I took that photo in 2009 with a  Panaonic GF1 with 20mm f1.7 lens.  This set up still almost meets the criteria I outline later in this post.

There is a challenge floating around the internet in the photographic art community right now. The challenge is one camera, one lens, for one year (OC/OL/OY)

For many folks that are not photo geeks like myself that is like challenging a craft beer drinker to pick only one brew for the whole year or a cyclist to pick only one bike for one year. Trust me. It’s a harder challenge than you think.

But….I have been pondering It as I no longer shoot with the intent for publication anywhere. I shoot solely for me.  Could this be the year? What would I shoot? What would I give up?

My criteria would be simple. I will use the must have, should have and could have classification.  This is my needs and not anyone else’s.

This camera must be small so I can carry it on my bike. It has to have solid construction with intuitive button placement and GUI. It must be black. This camera must have a very versatile fixed focal length. This camera must have a viewfinder or viewfinder option. this camera must have good high ISO capabilities. This camera needs to look good and feel good beyond just taking good pics or I won’t use it.

This camera should be weather sealed given my climate and what & how I shoot. This camera should have long battery life and be USB rechargeable. This camera should be a full frame sensor for the most control over image depth and my preferred IQ.  This camera should be void of the EVF hump. Lastly it should have WiFi image transfer capability.

This camera could have an OVF or an EVF. This camera could be digital or film. This camera could have autofocus.

You know what? That camera doesn’t exist. Damn.

The one that most closely matches for me is a Leica digital or film M camera with a 35mm f2 lens. Aside from that, the Fuji X100 series cameras and the Panasonic GX7 that I am shooting now are close too. The things missing from both of these for me are a full frame sensor, not stellar battery performance and weather sealing. One can only hope a future iteration of one of these could include said, missing items.

My second round of choices that stray just a bit from the requirements are the Sony RX1, too many old film cameras to list as well as something a bit more modern like a Panasonic Gh4, Olympus EM1, Sony A 7 series or a Fuji XT1.  All wildly capable but not quite what I want for shooting experience and appearance.

So I am still pondering but what if I had to pick right now. I think it would be a Fuji x100 series camera.   Those are really great and capable cameras.  I would sacrifice shooting soccer and some telephoto work but that’s ok.



So I really am considering taking this challenge on the camera front but what If I had to pick one bike……you will have to come back for that one but that bike at the top could be really close.

7 thoughts on “OC/OL/OY….OB?

  1. Now that I own several digital and film cameras as well as a few lenses (not that I’m all that good with them) I don’t think I could do that challenge. But I’ve probably ALMOST done it in recent years using my Canon s95. I’ve used the heck out of that thing (especially on rides) and have been through a couple due to that! Thankfully I’ve scored a couple on eBay on the cheap. Ha!

  2. Wow, personally I don’t think I could do that challenge. I like the variety, it keeps it interesting. I can see the value in it though. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Fuji X-Pro II is like when it comes out. Everyone says it will be worth the wait. It could be a good one for you.

  3. Interesting list and quite a price differential between the Leica and Fuji, particularly the M240! I, too, am looking for that one camera that can be carried on the bike and make fantastic images. My best picture-taking rig is a Canon DSLR with a wonderful Zeiss 50. Unfortunately it’s bit much for cycling. Until I figure it out, the best thing I have is the Canon S100. Last month I lugged around my very first camera: a Nikon FM with some Portra and got stunning results (didn’t know I could still focus without AF) But the workflow of waiting for the lab and then scanning is too tedious when you have a job and family. I want something that will optimize Leica or Zeiss glass but without the M’s $7k price tag.

    The best camera is the one you have in your hand!

  4. Thanks Jason, Tim and Robert.

    I have been thinking about this for some time and I gotta honestly say I am not sure I can actually do this. I do love the variability of how different lenses, sensors and cameras perform. They truly are tools. That said, I think I’d learn so much.

    I’ll be honest, I do want to do this but the thing I struggle with is shooting soccer. I do this several times a week in the spring and summer and the thought of not having only a fixed 35mm lens is frightening. But still I find myself really wanting to challenge myself to do this.

  5. I love the idea of this challenge, and will seriously consider it. I think I could do it, if I could give myself a pass for a couple of trips I have planned later in the year that will require a longer lens for wildlife photography. (Perhaps you could give yourself a pass for shooting soccer?)

    Like you, my choice would be a Fuji X100. Other than weather sealing – and faster focusing if I’m being picky – that is my ideal do everything camera. I spent 2.5 weeks traveling through UK last summer with the X100s as my only camera and never regretted it. It was liberating to not have to think about what focal length I wanted to use. Also, I found that I adapted to the 35mm lens quickly and began to frame things up before bringing the camera to my eye.

    As for one bike for a year…that’s a much tougher proposition. I think I’d probably go with my Krampus.

  6. Gnat. Just saw your post on Steve Huff’s site and that led me here. Great work!
    I have to say, I am an RX1 loyalist. I have been shooting with it exclusively for over two years now and it has changed the way I do nearly everything. It’s not without its shortcomings of course, but for me it is nearly perfect!

    For reference, I have owned and extensively used a Nikon D200 and D700 with a full bag of glass as well as a Canon 5d Mkii. Always felt disconnected from my subjects when shooting with a DSLR and I deeply disliked the size and weight of my kit. I tried to go minimal and picked up a Leica M8 with a 35mm summicron when it first came out. Loved it, but I couldn’t handle the amount of cash that was in my hands and the limited ISO and file size. Tried the Olympus OM-D EM-5 as well. Great little camera, but I always craved a larger sensor for more creative control. Anyway…

    That was a long winded way of saying that I’ve been down the same road that most of us have traveled. For me, the RX1 is my ideal tool. Hoping for a weather sealed RX2 and a wireless remote. That will be perfection for me.

    Great blog! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you so much!

      Ahhh….Yes the RX1/RX1R. That is a serious contender as well. I have shot that camera but for me no built in EVF means not on this list. I pondered and even saw a used one last week I considered for this project. I decided I would wait and see what comes next, if anything. Thank you for the reminder on the RX1. I am eagerly awaiting what Sony does next in this line.

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