Readers’ favourite kit of the year 2017

Robin Hunter

We asked for your favourite pieces of kit that you bought in 2017 and you didn’t disappoint. Check out the wonderfully diverse selection chosen by you below.

Robin Hunter

Fujian 35mm f/1.7 CCTV lens Amateur Photographer
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“A Fujian 35mm f/1.7 CCTV lens that cost just over £10 and produces the most bonkers bokeh of all the lenses in my kit. Got to love mirrorless systems for the ability to bung random glass on.”

Credit: Robin Hunter Robin Hunter

Josh Evans

“A Tamron 18-200mm lens. It’s a great-performing little travel lens, and saves me carrying a load with me. And it was only £85 with two-year warranty.”

Colin Feilen

Gitzo Explorer Amateur Photographer

“A Gitzo Explorer tripod with GH3382QD ball head to replace my beloved Benbo Series 1 that I bought in Harrogate 30 years ago.”

Anay Chaubal

“The nifty fifty – the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. That image quality cannot be matched for the price.”

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Wayne Andrews

Fujifilm X-T20 Amateur Photographer

“I feel as if I have committed the most evil act of betrayal. I’ve placed my much-fancied, ever-faithful Nikon to one side in favour of a Fujifilm X-T20. I love this amazing little camera. The image quality, ergonomics and functionality are something else. Not
to worry, Nikon – I still love you.”

Paul Coen

Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 Amateur Photographer

“Up until the last two weeks, I’d have said my Sony Alpha 6500, but the new Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 is so much fun that it’s edging it out.”

Bill Carey

“The best piece of kit I’ve bought in a while is an FD to EF chipped converter. Now I have access to all my ‘old’ lenses, some of which are absolutely superb. Maybe now I can get rid of the old FD bodies. Or maybe not.”

David Street

Sigma 10-20mm lens Amateur Photographer

“It has to be my Sigma 10- 20mm lens. I love how I can use it to play with perspective.”

Linda Ford

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD portrait lens Amateur Photographer

“The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD portrait lens. I’ve used it for three portrait sessions and have found it amazing.”

Mike Mckenna

Tokina AT-X 11-16mm PRO f/2.8 DX II lens Amateur Photographer

“My favourite piece of kit is my new Tokina AT-X 11-16mm PRO f/2.8 DX II lens. I’ve had it less than a week and I’m seriously impressed with the images I’m capturing.”

Iain Massie

“The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport lens. Heavy but sweet, with camouflage from Wildlife Watching Supplies.”

Stuart Green

Lensbaby Composer Pro Amateur Photographer

“I love my Lensbaby Composer Pro, which I got with the 35mm soft-focus optic. I had already picked up a fisheye optic for it on eBay, and also recently got hold of a well-priced second-hand kit including the plastic, single glass and pinhole/zone plate optics.”

Alan Hill

Olympus PEN-F Amateur Photographer

“I bought an Olympus PEN-F, and really love it. I even managed to get a 25mm f/1.8 lens free with an offer.”

Sam Hussey

Credit: Sam Hussey Amateur Photographer

“Profoto B2 portable TTL flash. A lot more than I could afford but definitely worth it to take on location.”

Walter Morley

Kine Exakta 1 Amateur Photographer

“A Kine Exakta 1, from 1936 – the first 35mm SLR. I was fortunate enough to find one at an antique fair that was being held near my home. The original Kine Exakta was arguably the first SLR camera to take perforated 35mm film. It was introduced at the 1936 Leipzig Trade Fair and was similar in design to the Exaktas already in production that used rollfilm. It came with an interchangeable 50mm f/3.5 Tessar lens. The innovation was that focusing was with a fixed plano-convex magnifier that magnified the small image by four times. The problem was that it did not cover the whole of the focusing screen, and so it was replaced in November 1937 by version 2, which was identical in every way, except it had a square magnifier that covered a greater area. This is a very rare camera and I believe that only about 1,400 were made. It now commands a price in excess of £1,000, so I think my £50 was well spent.”

Arthur Scothern

Nikon F3 Amateur Photographer

“A Nikon F3–I had some work done on it and it’s like new. It was on the cover of a Time Life book I got for my 21st birthday, so it feels very special to finally have one at 54.”

James Chadwick

Fujifilm X-T2 Amateur Photographer

“I traded in my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and all my L glass for a Fujifilm X-T2 and lenses. I’m absolutely delighted. The reduction in weight is significant for my ageing bones, and the camera and image quality lives up to everything I’ve read about it.”

Liam Bluck

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Amateur Photographer

“My Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. It’s light, portable, looks good and it’s half the weight of my DSLR, which makes it great for shooting every day.”

Heinz Waller

“A Minox 35 ML film camera, which has brought back so many great memories of using 35mm film again. The fantastic sense of anticipation you get waiting to collect your photos to see what wonderful masterpieces you have created is something that digital camera users may sadly never experience.”

El Sid (Nigel)

“Probably the used Nikon D7000 I bought for around £200. Why? Because it will take most of my favourite manual-focus lenses and offer accurate and reliable metering with them. It would be even more of a favourite if it could store more than 10 sets of lens data…”

Jeff Johnson

Nikon 105mm f/2 AF-DC lens Amateur Photographer

“My favourite purchase was a Nikon 105mm f/2 AF-DC lens. I got it second-hand for £545, which I believe to be a good price, from a reputable dealer. I originally bought it for portrait use – after all, that’s what it was designed for – and managed to get some reasonable results. I’m not really one to accept that a lens has just one use, so I decided to try some other stuff with it. I gave it a run out on my D810 to try some landscape photography and was very pleased with the results. There’s something about this lens that I like – it lends a distinctive atmosphere to my pictures that’s right up my street. For those who aren’t familiar with this lens, the ‘DC’ part of the designation stands for ‘Defocus Control’ – the idea being that you can set the lens so that, for whatever aperture you’re using, the bulk of the out-of-focus area is either in front of or behind the point of focus. Think of it as shifting the hyperfocal point so that what you’ve focused on is either at the very front or the very back of the ‘in-focus’ range.”

Credit: Jeff Johnson Jeff Johnson

Paul Robins

Kiev 4a Amateur Photographer

“A Kiev 4a camera. I love the images it produces and it’s built like a battleship.”

Paul Neville

Hasselblad H4D Amateur Photographer

“A Hasselblad H4D. Switching from a DSLR to medium format was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Dave Kai-Piper

DJI spark mini drone Amateur Photographer

“The DJI Spark mini drone is turning out to be quite a bit of fun.”

John Marriage

Panon Widelux F7 Amateur Photographer

“The Panon Widelux F7. The Widelux is reputed, for good reason, to be one of the best of the 35mm swing-lens panorama cameras. I have long wanted one, and this year I got my chance. I bought it from an Italian photographer on eBay, and the final price of £450 was well below what you sometimes have to pay. It isn’t a perfect example, but it’s very clean. I’m told about 8,500 F7s were made out of 20,000 35mm Widelux cameras over 40 years, and the date of this one is about 1984.

“It has a 26mm f/2.8 fixed focus lens. Apertures are f/2.8 to f/11, and just three shutter speeds: 1/15sec, 1/125sec and 1/250sec. It takes 21 frames 24x59mm on 35mm film. There’s a full-width viewfinder, knob wind, and a spirit level.

“When I put my first film through it, there was a problem – it wound two frames for one cocking of the shutter. With some excellent online help, I opened it up enough to slightly adjust the ‘turret’ mechanism. Now it runs sweetly, and produces excellent pictures.”

Credit: John Marriage John Marriage

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