Sunday, 11 September 2016

G.A.S Gear Acquisition Syndrome

I read a lot from photographers, hobbyists like me mostly, asking about an upgrade of equipment. "What should I get next?", "will this new piece of equipment improve my photography?".

Often the replies given question the need for the upgrade, what about your current equipment is limiting you? What will this new piece of equipment give you that you need?

Generally there is a struggle to answer these questions.

A brief history of my photography might help to illustrate. And to show I'm not immune to G.A.S.

My wife bought me a Kodak point and shoot digital camera. It reawakened my interest in photography. It was great to be able to see the pictures straight away. Print it at home, or print just the pictures I wanted, not the whole roll.

But is was limited and didn't give me the control I wanted, it didn't allow for off camera flash, it was slow, and battery life was appalling.

When I looked for a replacement I knew a DSLR would resolve these issues. An upgrade was a sensible move. But which one? I read lots of reviews. This allowed me to understand and list the features I was most interested in. Searching on ebay I found a Nikon D70. By todays standards some would say a poor camera. But not to me. I bought an inexpensive secondhand telephoto zoom. And did mostly motorsport photography. A friend does track day photography and I helped out on a few occasions. The lens I had wasn't fast enough, and there was a little bit of lens envy. So I bought a more expensive secondhand lens, that when new would have been considered a pro lens.

This combination served me well. I printed 20x30 inch from the 6mp sensor. And rarely wished I had better than the 2.5 fps it was capable of. I did borrow 2DX and thought briefly that this was what I needed. But that feeling past before I bought one.

Then G.A.S struck. I convinced myself that I was being held back by the poor low light performance of the D70. This got me to a D90. In the meantime I had bought lenses that I only used a few times. After, again convincing myself that I needed they could provide, .

Today I flirt with buying a full frame DSLR or even a medium format camera. I can't justify it. But it doesn't stop me adding them to my ebay watch list.

The manufacturers feed this cycle. It seems cameras, lenses etc are being replaced with newer, better versions. Each one suggesting that your present equipment is now not up to the job.

It's not just cameras. How often have you bought a new television lately? In the days of CRT's, once you had a television that was it until it broke. Even then there was a local repair shop.
We were told an HD flat screen was all that we would ever need for unbelievable picture quality. Now we are constantly told that the latest technology, curved, 4k etc is even more unbelievable than before.

How often have you fallen foul of G.A.S with technology?

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