Material Matter

Why do materials matter? Because when it comes to aesthetics, or how we perceive and internalize things, it changes our mood, our sense of power, and something hidden within us.

For example, something very subtle that I like about my refurbished iPhone 11 Pro: I love the curved design, as opposed to the newer flat design iPhone Pro 12 and iPhone pro 13, and I also like the way that the volume buttons and the power button on off switch feels.

Taking it back to the curves, curves feel much more inviting, natural, and ergonomics for the human hand, as opposed to the new flat design. Remember how Steve Jobs was so obsessed with curves? How he tried to add curved windows to the early macOS?

Even Jony Ive, it seems that all the great iPhones that existed were when he was in charge of design. Now that Jony Ive has left, It seems that all the new Apple products are designed in a very strange manner. The new iPhones and Apple products are designed for nerds, even the marketing materials, rather than as a elegant beautiful thing.

To be human is to experience haptic feedback?

Even watching baby Seneca grow up, it seems that he loves buttons, and things that click, and things that have some sort of haptic feedback. He is more interested in physical buttons, rather than touch screens.

Even in photography, it seems that kids actually do prefer cameras that have some sort of haptic feedback in the shutter release button, instead of just using an iPhone camera.

Even one thing I miss as a long-term android and Samsung phone user, the haptic feedback when you are texting. I’ve always found it strange that there was no haptic feedback when texting on an iPhone.

Even more recently, I like the haptic feedback when you turn on the voice dictate when the iPhone is on silent mode. Haptic feedback is very satisfying.

We like force feedback?

Perhaps we humans like force. For example, as a kid, I loved playing time crisis with the guns that clicked back when you shot. Also, with driving, I prefer a driving manual transmission, because I like the force feedback with shifting gears, and the sense of control.

Driving an automatic car is insanely boring to me. Even when driving my friends Tesla model three, driving it felt very strange. I didn’t like the haptic feedback on the turn signals, and driving with the electric motor pedal felt very unnatural as well.

Also, one of the best and most enjoyable and pure driving experiences I’ve ever had was on my 1990 Mazda Miata, which had no power steering, no air-conditioning, and was a manual transmission car. I felt direct connection with the car, especially when turning. Even when comparing it to my friends manual transmission Honda S 2000, the Honda felt like it had too much computer and machine intervention. It felt like driving with a condom on.

How materials matter with clothing

I’ve also discovered that the feeling of the material of your clothing is insanely important. Because the feeling of your clothing against your skin changes your perception and mood. For example, when I’m wearing clothes that fit well, and fit tight, it makes me feel stronger, more confident, and also more motivated. When I wear clothes which are not to my liking, or fit strangely, it makes me feel sloppy, messy, bummy, and lazy. This is why they also say that even if you’re doing a phone interview, you should wear a suit. Because when you wear a suit, it changes your posture and the way you interact.

Beautiful design is very important

For example, I consider the Apple MacBook laptop as 1 trillion times more beautiful and functional than any other windows counterpart. And this is very important, because it is a tool and device we interact with and use every single day.

Even Steve Jobs said when it comes to designing things: we’re going to have to look at it all day, shouldn’t it be beautiful?

For example with cars, it seems that for most people, their cars just sit in the driveway all day. And if it is going to take up space, and going to catch your eye all the time, shouldn’t it be beautiful, a piece of sculpture or artwork?

Also note that this is why our bodies are so important. Consider the fact that you look into a mirror or a iPhone selfie camera 1 billion times a day. Don’t you want who you look into the mirror be beautiful? To suit your own aesthetic tastes?

Also, every day before you take a shower, you probably look at yourself at least once naked before taking a shower in the mirror. Don’t you want your own body to be a piece of artwork, or sculpture?

Become more picky, and more choosy with your materials

Even with haptic industries products, I am insanely obsessed about choosing the best materials. The best leather, the best brass components, objects that will last a lifetime, will give you increased confidence while you use them, and will age and patina and wear beautifully over time.

It also seems that if we really do want to waste less, better to own a few things of the supreme quality, and the most supreme materials, rather than owned lots of cheap things. For example, I would prefer to own one $100 merino wool T-shirt, instead of 100 cheap cotton T-shirts. I would prefer to own a single thousand dollar jacket, than many cheap but fashionable jackets. To own one pair of the best Gore-Tex shoes, then lots of cheap shoes.

Fewer tools, fewer possessions, fewer equipment, but of higher quality.


There is no “perfect” camera. Don’t fall into GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and falsely believe that buying a new camera will make you a better photographer.

If you’re not feeling inspired in your photography, I recommend you to buy books, not gear. Also check out these 75+ Inspirational Photo Books You Gotta Buy. You can also download my free books.

Equipment Articles >

  1. Just buy it and forget it.
  2. Products will not bring you joy
  6. iPad Pro over iPhone Pro
  7. Is Leica Overrated?
  8. Fujifilm X-PRO 3 over Leica M10
  9. Equipment Creep
  10. Once You Got Perfect, Then What?
  12. One-Handed Photography
  13. Why Rangefinders Are Overrated
  15. The Best Equipment is The Equipment You Already Have
  16. The Best Camera is the One You Shoot with the Most
  17. Why RICOH GR III is the Best Camera
  18. Use and Abuse Your Gear!
  19. RICOH is the new LEICA
  20. In Praise of Banging around Your Camera
  21. Electric Cameras
  22. Why the RICOH GR III is Better than the Leica Q2
  23. Buy a new Ricoh GR III, not a New iPhone
  24. The Best Headphones are In-Ear Monitors
  25. Are Point-and-Shoot Cameras the Best Cameras?
  26. Gear Adaptation Syndrome
  27. Satisfice
  28. What is the Benefit of “Standalone” Digital Cameras?
  29. All Cameras are Good Cameras
  30. Why The Future of Photography is Software
  32. Use and Abuse Your Gear!
  33. Why RICOH GR II is the Best Street Photography Camera
  34. The Best Photography/Vlogging Equipment Setup
  35. My Favorite Travel Street Photography Equipment
  36. Zen Body-Hand-Mind Connection with the Camera
  37. Why It Doesn’t Matter What Camera You Shoot With
  38. What is the Best Camera and Lenses for Street Photography?
  39. The Best Travel Street Photography Equipment 2018
  40. 6 Lessons I’ve Learned After Shooting All the Expensive Cameras
  41. How to Make Good Photos on a Shitty Camera
  42. Why I Shoot With One Camera and One Lens
  43. My Travel Equipment, Winter 2017
  44. What is the Perfect Camera For You?
  45. What to Consider When Buying a Camera

Digital Medium Format Photography

Smartphone Photography >

Film Photography 101 >

My favorite camera: RICOH GR III

Currently my favorite camera is the RICOH GR III:

Best Equipment by ERIC KIM

This is a list of my personal favorite equipment in photography, computers, and life:

Of course, this list probably won’t apply to you — but this is advice I would give myself (if I needed to buy stuff):

Film cameras

If you’re new to shooting film, pick up a copy of FILM NOTES.

eric kim melbourne benjamin thompson
Portrait by Benjamin Thompson // Leica MP + Henri Neck Strap + SF 24D flash + Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH lens

Best film rangefinder

Leica MP + Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron Lens

Best affordable film rangefinder

Leica M6 + Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Lens

Best compact film camera

Contax T3

Best medium-format film camera

Hasselblad 500-series

Best black and white film

Kodak Tri-X 400 (pushed to 1600): $5

Best color film

Kodak Portra 400: $8.50

Best film scanner

For medium-format/35mm: Epson v800: $800

For 35mm: Plustek OpticFilm 8100: $270

Camera accessories

eric kim street photography gfx fujifilm medium format digital-7340

Best camera shoulder bag


Best camera backpack

Fits 13” Laptop and Camera: Thinktank Perception 15 (black): $120

Best photography neck strap

Best photography wrist strap

Best photography inspiration website

Best photography news blog

Best photography software

Adobe Lightroom

Best video editing software

iMovie (free) or Final Cut Pro X ($300)


See all my free books.

Best educational photography book

Magnum Contact Sheets

Best black-and-white photography art book

“Exiles” by Josef Koudelka

Best color photography art book

“The Suffering of Light” by Alex Webb

Best photography handbook

Street Notes

Best philosophy book

On the Shortness of Life – Seneca ($8) // 10 Lessons Seneca Has Taught Me.

Best digital tools

Best laptop

Maxed-out 13” MacBook Pro (Refurbished)

Best phone

The smallest iPhone available (currently iPhone Mini)

Best Mac Apps

Best writing app

IA Writer (for writing)

Best screen recorder


Best image resizer

JPEGmini Pro


eric kim hanoi street photography-0012663

Best earbuds

In-ear monitors


Cindy Project Monochrome-3

Best underwear

ExOfficio Men Boxer Brief (black): $26

Best T-shirt

Outlier NYC Merino Wool T-Shirt

Best socks

Outlier NYC Black Merino Wool Socks

Best pants

Merino Wool Leggings (black)

Best glasses

LINDBERG – Titanium


eric kim street photography x100f fujifilm-7232

Best bank


Best entrepreneurial tools

Best blogging platform + Genesis theme

Best paid online services

eric kim street photography gfx fujifilm medium format digital-7360

Best cloud storage

Dropbox (Pro)

Diet & Nutrition


Intermittent fasting — with one big meal a day (only dinner)


Deadlifts (one rep max) + squats + dumbbell press + chin-ups + pushups


Of course this is just a list of stuff that work for me. It probably won’t work for you.

But I got inspired to make this list– because it took me about 10 years to figure out the best equipment for me. And this works for me, and I hope it can help simplify your purchasing decisions (at least in photography and some other details).

I’ll continue to do articles and videos related to equipment– because I do believe (up to a certain degree) having the ‘right’ equipment in life makes life easier. But the problem is falling victim to GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) where we are buying stuff for the sake of it (has happened to me).

If you already have a bunch of equipment that works for you– stick with it. But if you need some help, I hope this list helped you.