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Sunday, 11 December 2011


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For Christmas, I would like my first series of fiber prints (B&W, wet darkroom) to turn out well. Truly no joy like taking pictures and making prints! Seeing the image form in the tray of Dektol always feels magical to me.

Oh go on, get the car. You know you want to. Besides, it'll help your photography! No really!

I know because I recently bought myself a used BMW Z4 roadster, and as a result was out and about this fall with the top down and a camera on the passengers seat more than I've been out in the last couple of years. Beautiful fun. Lots of pics.

A car that encourages getting out might not look like a photographic tool, but it sure is. Highly recommended!

Unfortunately, now that I've bought myself a not-exactly-cheap car I wouldn't feel right asking for anything else for Christmas. Oh wait! Winter tires! :-)

Again the 24-70mm? I recall many a time when you derided such heavy-weight devices, singing the virtues of the medium-speed prime. What happened to your 35mm/f2, bought with such pain several months ago?

Of course, to each their gear lust, far be it from me to judge that, but that's the second time in a week you've been talking about wanting `kit zooms'. Is this the same Mike who wrote:

...namely, if I equip myself with a superb zoom and a good prime in the right focal length, I will use the prime exclusively and never get the zoom out of the bag.

Somehow I can't imagine that person with a 2-pound hunk of metal on their camera...

What I'd like for Christmas? I'm set, gear-wise, so I'd just like more time to photograph and more time to print. And more sleep.

I want a Pentax K5, the 18-135 weather sealed lens, and a fast 85mm prime (the sigma, perhaps). My wife has offered to buy all these things for me, but she says she wants nothing -- indeed she insists that I get her nothing. Obviously, I can't justify her getting me such a nice photographic package.

But I agree with you -- irrespective of my photographic wants, I will also be giving a goat, or a flock of chickens, or something in that vein. Heifer International is one of my all-time favorite charities.

Why would anybody want a lens that weighs over two pounds?

I want a Leica R Lens solution* that has auto aperture, decent ergonomics, and doesn't cost as much as a new Kia.
Richard in Michigan

*To explain: Leica chose to kill off it's SLR business as part of it's efforts to not go bankrupt a few years back. Unfortunately it orphaned off the folks who had bought into their 'R' Lens System and/or believed Leica was going to give them good digital options going forward. They either took a bath selling their gear, have expensive gear in cabinets begging to be used, or are using partially effective mount adapters to use their R Lenses on digital bodies not meant for use with Leica R Lenses.

What would I like? In an ideal photographic world:

* 4x5 field camera, with all needed bits. Toyo, perhaps, or Linhof.

* Optical enlarger for the same.

* An extra room in our apartment for setting up the enlarger.

* A sudden offer for a well-paid, permanent, part-time research position that leaves me part time free to actually play with my new toys.

A bit more realistic: A Pentax K mount module for the Ricoh GXR.

In reality? Well, another box of Delta 400 in 120 format would be very nice.

Hi Mike,

A group of us celebrate Christmas buy buying a goat or some such. We just don't need more material possessions. Good to hear that you had thought of a goat option as well.

Have a good Christmas and NewYear.

Gary Haigh

I can think of a list as long as my arm of gear I'd love to have, but what I'd really like is more time to walk around and shoot.

I got mine already, a new T3i, so is it too much to ask for a 430EXII, too?

And if you do get a goat, you might want to check out this blog:


With three kids in the U.S. military I'll accept the raspberry if it will give us world peace. I'd sleep better.

Apparently we don't ALL want that, or we'd have it.

Photography-wise, I'd like an ejection seat. I need to eject my butt out of the easy chair, go outside and shoot more. Wonder if Martin-Baker has something along those lines?

Good luck on the goat (I thought you meant a '64 GTO at first....).



as far as the 24-70 goes: buy it, you deserve it. It won't break the bank (even if it stretches it), you've been good and responsible, and "you can't take anything with you." Carpe Diem.

On the other hand, don't buy it, it's a zoom, and it waters down your intentions.'

Then again, if you really want it, here's $10 from me, and I hope a lot of people will join in to thank you for a good year of reading.

And Mike, don't feel embarrassed to feature this comment. Come on people, 10 bucks for Mike's Christmas present, who's in?

I want to go back in time.

One of the photo magazines long ago ran an article called "Dr. Sheckman's Magic Dye Clouds", images produced by running a low-power microscope over underexposed Kodachrome.

There was almost nothing discernible but colored blobs. And darkness. Some faces. Other things half seen. Enticing, mysterious, dark. Things.

I always wanted to do this and never did.

Just recently I reduced my camera count from 12 to two (not counting a Vistaquest, which Ctein inspired me to buy), and threw away my desire to produce tack-sharp gazillion mega-doodle photo-hyper-realistic images that could be printed large as a wall.

Now I bend small parts of random images from whatever camera, and pound on them, and stretch them, and make then shriek and howl, and do one a day, or have been since spring. And it's fun. But I'm decades late.

It would be nice to have gotten photographically smart a long time ago. Hey.

Alt. Goats: "Goats For The Old Goat": http://www.goatsfortheoldgoat.com/


Definitely buy the goat. I can tell you from experience that it doesn't get much better than learning of the joy a struggling family gets from a new goat, cow, pig, or chickens. It helps another family out and requires nothing more from us than compassion enough to give.

"Why would anybody want a lens that weighs over two pounds?"

To take pictures with.


I would like a fast (f/2 or more), wide (24mm-28mm equivalent), and weather-sealed autofocus K-mount prime.

But since I don't think anyone makes that at the moment, I'd be happy to own any of the following:

Olympus ZX-1
Samsung TL500
Fuji X10

I would love to have one of the new generation fast zoom compacts.

I'd like a small camping trailer (Aliner or other lightweight camper) and like you, Santa won't be bringing it. :-( How is it photo related? I'm a landscape photographer. It would let me stay out shooting on location longer. I wouldn't have to dash home or find a room somewhere.

Dear Santa,

This won't take up much room in your sleigh:



Totally selfishly and photographic- really looking forward to that non fixed Fuji come spring.

Truth is, I can do with what I got- others can't; thanks for the PS.

Actually what I really want is good health, since I'm up for at least two operations next year, but photographically speaking, a Rolleiwide would be nice, please, Santa, please.

I selfishly bought myself the photography related christmas present I had been dreaming of, since I wasn't going to get it any other way: A used copy of Szarkowski's Atget.

I wouldn't mind a new camera, but maybe there will be a Micro Four Thirds camera with a better built-in EVF before next Christmas. No point in getting something if it doesn't feel right.

As far as photography stuff goes, I fantasize about having an unlimited supply of photographic paper. A 250-sheet box of paper, and when that's gone, another box. And another. Without having to worry about cost. I could make prints to my heart's content. The goat's a good idea, and the mission.

well, goats are photo-related


Or you could buy a new Honda Ridgeline truck as I did to replace my thirteen year old Honda Civic. Equipped the way I wanted it without the Navigation system still kicked the price over $50,000 with the 13 percent sales tax.
My loaded Civic 13 years prior cost all of $18,000.

Mine is actually pretty cheap (much to my wife's relief), and I hope will be a lot of fun: The Holga Kitchen Sink lens kit. http://shop.holgadirect.com/products/digital-holga-kitchen-sink-kit

Mmmm, goats. Tasty.


All the gear I sold to overcome a lingering, 2010 layoff-related income deficit. But I won't be getting back this Christmas (or several to come).

Kept our house, kids stayed in school & still gave to local causes. No complaints. You do what you have to do. I still have my old OM-1N kit, some film in the refrigerator, and found full-time work as of late. I remain more fortunate than most of the world and will add the Red Cloud School to my list of worthy causes.

A M9 kit would be nice, but honestly I don't need more photographic equipment. Perhaps a tripod to change my too-small one.

photographically I want less, to downsize my gear stuff and only make do with the real favorites, let's say one filmcomp, one digicomp, one film body with a 50/1.4. then and only then I would like the GXR-M and a 50.

but before all that I want contributions to my favorite charity - Room to Read. they are focusing on girls' education and libraries for kids.

I would love that Sigma 85 1.4, or the new m.Zuiko 12 2.0., or maybe a mythical 17 1.4. Tha would be swell too.

And I would love them to come in native 4/3 mount with autofocus, please. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Availability of the many Sony and Fujifilm cameras and lenses I have been reading/hearing about for the last 3 or 4 months.

I could do with some inspiration and motivation - I have enough of the 'hard' stuff to accomodate a significant boost in the 'soft' stuff.

On the other hand, if we could have world peace we probably wouldn't have to buy each other goats...

Yeah, the Christmas gifts...
Well, I'd like to get something special since some time: the ticket for Orient-Express train from Paris to Istanbul - did you even know the train is still running? Although it's not the OrientExpress from old times (the books and movies), I bet one can take really great pictures during such a journey!

If not - I'd be delighted to get the ticket allowing me to travel across whole Europe by train. Well, the heck, why not!? :)

I don't need (meaning want because I have more money than brains) any more cameras or lenses right now. Got plenty and another won't do much for me. Well, I would accept a Fuji x100...

But my photo-related Christmas present is being shipped by Amazon right now and should be here in a few days. The book, India, by photographer Andreas Bitesnich. Saw it in a book store a few weeks ago and had to have it. After that, I suppose I'll end up with desk calendars, wool mufflers, and such. Things that I probably need more.

Photographically, I'm hoping for the Magnum Contact Sheets Book.

Rather than a goat in the past I've asked that people make a donation to MSF, as they do such great work *and* they understand the power of photography and documentary, so I get to support 2 causes in one :)

I want Interplanetary peace, and an end to hunger (my hunger- between meals).

Photographically? AN M9 w/50 lux.
I could sell it and get every lens and body available for Micro 4/3. With enough left over for a goat.

I received my Christmas present in advance this year by my significant other, a wonderfull m4/3 Oly EPL1 with kit zoom.
Now I am drooling over the viewfinder and Pana 20 f1.7.
Now I`m waiting for a masterpiece from this :)

Since my Canon 5D MkII lens kit is all set, can't use other lenses on my Fuji X100 and my computer might do well for one or two more years I guess I don't want anything material relative to photography.

I do wish to be successful on taking my photographic work to a next level with the presentation and promotion that I'm planning to launch at full-force in the first months of 2012.

More time.

My ancient mac (2002 vintage) is now, pretty much, a complete roadblock to any updating of anything digital, so a new laptop is what I'd really like for Christmas.

Big picture: I'd like better health, more time and a better economy with emlployment for all of those who want and need it. There are still too many people suffering.

(Not so) Little picture: a new iMac with i7 chip and at least 8gb of RAM, Pentax DA Limited primes - 15, 35 and 70mm and, for everyday use, either a Fuji X10 or an Oly XZ-1.

Realistically: I'll be thrilled to get the iMac or the X10/XZ-1

This Christmas I want Olympus to recover from the financial scandal, so they can develop m4/3 lenses for my cherished E-P1 on a par, quality-wise, to the OM lenses. (And I want peace in the world and the erradication of famine, too!)
Maybe I'm being too ambitious... I think I'll just be content with whatever gifts my people give me :)

TIME! I've got enough gear, just not enough time to use it.

I'd like to have a really good idea for a photo project. Really, really good. Original, substantial, heartfelt, personal; but interesting to others. Possibly needing about six months photographing followed by six months thinking and editing, re-editing, and maybe some more photographing, then a Blurb book that I would still be proud to have created when I look at it from time to time in the years to come. Maybe even a gallery exhibition. That would be, for me, the best present ever.

I have a 16-35mm F2.8 Zeiss for my Sony A850 and man, it is a 2 pound lens I use to take pictures with and I can feel every ounce of the 2 pounds. At least I have an excuse for keeping the lens -- it is a 2 pound 16mm F2.8 lens, and I cannot find another original Sony 16mm FF lens. Other than that, I use a 20mm, a 28mm, a 50mm and a 85mm. Now, is the 24-70mm really that good?

Existentially: more time.
Fantastically: A Nikon FF mirrorless camera.
Whimsically: A 25x50 studio in the backyard (with biiiig skylights) for portraits.
Actually: a big hug and a kiss from each of the three others who woke up in my home this morning.

Good health to all family members and the spirit to enjoy the festival!

Being included in your print sale group.

I don't need anymore photography stuff (my wife agrees) but I wouldn't mind some talent so I stopped making such awful photographs!

Although, a view camera would be nice too. I've got this 4x5 slide film that I got somewhere along the way waiting patiently in the back of the freezer.


Mike, was it last year or the year before that you suggested photo books? That list was excellent. Do you have any thoughts on books for this year?

I too would like to downsize my stuff. If I could get a good price on some of my superfluous film RF gear and have it contribute a chunk to my NEX-7 fund (which will hopefully replace that niche) I'd be happy.

Not that I really need to "upgrade" though.

Non-photographically, I wish I could grow up a little more and get my act together.

I wish for the willpower to downsize - to only have what i really need and get rid of the rest.



About goats.
We've been contributing to a fund that is associated with goats. We give money and they buy ammo to wipe out the goats on Santiago Is. The goats were introduced by pirates and ruined the eco system. Now they have been eradicated and the island is returning to its natural state - except for some other species that need culling.

I would love the new Fuji to be almost affordable .... to come with Rangefinder looks, a great optical / evf viewfinder ... with cute little 16/24/35/60 primes and an articulating .... LCD ... and i promise I'd never ever buy another camera again ....

Failing that could Pentax loose the Q and do the same ....I would be VERY VERY happy

I hope Santa brings the NEX 7 I preordered from Sony last September.

Mike ...

I forgot to retell the story as told by a famous Cornish Comedian about his great friend Denzil Penberthy. They went to a lecture in Gunnislake where a learned American Professor of the Paranormal was giving a talk. denzil as he was wont to do briefly nodded off and came too as the professor was asking the Audience ' has anyone here ever made love to a ghost' 'Yes ' says Denzil. He is asked up on the stage ' When was it ' says the man from Harvard ' that you made love to this ghost ... what did the apparition look like?' ' Oh! Ghost '... says Denzil ' i thought you said Goat'

Happy Christmas from Cornwall

I'm in for $10. TOP gives me more pleasure than the magazines I subscribe to.

Come on guys...


My family has been giving the "gift of giving" from Heifer International for many years, and now continue to do so in memory of my parents.

I encourage you to follow through on this - you'll help the needy, improve (a little) the world's perceptions of America, and feel better about life in general.

Actually, this year, all I want for Christmas is to see my dad. But, I guess if it did have to be camera based, I've already got a really good set of Pentax primes for my K-5 (21/3.2 = 30ish, 24/2 = 35ish, 35/2 = 50ish, 50/1.4 = 85ish), so I think I'd like the two Pentax zooms please (16-50, 50-135)...

That would be one awesome setup... and in some ways totally unnecessary! The primes are already enough. But I can say that shooting in the rain with the primes, makes me want the other lenses in the Pentax range which are designed for the elements.


I have a friend who was working for Heifer and the goat thing really works - they are giving the goats to poor people which in turn have to give the first newborn baby goat to a neighbour, the neighbour in turn has to give the first newborn baby goat to another neighbour, and so on.

I want my back and the Rolleiflex fixed, but that won't happen until after x-mas.

Oh what the heck, here's a 10$ from me Mike!
Viva TOP!

[[Okay, but I don't get what Alex Trebek has to do with any of that.]]

Because Mr. Condon has been on Jeopardy and won. Three times.

Well, as long as you are buying, I'd like a 17" MacBook Pro, an 8x10 camera (preferably Arca Swiss), a Schneider 150mm Super Symmar XL and a Schneider 210mm Super Symmar XL. And maybe a 480mm APO Symmar L since you are being so generous.

If Nicholas Condon hasn't gotten back to you himself, see here for what Alex Trebek has to do with his Xmas list.

Addressing the original question, in my dreams I want a Leica S2 kit. Look, I'm not greedy. I'll settle for a body and a 70f2.5 -- and it doesn't even have to have the leaf shutter! Am I just the soul of reasonableness, or what?

Could maybe happen: Pentax DA* 50-135.

Probably will happen: Pentax DA 18-55 WR.

Be careful not to create a Goat Bubble.


The goat is good! For the past 5 or 6 years now, ALL of my holiday gifts every year have been Heifer gifts. I've bought goats, sheep, geese, chicks, and beehives (I've done that twice now, what with all the world's bees mysteriously disappearing). No one has ever been unhappy to get their goat (or half of a goat).

The Trebek comment by Nicholas Condon made me wonder, too. So I did a quick Bing search and found the following: http://imagerelay.blogspot.com/
The about me says he's a 3-time Jeopardy champion.


Mamiya 6

Aston Martin Rapide, to haul around my camera gear. Sometimes I'm running late and need to get to jobs quickly. It could be very handy. I wonder if they'll take a trade for my Honda Element...

Mike, http://www.j-archive.com/showplayer.php?player_id=7382

How exactly does it work? Do you actually ever find out who gets your goat?


...who in turn have to give the first newborn baby goat to a neighbour, the neighbour in turn has to give the first newborn baby goat to another neighbour, and so on.

And here I was thinking contracts requiring a firstborn as payment were bad...

Mike, I thought you might like to see Evo's review of the Subaru BRZ and Toyota version. They are 3rd and 4th cars here: Evo Magazine car reviews. Note that they got 5 out of 5 stars and not even the new 911 S or BMW 3 series got that! I'm praying that this car will inspire some lightweight, rear-drive, low-price competition. By the time I'm ready for a new car (at least 5 years) I hope it will be lighter and faster.

My Xmas gift to myself is going to be a Pentax MX and 50mm lens. Time to learn to photograph. My wife wanted to get me that and I said I'll use other money for it. Now I'm selling what she did get me and I'm buying the Pentax. My wife is not happy with me.

I always thought the goat or other animal charities sounded like great ideas. Along the lines of teaching someone to fish rather than giving them one fish. Give them a goat and teach them to milk it and sell it's offspring.

Got mine earlier this year - a new K5, Fa77 and DA15 to go with the DA35Macro. I might get the 50-135 zoom, but my three prime setup is awesome!

But Mike, what if I want to take pictures of a world at peace?

The "buying a goat" shows the total emptiness of such an idea.Goats are destructive.Yes, they provide milk, meat when killed and leather.Their failure is that they eat everything.Climb trees and strip off all the leaves. They eat the roots of all plants soon making a South Sahara desert real soon.
Please use something else.I like goats but they are not an answer but a problem.

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