Gear Acquisition Syndrome….
GAS is the impulse many of us have that compels us to want new tech all the time. The reason I said “us” generically and not “shooters” specifically is because GAS is not confined to digital photography. Computer builders have it too, as do digital DJ’s, music producers, graphic architects… basically anyone who uses modern tech in their profession or hobby. There have been many articles written about overcoming GAS. I will not add to that list of articles. I don’t see any problem with GAS. Actually, I think GAS can help to enlighten you as to what you like and don’t like, and is directly analogous to money that might be spent on formal schooling or paid personal instruction.
To be clear, a newer, better camera won’t automatically enable you to take better photos. It MIGHT enable you to take good photos more easily however, and for many professionals this makes upgrading their gear worth it. There is a LOT of gear out there, including but not limited to half a dozen popular camera and lens brands and an uncountable number of accessories. Some gear can actually have an immediate impact on the quality of your photos. I used to shoot field sports with a 135 2.0 L Canon lens. It’s a great lens and is tack sharp when shot correctly, but it’s a prime, and thus, I missed a lot of shots as the action got closer to the sidelines. Recently I hocked the 135L and got a 70-200 2.8 IS II. The sharpness of the new lens is roughly equivalent to the 135L across the full focal range and the new lens zooms, so I’m able to get many of the sideline shots I used to miss before. Also, I have more reach.
I understand that unchecked consumerism is unseemly. We feel used and exploited when we pay insane prices for new gear. Still, how else are you going to learn what you like and don’t like? Renting lenses? Who does that long term? How else can you learn how to execute what is required by you for the shoot at hand? Different gigs require different combinations and calibers of gear. If you stick with a Canon Rebel t3i and refuse to upgrade after reading this Eric Kim article, how can you ever compete with the wedding shooters in your area who are willing to invest more money in their photography than you do? There are some shots that are only achievable if you have a fast expensive prime, or a fast zoom, or a tilt-shift lens, or a camera with an extremely fast burst rate. This hipster, millennial-inspired rebellion against the evolution of your gear kit is not only counterproductive, but it ruins the challenge one feels to continually justify the buying of expensive lenses and bodies in your photography kit. How do you justify these purchases? By shooting the fuck out of whatever you are assigned to shoot and balling out, that’s how.
GAS isn’t all bad. Don’t let these people make you block Amazon.com from your browser. If you are thinking of upgrading your favorite portrait lens, there’s nothing wrong with either choice. Keep it or sell it. It’s your prerogative, your career and your thrill when that big ass box arrives via UPS. After you get that gear set up, take your new fancy shit out there and fire off some shots. When you’re out there don’t stop. Stay low and keep shooting!
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