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Friday, 11 October 2013


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konica minolta z3.

Aha! At the double sir! I wiil take the engagement gladly withiught second toughts. Pentax 645D and 75mm. Walking the coastal profile of France

Camera: Xpan with 45 F4 (already own it)
Subject/location: astronimical installations around the world. Think telescope arrays in the Atacama.

I don't think I'd meet an assistant, but it would really only work if my girlfriend got to come along.

Do I have to leave immediately? If not, then I would say "Yes" and go as soon as the new Sony 7 becomes available with a fast 35mm lens.

Yeah, I'd use the Sinar F1 and the 210 I already own, and develop my approach to still life a lot more.

This is my current trajectory anyways, although I shoot digital these days due to time constraints. This scheme would allow me to use the gear I'd actually like to use if I didn't have a ton of other obligations, and would allow me to move along my selected path that much faster.

It would be awesome.

And, at the end of the year, I might well be going someplace completely different. In fact, it's a good solid bet.

Dear Mike,

This was easier than I thought! Two trip candidates, two camera candidates:

Trip one: If the foundation really has an unlimited budget, a tour of duty on the ISS. (Since the Russians will take paying customers, this is not actually impossible; it just requires insane amounts of money.) By far, the preferred camera there would be an Olympus OMD EM1 equipped with the utterly fabulous 14-35mm f/2 Olympus Zuiko Digital SWD lens.

Trip two: More financially plausibly, a couple of months in Antarctica photographing the assorted astronomical facilities and experiments later. This was actually a proposal I submitted to NSF twice, and they turned me down both times, but I'd still love to do it. From everything I read while studying for dealing with Antarctica, I'd be strongly inclined to go lighter-weight there, so my preferred rig would be to just stick with my OMD EM5 and my 45mm f/1.7 Olympus lens. If I were really willing to deal with lots of extra camera weight, I'd be more inclined to pick a Leica S2 and whatever moderate telephoto or mid-longish zoom lens that Lloyd Chambers recommended (if it would be good enough for him, it would be good enough for me).

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I could train a girlfriend (sadly I don't have one at the moment) to be my assistant, we can hop on a car and drive around the entire Philippines only stopping at a place where our curiosity gets tingled.

With a Leica MP, a 50/cron, with mountains upon mountains of Tri-X, we'll be good to go.

If Robert Frank can do it for the USA, I can probably do it in my own country as well.

Would I accept? Duh!

I'd take my Canon 6D and 17-40mm because it was perfect in New Zealand earlier this year, shooting everything from falling-off-the boat yacht racing to volcanoes from the air. Light, tight and right.

I suppose I would; in the worst case it's a year-long vacation, with progress made on indexing my photo collection (and with job guaranteed when I return).

The requirement to use only one lens for the entire year is so limiting, though, it pretty much compromises the photography out of being anything serious for me. It might end up being, for me, a year-long vacation from photography.

Alternatively, I might pick something strange and exotic and just work on that for a year. That'd be something completely unlike my normal work, and I might discover I'd chosen badly later.

Oh, wait; I'd forgotten there was such a thing as zoom lenses (and your rules, accidentally or not, failed to exclude them). So instead of something exotic, I'm more likely to pick some wide-ratio consumer lens; basically I'd be giving up low-light photography for a year, and compromising the quality of the rest of the shots.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the kind of result you were looking for. But the restriction of one lens just completely blows away any possibility of serious photography for me.


I would get a beat up old ute and travel around the coast of the North Island (or Te Ika-a-Māui as it is now called) of New Zealand for a year (I'm a kiwi who's been away from home for 17 years so it'd be great to see Aoetearoa again!).

The camera would be one that I used exclusively until a couple of years ago - a Mamiya 6 with 75mm standard lens. I gave it up because I got fed up with processing and scanning film, but if I had somebody to do that for me... I'd have it back in a flash!

I borrowed a friends Leica M6 and 50mm Summicron a while back and took it to Edinburgh for the day - got some good photos but really wished that I had taken them on my proper camera ;-)

I loved that big old camera - a joy to use and those lovely big square negs... gets me excited just thinking about it...

Since I'm retired the sabbatical piece isn't relevant but I'd take a Fuji X-E1 and the 18-55 zoom and spend the year tracing and documenting the places in my family's movement from Poland to the US, ending up in Western New York where the majority settled. No glamorous places of note but smaller towns scattered around the upper mid-west to NY state. I don't own the Fuji but am considering purchasing one. Canon 50D and the X10 are my principle tools at present.

I might be brave enough to do just that. Or maybe not? I arrived at that very junction today. I have the money, the gear, the opportunity... Have I got the guts or the calling? That is the big question!

Strange that you pose the same idea simultaneously. Almost eery...

Photographing something that has to do with people. Something that matters. Maybe documenting someone that goes beyond the call of duty or someone who is still holding on to a skill or craft that is dying... slowly... without people knowing about it.

Gear? Anything with a viewfinder and a decent prime would do, I suppose. But that idea of just one lens, one body screws up the brilliant argumentation of my favorite author:


Buy two bodies, and two primes like 28/85 and be done with shopping for 5 years is much more to my liking!

But only one body and one lens is allowed, so...

The D4 and 24-70/2.8 or the D700 with a 50/1.4?

The D4 with a 24-70/2.8.

Those two primes could still be lighter, cost less and have a faster aperture than one zoom...

A hard, but interesting challenge, Mike!

I'm sorry . . . is this a trick question?

Yes! Where do I sign? Leica S2, and whatever moderate wide-angle lens they offer for it.

Nope. Don't own it, and unless I win the lottery, most likely never will. Dreaming is free, Leica's ain't!


Yes, I'd take it.

I'd use my Rolleicord III for the camera as a square format and normal lens would be a good fit, I think, for the project I'd like to do.

The project itself would be to document the roadside memorials of Wisconsin, if not the Midwest. I'd look down every nook and cranny of alley way, by way & highway to try to find as many of them as possible.

The topic fascinates me as it's something that never happened when I was young. Now they're everywhere and each has it's story of someone and those they left behind. I've seen teddy bears laying years later, forgotten, and I've seen brass plaques carefully polished and looking new despite the weather a decade after a teen died. I feel a deep need to document these places.

It's something I intend to do though, mysterious foundations aside, it will have to wait until my son is out of high school 6 1/2 years from now. And I suppose the Ektar & Tri-X 120 roll film my minds-eye sees these images in be long gone; hopefully I'll learn how to duplicate them from Olympus RAW files. If I'm lucky, perhaps by then a E-M1 and 25/1.4 will be old enough for me to afford :)

Unlike many of the other commenters, this seems a much deeper and more difficult question to me.

I'd jump at the chance to do such a project. The question is, which project?

I've got 2 or 3 that I would love to expand in this way, but each would demand a different camera. Or I could go the route of picking a camera I want to work with and develop the work from there. Not easy stuff.

If I was thinking urban - probably my OM-D EM5 with the Panasonic 20mm, as I have, unless I found one of the digital Leica Ms nice to use. Small, fast to use and great results.

If I was thinking of one of my landscape projects, I'd want either a Leica S or the new Pentax 645 digital. Oh, how I'd love a year with one of those.
But that would forego using a really nice 4x5 and a great 90mm. I have a set-up but hanker after something more robustly built. And the assistant & lab fees are a real draw for that.

Then there is my underwater work, with an opportunity to really focus on some photography that I love and getting at subjects rarely approached with this focus. Using a single camera & lens isn't a drawback here, lenses can't be changed underwater! But I'd have to think rally carefully about which pair.

What a conundrum.

I did this in 2010 but without the assistant and I kept the camera at the end.
It was a Leica S and a 35mm S
Three years later I use the same camera but still no assistant.
Too bad you are too busy Mike, we would have fun.

A chance to slip the shackles of corporate slavery for a year? You bet!

The camera would be the OM-D E-M5 and the lens the Zuiko 45mm f1.8.
I own this combination already and do most of my shooting with it.

As for the project, I would visit China. My wife hails from Beijing so she would be my assistant/translator/fixer/guide and a year would give me the chance to explore the whole country. If I had any time left over I would head for Japan.

Yes, of course. Camera and lens are ones I already own: Arca Swiss M Line 2 with Rodenstock HR 40mm lens. Project: Continuing my ongoing work documenting Jewish historic sites in Poland and neighbouring countries. Only problem: Actually taking a whole year of time to do nothing but photography--that's the real challenge.

Chamonix 8x10
Schneider 300mm
Provia 100F and Velvia 50

Photographing Route 1

I own both camera and lens but only shoot tintypes and some B&W. When I saw that lab fees were covered I knew it was one last chance to shoot an entire project on 8x10 chrome.

Hell yes!! Canon 1Dx. 200-400mm f/4. Africa.

Yup! Wouldn't think twice. And I'd hafta take my already-own-it Shen Hao FCL810-A 8x10 with trusty Fujinon W 250/6.3 as my one camera and lens - along with a mighty store of HP5+ (all of which my assistant can schlep around!)

Project would be one I've already more or less begun, but could greatly expand upon: California Mission trail and other remnants/towns/buildings from that era. I'm interested in learning more about that period in history and Spanish influence on architecture and culture on the west coast and southwestern US. An extended photo project would be a great way to explore and document that subject.

Yes I would accept it. The camera of choice would be my D700. I would add a Nikkor 35mm f1.4 lens. Please feel free to forward my contact information to these generous folks.

Japan for the 12 months with an assistant fluent in the language. I would want to spend most of my time on the Islands off Okinowa in the Pacific. Fascinating area. Would take a Sony a99 and Zeiss zoom lens...don't have either!

Had a lovely 10 minutes dreaming away and then thought...why don't I just do it!

No hesitation. I'd spend the year in Paris with a Canon 5DIII and 24-105.

I own both, and trust them 100% - I would not want to waste any time on the assignment playing around with equipment I wasn't completely comfortable with.

Of course I would accept. Specific camera is surprisingly unimportant: digital, large sensor, 20+ megapixel, and a first-rate lens in the normal or somewhat wide range. Eye-level viewfinder or option for one. If I assume the assistant is also a porter that opens things up: that D800e or Leica S doesn't seem so large or heavy. Otherwise probably end up with a Leica M (do not possess) and a 35mm Summicron (do possess) or a 50mm Summicron (do not possess). But I'd do fine with a Sony RX1, or any number of other cameras. The gift is the time.

Easy enough. I'd ask for a *new* Pentax K-5 (or IIs) since mine has over 60k clicks, and in my spare time I can already manage 20k a year and I wouldn't want to further burden the foundation with repair or replacement costs, not with the travel I'd put on their tab! As for the lens, the 35mm Macro Limited, preferably my own well-worn copy. No second thoughts!

Canon 1DX and the new Zeiss Otus.

I own neither and probably never will. But I can dream, can't I?

Of course I'd accept. Being confined to one camera and one lens? No problem. The coice would be easy: Leica MP and Summilux 50mm-f/1.4 (with tons of Ilford FP4 and Kodak Portra 160).

For me, the lens would have to be the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II - a true classic of the digital generation. I'd put it on the lightweight no-nonsense Panasonic G6 and use this combination for stills as well as video. And yes, I am fortunate enough to own them both.

I'd turn it down. I'm at a point in my career where I have found the equipment that works for the work I do, and I own that gear. I see no benefit to artificially limiting myself to a single lens; for me it would simply be a useless source of frustration.

I don't need anyone to buy me any gear to use, and the offer you mention is worthless anyway if the photographer cannot at least keep the stuff. My work doesn't require travel that I cannot afford on my own, and I make a good living as a high school literature and history teacher; a job I'm unwilling to put on hold. My students need me, and they're more important to me than letting some foundation use me to allow themselves to claim that they 'support the arts.'

Fuji X100s. And I do own one. Since I don't need a lens, will the benefactor spring for a second camera?

One camera and one lens for serious photography, ie. no other work. Doesn't have to be that small. Can be expensive.
MM and 35lux, a bit quirky and limiting but nice all the same. Or Leica S with the midrange zoom. Good to have colour and certainly more versatile.
I would travel around the Pacific Ocean and document that.
Maybe I should just go ahead and do it.
No, I don't have these. Considering the MM. Have 35 cron already.

Fun question!
(I intentionally skipped the 59 comments, but I will go back and read them)

I would accept the project. My camera would be an 8x10 Arca Swiss, the lens would be a process lens like a Nikkor or Artar around 450mm and in a shutter. I would use B/W film exclusively for this project.

My chosen subject would be people and places that benefit from the great collection of federal social and research programs that certain portions of the US congress regularly try hard to shut down.

I own a 4x5 Arca with a hand-made wood 8x10 adapter back. I own a 450 (+/- a few mm) process lens, but it's not in a shutter, barrel only.

I know the lens. Without a doubt, the Panasonic "Leica" 50mm 1.4 for m4/3. The camera is the problem. I don't wanna spend a month relearning one, so maybe the new Olympus E-P5, or---as I just checked to the GX7 and it seems relatively straightforward, maybe it. Of course it depends on what I decide to photograph. I might pick a Nikon D700/D800, though I am not as sure of the lens if I decide to do something other than I have been doing for the last 3 years. If I could use the entire year waiting for the camera to focus for one photo and needed a 35mm equivalent with high ISO, I might take a Fuji x100. :) (Grin mark to show I and jus' funnin' about the Fuji. A little.)

There are probably better cameras and lenses around, but those I know best.

I retired two years ago from a civil service career that followed an MA in photography from San Francisco State University. My mentor at SFSU, Jack Welpott informed me upon graduation that I would never earn a living in photography but would definitely have a more interesting life having spent the years studying and creating art. He was right of course.
So yes I have already been living this fantasy for two years and my camera of choice is the Nikon D800E with 24-120 lens.

Hard to believe we went to the moon and back, left behind those Hassies and brought back rocks instead. Nicholas does have my vote for his project.

I'd be out and about throughout the four hemispheres with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the 14mm...

After the salivation subsided, the prospect scared the bejesus out of me!

Subject: African continent.
Camera: Leica Monochrom.
Lens: 50mm Summicron – the new one.
Vehicle: Yamaha WR250R with modifications.
Own the camera rig??? I wish.
Assistant – stay home and catalogue/organize photos. I suck at this.
There will be some lab fees.
Scary as hell to contemplate this dropping of everything and going, going, going. I would, though.


Document my home state in the spirit of a modern day Farm Security Administration. This first year is a launching pad for a long-term project. As opposed to the surface scratching of travel photography, this project will have the depth of photographing one's home. Create a living, lasting record of the people, places and things that make Massachusetts tick.

Nikon D800: Smaller than medium format but with files that will be most able to stand the test of time. Fast enough, very good BW capabilities and very acceptable high iso. Can work for PJ, portraiture, landscape and everything in-between.

Nikon 24-120F4: Very tempted to just jump on the bandwagon and take the 50 1.4 but with the variety of subject matter, I think I might regret the self-imposed limitations. The lens is sharp, versatile and encompasses the entire range I would need. If I needed to choose one prime, then yes, the 50mm 1.4.

I have all of this equipment and live in Massachusetts. As a professional photographer, I am often asked what I would really want to shoot and this is my answer. And I do believe there is a viable need for this in a world where millions of images are captured in each State daily, but only a fraction of a percent will survive.

I think I'd say no to the offer. Immersing myself in that experience would so change my mindset that I think the work would more reflect "photo sabbatical me" than the person I am. Despite my spending many work days wishing I was shooting, I still think that a diversity of experiences shapes me and thus my art.

Besides, if I took such an offer and loved it, that carriage turning back into a pumpkin on day 366 might be more than I could bear...

I'd want to travel light and what I'm going to say next might be considered heresy by some but here goes. I would choose a Canon SX50 super zoom. I don't currently own that camera. Some of my friends and relatives do and the other night I had an opportunity to use one of theirs to photograph the full moon. I have to tell you I'm very impressed with the IQ of this camera. I mean a 24mm to 1200mm lens in a relatively tiny, lightweight package. As I said, heresy........

Yes, I'm packing bags now.
Canon 5D MK lll and accompanying ?-70 zoom
Assistant: one of the Turnley brothers .. I read they are exceptional at world wide logistics .. and we are gonna be traveling! Oh, it's ok with me if he brings a camera too .. I'd like a decent shot of me photographing. And, if one is traveling for a year I'd want someone who can cary on an intelligent engaging conversation. We're going to photograph a lot of people, but a mountain or two is ok.

Sign me up!

I'll need a Mamiya 7 and 65mm f/4, modified to accept an IQ 180 digital back. Equally whimsically as I'm spending someone else's money, I'd put a vote to the foundation as to the merits of going documenting either the path of Don Quixote, Arne Saknussemm or Dr. David Bowman. I think I can guarantee an original body of work.

Rolleiflex 2.8 E Planar. And Ilford HP5+ film. Got it all right here. When do I leave?

I'd take the currently best Nikon FX camera - say the D800e, with the currently best 24mm wide-angle for it. This might be the Tilt/Shift version and this would give me a year to figure how to use such a lens and to figure out what the heck such a lens is for, possibly deciding to leaving the T/S parts alone!

This one is easy.

Zeiss Ikon and the Leica 90/4 Macro.

Yes please Mike. I would spend a year in the Lake District in the UK. The chance to explore one of my favourite places in all weathers and seasons would be a huge luxury. I would take my Toyo Field, my 6x12 & 6x9 Horseman roll film backs, and just my beautiful 90mm Nikon f4.5. I would shoot Provia or Astia in the 6x12 and FP4 in the 6x9 and perhaps request the loan of a lighter 4x5 body. I had better start getting a bit fitter. Dream on ........

The James Webb Space Telescope. (I would let other people use it when I'm not using it.) I think I'll need a Photoshop upgrade to go along with the deal.

Certainly I'll accept. I don't actually care which camera and lens I use — Holga, 2 1/4 TLR, view camera, micro 4/3, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Leica … the images I make will be dictated in part by the equipment and in part by the light and locale, and in part by pure chance. (I think I'll do the year on foot in England, or maybe on a tandem bicycle if I can pry my Best Beloved away from her studio for that length of time.) I'm learning not to worry too much about planning — the things I plan rarely turn out the way I plan them to, and the things that come my way by serendipity are usually quite wonderful. I'm sure a theme will reveal itself after a while … or even after the year is over. Whatever happens, whatever the equipment, I'm confident I will make some wonderful photographs, and The Foundation will conclude that their money has been well spent.

On second thought, tell The Foundation to give the award to someone who wants it more than I do. I'm going to have a great year of photography anyway.

I would accept the offer, too. Any earlier than 3 months ago, I would have been unsure about what camera and lens to request. I’m a long-time Olympus DSLR/mirrorless user who has always gravitated more toward the telephoto end of things, so I might have asked for the top-of-the line Olympus mirrorless (E-M1) with a moderate-to-long zoom lens to match. Since getting my hands unexpectedly on a fire-sale Nikon 1 V1 with the 10mm f/2.8 lens (28mm equivalent FOV , I think I would change my mind and choose the V1. (I’m actually a bit shocked to be writing this, but it’s true!) The V1 takes superb black and white photographs, is small but has great build quality, has blazing fast auto focus, and is one of those cameras, like the Olympus E-1, that doesn’t seem to get in my way. I’ve fallen in love with the FOV of the 10mm lens and think I could quite happily live with that focal length for almost everything except some of the wildlife photography I enjoy. The camera itself has limitations—what camera doesn’t?—but I’ve always found gear limitations to be motivating as well as paradoxically freeing (wide-open boundaries tend to give me photographic paralysis).

My dream project would be to document my life-long home town of Seabrook on the Texas gulf coast—the Johnson Space Center where I work (at least when there is no government shutdown), tourists at the local boardwalk amusement park, the shrimping community, the local hangouts/businesses/sites of interest, the houses in my neighborhood where most of the original Apollo astronauts lived, and as many people as I could find who would agree to have their portrait taken. I would take and/or process most of my images as B&W with an occasional image in color. Hmm…come to think of it, there’s no reason I couldn’t start on this project right now. I’ve got the camera and lens and all of these subjects within 5 miles of me. The only thing I’m missing is the luxury of unlimited time, but I think I’d actually work better and be more motivated with something closer to my current time constraints—same reasoning as with my gear constraints. I don’t know if I’ll actually attempt this project, since I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to take pictures of strangers, but what a wonderful feeling to know that my dream project and camera gear are sitting in my lap at this very moment. If someone offered me a Leica kit and a trip around the world, I think I would turn them down without any sense of regret. This realization makes me feel as if I’ve just won the lottery. Thanks, Mike! 

A little late to this, but yes I would take it. In fact I have been working on a personal project of mind in Japan, documenting life on the streets. Only the lack of time and money (I live in Singapore) have prevented me from flying there more often or even staying there long term. (Aiming to publish a book!)

I want such a foundation in real life :) anyway to answer your questions, if such a kind sponsor exists, I would pack up my bags and move to Tokyo and photograph the country ala Robert Frank for The Americans, roving the streets, meeting people, documenting the culture from the eyes of a foreigner, similar to how Frank and Andre Kertesz photographed in the US and Paris as outsiders (Frank being Swiss and Kertesz Hungarian).

During the year I will hold exhibitions of partial work or try to publish mini photo essays in publications and at the end of the year, I would compile my magnum opus - a book resulting from one intense year of photographing and living in Japan.

As for gear I have all I needed, except that I will swap my current Leica Summarit f2.5 lens for the faster Summilux f1.4 since the foundation is loaning the gear. I'll stick with my M9 since I have tried the new M240 and didn't really take to it.

A one year project? Yes!!!
I always wanted to use the polaroid 20x24 camera.
I would like to do urban scapes with it.
Best thing, the camera incl. an operator.
To wish for a camera you could buy makes no sense in my opinion.

Yes. I'd accept in a flash.

I've started to document "The Hills" where I live, using my weather-sealed digital MF gear. But it's actually a bit heavy to carry all day and night with more than one prime lens: so the 'normal' lens is the one for me. (I really don't like zoom lenses: the discipline of 'zooming with my feet' feels more natural.) [If permitted, adapters to enable use of my Novoflex tilt/shift bellows with the single body and lens.]

What I _will_ do in this generous year, is a series on "the new face of photography":
- attending as a participant in as many of Peter Turnley's workshops (Cuba, Paris, Sicily, Lisbon, New York, Venice, and Mumbai) [1] as are scheduled during the year, but just one per city.
- I will use a Pentax K-3 (don't own) just because of the excellent ergonomics, with the FA 31/1.8 Ltd lens (do own) [46mm-e].

I would also make the opportunity, coming from 'down under' to stay at a modestly comfortable hotel for a week before and after each workshop, making photographs in and around those locations.

[1] http://peterturnley.com/workshops

In a heartbeat !

Probably the Sony RX1.

I do not own it now.

Oh, and what would my project be with my Panasonic 25mm 1.4 "Leica" lens and whichever m4/3 with tiltable EVF be? Photos of folks in Japan living life as they really do. Something that attempts to dispel the never-ending myth of the Japanese as weird, strange, impossible to understand Zen-Koan spouting mysterious folks. That alone would offend many.

yes I would....

camera? I'd take a GX7 and the 20f1.7 and yes i own it. m4/3 makes a good travel camera some nice lightweight lenses

why? it's a take anywhere combo it can slip it in a jacket pocket it so I can take it out for evening strolls and trips to restaurants etc.

Now can i have a year spent in Italy? please?

Photograph all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites (I've never been to one that's disappointed me) with a Pentax 6x7 and 55 - 100 zoom lens, on Portra 160 film. I would prefer to use a 4x5 Arca Swiss but went with the medium format due to the one lens rule. I don't own any of the above equipment currently.

Yes! Definitely yes!

The camera (and lens) doesn't matter as much. Depends more on where and what I'm shooting, and even that could cover a wide range and I'd adapt. Landscapes, people, architecture, industry and wildlife would all be great. Sports, weddings and news are not on that list.

An M Monochrom and a 50 Summilux ASPH would probably be my preferred tool if I started with the camera; people in Southeast Asia would be the topic. If I started with a Roundshot 28/220 I'd do architecture or certain types of landscapes. I'm very familiar with these cameras.

Would definitely accept. I'm tempted to say 55mm Zeiss OTUS on Nikon D800E, in part because if cost were no consideration, it would seem a shame not to take advantage of it, and in part because, well, the 55mm focal length has always had a special place in my heart, so the biggest baddest 55mm in the history of the 35mm format seems hard to turn down, in this situation.

I do not own, have never owned, and do not in particular aspire to own either this lens or this body. Even if I had that kind of money and had to spend it on photographic equipment, I would under other circumstances elect to spend it on a more diversified assortment of more portable gear. I have a job that's not primarily about photography, and a life built around that job, so I need a smaller (currently μ4/3) kit that fits into that life - that can come along when I'm not mainly out photographing.

But, if I had year where being out photographing was my job? Then I think I could tolerate something bigger and heavier.

Leica S2
Leica apo macro summarit-s 120 mm f/2.5

Camera none, travel none, money none, lens maybe 12-40/2.8....but only maybe....but I'll fund my own.....give the money to the needy not the greedy.

Greets, Ed.

Hmmm... I've been quite happy with my Sigma DP2M, but an arrangement like this might just convince me to give large format another try. I would try a 14x20 Deardorff with a Schneider Fine Art XXL 550/11. We're assuming the helpful assistant will be in charge of carrying around stuff too... right? And I would learn to do carbon prints or go back to platinum/palladium.

Would I accept? Sure.

What camera and lens? Olympus OM-2N with its 50mm/1.4.

Do I own and use that already? Yes. But a free unlimited supply of Tri-X and Fuji and Ilford films plus development on paper sure would be great.

I would take my sigma 15mm fisheye lens but I would use a better APS-c camera than I have currently (sony a100). Most probaly the a77 would be my choice. I wouldn't use the full-frame sony. It's not specified but I would use this combination for mainly underwater photography and I would visit the best coral reefs of the world.

YES, I would jump at it! I already own my dream kit of my Leica and 35/2 asph, which I really do pinch myself everytime I use, so I guess living half the dream isn't half bad!


No Brainer...late model Rolleiflex 120, lens already included. The subject would be anything that would impact the community by revealing the hidden and causing change....

Are you guys sure that 1 camera only would last the entire year without breaking? In case of breakdowns, are we allowed to replace the camera or lens?

Anyway, I would take my Fuji XE-1 plus 35mm lens. which I already have. Or maybe the new 23mm lens, which I would have to buy.

Curcuit camera with FP4 photographing military units, sections and platoons in the field (preferably an international deployment). Supplemental individual pers photographed in the field with Mamiya 6, 50mm and FP4. Follow- up in Garrison/Home. Transport- I own the boots. I own the Mamiya but not the Curcuit.
Light eater and nimble on my feed, has medic training and my wife still loves me- my COC does not. -Cheers, The Wheel.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. (T.S. Eliot)

Now back in my native country after 15 years in Hong Kong, I would spend a year traveling around Great Britain - by car, train and canal boat - looking at my homeland through fresh eyes. My equipment would be as simple and unobtrusive as possible: a Nikon V1 and the 18.5mm (50mm equivalent) f1.8, which I already own. I don't want to have to think about which focal length on a zoom to use, or anything other than aperture or shutter speed. I just want to see. If Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Robert Adams and the other greats ould realise their vision without cameras festooned with buttons and custom modes then I should be able to do it as well. As for the talent part of the equation, let's just say I'm still working on that....

I would say yes, and I will go with an OMD EM1 with the Voigtlander 17.5 f0.95. My current favorite pair is the EM5 with this lens.

This seems like a scenario designed to make me get a Voigtländer Bessa III or a Mamiya 7 with an 80mm lens. After all, I could have the assistant take care of scanning all the Portra 400.

I accept! : )

I would take either a Pentax K-5Ⅱ or, if it has at least as good low light performance the K-3, with the Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 zoom.

I already have a copy of the lens, which could go in for a service while I'm using the other one.

If I needed a bit more reach on the zoom I could crop the K-3 pictures and still be left with lots of pixels, but low light capability would be the priority.

I'll also take a camper van.

Oh yes!

Possibly the most modest proposal, but I'd stick with my Lumix LX7 and would continue my "street scene" project. I'd consider another camera as long as it had a 24mm (equivalent) field of view and native 16:9 aspect ratio, and had a small sensor to help with DOF (I need 1 meter to infinity).

I'd extend the project to include Rome and possibly New York and maybe even some other city (Vancouver?). The most difficult thing would be finding a way to make very large B&W prints from fairly noisy small-sensor images.

I think I'd say yes, errrrrmmm, make that definitely saying yes.

Currently I'm planning a trip to Japan next year. I live in the Netherlands (next door to Germany) and will be going to Kyoto overland - on foot and using public transport. The distance seems to be upwards of nine thousand kilometres or so, depending on the exact route, and as I'm trying to fit this in to four months being allowed a year would be very welcome. I have no special world-changing book-publishing plans or exhibition expectations, I'd just like to have a look around before I get too old to be mobile.

Kit I will actually be using next year is a pair of Rollei 35S cameras, as I have carried this model for several years without problems on walking and climbing trips. My own plan does involve some film-supply logistical problems unfortunately, but the fictional version will solve the logistics by means of the assistant. In that case I'd shoot with a Mamiya 7 and standard lens, budgeting for three or four rolls of 220 Portra per day. I don't currently own the Mamiya.

Rolleiflex. Any Rolleiflex would be fine. They are all good. I would travel around the world by train. One year would be just enough. I'd shoot b&w images of people on the platforms and in trains in different countries. Tri-X and Xtol, a couple of filters. That's what I would do. My total budget for one year wouldn't be more than $100k.

My answer might surprise people, since I'm mostly noted for landscape photography at more adventurous or exotic locations: D800 and 70-200mm (probably the f/4, but maybe the f/2.8).

Why? Because when you get a windfall like this you should extend yourself, not just churn out the same old thing. Whoever would be stupid enough to give me such a grant would rue the day they said "unlimited travel expenses," as if you've ever looked at my list of places to travel to, I can see mid-six figures, easily.

But I think you missed one other question, Mike: how many really great images do you think you'd have at the end of the year? For me, 10. But they'd be really, really great ;~).

I'm just back from wandering around Algonquin Park here in Ontario, where I slept in my car on occasion. Of course I'd accept such a gift...I'd take either my Fuji XE-1 or my OMD-EM5, with their respective kit lenses which are pretty good. What is more important is to have an Assistant. It is crucial to have a young blond female who is good at playing pool....

Nikon F4 with waist-level finder, 35/1.4 AIS and a handheld meter. Lots of Ilford XP2+, chosen for its flexibility. Katy Perry as the assistant. Project: Eastern European settlers in the fenlands of England.

The camera and finder I have (in duplicate). The lens too (but only one example). I have some XP2+ and am an expat from the Fens. I'm missing only Katy...

Is this a trick question? It seems like most are getting wrapped up in the question of which camera and lens. The more important question is what do you want to photograph?

I think I would be most effective documenting America. I only speak one language and I know how to get around. Also, I am familiar with our culture. If I went anywhere else my photos wouldn't be much deeper than tourist snaps.

I have a dream of canoeing or floating the Wisconsin River all the way to the mouth of the Mississippi. I also have a dream of biking East West across the country. Could I do both of those things in a year? Probably not. I think I would pick whichever would produce the most commercially viable book and prints. Then I'd use the proceeds from the book and print sales to self fund another year of travel. Hopefully I could keep it up till retirement age.

As for the camera? I'd want to remain versatile and I would want to work with something familiar. Therefore, I'd choose a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-70 zoom. Bland? Yes. But, I bet I would get better pictures than if I brought a more romantic camera.

Mike, admit it: you posted this because you wanted to set a new record of daily comments, right? [g]

If the Nokia 1020 is good enough for National Geographic, then it's good enough for me. I'd take the job and spend 1 1/2 months on each continent, with the remainder spent in US National parks (if they open again!).

I'd spend the time travelling around the world to see volcanoes from the Aleutians to Mt. Erebus via Hawaii and Java, and jungles from Belize to Madagascar via the islands off Vietnam. In a year there are bound to be a couple of eruptions.
The vehicle would have to be a helicopter with water-landing capability and room for a trail bike (which I'd provide).
The time to spend a week or two waiting for the right conditions would be great.
The best part of the assistant would be the image-processing part as that's something I've never really learnt.

Camera would have to be the forthcoming Pentax K3 with 60-250 f4 (I don't own) and close-up filters (if that's not a cheat..) for jungle bugs. Aforesaid assistant will do stitching for panoramas, and I'd happily replace my ancient tripod with a decent one.
Downsides? breaking it to my better half and the cats: and giving it all back afterwards.

Ain't dreams wonderful?
best wishes phil

Sure, I'll take it. Too good to pass! And since I can have somebody taking care of all the hassle of turning an exposed roll of film into nice files, I'll make it a film year. At the end of it, I'll still be able to enjoy whatever new digital gadget is the flavor of the day to my heart's content.

As for the camera, my long-sleeping beauty Contax Aria with 1.4/50 is a strong contender. Other cameras of choice, which I do not own but have lusted after: black G2 + 2/45, Xpan + 45 (wide-angle bonus included thanks to the panorama format), Fuji 645zi. Let's make it the Fuji!

And then with the foundation's help, I'll roam far away places for one year on my own little take of Salgado's Genesis project, except it would be in color.

You would not have to ask me twice! I would choose the Polaroid 20x24 large format camera, standard lens, and extremely strong assistant/translator. I would set off for St Petersburg to Beijing on the Trans Siberian Express. I would stop off along the way photographing people and places. As I do not have to worry about costs, I would take as many images as possible. I would present any subject with a Polaroid they liked after taking their photograph, as well as keeping one I was happy with. I would then tour South East Asia, Cuba, Central and South America. I would finish the project on Easter Island before flying back home to Scotland after a year. It would be a logistical nightmare transporting the camera off the beaten track but worth it for the image quality and the ability to produce images on the spot. Myself and my exhausted assistant would then return to Glasgow and present our already complete project to the foundation. It would be an enjoyable change to shooting film in my Nikon F100, but I can imagine I would not be sorry to return the 20x24 after a year on the road. I have never used the 20x24 Polaroid Camera, but have daydreamed of doing so on many occasions!

I'd take this in an instant. You all can keep your cliched Leicas; I'd want an OM-D E-M1 and the Oly 45 mm.

As for trasportation, there have been dozens and dozens of times in my life that I've wanted to stand in places where no one had yet seen fit to build me a convenient parking garage or public balcony. So, I hope the foundation's ready to rent cherry picker trucks in a variety of world cities for me...

I would only accept if Phase could produce for me a full frame 6x6 back.

Otherwise, I'd be very happy being the one assisting... for a Kenna, or a Salgado, or a Burntynsky. Or not, even: Being paid to help out on globe-trotting high level work? Yes please, gladly schlep gear through customs and streamline workflow...

I suspected this toss-up question would trigger an avalanche of replies: it certainly captured my imagination and got me thinking. I always want the option of printing really large, so the choice of a high resolution full frame or medium format combo is where I'd turn. Let's put a Leica S and the Vario-Elnar 30-90 zoom on the Foundation's tab. Both feature pro builds, substantial to be sure, but with only one set-up to manage, it won't be long before I'll be pre-visualizing everything the way the gear sees it. As a landscape shooter, that focal range will cover 95% of how I typically shoot. I'll take an ML-series Benz SUV BlueTec for my transportation, thank you very much. The assistant can work from home, wherever that is: I'll periodically send flash drives via FedEx. I'll plan for a year's-worth of blooms, color changes, and seasonal weather features happening at six or eight National Parks west of the Rockies, with book, calendar, poster and note card output projects for each one. The best of the images would be finished as display prints earmarked for my gallery. And the accounts of "how, what and where" will make for some engaging sessions on the photo/travel/conservation/nature talk circuit. Yep, a total-immersion fantasy, Mike. Thanks.

Easy and hard
Fuji X100S (I have one), travel around wherever, and then a memory card that only have room for 52 pictures. Period. After one year, only 52 pics. Better make them count...

Great question.

I'm late to the party due to dead Internet service for a few days but, sure, I'll go for it.

I would choose a Canon 5D, 24-105mm lens (standard kit lens for the camera). I currently use a 50D with 17-40mm lens for almost all my photos anyway so the step up to the full-frame with a slightly wider and longer equivalent zoom wouldn't be much of a change...and I really see no reason to change what works.

For a vehicle, I pick a fully outfitted and large motorhome set up with all the techie stuff I might need and a small toad (that's a small, tow-behind vehicle for trips away from the motor home when set up). If that is considered stretching it too much, hell, I'll buy my own secondary vehicle for the project.

For an assistant, I want a driver.

If I had more than a year, I would love to travel to other countries around the globe. But given the time constraints, I figure the North American continent alone would take up twelve months easily.

So, with such a question, the main discussion is about the lens/body if any?

To keep stuff nice and sweet:
Yes, I would accept the job.
Yes, I would accept the [if so] hindrance of the challenge part.
No, I don´t have a favourite.

In fact, this seems the best way to experiment heavy duty NEW and UNEXPECTED equipment, rather than the one we already own, doesn´t it?

All the very best

The more interesting question to me would be "what subject would you shoot", although I doubt that you'd get nearly 200 comments.

I would take my NON oil splattering Nikon D600 (I love that camera) and 18/120 f4 nikkor lens.

Oooh it would be great. I'd ask Fuji to build me an X-Pro 1 with working focus, I'd get a nice fast 50mm equivalent and then I'd be off to every arts festival in the world I could squeeze in - music, theatre, sculpture, literature... The foundation would arrange a photo permit for all of them of course, and then at the end of it there'd be material for a book (100 Festivals You Must Go to Before You Die type of thing - corny I know, but it might sell).

Why don't opportunities like this happen in real life?

I currently use one camera and lens - Canon 5DII and 24-70 f/2.8 (I actually own more lenses but I've loaned them to friends because I found that this setup covered the vast majority of my needs, and some lenses I wasn't using could serve some friends very well) and I think I'd probably stick with them for the year. The temptation would be to go with a 35mm or 50mm prime but I don't find myself hankering for more than f/2.8 my 24-70 currently provides, and of course I can get both focal lengths from it, plus a couple of others besides.

I currently live in Spain and love the country, and I'd like to spend more time in the different regions that I'm yet to see, such as Galicia and Asturias in the North of the country, along with the Basque Country where I've only spent a few days. I'd also like to see the South of Spain and it's beach towns during the winter, beach towns in winter have always fascinated me with their semi-apocolyptic feel on a grey, windy and wet day - the temporal nature really exposed.

I'd also like to revisit much of my home country, Great Britain and see more of Scotland, Wales and the Lake District.

Too many comments already, so mine will be buried, but anyway: I'd use a Pentax 67ii and the 105mm lens, and I already own this combination of body and lens. I'd be more than happy to get rid of everything else for this combination (indeed I already think of doing just this, though I'd keep the other two lenses I have for the 67ii). I'd like unlimited train travel in the UK.

But that isn't what I wrote to say. Film and paper are the elephants in the room here for a non-digital photographer. There are, of course, plenty of good examples of both left, especially for B/W, but significant holes are appearing. I've just loaded my last roll of Adox / Efke CHS25. It's a frustrating film to handle physically – loading spirals and getting it straight in the film gate of an enlarger are both irritatingly difficult – but the results make even my pictures look good. And it's gone now. I'm happier with the paper situation, but perhaps only because I've not experimented so much there.

So, I don't care about someone subbing me a camera + lens: I want them to provide me with a year's worth of film of my choice.

I would spend the year backpacking and mountaineering. This would require a small, lightweight camera as well as one that works in very cold conditions.

I would be interested in a digital version of the Nikon FM.* That, in fact, is the camera that I carried for two decades before I went digital. And for travel I always opted for the 50mm/1.8 lens when I could only carry a single lens -- but now I might consider a 50mm/1.4 instead.

*Or actually use the Nikon FM with Provia 100. Let the assistant do the scanning.

Would I take it? Heck yeah. Where do I sign?

I'd use my Sinar Norma and Nikkor 150 mm lens. Since cost is no object, I might even shoot a little color, but I'd mostly use Tri-X.

I'd split the time into two projects. The first would be architecture at military installations and places like the Very Large Array telescope and Hangar One at Moffett Field. I'd pause to shoot any interesting aircraft along the way. The assistant would be needed to provide any government or other clearance to get me in the door. The second project would be portraits of the folks who work there, interspersed with emergency-service responders close to home during the down time from travel.

Hope it's not too late to change one's mind- I'm divorcing myself of my brief, ill thought out, and imaginary one year digital fling, for a more stable affair with a proper film camera- make that a year with a Bessa III W.

For me it would have to be a D800e (although I could be persuaded to rely on my D700 in a pinch) and my trusty 24-120 f4 lens in Venice, Italy. I have the lens but not the camera. I've been fortunate enough to lose myself in Venice for a total of 9 days over the course of three trips. I believe I could spend the rest of my life photographing there.

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