It is not uncommon for an aspiring photographer, when browsing Amazon or the websites of photography retailers, to click on a favorite brand and then refine the search results by price descending.
An assortment of daydream items are added to an imaginary basket before economic reality sets in, resulting in a painful thump back down to planet Earth.
But what if you won the lottery overnight, or suddenly found yourself with a healthy six-figure Christmas bonus?
Keep reading, because we’ve already spent the money for you with this ultimate list of fantasy kit, which ranges from a Hasselblad that costs as much as a new Porsche to a drone that wouldn’t look out of place on a Hollywood set.
So feast your eyes – and then silently weep with the realization that most of this stuff is way out of your reach…
Reserved for the pixel-peeping perfectionist
Stunning dynamic range
The 100MP CMOS sensor in this photographic goliath offers, quite simply, the highest-quality output of any digital camera on sale today.
Reserved for the pixel-peeping perfectionist, the H6D features 16-bit color definition, an unparalleled dynamic range of 15 stops and that ludicrous 100MP sensor, which is claimed to capture detail like no other.
Dual card slots means it’s CFast compatible, which is good because the high-speed data transfer rates required when shooting in UHD or continuous high-def stills certainly require it.
For those who simply have to shoot at ISO speeds of up to 12,800 it’s a must-have, but just remember that the cheapest lenses tickle the £4k/$4k mark, so make sure there’s some change left in the piggybank.
Gitzo 100 Year Anniversary Edition
The ultimate hand-crafted tripod
All carbon-fiber leg construction
Exclusive limited run
Very similar to Traveler range
Much like a high-end supercar, this glitzy Gitzo is limited to just 1,917 units, marking the year of Gitzo’s foundation and cementing the fact that this is no ordinary tripod.
The heady asking price gets you a new magnesium spider, which is finished with black and titanium coloring, and carbon ‘eXact’ tubing for strength and weight reduction, as well as a new center ball head, which is lifted from the equally brilliant Series 1 Traveler tripod.
If you demand a little extra exclusivity for your money, the limited-edition tripod also features a strap fashioned of genuine Italian leather, its own branded chest, a certificate of authenticity signed by Gitzo’s CEO, and includes a hang tag with the name of the craftsman who created each separate piece.
Pretend you’re Henri Cartier-Bresson with this stunning compact
Fixed lens, not zoom
There are certainly more expensive digital cameras on the market, but you have to hand it to Leica for coming up with a compact that costs almost as much as the flagship DSLRs from the big Japanese manufacturers.
However, the sumptuous Leica Q is more than just a fashion statement, as it features a full-frame, 24MP CMOS sensor that has been precisely calibrated for its lens, which happens to be the equally brilliant Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7.
The angle of view results in perfectly natural-looking shots with visually pleasing perspective and proportions, as well as a level of detail that most other compact cameras would struggle to achieve.
Furthermore, it can shoot at sensitivities up to ISO50,000, and its autofocus game is strong. Couple this with the recently updated Leica Maestro II image processor, which delivers up to 10 frames per second at full resolution, and you have the ultimate travel companion – just make sure you have the ultimate travel insurance.
DJI Inspire 2 (with X5S camera)
Take your video and stills photography to new heights
Capable of flying at 58mph
High-quality 20.8MP camera
Intelligent flight modes
Prior drone experience needed
Many shopping experts have dubbed this year ‘the year of the drone’, as both amateur filmmakers and hobbyists rush to stick these footage-snapping copters on their Christmas list.
But very few of the hundreds of drones out there come close to the DJI Inspire 2 when it comes to professional-quality features. This dual-battery craft is capable of speeds of up to 58mph, and can fly for up to 27 minutes. It also boasts a wealth of infrared sensors and terrain detection technology to ensure that your shoots aren’t interrupted by accidents.
The Professional Combo package also includes a Zenmuse X5S camera, which has an upgraded M4/3 sensor that shoots up to 20.8MP photos and Apple ProRes video at up to 5.2K.
With numerous intelligent flight modes, a comprehensive object-tracking mode and a smart return-to-home functionality, there’s not much this drone can’t do.
Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4
The ultimate standard prime lens
Stunning optical quality
Fast f/1.4 maximum aperture
Manual focus only
The fact that Zeiss says its Otus 1.4/55 is the best ‘standard lens’ it produces should give you some indication of just how good this optic is.
There are no chromatic or spherical aberrations, and no distortion, just an optical design that aims to bring the performance and quality of a medium format camera to more affordable Canon and Nikon DSLRs – although we can’t help but think that pairing it with a suitably extravagant full-frame body would be the way forward.
So what makes it so darn expensive? Well, a super-fast f/1.4 maximum aperture means your bokeh shots will look better than ever, while stopped down it offers amazing levels of detail and depth of field, thanks to some top-quality craftsmanship.
However, there’s no image stabilization or autofocus here – baffling to us, but if you need such features it may be best to spend your money elsewhere.
Red Weapon Monstro
Capture buttery-smooth super-HD footage
8K shooting at up to 75fps
Cinematic image quality
17+ stop dynamic range
Additional accessories needed
Have you been enjoying the glorious visuals of Blue Planet 2 recently? Well, many of those buttery-smooth high-definition sequences were likely recorded on a Red camera – and the Weapon 8K is the king of them all.
The option of a new Monstro 8K VV sensor means this beast is capable of shooting motion and stills in 8K 2.4:1 at up to 75fps, or 8K Full Format at 60fps. In short, we’re talking cinematic image quality that goes some way to justifying the professional price tag.
Just take a look at the stats for this thing: a super-fast 300 MB/s data rate, 8K resolution 35.4MP motion and stills, and 17+ stops of dynamic range.
Transport all your kit in style
Naturally tanned leather
Better looking than a Peli case
Large bag to carry on one shoulder
So, you’ve been splurging on all this high-end kit, and now you need something to safely – and stylishly – transport it in. Of course, you could plump for the tried and tested Peli case, but they’re a little gauche.
The stunning bull leather Compagnon Weekender, on the other hand, is not. The hide is naturally tanned in Germany, all metal parts feature a chrome finish, and the detachable shoulder strap is sewn twice for longevity and durability.
Inside, there’s padded space for two or three full-frame DSLR bodies and two to four additional lenses, depending on their size.
Alternatively, it’s been also designed to hold the more expensive kit, such as the Red Dragon, Sony FS-700 and Canon C500. Plus, there’s still room for a 15-inch laptop and a multitude of inner pockets for leads, batteries and other accouterments.
Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100
Create gallery-quality prints at home
Print up to A2
Superb tonal range
Photoshop plug-in available
Expensive replacement inks
A common complaint leveled at today’s amateur photographers regards the reams of imagery they have stored on SD cards and external hard drives, and the relative lack of imagery physically hanging on walls.
So why not skip the standard 6 x 4 or 10 x 8-inch prints that are available from stores and online services, and jump straight into the world of ultra-fine A2 prints that will grace any living space?
Canon’s 12-color pigment system creates stunning reproductions that are superb for fine art projects, poster-making and proofing, while a plug-in for Photoshop allows users to export 16-bit RGB images directly to the printer.
Just don’t ask how much a replacement ink cartridge costs.
Rotolight Anova Pro 2
A revolutionary LED studio and location light
Powerful continuous light
Low power consumption
Forget flashguns – the Anova PRO 2 from Rotolight is a revolutionary LED studio and location light that also incorporates HSS flash.
Insanely powerful, it kicks out an incredible 10,700 lux output at three feet while consuming just 72W of power, making it a great option on location.
It’s not just about power, though, as the Anova Pro 2 offers outstanding color reproduction, with a gorgeous soft light quality and Rotolight’s signature catch-light effect.
As well as featuring the ‘shoot what you see’ benefits of continuous lighting, the Anova Pro 2 also offers the flexibility of High-Speed Sync (HSS) flash, enabling you to shoot at up to 1/8000 sec with no recycle time. Try doing that with your regular flashgun.