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Leica 0-series

Got cash to burn? Take a look through some of the world's most expensive camera gear that you can and can't buy.

While these cameras may be beyond the reach of us mere mortals, there's more than enough metal and glass in this list to make even the most seasoned photographer weep with joy. In no particular order, here's our favourites of the world's most expensive cameras and lenses.

Did we miss one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.

We start with the world's most expensive camera, as sold at auction in May 2012 for €2,160,000 (that's around AU$2.6 million, with current conversion rates). Fittingly, it was a Leica 0-series from 1923 that took the crown, setting a new world record. An anonymous bidder took home the spoils.

Why so much? Well, that's all to do with its calibre. It is one of just 31 cameras that was first produced by the German manufacturer, and is one of the only ones still in excellent condition.

Caption:Photo:Westlicht Photographica Auction
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Phantom HD Gold

Legend has it that Phantom cameras are worth their weight in gold, and in the case of the Phantom HD Gold, it's even named after the metal of choice. Used by movie studios, advertisers and even in some medical research, this particular camera is able to capture 1000 frames per second at full 1920x1080 HD resolution.

If only it didn't cost in the region of US$118,000, we'd take two, please. Watch some of the footage this machine can take in the video below.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Vision Research
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Hasselblad H4D-40 Ferrari limited edition

You might not be able to afford a Ferrari California, but there's nothing to stop you owning the Ferrari of digital cameras — quite literally. This limited edition Ferrari Hasselblad will set you back approximately AU$26,500. For that price, you get the peace of mind knowing that only 498 other people in the world own one of these models. And it comes with an 80mm f/2.8 lens. Generous.

Not satisfied with a limited edition camera? Try one of Hasselblad's most expensive models, the 200-megapixel H4D-200MS, which is a splash in the ocean at just under AU$40,000.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Jonathan Beer/Hasselblad
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Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 lens

This is one of those fabled lenses that does the internet rounds from time-to-time. While it looks rather ridiculous, the telephoto monster is the real deal. It was first showed off in 2007 at the PMA trade show, and has subsequently been on display at trade shows the world over. It retails for a back-breaking US$32,0000, and comes with a dedicated hard case and battery to sweeten the deal. We've seen it available on a local site for AU$27,000 — bargain!

Take a look through a couple of the customer reviews on Amazon — photographers definitely do have a splendid sense of humour.

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Pentax LX limited edition

Now for something you might actually be able to afford. Maybe.

This is an 18-carat gold-plated Pentax LX SLR from 1981, to celebrate the 10 millionth camera to roll off the Pentax production line in Japan. It also comes with a similarly gold-plated 50mm f/1.2 lens and has a brown leather finish. Just 300 of these cameras were manufactured, originally retailing for ¥850,000, which is approximately AU$10,600. With inflation and increased value since its launch in 1981, who knows how much this little beauty will retail for these days.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Photo Arsenal Worldwide
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Remember how the world's most expensive camera was a Leica? Well, the title for world's most expensive lens also comes with one of those coveted red dots on the body. The lens you see above is a Leica APO-TELYT-R 1:5.6/1600mm. As far as we know, there's only two of these lenses anywhere in the world. The first is a prototype on show at Leica's factory in Solms, Germany. The second was made exclusively for Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani, a Qarati prince and photographer. It's so big that he's even got a custom-built Mercedes to cart around the 60kg of glass and metal.

It only costs US$2,064,500 (a touch over AU$2.02 million).
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Diamond Canon IXUS cameras

Where would a list like this be without a little bling? As part of a charitable auction for the Red Cross in 2006, Canon donated ten diamond-encrusted cameras. The Super Diamond model featured 380 diamonds and cost €40,000 (AU$49,336), while the other nine cameras had a street value of €3,500 (AU$4316).

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Sony F65

Now that TVs are moving beyond full HD, it's time to start thinking about your next ultra high-definition purchase. We suggest the Sony F65, which can shoot 4K resolution video. As part of the famed CineAlta range, the camera can shoot 16-bit RAW files and was used to film the M Night Shyamalan movie After Earth — but don't hold that against it. The F65 is yours for just US$65,000 (AU$63,775).

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Canon 5200mm f/14 lens

Next up on the list is ... a box. No, it's actually a 5200mm (not a typo) lens built by Canon. It weighs 100kg and can take images of objects at a range of 30-52km away. Nod and smile folks, nod and smile.

It appeared on eBay in 2009 for US$45,000, but didn't end up selling.

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Nikon One

Before there was the Nikon 1, there was the Nikon One (or Nikon I). It was the company's first rangefinder, made in 1948, and if you can find one today, it's currently one of the world's most collectable cameras. This one is up for auction on eBay for a satisfying US$31,250.
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Leica M9 Titanium

When you want a camera done right, just ask Walter de'Silva, chief designer for Volkswagen. He's the mastermind behind the limited-edition M9 Titanium, of which only 500 were produced. Fork out around AU$35,000 for instant happiness.

The M9-P is slightly more affordable at US$8000.

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Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7

There's an interesting story behind this one. While the theory behind the lens was conceived pre-World War II, it was the Nazis who funded the actual development of a 70mm f/1. From then, NASA used the 50mm to photograph the dark side of the moon in 1966, while Stanley Kubrick bought three of these lenses and shot Barry Lyndon, using candlelight as the only light source.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Westlicht Photographica Auction
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