work. Insufficient resolution for the kind of printing I’m doing these days; it’s D800E or medium format.

  54. Hi Ming,

    could you tell me which af system is better, faster focusing the one of the d600/d610 or the hybrid pdaf of sony A7? So are the 39 /15 cross points better, faster and more accurate than the 119 pdaf cells? If not what would you guess….


    • ‘Better’ has many components: faster, more accurate, better at tracking, more area coverage etc. The D600/610 is better at tracking. The A7 is more accurate because it focuses on the sensor. Speed depends on which lenses you’re using it with.

      • Thanks for answering quickly! So the Sony A7 or mirrorless have better af system than dslrs in general?? So Sony a7s AF system even better, more accurate than d800/d810….oh my god…thx anyway!

        • No, you’re misinterpreting what I said. Contrast detect AF will always be more accurate because you’re focusing on the imaging sensor, using the imaging sensor. It won’t be faster because it has to go past the point of focus and back to know that it’s reached maximum contrast.

          • I understand! But i meant the sony a7’s not sony a7s !!!! So which af system is overall better then, the sony a7’s 119 pdaf cells or the pdaf 51/15 cross points of d800/d810 in your opinion?

            Last check with you….sorry!

  55. H Ming,

    do you always use the MB-D12 for better ergonomics, more stability and additional battery power??? Or is it only attached when big glass is mounted on the d800e like the Zeiss 135 zf2 or the otus??
    And do you use the en el18 battery with adapter (the one of the d4/s!) in your grip or the ordinary en el 15….??


    • Ergonomics with heavy lenses, I use the ENEL15 because I don’t want to travel with the enormous charger for the D4 battery. I’ve never exhausted a regular D800 battery in a day of non-studio (i.e. non live view) use anyway.

  56. Hi Ming

    is the panaleica 25 1.4 optical better than the olympus 17,25 1.8 and the pana 20 1.7 mk I or mk II? I am asking you because you recommend the 25 1.4 panaleica on your gear list but within the camerapedia section, I couldnt find anything about the recommended 25 1.4 only about the others….
    Sorry for inquiring….

    THX in advance!

  57. Hi Ming,
    I am new to photography and i have technical questions with regard to shutter speed, DoF and ISO in order to find and buy the right gear/system for me meaning imo not automatically to get the technically best gear…even it gets a bit thereotical with my cases/scenarios but i think only an experienced pro can answer these questions….

    1. Can the IBIS, 1/8000, 1/250 flash sync of the omd em1 compensate the advantage of the slightly larger aps-c sensor and better low light performance (2/3-1 stop advantage) of the fuji xt1 or even of a fullframe cam?
    2.Following case/scenario: at a beach in sunny australia
    Olympus EM1 + panaleica 42.5 1.2 (85 2.4) and or 75 1.8 (ff equiv 150 3.6 fov)
    Fuji XT-1 + 56 1.2 (ff. equiv. 84 1.8 fov/dof)
    Nikon D810 + 85 1.8

    2a. Can the IBIS, 1/8000, 1/250 flash sync of the omd em1 compensate the advantage of the slightly larger aps-c sensor of the fuji xt1 (no IS, only 1/4000, 1/180) or even better/more capable of a fullframe cam (let alone resolution!) despite the fact that the m43 might be 1.8 (if you shoot with the 75) instead of the larger aperture (1.2) of the fuji lens? Dont need a nd filter, lower iso, lower shutter speed etc.–> So is the larger aperture/bigger sensor better or can the IBIS/higher shutter/ flash sync comepensate the slightly less large aperture in this case?

    2b. And what about if you were using a lens with stabilization???–>So is the IBIS more effective in than the majority of OIS or VR lens? How much stops?

    3. Which listed setup would yield to the shallowest depth of field?
    Olympus EM1 + 75 1.8 (ff equiv 150 3.6 fov) or the pana leica 42.5 1.2 (85 2.4 ff. equiv fov/dof) due to larger aperture?
    Fuji XT-1 + 56 1.2 (ff. equiv. 84 1.8 fov)
    Nikon D810 + 85 1.8
    So which factor has the most impact on the depth of field larger sensor, larger aperture or longer focal length (ff equiv. fov) excluding the distance from camera to subject and subject to background and or if it would be the same in all three cases/setups?

    Thank you so much!
    Best regards!

    Wish you al the best especially for your wife –> quick recovery! It seems for me that more people getting infected/ diseases due to mosquitos! They are getting more and more aggressive and the dangerous species spreading around the globe even on the northern hemisphere not solely the tropics! Its a serious problem….

    • 1. Shutter speeds are irrelevant. IBIS can compensate so long as your subject isn’t moving; it can’t stop that from happening.
      2. Almost zero difference between the E-M1 and XT1. D810 will have shallower DOF and more resolution, as well as more dynamic range.
      2a. I don’t know what you mean by ‘compensate’ in this case: it won’t give you shallower depth of field, but it will bring image quality fairly close because you can use a lower ISO. Higher shutter and flash sync are again irrelevant.
      2b. Depends which OIS or VR lens. Different effectiveness depending on the hardware and your handholding technique. Impossible to say but in general IBIS is as good or slightly better.
      3. I suggest you try this website.

      Hope you remember to use my referral links when you do decide what to buy!

      • Wow ultrafast answer from the ultraprint master 😉

        To 1: So the IBIS could completely compensate the 2/3-1 stop iso advantage of the slightly bigger apsc sensor of the fuji? Also of the ff cam 2 stops if subject isnt moving??
        To 2a: So the fuji and the nikon would yield shallower depth of field due to bigger sensors and partially larger aperture (in case of fuji!) but the omd em 1 and d810 (additionally lower native base iso 64 vs. iso200 both others!) have the advantage of the higher flash sync and shutter speeds in comparison to the fuji where you might need or use a nd filter earlier due to 1/4000 if you are shooting at a sunny place…True??? Ii hope you understand it better….
        To 2b: Most of the newer OIS and VR lens (70-200 f4) have a 4 stops at least or even 5 stops….so the ibis is even better? 6+ stops if similar handhoding technique same person would use the cams…??And what if you use an omd with ibis and a pana lens with ois….so “synergistic effects” meaning even more stops advantage/handholding advantages ??
        To 3: THX for the link gonna read carefully…but as your answer (to 2) stated it seems the larger sensor d810 / 85 1.8 has in the mentioned scenario/setup the highest impact on dof (shallower) more than a larger aperture (56 1.2 Fuji xt1 apsc sensor vs. 1.8 primes) or a longer focal length Omd em1 75 1.8 (150 3.6 ff. equiv. fov/dof)…..
        Should be logical somehow 4 times larger sensor, 4 times better light gathering capabilities, informations, details etc. than m43 or 1.5 ?? times larger than apsc the ff is the king……if both distance (subject to cam and background) and all other reöevant factors/coditions are equal….

        Referral links – sure need some time (or a bunch) for decision and have to read a lot….it should be a longterm decision investing in one system so tends to d810….!

        • 1. That’s what I just said.
          2a. Yes, shallower DOF because of aperture and real FL. You might have higher flash sync but you’ll still need more flash power at a lower ISO, the requirement is proportional to subject distance and aperture. If you have a lower ISO you need an ND filter only when it gets brighter. These three questions are NOT related.
          2b. Read my reviews. The manufacturer’s claims are not accurate. 4/5 stop claimed VR is more like two.

          FF is not always the king if your shot discipline is insufficient for the pixel density (pixels per degree FOV) resulting in blurriness.

          I am not sure I would recommend the D810, because frankly, it seems like far more camera than you need or can handle at the moment. And it makes no sense to ‘grow into’, because two, three, four years from now – technology will have moved again, and I bet you’ll have the upgrade itch. 🙂 Save your money and go with an E-M1.

          • I think the omd is still not the ideal entry cam or system despite the fact that they are praised and being very successful! For me an old dslr might be better eg. d7000 because the omd system makes it too easy /unforgiveable due to ibis & excellent af system to make good photographs/having success at the beginning and you dont think that much or learn the basics about the “triangle” shutter speed, iso and aperture because you just dont have to due to the fact that always everything will be in focus and you dont get blurry images very often and have to think why did i getr an blurred image…..?

            Just my opinion!

            • The same principles still apply to all cameras. You might also want to try spell checking and punctuating your sentence(s), it’s very difficult to understand what you’re trying to say.

  58. I was wondering why you dont use a D7100 as a backup camera or even as your first camera for macro works???
    Higher pixel pinch –> more details & informations –> comparable to a 54 fx sensor?

    Hope it isnt a silly question….was hesitating asking you;) Only due earlier diffraction limit??

    • Because I don’t need that much magnification, the D800E still has more total resolution, and diffraction sets in at 5.6 which is almost no depth of field whatsoever. Stitching is impractical for macro. It isn’t just pixel density, it’s overall total resolution also.

  59. Which one is optically better 14-24 or zeiss 15 2.8 in your opinion/experience? Will beused on d810 for landscpae photography…..for the 14-24 the fotodiox wonderpana filter system is gorgeus!! Havent found anything about the 15 2.8 in your camerapedia….;)


  60. Colin Fry says:

    Hi Ming, I see from the single 1 * next to the Olympus EM1 & 12-40 (and most of your M4/3 equipment that you’ve sold it or not using anymore? I sold all my Nikon gear a while ago after reading your reviews amongst other and am happy with the Olympus EM1, the light weight etc considering i have no need for large prints. Is there something else that you’ve replaced this system with? Just out of interest.
    Look forward to reading your blog each day .. and i must treat myself to another ‘How to see” video!

    • It’s been retired from photo work partially because of the shutter shock problem, and partially because of my larger print size requirement which necessitates more pixels. We still use them to film the workshop videos, however. No replacement as yet, sadly – the closest I get for that kind of function is a D4 and 24-120/4.

      • I didnt get it….So you are just using the em1 with 12-40 2.8 for your video productions and the other mft lens (60 2.8, 45, 75 1.8, 100-300) were sold?
        And just for completeness issues the Nikon Coolpix A should easily make the list as the Ricoh GR is doing….you said The A “has amongst the most pleasing color of any camera I’ve used, period.”….

        So you’ve to add the Coolpix A….

        • E-M1 x2, 12-40 and 75mm. The rest are redundant and were sold.

          Between the GR and the A, I’d take the GR. I can make the GR’s color look like the A with a bit of work, but I can’t make the A’s B&Ws look like the GR. There are also ergonomic/ control issues with the A that mean it doesn’t make the list.

  61. Dave Freeman says:

    Hi Ming, do you ever use a film scanner, if so, which on is a good one that does not cost a million dollars? i.e Hasselblad’s, can’t afford that one… Being used to scan some 35mm from my M6 and 120 for my Hasselblad 503.


  62. I can tell you are not a fan of canon.

  63. Hi Ming. I need a pancake zoom for my em5. Have you tried the new MZuiko 14-42EZ yet?

    • Yes. I prefer the 12-32 because of the extra on the wide end and the mechanical zoom ring.

      • Hi Ming

        have you ever tested or played with the Sigma 105, 150 or 180 2.8 Macro lens (all 1:1, very good reviews partially)? Maybe they are interesting for you as well and your kind of photography….maybe they are even better than Olympus/Nikon 60 2.8, Nikon 105 2.8VR or the Zeiss 100 ZF2 MF Planar……???

        Take care!

        Kindly regards,

        • Nope, no intention to do so. I’m using the Nikon 85 PCE most of the time anyway – it’s the only tilt shift macro option there is for the Nikon system…

  64. Hi,

    I have two wishes Ming…could you make a review (perhaps comparison) of the nikon 70-200 2.8 vs. f4 and of the new nikon 35 1.8 fx vs. Sigma 35 1.4 Art lens although we all know you are a “28mm shooter and prefer this lens as a run and gun prime on the d800e”!

    I think I’m not the only one who would love to see your thoughts/review about the mentioned lenses…

    I am asking because I have to make a decision between the Sigma 35 1.4 Art and the new Nikkor 35 1.8 fx (leaning to the new Nikon because of weight/size issues although no reviews are still available in terms of performance of this lens).

    Furthermore, I am thinking about replacing my “dark”-telezoom, the Nikon 70-300 4.5-5.6, with one of the newer nikon telezooms. As in the other case, I am actually leaning towards the 70-200 f4 because of several issues. There are some indications that this lens has even a lot of advantages in comparison to the 70-700 2.8 VRII (lighter/traveling, better VR III (5Stops), sharper, better resolution, fx corner performance and especially no focus breathing at 200mm, better minimum focus distance, higher max. aperture f32 like other reviewers/reviews nasim mansurov/photographylife, cameralabs, lenstip, photozone, ephototzine already suggested etc.)

    Is the 70-200 f4 so much better than the 70-300 4.5-5.6? I would guessing yes…..!

    And especially the issue of the focus breathing of the 70-200 2.8 at 200 mm makes me nervous and leaning me even more towards the 70-200 f4 but i would like to use the telezoom not only for nature/landscapes/wildlife/cityscapes but also for portraiture….

    Is the f4 (one full f-stop less) then still sufficient enough for portraiture and some low light cityscape shots or do you really need the 2.8 for such actions on a d800e?

    Content background:

    How important is for you the 1 f stop extra capability of gathering light for portrait ? (e.g. low light portrait situations)
    How useful and how often do you really need and use the 2.8 wide open on the tele instead of stopping down to f4+ ? Is the one extra stop in terms of better bokeh, shallower DoF really important (or in low light portrait) to you? The majority of made portraitures (studio) on ff are not between f4 and f 5.6 either way having the best sharpness?
    Would you buy the 70-200 f4 instead of the 2.8 even If you were a “fulltime-pro”?
    What about the impacts of the huge focus breathing of the 70-200 2.8 VRII and your experiences in this regard?
    How often do or did you generally make portraits from 5 to about 13 feet at 200mm? (refering to focus breathing/article/source
    Would you agree with the opinion and conclusions of the mentioned article/link above in terms of the 70-200 f4 might be even better for portraiture especially for close ups?

    So why I am still asking you? I am doing because a lot of your lens recommendations have been a blessing in disguise after buying and using them everyday. 😉

    Thank you in advance and so far!

    Keep it up and take care!

    Kindly regards


    • Sorry, I don’t have the time to do this nor am I going to buy lenses to review – especially if they are not useful to me afterwards. There are plenty of other sites that do the comparisons you’re looking for. I use a Zeiss 2/135 APO-Sonnar to cover my short tele needs. Use it at any aperture and distance you please; there’s no focus breathing and brilliant clarity.

  65. I’m waiting for “The recommended watch list”.
    (typo error on : “Voigtlaner 50/1.1 Nokton” 😉 )

  66. Hi Ming!

    Just to be clear – you believe that the OMD EM5 with 12/2 lens has better image quality than the Ricoh GR?

    Thank you,


    • No, I said the complete opposite. The GR (APSC version) has better image quality.

      • Sorry – I got confused because of the stats – stop faster, more expensive, larger, etc. Still get my head twisted when i read these analyses between m4/3 and APSC, with some concluding that the OMD equals or best APSC. Back to learning with what I got.

  67. Hi Ming,
    Just downloaded the next 2 installations in your video workshop – excellent stuff!
    I wonder if you could review the OLY 12-40 F2.8 zoom when you get chance? I have my EM5 and am using the Pany 12-35 & 35-100 f2.8s (along with OLY 45 & 75 primes) and have ordered and patiently waiting for my EM1 and the 12-40 f2.8 zoom. It would be really good to hear your opinion on the new lens.

    • I reviewed it some time ago already here:

      Might I suggest trying the search function or category archives in the header next time? 🙂

      • Ah! yes, thank you. I was on your recommended gear list and didn’t see the review link next to the lens and assumed it hadn’t been.
        Really enjoying your tutorials! 🙂

        • Ming, I would like to see you expand this list to include the computer hardware and software you would recommend for storage and processing on the digital side.

      • Hi Ming

        wonder that the 42.5 1.2 pana is missing….no lust for the PanaLeica Nocticron 42.5 1.2 ?? Have you played with it ? …should have amazing bokeh for m43 but according to dxomark it has a huge amount of chromatic aberrations 30 never saw a higer value….shocked…!!!….

        How to evaluate this fact…..better to choose the oly 75 (and 45 1.8 or 60 2.8)….??? Gonna buy it over your site at the end of next month…for sure so…;)

        Would you still choose the 75 1.8 Oly over the Nocticron nowadays/anyday? Why?

        Greetings from hot brazil….Rio the most beautiful metropolis followed by cape town….;)….

        World Cup is coming! Do you like watching soccer/football? 😉

        Kindly regards!

        • Can’t recommend or comment on something I haven’t used and have no interest in. M4/3 is about light and small, and I rarely shoot wide open anyway – the 45/1.8 is a much better fit for my needs.

  68. Does the Nikon D610 make the list?

  69. Hi Ming, I bought the Panasonic 7-14mm on your advice. It’s a great lens though I feel I need something a little faster like the Oly 12mm for, say, night shots of the city. What might you recommend as an affordable strategy for night shots?

  70. Hi Ming.
    Purchased both your videos and found them very inspiring and really made me think.
    I have just picked up the OMD (from reading your review) and am amazed how good this is, so much so that i am considering selling my D800 and trinity of £2.8 zooms due to weight and when comparing image quality with the OMD there really isn’t as much difference as i thought there would be.
    I shot the 45 f1.8 on the OMD against the 85 f1.8G on the D800 and the OMD really impressed.
    My question:
    What bag would you recommend to hold?
    OMD Em5, 12 f2, 17 f1.8, 45 f1.8 & 75 f1.8
    What do you use?

    Looking forward to the release of more videos in your series and if you find an alternative method to the Paypal payment i’d be happy to comply.

  71. Thanks for all your hard work on this blog. Your writing has inspired me to get back into the game. A couple years ago I gave away all my equipment (Canon crop DSLR) and decided I was going to make it work with just an iPhone 4S. The iPhone has an amazing camera, no question about it – but I’m back at the point where I feel the limitations. Taking the next step with the RX100.

    Bought through your link, hope the B&H affiliate tracking worked! 🙂

  72. Guillaume says:

    I’ve see that you own a Leica 50 Lux ASPH and a Planar. You recommend the M240 but I could not see any ** to show that you own it. So now I am wondering on what body do you use your Leica lenses ?

    • I replaced the Planar with the 50 lux ASPH. If you want a DRF, you really only have one choice now. I don’t own one because it makes no commercial sense for me and doesn’t offer em anything my other bodies don’t already have. The 50 Lux is actually used on the OM-D now for cinematic work…

  73. Ahmet Ozdemir says:

    In your pocket cameras list two are with zoom, two are FFL . This is exactly where I can not make up my mind. How important is zoom for a person like me who just wants to make good pictures only for himself . I can not be a photografer after becoming 67 years old anyway!!!
    With regards

    • Depends on how you see the world: you can of course shoot anything with any FL, depending on your composition. If you just want to be able to shoot 99% of things without thinking too much, have a decent range of perspectives and something pocketable, go with the RX100…

  74. How does Ricoh GR compare to OM D 12mm f2 combo? Cheers

    • Higher image quality at like for like apertures, but it’s not a fair comparison as the OM-D/12 is actually 24mm, a stop faster, and has a stabilizer. It’s also larger. Plus the Ricoh is cheaper than the 12/2 alone…

  75. Will the Oly EP-5 make the list?

  76. Peregrine says:

    Have you looked or had any experience of the new Sigma Arts range starting with the new 35 mm f1.4. It looks good on paper but that is not the whole story .The coatings etc could make or brake it.

    • Nope, not something that interests me to be honest – I have lenses I’m already happy with in the FLs covered, and 35 isn’t something I use at all.

  77. What is your thought on X100s? I just got the X100s a week ago. I think it is quite good. Thanks.

    • Had a play with one today, actually – seems MUCH faster than the X100, and the sensor looks very, very clean indeed…could be interesting, except for the price.

  78. Some good recommendations here, I am currently in Afghanistan and am giving the Billingham Hadley Pro bag a good work out. It has quickly adopted the weather-beaten “nothing to see here” look (I have the black on black model, the other ones are far too yuppy) and doesn’t seem to have any problem with the dust and wind here. I am getting a 445 for an upcoming tour of Vietnam/Cambodia/HK/Japan since I want to bring more kit with me. They’re not cheap, but then nothing good is.

    • Thanks. I’ve got two – and the 555 for a jumbo holdall/ weekend bag/ big gear bag. Wanted the black stealthy one but they didn’t have stock – will probably pick up a Hadley digital in black/black when you don’t need to carry that much gear.

  79. I did read your reply about the workflow videos covering how you create your black and white photographs. So, which video would apply to the black and white process?

    • Assuming you’re starting with a color image, there are a lot of ways to perform the conversion – A: Intro to PS would cover the options and subsequent treatment of the file. If you’re starting with a Leica M Monochrom image, then you need video B, which is about getting the most punch out of the file.

  80. I really like the way you process your digital black and white files, the one with the 28mm f/1.8 afs Nikon. will you tell us the steps you take, what program you use to process these? Thanks much John

  81. Your Christmas list recommended the D700 over the D600. Change of heart? Really enjoy your site, by the way.

    • Nope, simple economics: you can’t buy it new anymore. It seems the last of the stock has been sold.

      • Yes, you’re right, no more new ones – so I just bought a used one! A longtime Nikon SLR film shooter (FE, F6), the D700 is my entry into the brave new (for me anyway) RAW DSLR world. It’s going to be weird not having analog masters, ie slides or negatives. Really appreciate your comments on the mindset of shooting film vs digital as well as your thoughts on digital post processing. Not sure I’m looking forward to the “workflow” 🙂 I still enjoy shooting film but It’s time to explore digital. Thanks for the time you put into your web site. It’s excellent. Cheers.

  82. Too much gear! Less is more! Isn’t it?

  83. Surprised the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm are missing from the list, although I can definitely see that if you prefer primes that these would be omitted.

    I’m currently in the market for the PanaLeica 25mm and either the Oly 12mm or the Panasonic 12-35mm, initially for travels…

    • The 12-35 has some corner CA and field curvature issues, plus harsh double images in the bokeh. I too was hoping to be able to replace my 12mm with something a bit more flexible, but landed up disappointed. Tried several samples and wasn’t impressed. 35-100 isn’t available where I live, so I’ve not been able to take it for a spin.

  84. I notice that your Leica M9-P has gone missing from the list – an M-240 on order perhaps??? I was blessed to have discovered your site early on and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every post in the interim – you are the definitive technically inclined artistically impassioned craftsman.

  85. Thanks for the list, it’s really helpful. Do you really find 50mm f/1.8G’s resolution sufficient for D800E? I’ve read some mixed opinions and I see that you don’t own it.

    • I don’t own it because I also have the 45/2.8P, 50/2 Makro-Planar, 58/1.2 Noct and 60/2.8 Micro all in the same range. But I have used and tested one, and yes, resolution is most certainly sufficient. There is some sample variation, though.

  86. I m keen to know your thoughts on Leica D-Lux 6. As such its is Leica’s version of the Panasonic Lumix LX7 – Nevertheless would you recommend to consider to buy for Leica badge ?

  87. Richard says:

    Regarding the mirrorless system, how about the Panasonic 7-14 for UWA?

    Why the Panasonic 20/1.7 rather than the Olympus 17/1.8? Your review suggested choosing one over the other was a matter of personal preference.


    • Haven’t used the 7-14, so can’t really comment. If it was a stop faster I’d probably have one instead of the 12/2, and use it as a very flexible 28mm equivalent. As for the 20 and 17 – if you’re after the very best optics, the 25 is better.

  88. Daniel Fung says:

    Why the Nikon AFS 14-24/2.8 VR is not included for super-wide?

  89. Gary Evans says:

    Nikon D600, 28/1.8G and 85/1.8G got,got,got. My only mistake according to your list is my 50/1.4G instead of the 1.8 G. Still 3 out f 4 ain’t bad eh.

  90. No 14-24?

  91. Nice List Ming! Thank you!

    • No problem. Now watch your wallet heh

      • Hi Ming,

        could you recommend one fisheye lens?? I am thinking of buying a Nikkor 10.5 2.8 dx or 16 2.8 fisheye…

        Have you made any expeirence with fisheye lens and with the mentioned ones? What is the best fisheye lens avaiable for the Nikon f mount…..i heard that the 10.5 as a shaved version (without lens hood) is even better performing than the old fx 16 2.8 lens on fx nikon cameras….

        I would love to see some fisheye shots from your urban/citiyscapes shots Tokyo, KL, NYC….(i know its getting boring after a while but i find they make sometimes a lot of fun, giving a certain “pep” and different, interesting perspective to the image…) Especially when youre shooting skylines “bottom-up”/vertically….

        • Sorry, no. I don’t have any experience with fisheyes. The look is very cliched and every shot lands up looking the same.

          • Hi Ming,

            is it useful to use a fisheye lens as a wide and as a fisheye lens?
            If you gonna carefully framing landscape shots you wont see the fisheye effect/was used or is it rather more useful getting a real wide angle lens due to the fact that you need the “ordinary” wide angle lens just simply in more cases and if you really want the fisheye effect getting this later via post processing or camera built in effects/filter (e.g. Nikon camera menu)…??
            Keep going!

            • No, a fisheye is still a fisheye and will always look spherically distorted.

              • So better solution than to make the fisheye effect if needed/wanted sometimes via post processing of a wide angle shot (even the lens is not as wide as a real fisheye lens) ….dont need to buy one and carry less stuff….



  1. […] if you do feel like treating yourself, there’s always my recommended gear list or please consider using my B&H and Amazon links – you pay the same price, but a small […]

  2. […] if you need a more detailed, considered list, try my Recommended Gear List. Education though, we have in plentiful supply on the Teaching Video Store here. […]

  3. […] see lenses that have actually been shot a LOT, on different cameras, for long stretches of time: The recommended gear list ? Ming Thein | Photographer and for the 85/1.8 AF-S G that I recommend to most people, go here: Lens review: The Nikon AF-S […]

  4. […] items I’ve discovered during the course of the year. For a complete list of recommendations, see this page. Please note, all links from this page do award me a small referral commission; it doesn’t […]

  5. […] makes the difference (a good photographer can use anything) – I’ve got a handy list here, and there’s also the Camerapedia, which contains a concise opinion on every piece of gear […]

  6. […] not the camera, that makes the difference; a good photographer can use anything. Here’s a handy list, and there’s also the Camerapedia, which contains a concise opinion on every piece of gear […]

  7. […] you’re considering of getting a camera yourself for that coming season, have a look at Ming Thein’s list of recommended gear. Interesting thing is that he’s just one of so many professional photographers who […]

  8. […] to creating it. This will be an updated, living document that has its own page. You can find the Recommended Gear List here. […]

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