Editor’s Note: It’s pretty clear that we’re passionate about gear. And with this series, we want to share with you our own personal favorite pieces. Over the next few months, we’ll bring you our staff’s 10 personal favorites — goods we personally own and use. The selection will run the gamut, from heirloom pieces to practical gear that can be easily procured. Last but not least, each will share one “holy grail” item that still remains the stuff of dreams, out of reach, but hopefully only temporarily so.
As GP’s Photography Manager, I spend most of my time making sure all the imagery on the site and in the magazine continues to inspire. And, like any good wannabe photographer, I’ve got a bit of a thing for gear.
My favorite camera I’ve ever used, the D810, was enough to convince me to switch over from Canon last year. It’s the resolution (36.3MP) paired with the autofocus, lenses, durability and generally beautiful images that come off the camera that had me hooked, and it’s still my favorite piece of gear I own, by a mile.
Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G
Well over half the time I’ve had the D810, Nikon’s 70-200 2.8 has been mounted to the front of it. It’s a master of portraits, and at 2.8, the way it separates backgrounds hits that perfect middle ground that gives just enough context without being distracting. Also, it’s way better looking than Canon’s ecru 70-200.
F-Stop Loka UL
I’ve hauled the Loka UL to Italy, Japan and everywhere in between and it’s always been just the right size for a trip (if it’s over packed, I’ve brought too much stuff) and little features like the way you can access the camera while still wearing the pack have made it the latest stop on a never-ending search for the perfect camera bag.
Long Story Bit by Bit, Casino Royale
Two of my favorite books. Casino Royale sparked a weirdly big thing for the literary Bond, and while the entire series has its moments, they never quite exceed Fleming’s first effort. Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold by the late Tim Hetherington is my favorite photo book of all time because it manages to portray the Liberian Civil War in an intense beauty and intimacy that hasn’t existed in war photography before or since.
DS & Durga ’85 Diesel
Orfina Porsche Design Chronograph
As ’70s as it gets, Orfina’s collab with Porsche design from the era of loud engines and dangerous racecars looks beautiful and the Lemania 5100 movement inside might be one of the best chrono movements ever made. And the TC bump don’t hurt.
Audioengine A2+ Speakers
I think I’ve owned something like three pairs of the A2 and subsequent A2+ speakers from Audioengine because they just can’t be beat when it comes to desktop speakers. Whether hooked up to a computer or Audioengine’s own Bluetooth receiver, they’re where 90 percent of my music is coming from on a given day.
APC Chelsea Boots
I’ve already babbled plenty on why I love APC’s perfectly proportioned Chelseas. (In short: No shoe tying).
Alternative Apparel White Tees
The perfect plain white tee, and if you catch Put This On at the right time of year, they’re dirt cheap.
3Sixteen CT-120x Jeans
My favorite cut of all the denim I’ve tried over the years and it just happens to be made by some of the best guys in the industry. 3Sixteen’s jeans are famously tough, and their Shadow selvedge has an indigo warp and black weft — meaning they start almost black and fade to a really vibrant blue.
Vittoria Corsa G Tires
Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich
Like the black rhino or worthwhile Nick Cage movies, these are getting harder and harder to find — but I challenge anyone to say that an ice cream sandwich can’t be made better with the addition of strawberry and chocolate.
Yes, it’s a $12,000 wicker chair. But the amount of craftsmanship that goes into realizing Poul Kjaerholm’s unbelievably beautiful design is astounding (seriously, watch this) and the end result is as good as furniture gets. It’s perfection.