Spurred by another thread here on SC I began to think about the priorities we all set for how we determine what photographic tools work best for us - cameras, lenses, software, other equipment... Obviously, we can't have it all, so as we become better photographers and as we learn more about how we work we eventually hone in on equipment that enables us to capture the picture in a way that pleases us most. To reach that point I believe that we all have to set priorities and make choices. For me, lenses are where it all starts, and in most cases my mantra is you get what you pay for. And I am willing to pay for good lenses since they tend to stay good for many years to come. There are a few lenses that come to mind that have sparkled fairy dust over me: Canon 50L Leica 28mm Elmarit Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm Olympus 14-35mm Ricoh GRD and GXR A12 lenses Next, I place a high value on the usability of a camera. How does it feel in hand, are the physical controls well placed, appropriately leveraged and responsive, is it customizable, is the software intuitive enough...? I like to be able to make key adjustments (aperture, ISO) on the fly or quickly call up a group of settings in changing circumstances. I like and prefer physical controls - dials, switches, knobs; I like physical objects. Even though my Olympus E5 is heavy, it is easy and comfortable to grip in my right hand and I can carry it that way for a long while. The Ricoh GRD3 is super easy to hold in hand - that grip really helps. Finally, processing software, both in camera and post processing. I love the way the Olympus and Ricoh cameras render / process their images in camera (both RAW and JPG). I can't quantify it, but their qualities are very appealing and I find them easy to post process into an image that I like, either color or B&W. In post process I've really come to love RAW Developer. I find it very easy to use, very powerful, and it creates very pleasing, natural looking (to me) B&W conversions. Finally, I will admit to a natural tendency towards compact cameras. And BTW image quality is of course key, but I think we can all agree that the final result of a personally prioritized camera system is always going to be a great image. What are your priorities in selecting your camera system? --- * I'm mostly ignoring film cameras in this commentary. But feel free to add them to your own thoughts if they are a natural part of your repertoire.