If you were given the choice of a brand-new camera and lens or an all-inclusive vacation with plenty of photographic opportunity, which would you choose? To make this a bit simpler, let us assume that they are valued the same. Would you rather have that new camera, the one with all those megapixels and that brand-new sensor? Or would you be content with your current gear, instead choosing to use it to create awe-inspiring images at a new location?
GAS is real, and it is a problem
Like most photographers, I too suffer from GAS. No amount of medication will ever be able to fix my issues, for it is not one any doctor can help me with. When I speak of GAS, I speak of gear acquisition syndrome. A common term in the photography world, this simply means that those afflicted are always looking forward to the next piece of equipment. We can always be found on B&H or Amazon, drooling over the newly released DSLR or that beautiful new lens. Sometimes we give in to our GAS, dropping hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a camera or lens that is only slightly better than the one we currently own. Why? Because it feels so damn good.
For me, the choice is simple
If I was given the choice, it would no doubt be a struggle. My mind would find a million and a half ways to justify having that brand-new camera and lens. Oh, the possibilities with those extra twenty-some megapixels are endless. With the updated ISO performance and better dynamic range, my images would be so much better, so much sharper, so much cleaner.
But would they really?
I am hard-pressed to believe that, through owning a new kit, my images would drastically improve. It is simply not possible to miraculously create better images just because you own a new, “better” kit.
You are better off with the vacation
Maybe this is because I wish to make my life more minimalistic. I personally wish to reduce the number of things I own, making due with what I have and working around what I do not. Although this may not be your mentality, it should be with photography. Considering all the options we have in terms of renting gear when we need it, there really is no need to own every lens offered. Would it be cool to show off on the online forums? Oh, most definitely. But to spend your lifesavings on photography gear is…stupid, for lack of better words. If you need a certain lens for a job, just rent it; consider the cost and place it into your quote. Need more megapixels? Rent that Hasselblad and a lens or two for however long is needed and, again, consider that cost into the quote for your client. Use that money to go buy yourself a house or rent an apartment for ten years instead. No gear is worth it unless it is absolutely necessary.
I would love to have a new camera
My dream camera just came out this year: the Nikon D850. I full-heartedly believe that, if able to upgrade to it, it would be the last camera I purchase. That becomes especially true if I do not at some point make a living off my photography. So yeah, this would be a tough choice. But I know that I would much rather go on that vacation with my current gear. I have created, and continue to create, what I believe to be some rather beautiful and thought-provoking imagery with the gear I currently own. With the sizes that I offer in my print shop, I do not need more megapixels, nor do I need any of the other amenities that the D850 offers.
I would rather take that vacation – whether alone or in the company of others – and make the most out of it. My camera would become an extension of my hand more than it already is and I would come home with hundreds of new images. And I would be so much happier that way, knowing that I used old gear to create something beautiful.
So the question stands: