What Camera and Lenses Does Jay Maisel Use?

by Buffalo Bob on September 14, 2011

Photographer: Jay Maisel

Specialty: Street/Urban Landscape/Fine Art

Favored Brand: Nikon

Grizzled New Yorker Jay Maisel is hands-down one of the greatest photographers in history, simply because of his unfreakingbelievably imaginative compositions and uses of color, light, and shadow. As far as color street photography goes, I believe he has no equal.

Here are some great videos with Jay:

Why Jay Maisel swears by Epson from Fotoflock on Vimeo.

So let’s talk gear.

Jay keeps it simple. In the first video above, Jay says the following:

“I don’t carry a lot of crap around with me because I think the less equipment you take, the more pictures you take.”

Jay is all-digital and favors Nikon cameras, and presently shooting the $5,300 D3S. In terms of glass, Jay has long been a fan of Nikon’s 50mm f/1.4 lenses.

However, in a 2009 edition of Ibarionex Perello’s The Candid Frame podcast, Jay heaped praise upon Nikon’s 70-300mm VR zoom lens, particularly highlighting its impressive sharpness.

In addition, a commenter named John, claiming to work for Jay, said that Jay is currently using Nikon’s 28-300mm VR zoom lens almost exclusively. I’d call bull$hit on him, but a commenter in the testimonial section of Jay’s site confirms that Jay loves this lens.

Editor’s Note: Jay’s lens choices are very, very reasonably-priced considering their top-notch optical quality. However, if you’re not shooting weddings, concerts, sports, or wildlife, the D3S is overkill for 99.9% of people.

Yes, in many ways the D3S is the best DSLR camera on the market, but for Jay’s style of street shooting, almost any camera body will do. If you’re on a budget, check out the D3100 or D5100 instead, and add a 50mm f/1.8 lens.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John September 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I work for Jay. He’s actually been using the 28-300mm pretty much exclusively since it came out. Pros: Sharp, super-duper range, relatively cheap for the utility and quality (under $1,000); Cons: Barrel distortion (which is easily negated by Adobe RAW/Lightroom lens profile corrections). Although it’s not the fastest lens out there, the D3S’s ridiculous low-light capabilities gain you just as many stops in exposure, and actually do so without crippling your depth of field.


John Dolores May 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Scott Kelby interviewed Jay for Scott’s training site. I can confirm the Jay is shooting with the 28-300mm.


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