Dec 192012
 

fighting

Gear Acquisition Syndrome…Fighting the addiction by Emil Cobarrubia

Hi Steve,

My name is Emil and like many other readers out there, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and have been using it for camera gear reference and as a window to hear/see other people’s experiences. Photography is not my profession nor are my skills at capturing images are in any way “professional”. I’m actually very new to this medium. However, it is something I’ve grown to love and feel passionate about. It’s allowed me to discover wonders in things I would’ve normally overlooked.

After becoming a little intimate with the process of capturing images, one tends to hit the forums, blogs, and review sites to get a glimpse of other people’s experiences, advices, and of course, their equipment.

While wandering around these places, it’s hard not to come by such catch-phrases as “Bokeh!”, “Leica look!”, “AF speed”, “Retro-Design!”, and “Full Frame”! Boy, what strong adjectives these are. Of course they sparked my curiosity. I found myself saying, “Wow that’d be cool to have!”

Countless threads, forums, blogs, and reviews later….the hunger and temptation grew stronger. Everyone was talking about it…… how could I ever snap another frame without the Leica look and creamy bokeh?! How could I ever capture another image without the fastest AF?!

And so, this short reflection is about how I forgot what made me happy about photography and how I made a spiraling descent into what we’ve all come to know as Gear Acquisition Syndrome :).

 

Nikon D800

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One of the big decisions for me was waiting for the next Nikon full frame camera. I had my eye on the D700 for a while to replace my then-current D90. I loved the high ISO capabilities the D700 showed and hoped that Nikon’s successor would have the same level of ISO capabilities. Then came the announcement of Nikon’s behemoth D800 with talks of even outdoing the D700 in terms of ISO. That was my chance and calling. The preorder was in and I finally had my first full frame camera. I mounted the Nikkor 24-70 and love it dearly…. but man….. is that thing heavy!

 Leica X1

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I had a backup camera, or at least a camera to compliment the SLR, since I had my D90. This camera was the Leica X1.

I remember looking at images from the Leica X1 on this site for the first time and was simply floored by the quality. I just couldn’t believe that this little machine was pumping out images similar (and better) to my then-current D90. The lens had great character, files looked amazing in B&W, and to top it off, it physically looked like no other digital camera out there. It was a fun tool to use and more importantly, I was able to freeze memories that were dear to me. And to be honest, the AF didn’t bother me because I wasn’t shooting moving subjects. If anything, it forced me to put a little more thought into the image I was capturing…..something I wasn’t doing with a SLR. Truth be told….. I was happy.

But being happy didn’t stop me from roaming the forums, review sites, and comparison videos to learn more about my new X1.

I wanted to hear other people’s experiences with the camera, see what they thought about it, see what other images the X1 had produced. And in doing so, it’s not unlikely to come across criticisms.

The more I read about how people were unhappy with the X1′s AF, low-res screen, lack of VF, telescoping lens, loose dials, the need to remove the handgrip to replace the SD card or battery, the shutter lag, lack of video recording… the more my brain was conditioned to dislike it. The delight I felt with this camera was replaced with a degree of regret.

“Did I get the right camera?”, “Is there a better one out there that offers better IQ, better AF etc. for less money?” were some of the questions I began asking myself.

And while there ARE valid and practical answers to these questions, the real question should be, “Why ask yourself such questions if you are, indeed, already happy?”.

Unfortunately, it is sometimes not as easy to come to this realization when you’ve become stimulated, curious, and excited.

Excited not about capturing your next image, but excited about capturing your next camera…….

Olympus OMD EM5

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The OMD could’ve been the answer to the X1 for me: approximately the same size, Muhammad Ali-like AF and continuous shooting, cirque du soleil-image stabilization, HFR EVF, metal construction, weather sealing, customizable controls, tilt-able touch-screen LCD, kitchen sink, butler, tax accountant etc. It really was a night-and-day difference compared to the X1. Micro 4/3 has also came a long way and started becoming close, if not equaling, to the quality of APS-C sensors. It really is a knockout.

With all the OMD’s positives and breakthrough features over the X1, for some reason, I never got attached to it.

I did end up missing the IQ of the X1. Not to say the IQ of the OMD is bad… it’s very good actually.

IQ became my priority and so, around the Fujifilm corner, word of a new firmware update came rumbling about. An update that actually made the X100 into completely different camera than when it was released. Some have claimed to rarely never miss a shot with the new AF and that the SAB problem was discretely addressed. Well….curiosity got the better of me once again and I was excited about capturing the new camera and not the next image.

The OMD? Returned.

 Fuji X100

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The experience I had with the X100 was sublime. Being a late adopter, I had no experience with the issues some have mentioned (i.e. slow AF, sticky aperture blades etc.). I felt as if this should’ve been the one I got in the first place…. instead of the X1. It had a built-in OVF/EVF which is actually quite fun and gave a very unique shooting experience. The AF, after the firmware update, was much faster than the X1 (yet a little slower than the OMD). It was something I instantly connected to.

The one thing that sold this camera for me…..the colors. I found Fuji’s color rendering to be very pleasing. The skin tones were just wonderful. Another thing I loved with the X100 is how the lens renders lens flare when shooting into the sun. The X100 is a damn good camera and I can understand why people swear by their X100s.

Once again, I was happy and there couldn’t be another camera out there that could sway me from my X100.

But…..………What’s this I hear about some X-Trans sensor with no AA filter and a mighty 35mm f1.4 that gives some Leica glasses a run for their money?

The X100? Returned.

Fuji X-Pro 1

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The X-Pro 1 + 35mm combo is beast. IQ was just a big fat “wow”. Another great camera which I adopted later on… post firmware 2.0. I didn’t experience the so-called dreadful AF speeds. One thing I did immediately noticed about the X-Pro 1 which was kind of annoying: While wearing polarizing sunglasses, the VF is black. Close to a deal breaker for me as I have prescription sunglasses and taking them off to see through the viewfinder……..well let’s just say I won’t see anything at all :)

Anyhow, like many others out there, the X100 was my point of reference when looking at the X-Pro 1. The VF on the X-Pro 1 was smaller than the X100, no diopter, OVF frame lines weren’t as accurate as on X100 etc. However, the X-Pro 1 did have some welcome features over the X100 such as the high-res LCD screen and the colors were just as good if not better than the X100. Noise was also a key difference and ISO 6400 is quite usable.

I know there are problems out there with RAW conversion and most will prefer the traditional Bayer pattern sensor for easier processing, but I feel there is some magic to be found in the X-Trans sensor.

So that’s it! I’ve made up my mind! I’m going to keep the X-Pro 1! It does everything the X100 does, and in some areas, better…..I just wish it was a little smaller…. you know….about the size of the X100.

The X-Pro 1? Returned.

Fuji X-E1 (taken with D800) – (from Steve: looks like the strap and button from my “Pimp Your X100 Article)

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Damnit.

In the End

So I’ve went on to describe my experiences and how I felt with each camera, reiterating the pros and cons you all probably know by heart. Yet I never commented or mentioned anything about the photographs………..instead I chose to share opinions about the camera I was using. I’ve embodied the consumer and I hope to come back to reality and be thankful I even have something to capture a memory or tell a story with.

A fancier word processor doesn’t make a novelist a better novelist and a Steinway does not make a pianist a better pianist.

Hopefully, by writing this, it can bring light into the whole “gear acquisition syndrome” thing. I feel it all just leads to unhappiness, uncertainty, and money loss. We can enjoy photography without feeling obligated to get the latest & greatest.

With that being said, I’m keeping my X-E1. I love it and it’s helped me freeze the moments I wanted to keep.

Like Steve said, it’s a great time to be into photography and there are some great cameras out there…. Just don’t lose focus and let it take away the passion and energy…… unless of course it’s the new M or RX1……. Just kidding ;) !

Emil

  165 Responses to “Gear Acquisition Syndrome…Fighting the addiction by Emil Cobarrubia”

  1. Going analog helped me overcome GAS. A year has passed with zero new gear. Sick.

    • Well I agree with that 100% analogue helps to fight it. Not only because one can get best things for less.
      But on the other hand there is a very big chance to cheat the statement “A year has passed with zero new gear” with analogue. And its because 99% of analogue equipment is not new. Its secondhand :)

      • Same here! After buying two DSLR’s (a Nikon D3100 and a D90 soon after) and 6 Nikkor lenses, flashes, batteries and other small stuff on which I spent some $2500, I’d keep craving for more, even though I definitely had better stick to what I have…

        As I don’t make a living out of photography. I’m afraid that buying even a couple of professional-class lenses would run me into debt… so I decided the best way to cure my lust for gear would be to go vintage, as this way you can find f/2.8 manual lenses for no more than $100.

        I’ve bought a 135 mm f/2.8 Revuenon lens dating back to 1983 (guess I was learning to speak and walk when it was manufactured), which delivers stunning results, provided the subject is stationary and you have time to adjust the focusing distance. Given I’m not using a full-frame camera, 135 mm is quite enough for most situations.

    • Fuji GSW690iii or Mamiya 7ii 65mm? Why?

      • Funny, I just bought the GW690iii upon finding a steal in Japan and i’m in love with it, but then I had a look at the Mamiya 7ii… but luckily(?) I can’t afford that, and the 6×9 medium format has seen me completed disinterested with all my 35mm film equipment now.

        I guess that’s one thing for not having lots of money, you simply can’t buy all these cameras, I still use my E-P2 because although I want to upgrade, I want to get the best value for money, and I feel I need a couple or 3 generations before it’s really truly worth it, so i’m thinking end of next year.

        Then i’ll have my RX100, GW690iii, new m43/fuji and a few different 35mm film cameras that were pretty cheap anyways… oh boy I guess I do have GAS, just the cheaper version.

        • The GW690III alias “The Texas Leica” rocks. I owned one last year, but I grew tired of scanning film etc. It’s a fun camera, enjoy it.

          I have GAS :p

          Now I own a Sony RX100 and recently bought a Canon G1X so I could wear glows, it’s damn cold in Norway. I have my eyes on the RX1, I tried it out in the store yesterday. I want it, but I have promised myself that I’m not going to use money on gear in 2013. The RX1 costs almost 4200USDs here in Norway(5K with EVF and lens hood). I won’t buy it before the price is below 4200USD with EVF and lens hood.

    • I’m fully analog, and my GAS is reasonably under control, but I did find going to film camera only made my GAS worse… The thing is, you buy a digital camera, and it devalues like a new car. Buy a film camera for the right price, you can tell yourself it’s an investment. Makes it easier to part with the money. So to that end, I’ve spent far more on film cameras than digital, and each individual camera can cost more too.. The good news is that when I sell, I tend to make a small profit or just a small loss.

      Also, right now there are some nice digital camera coming out, but even if you don’t want a real antique, there have been amazing cameras being made for 50 years, so there is just so much more choice than in digital. In digital you have to hunt around to even get a viewfinder these days, but in film cameras I can drop the price of a Panasonic G3 body on a Zeiss Super Ikonta III and get a stunning pocketable medium format camera which looks beautiful.

      For me, film cameras are bad for GAS, just because there are so many lovely ones, and even the pricey stuff is relatively mid-priced compared to digital.

    • I’m digital and film hybrid, and only camera I bought last year is iPhone.

    • Using primarily a Leica M3 has calmed the hungry GAS beast that lurks around the corner. I went back in time to get the best. (as he turns the pages of the new B&H catalog.)

  2. GAS sucks! So hard to resist trying out new stuff. I’m holding out for the new M. Or not…

  3. Thanks Emil for sharing your wonderful pictures and stories behind each camera acquisition. I am a Canon shooter but drifted off to the Fuji X100 after reading Steve’s reviews. As you, I am a follower of Steve’s blog and have learned lots about all this beautiful “little” cameras. My next one will be the XE1, looks too yummy not to have. :)
    Ute

  4. This is one very very interesting topic and i certain believe it happen to everyone else. Especially for new people like me who always have a thinking that more expensive gear will produce better result and end up losing the passion to pursue photography because inability to purchase the latest expensive tech. congrat for you finally made a decision on your camera so i guess we can enjoy more work from Emil.Hope you can resist the more new comer in the future.

  5. Emil, all the pictures attached to this post look fantastic which shows me it’s more about the photographer and less about the camera. This is a good reminder as I’ve been actively shopping for a new camera to replace my Canon T1i.

  6. We are all looking for the perfect camera, without understanding that the perfect tool does not exist. It’s all about how we utilize what we have. Still, it’s ok to love the technology and photography as a hobby.

  7. WOW.

    Wow, and one more wow.

    Your pictures are breathtaking and definitely inspiring!

    I share your insights and views. Like you, I have also am a victim of GAS.

    Maybe the RX1 will stop it :)

  8. Gentlemen, I have bad Gas, 10 cameras at the moment: Nikon v1 because of your blogs… Fuji S5 pro because of Rockwells review, D7000 for work, Pansonic G3 (much underated and very versatile .) Three Pentax film camera (all dead easy to use), Panasonic LC1 (I would love an updated unit), the list goes on…I must not buy stuff. Ha! But seriously I love wandering with camera in hand, sometimes I am sure just any old camera would be sufficient. Mr Huff, great web site, thank you.

  9. Great little article, Emil. Thanks so much for sharing this. And, what timing! I’m an older guy who has forgotten more about photography than he cares to admit. But, being older (and not yet retired…getting there), I take the position that it’s okay to have a bit more equipment than I need. Nice excuse, huh? In any event, I recently sold my Nikon DSLR camera and equipment and went mirrorless, working my way from Panasonic cameras to my current Olympus OMD EM5 and four prime lenses, all of which serve my needs quite nicely. And, I have a Panasonic LX7 as a fun (and pretty darn good) casual backup. However, that syndrome remains… So, I bought a Nikon V1 at the current low price that Steve posted here recently. I mean, how could I resist? I saw this as a more serious backup. Uh huh… Another good rationalization. But, today, and right before I saw this article, I bought a Fuji X-E1 with the 18mm lens. Do I need it? Nah, but I handled one recently and just couldn’t put it down! I’m hoping that it meets my expectations. At that point, I’ll give the Nikon away to a dear young friend of the family who can’t afford a nice camera. I mean, it’s the holiday season, right? Again, thanks for the article.

  10. Great post, thanks for the nice words and pictures, very funny but true!

    I agree, going analog slows down GAS a little, I try to focus on shooting pictures instead of thinking about cameras. And it is soooo hard for me to finish a roll of 36 exposures because there’s so many silly things I just don’t shoot anymore. Coming up with “new pictures” can become quite a challenge when you are selective.

    Then again, I admit that using a digital camera for family and friends pictures is just convenient and saves time and money.

    But the more I look at books with (analog) photographs, I realize that the “subject and composition” is just more important than the camera.

    But please let us know how you like the new Leica M once you get it….
    ;-)

  11. Emil, nobody has commented so far on your beautiful images. Clearly you have been doing more than collecting gear. You have found something in each new picture machine that communicates. May you soon find the perfect tool that turns transparent and allows the pictures in your mind to appear on the page. Thanks for sharing – - great article. Question though: what do you say to the idea that it’s not so much the box and sensor, it’s the lenses that determine “the look”?

    • Well there definitely is some truth to it especially when comparing against same-size sensors ….. the lens is the first mechanism to interpret your image…. it’s the one that compresses or stretches your images depending on the focal length and the mechanic that’s capable of isolating your subject.

      I believe that the sensor is not the interpretation of your image…… but it’s the interpretation of the image the lens sees…..

      Now if we shift things a little bit, sensor size can affect the DOF, focal length, etc…. thereby influencing “the look” much more than if were comparing two different bodies with the same sensor size. Sensors also influence the “texture”, or i should say noise of the image.

      I think, generally speaking, it’s truly the summation of all parts that provide the look, but the lens is the variable with the largest magnitude.

  12. I’m curious – did you buy all of these from the same place? Did the retailer give you any heat for buying and returning so many different cameras?

  13. Thanks for sharing Emil, although your cost of acquisitions were a LOT lower than in places such as HK where you cannot ever return stuff. I wish I was back in North America again. I’d embrace GAS with open arms! hahaha.

  14. Sigh. I’ve been there. But I’ve had a good few months solely with the X100 (after selling my M43 gear).

    And have a plan in place… Use the X100 until the “dream” camera comes to the market (FF, compact, interchangeable lenses, no AA filter, preferably Fuji, not Leica $$, etc), additionally keep the X100 for a long time, use it for what it is: the perfect, simple, portable all-around. Also for times when I wouldn’t want to bring around whatever super fancy FF piece of gear I would also own.

  15. “…money loss.”?

    You wrote that you returned most of them.

  16. I remember when my only camera for many years was the great Nikon FM with the 35mm and 105mm lens combination. In the film days new cameras didn’t give you much news, film was film. I had a GAS period with vintage bellows cameras a couple years ago with my introduction to Ebay, but got over it. Hardly used all the old, but beautiful and restored cameras I hoarded, too inconvenient. Yes, I know it’s funny. Going digital, I got so excited about Thorsten Overgaards Leica Digilux review 2, that I bought three used D2 cameras. Yes, I know that’s even funnier, can only use one camera at the time. In addition I’m always looking for the next new camera revelation. It’s all because of these damn photo blogs that I keep reading
    :-) Better stop doing that…

  17. The X-E1 is a very good choice to settle on.
    I think a NEX-5N would have also made a good choice.

    I’m still waiting for a small mirrorless with a Nikon D4 IQ under $700. wishful thinking :-)

    • I have a NEX system and find myself with vintage lens GAS. I find myself longing for a more pretty camera even though it is very good.

      Perhaps getting a x100 would solve the lens GAS

  18. Hi Emil,

    Great article.

    You seem to have pretty much described my journey of the last nine months. I decided to keep my X100 because of the colours it gives and the film simulation. Then missed the X 1pro but did stop at the X – E1 which is just a dream. I’m staying put as I’m broke. I hope you are content with yours. I guess we are all allowed a bit of acquisition syndrome once in a while.

    NHV

  19. the fuji cameras are UNBEATABLE in term of IQ ….. at the same price tag.
    the OMD comes very very very short in that regard (for me)

  20. Steve: Would you go a little farther than even this fine article and commission some addiction specialist to write a piece with recommendations for stopping GAS. We all want The Cure. Or you could run such a piece as an interview. (Your site used to publish terrific interviews; I miss them.) It would be a great reader service. I once went with a friend to an AA meeting hoping I’d learn to stop this gear addiction. Could it be that those of us who are drawn to photography have addictive personalities–and not that we become gear heads out of love of cameras? At the AA meeting, a girl who’d been sober for a year talked about how she weaned herself of Orange Stoly. Honestly, the more she talked about giving up Orange Stoly, the more my mouth watered. And I hate vodka. We need to know more about GAS. Please!

  21. You are describing my life here! HAHA! I am presently reducing my stable of cameras…. I’ve found that buying gear is simply a convenient excuse to avoid actually being a productive and imaginative photographer. I own way more cameras than I can use. And it’s just a distraction. Thanks for the article, and the wonderful photos!

  22. Had a Fuji S2 Pro for 5 years. Great image quality. Sold it for a Sigma SD14. Amazing IQ but only at low ISOs and files would corrupt. Really liked the 17-70 lens. Then came Canon 5D Mk1 with 24-105 lens off ebay – second hand. Had it for about 2 1/2 years now. Excellent IQ, easy to use – poor LCD and old style menu. Not planning on an upgrade. Use it for landscape and real estate work. Fuji X100 arrived about 20 months ago. Excellent after a few firmware upgrades. Still frustrates with slow startup or reactivation times and battery that suddenly dies. But consistently excellent IQ. Would be ideal with a 3 x zoom somehow – digital like a Sony or an add on filter / lens. I have looked at the OMD (which I want to like but the menus, messy and tiny on screen info and tiddly buttons – and tiny size – put me off. Looked at the X-E1. Couldn’t get the aperture to change in A mode (??). Unimpressed with the viewfinder. Very laggy when panning and not a patch on the (smaller but better) OMD EVF (the ONLY EVF I like – very good tonality).
    Wish list – Canon 6D or 5D Mk III or Nikon D600? Sony RX1 with EVF? Rx100? Actually recently bought an old 50D with 17-85 lens (as a backup camera and as a zoom extender for my 70-200 L lens) and am getting surprisingly good results. Better than my 60D ( I had to sell due to tight finances). 50D better handling and I can process RAW in CS4 (unlike 60D). 60D had better jpg output but I hated the shutter sound and not in love with the LCD. Live view focusing slow anyway. Tried a 500D (matching set??) and was impressed with it’s small size and easy handling (an isolated ISO button is a must – at least on the 50D it is the end button. On the 60D it is a middle button with a small nipple that is supposed to make it easier to find but you still have to take your eye from the viewfinder) – but the output did not match the 50D despite having the same sensor. And it was too small for larger lenses – even the 17-85 let alone any of my L lenses. So I am happy with my “old” gear and am getting on with taking photos!

  23. Lack of money is a great solution. It’s what keeps me shooting my NEX-5, instead of upgrading to the 5F or 6.

    That one shot needs a joke caption, “Sadly, because of his loud saxophone playing, he couldn’t hear the train coming.”

  24. The Fujifilm color profile and IQ is fantastic. Can’t wait to see what they come out with in 2013.

    • Yes, the X-Pro 1 image quality and jpeg color rendering is breathtaking, especially when you really nail a shot. I haven’t seen anything that can actually beat it, save perhaps the ultimate resolution of Nikon’s D800, or cameras of that ilk. I love mine and use it in concert with my Nikon DSLR. The Fujinon XF35mm f/1.4 R is every bit the equal of Leica’s Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, IMO.

      As far as GAS goes, used to be a five or six year cycle in the days of film. Back then, film was the recording medium [not mechanism] and what made the difference was the lens you used. When the latest, greatest film came out, you just inserted it into your analogue camera, and away you went!

      Today, the camera is both the recording mechanism AND the recording medium, and so GAS appears every 18 to 24 months [if not sooner, judging from this article]. IQ is now impacted by both the camera AND the lens. When combined with the easily available info on the Internet and blogs like this, the consumerism engine is well-lubricated. ;)

      The truth of the matter, however, is that we have reached a point where for 90% of the shooters out there, the current crop of cameras are more than good enough to capture almost anything…and capture it well. A six year old Nikon D2X in the hands of a talented photographer will take far better images than a brand new Nikon D800 in the hands of a rank amateur.

      I tend to go by the same rule we used back in the days of 35mm SLRs: Pick the camera that speaks to you: the one that feels ergonomically best in the hands; that has the viewfinder and control interfaces you like the best; and that offers the suite of features [along with system support] that will work best for your style of photography.

      The quality of your images, when the camera is used properly, will have far more to do with your skills as a photographer than the intrinsic abilities of the camera itself.

      They’re all pretty damn good these days!

      • Have to say that the Fuji 35 1.4 is an excellent lens when it comes to IQ..close to Leica quality but not quite. But it is the build that falls very short for me. It feels like a light made of plastic lens. NOTHING like a Leica lens, not even close. If Fuji built these lenses a little better it would inspire more confidence in their longevity. The IQ of that 35 rocks though. The only Fuji lens I really really like to date for the X system.

  25. What a nice article. It looked like someone was actually writing my thoughts. It is so true that every new gadget makes us think about that extra ISO sensitivity, IQ, AF speed… Once the camera is aquired a few days of shooting then camera starts gathering dust waiting for next acttraction in the market. Focus needs to be next image not next camera. Some of my best images have come from little wonder like LX5. Not necessary that it has to be a full frame monster, though I do have one.

  26. Good Article, Scary I have been doing the same thing with almost the same cast of cameras except an additional detour through the NEX cameras due to the focus peaking feature and being able to use old glass so easily. Old lenses is whole other rabbit hole…….. If I spent nearly as much time shooting photos as I do looking at gear I may have a little more to show for it.

    I too have landed on the Fuji X-E1 just love it. And I plan on loving it for a long time……..

    I was really tempted by the RX1 but lucky the much cheaper and more flexible X-E1 found me first.

    Lets blame Steve for making all this gear sound so appealing. J

  27. Like many people who read this blog, I deal with GAS. Always something newer and better, that I think will be the miracle solution to my photographic problems. The real problem I think is that I get bored with my surroundings, so maybe next time I get a hankering to drop some dough on expensive gear I travel somewhere interesting instead.

  28. GAS reminds me when in the 60s or early 70s a UK magazine challenged David Bailey to see what he could produce from an instamatic camera instead of using his Hasselblads… b&w and enlarged to about 20×20.. He produced respectable artistic images, perhaps not of the quality for a fashion magazine double page spread… But it did not do much for sales of the Kodak instamatic.

    Seriously though GAS has become more intense and perhaps less diversified… Gone are the days, well almost gone of system for large format, medium format, medium format panoramic, 35 mm SLR, along with a 35 mm Contax compact and a digital camera being all in use, but like many others I can fully justify any camera purchase… And can wish for the ideal! Technology has helped, autofocus lenses are a reality, so are wide zooms, motor drives are contained in cameras and changing your Fuji film can be done in camera instead of changing backs. The drive for smaller, lighter, faster, higher quality, FF, low light cameras won’t cease… And it may be fun… If anyone has. Seitz

  29. Great story! Mine is similar, been a bit more expensive, and has ended with the Fuji X10. When stacked up, statistically, against the competition, it appears “middle of the road” at best. When it comes to convenience and fun, it is simply amazing. I keep mine on EXF most of the time and concentrate mostly on composition. I can’t be sure, but I think it has something to do with that very plain,simple optical viewfinder.

  30. The best cure for camera addiction is to either buy old broken cameras and models that dont work. Since most of the time the gear you get will be on your shelf for you to touch and look at why bother spending good money on cameras you use twice a year? Any camera you dont use everytime you go out and shoot is no better than a dispay model so just buy dead cameras for display..they’re a heck of alot cheaper.

  31. With the “next big thing” released every few months, it is hard not to develop a serious case of G.A.S. Great recitation of your journey. And sorry for this but the old grammar teacher in me compels me to point out that it’s, “I’ve gone on. . .” not “I’ve went on…” .

  32. So… are you keeping your D800? If so, how often is it getting used?

    • Hey Mike,

      Yes I kept the D800, Leica X1, and the Fuji X-E1. I’m happy to say that the D800 gets used as much as I would like it to be used……but it doesn’t come with me everywhere I go :)

  33. “Hi, my name is Geof, and I’ve got Gadget Acquisition Syndrome….” Wonderful article iterspersed with some beautiful photographs. Keep ‘em coming!

  34. Very nice photos Email.

  35. I have been looking for quite a while to replace my “antique” Nikon D2H bodies. Mainly because I want the low noise at the high ISOs. But everytime I think I have found a solution (used D3, new/used X-Pro1, etc.), I go out shooting with my little 4.2MP D2H and I find that I don’t need to change my equipment. I just need to keep looking for images. For me, nothing is enlarged beyond 12″x18″ (using Perfect Resize for that) and noise at ISO1600 is manageable (w/Nik Dfine). Whatever the toy, I want the image!

    I am still continuing to look but in the meantime I will continue to shoot my D2H bodies and occasionally drag out my dad’s vintage Yashica Electro35 GS and shoot a roll of Tri-X!!!

    No matter the toy, Emil, keep on shooting!!!

  36. I’ve known I had GAS for a while. But now, instead of acquiring new gear I get used stuff off eBay and sell it again when I get tired of it. That way I only lose the shipping and the eBay/Paypal ripoff fees (around 15% altogether). I think of it as a cheap, long-term rental.

    • Roberto, I used to think ebay/Paypal fees were ripoffs to, but then I sold some things on Craigslist and realized how great ebay really is!!!

  37. Emil,
    You are certainly abusing the return policy of the dealer that sells you these cameras. What do you think happens to the cameras that you return? They can not be sold as new after you have used them. I see this return policy abuse openly advocated on some popular web sites. “Buy three copies of this lens. Cherry pick the best one. Return the other two.” Not to mention people who order a camera or lens with in intent to return it after they post their “first impressions” on some web site forum. Abuse of return policies is not ethical.

    • Since Emil clearly bought each camera hoping that he would keep it, I don’t think he was abusing the return policy.

      • I think that is a bunch of BS. Emil seems to be clearly abusing return policies, which ultimately hurts us all. I’ve tried a bunch of cameras and lenses as well over about 24 months, but I buy used (or buy new and sell used) so I am bearing the cost burden of my hobby.

        • Thank you for the comments regarding this. I will be sure to take it into consideration for all applicable things moving forward.

  38. Went back and checked the male mortality tables in the USA and the life expectancy of males in my family. All I’m going to say is: BRING ON THE GAS! To quote the famous writer Nelson Demille: “In life, it is always later than you think.”

  39. I love the humour of your article, and it hits right home. I only have a short GAS history, but the symptoms are very clear – also moderated by lack of cash. I started out two and a half years ago with a Leica D-lux 4 and was stunned at what it produced even with severe cropping. And macro was a dream. But of course there was that lack of zoom for passing birds (the ones with wings), so I picked up another Leica, the V-lux1 – the model before they downgraded the sensor size and upped the zoom, a bad recipe. It was/is marvellous…… But of course it is a bit of a tank, a bit slow on the uptake too, and then there was that issue of depth of field. So in came the Nex C3, a highly intelligent camera consistently showing the best jpeg comparisons over on dpr. And it was so invitingly small I had difficulty reading the figures on the screen to set anything! Still it gave me lots of shallowness in the DOF department. Then I sat the other evening making the first image shortlist for a calender out of a year’s pictures of my granddaughter, some from the D-lux 4 and some from the C3. And suddenly I noticed a difference in clarity, so I turned the info button on and discovered that the slightly unsharp ones were from the C3 and the sparkling ones from the D-lux 4. (BTW all had had comparble adjustments of sharpness and contrast but generally less with the D-Lux 4.)
    So here goes the merry-go round again – back to square one higher up the spiral. I’m now selling both the 4 and the C3 so I can have the cash to acquire – guess what – the D-lux 6 for small, sparkling portraits and tip-top macro. And since I never actually bonded with the NEX (the happy factor was subtly missing) the next outbreak of GAS will probably come when i once again think that APS-C is necessary – a Fuji perhaps? !!! Oh dear.

  40. The images were the first thing, I looked at, before starting to read your post.

    Many of them are really good, but the most interesting ones, those which seemed to be most inspired to me, were those at the top, which you made with the first camera you mentioned.

    I would say, GAS had not helped your photography. So I’m glad for you, that you have defeated GAS and can now concentrate at what your are obviously very good at: taking pictures (as opposed to buying the perfect and final GAS-resistant camera…)

  41. WOW!

    This GAS thing is better than therapy !!

    It is good for my girlfriend to know that there are others out there all over the world just like me !

    Fujifiln X-Pro1 with 35mm and new 18-55 mm great set up- current equipment

    What will 2013 have to offer (my banker wants to know)

  42. Now Emil want to check film camera. Fuji looks very special, because it’s one step closer to the film (but still very far form the real ones)

  43. Just curious…what do you think of your old D90? When I get gas, I pull out my ancient D70 and shoot. I have better equipment but the D70 is enough.

    • Hey Clifford,

      I really loved my D90! It was my first SLR and most of the images I shot with it were just terrible because I didn’t know how to use a camera outside of “Auto”! And yes, the D90 was….sorry…IS still enough for me …. but I sold it in preparation for the D800.

  44. I have found that analogue has helped me get in control of my GAS.

    Having my M9 as my goto camera rather than going to the latest fashion I have instead got a very new M7 along with a never used M4-P so they all work with leica M glass.

    Acquiring glass doesn’t count as it can be justified as an ‘investment’.

    Now whether to go for a new M or not ?

  45. Emil / Steve,
    The worst version of this G.A.S. is if you suffer from the version that prevents you returning the camera you fell in (and out of) love with before buying the new loved one!

  46. X-1 for me is an awesome backup with superb IQ and not giving it up!

  47. This article reminds me of my days when I had strong interest in guitars and cars. Followed the the forums weekly only to realize from articles and blogs that what I had wasn’t good enough. Naturally there were links to retailers on these sites to spend your cash to keep up or “get ahead” of everyone else. With cars it was simple, more money equaled a nicer and faster car. WIth the guitar everyone was going after that elusive unobtainable tone. So I arrived in the camera world to find its all the same here as well. Its all about wanting something better. Nothing wrong with that but it comes at a price. As the psychologists say its primarily about identifying yourself with the object of desire. My BMW. My Les Paul. My Leica. No true goodness in the object, goodness comes when the the temporary desire for more stops. Now after saying all that I wish I had a Leica :)

  48. Let’s see…

    cameras
    cars… oh, wait, racecars…!
    guitars/amplifiers
    golf clubs

    GAS is a terrible disease. I’ve fought it all my adult life. The heartache, the pain, the horror… the hor…ror..

    Wont you please donate…! Somewhere, a grown man is crying…. he wants a new (fill in blank) and has to go without tonight.

    Please, help someone’s dream come true…

  49. Where are all the women on this thread??

  50. Ironic. I’ve traveled down the same road. Started with a Canon XSi, Canon 7D, Nikon D700, Fuji X100, OM-D, and now finally settled on a Fuji XE-1. Loved my D700 since I had some of the best lenses with it, but the weight was just too much for traveling. I thought my OM-D was the perfect camera, but the photos just seemed slightly flat to me and I had to try the Fuji again. The XE-1 with the 35mm is just about perfect for me now. A little on the slow side, but I can live with it. The photos are just too stunning to pass up, but to be honest, I probably could have lived with the OM-D. I was almost ready to buy the Sony RX-1, but didn’t want to wait till December. My Nikon F SLRs fit my full frame needs much better anyway.

    • ” I was almost ready to buy the Sony RX-1, but didn’t want to wait till December.”

      And there in lies another aspect of GAS……time! The sooner the better. Not a criticism by the way, Just something which has not been raised as yet.

  51. The shot of the bison really knocked me out. The processing is sublime as well. Where was it taken?

  52. Emil, love your article! It literally spells out the same things happening to me and many others. D80>D3>M9>M6>XP1>ContaxG1>F4s>OMD>MAT124g>XE1>Rollei35s>RX1, and I thought I would stop at the RX1, but I am getting a DP1M today… Always searching for the next “perfect camera”, and had not stayed with one camera long enough to learn to use it better except back in the D3 & M9 days… Thanks for the article, a great reminder to focus on getting good photos instead of just good gears.

    I have been following Steve’s site for quite some time but never wrote anything afraid of sounding silly, but your article really echoes my inner self! Thanks again!

  53. Poverty helps with GAS. It prevents me from acting on my self doubt. Still I can’t help but lust over the X-E1 or the OM-D.

    My EPL-1 with the Sigma 19mm will have to do for a bit longer.

  54. What a relief to see that I’m not the only one infected ! It certainly creates a bond!
    Someone ever considered a rehab ?

    Well, any way, it’s much better en harmless to be infected with the camera GAS than with the automatic rifle GAS I guess…

    Kris

  55. I’m sorry the author chose to live the experience as he told it. Perhaps most will read his anecdote and simply laugh along, but I find myself feeling somewhat forlorn about the consumer fetishes that these online worlds whip up. I don’t knock Huff for his product promotion, as that is clearly an aspect of his profession, and we all must make a living. But it takes a degree of restraint, self control; a delay of gratification on the part of the reader.

    Admittedly, I recently bought a V1 on fire sale based on Huff’s recommendation, my needs, and my personal economic situation. Having discussed cameras with a buddy of mine for a couple of years, I felt I was ready to commit to a new camera and live with its +/-. So I am a somewhat regular reader, and I am happy to have Huff’s advice.

    But “GAS” stories like this are a bit much. Perhaps the author simply has enough pocket change that these gyrations are just part of the fabric of his life. But consider that this behavior doesn’t simply devalue the author’s quality of life. It also creates real, measurable churn in the retail world. How many of us have ordered a new product online and received something with loose packaging which appeared to be previously opened? At what point do UPS and FedEx simply become middlemen handing the tennis ball back-and-forth over the net?

    Folks with “GAS”, or who may be prone to such behavior, might benefit from reading a different photo blog such as Guy Tal’s…

  56. I don’t think GAS is necessarily a bad thing as long as you buy tools with different capabilities and more importantly, tools that provide different results. Often, the digital cycle has us replacing the same type of camera for another “better” camera that gives us similar results.

    The mirrorless carousel is moving at a frantic pace with impressive improvements made over a fairly short span of time, but as the cameras improve there is less and less to tell the difference between their output. So pick your mirrorless poison and after, spend your GAS money elsewhere. Dip your toes in the film world, maybe pick up a Land camera or a Fuji GA645. Spend your money on something that rewards your purchase with a new experience, a unique result and personal growth.

  57. Have you tried the Leica X2 with the EVF yet, Emil? :-) No, I’m not trying to get you to switch cameras again…

    • lol, yes actually I did! …. I tried it when I had the OMD in my other hand though ;)

      • Ah, o.k. :-) I love the X2! I used the X1 for two years and was unsure whether to upgrade because at first I thought the changes were too minor. Now, after having used the X2 for over a month, it’s clear that it’s better than the X1 in many ways. Have fun with the X-E1, Emil!

  58. At one point one has to stop, there is no perfect camera and there will never be. Buy what you love and stick with it. I went through the same experience. And I ended up with Leica m9 with Leica x2 being my backup. And the wife uses x100. And we are done.

  59. Great article and shots thanks GAS is not necessarily true if your a pro u need different cameras for
    Different situations looks etc film large format digital and a mirror less or leica for a more emotional feel and even if you are an amatuer enthusiast and can afford it go for it cause you can use all those cameras buy a lomo take shots with your phone just shoot and invest in glass cause good lenses never loose much value some increase and just keep shooting and posting it here thanks for all the hard work this year Steve and the great site which helps relieve GAS or helps us make good conscious decisions on gear acquisitions and spend too much MONEY LOL MERRY XMAS TO ALL AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR KEEP IT COMING

  60. People see GAS like it is a ‘disease’, a problem they can’t control. I say embrace it.

    You only live once, so why denied yourself with something that would make you more happy. You work hard every day so why not enjoy life as much as you can. If that means buying every little new tech gadget or shiny toys that tickles your fancy, then do it!…

    If you can afford it. Go nuts… buy every camera, lens you want and enjoy your life and love for photography.

    Just don’t tell my wife what I just said…

    Merry Xmas everyone.

    • Yep, brilliant comment, just selling my first born and the dog….no wait it could be a toss up between my dog and my wife, oh decisions decisions…. News just in.. I am the one placed in the small adds.

  61. Been There – Done That

    Only One Thing Left – Wait For Fuji X200

    Merry Christmas You GAS Animal :)

  62. Emil,

    With your writing style and your great skills, you can easily go pro.

    Great read – and thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it immensely.

  63. Thanks for sharing your experience, Emil.. You shoot nice picture. Interesting to know that you have try out so many camera.

  64. Nice article, that descrive the GAS in the only way it can be described: it brings you away from the real magic of photography.
    I feel the same curiosity here described but for lenses, not for bodies or single lens camera.
    Now, after 8 month of doubt I’ve taken the lens I was looking for from 4 years: Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 for m4/3 and I think I’ll never buy and other lens for at least 10 years.

    It’s now time to take photos and improve skills, no more gears :-)

  65. Ah GAS! Just embrace it and enjoy it – why else do we read all these blogs and articles? I thought I had slowed down – just waiting for the new M next year but then my local dealer had brand-new but second hand (so cheaper) 35 Summilux FLE and the 50 Summilux ASPH! What could I do? I bought them for my current M9 but – my excuse – is that they will be great on the new M. As someone said there is such a choice out there so enjoy all these lovely goodies. And a very happy new year to you all!!!

  66. Wonderful photos Emil, it’s clear that the GAS isn’t inhibiting great photography – you’re getting out there and using all of your gear before making informed decisions based on experience.

    GAS is a funny thing though, as a student I just had one camera – the ubiquitous Pentax K1000 standard student issue with stock zoom – and loved it! Never once in a subsequent trip round the world did I have any yearning for gear, and the camera became truly intuitive.

    These days though… in two years since rediscovering photography in earnest I’ve been through a similar amount of cameras as yourself, and have often thought I’ve gone mad!

    Full circle though, there are still things I’d like – any regular reader of Steve’s site will have those urges – but it’s now in check!

    OM-D and a decent rangefinder with a few good primes make up 99% of my shooting these days, and I’ve all but stopped looking. Now that I’m concentrating on getting the best from what I have, I feel I’m on the path to improvement – something a new camera just doesn’t give you.

    Interesting article! Keep up the good work. :)

  67. Good idea to go analogue – when there are places like this to visit with some great vintage cameras and lenses…. Maybe that creates a new problem – VGAS or “vintage GAS” :-)

    http://flic.kr/p/bcE5Me

  68. This post did NOT help with my GAS.

  69. At the risk of repeating someone other remark… If saying you’re not a professional, meaning it’s not your main job ok, but the beauty and ingenuity of you pictures shows that you have at least a “professional” level of ability. Keep on with the good work, try to calm down the GAS and you’ll be an happy camper ;).

  70. How do you manage to return all the stuff? Did not the retailer complain? And did you really have enough time to learn to use the stuff before returning?

  71. Gear aquisition syndrome or gear changing syndrome. GAS would mean we have many cameras etc GCS hints that we are not happy with what we have and keep swapping our gear.. So why are we not happy ?. Are we searching for the elusive holy grail of cameras or do we hope that having the best will make us a Robert Doisneau or a Don McCullin.
    I look at the shots taken on this site and think “wow, I wish I had taken that or had the vision to see that shot”. So to me it doesn’t matter greatly what camera I carry I just wish I was a better photographer. Maybe spending some money on tuition with a real pro would make us better and as a result appreciate the camea we have. In fact my guess is that giving a “mediocre” camera to a good photographer would show us we don’t need more gear, we need better skills.
    Emil, your pics are good, find a camera and exploit your talents to the max.

  72. Funny thing is, after such an inspiring post, people still reply about which camera is better :-)

    GAS forever !

  73. Great article! It’s these days before christmas that make my GAS light up again.
    Some people sad that going analogue would help. I made something similar. I am only going for well reviewed, well proven second hand gear.

    I bought a used X100 at half price after some time – We all know what it does and what it doesn’t.
    I have a used Canon 5D which I paid only 650 for. I use it when I need an all around tool.
    And a Mamiya C330 for the most precious shots.

    “Old gear”. No surprises. Low costs.
    Know your light. The rest will follow.

  74. First, let me say that your writing style is very engaging. This was a thoughtful post, very well presented and beautifully arranged. More than anything, it was so nice to read of yours and others ‘addictions’ – which made mine seem a bit more acceptable :-). It’s nice when jumping off a cliff, to have company!

    This year, after shooting Nikon since 1975, adding Leica in 1996, I sold all of my gear, bought an em-5 with most of the better lenses (12, 25, 45, 75, 12-35, 35-100), and contented myself with an incredible system. That said, I did order the rx1 after Steve’s glowing review, which should arrive today!

    Now, with all of my 2012 camera ordering anxiety behind me, I can rest. At least until my new linn akurate ds arrives to update my stereo!

  75. So what did you do to fight the GAS addiction?

  76. The new gear treadmill has been a source of frustration for me over the last 5 or 6 years. One of the problems with going digital is that, until very recently, the medium was maturing at such a fast pace that every year brought a batch of new cameras with significantly better technology and performance. This year’s model tended to have much more impressive IQ than last year’s.

    So, if image quality in a digital was important to you, it meant regularly laying out a significant amount of money in order to get the best. In the last year I found myself switching from an investment in the Sony Alpha system to Nikon, because of a combination of the stellar performance of Nikon’s D800E and the fact that the Sony Alpha system seemed to be shifting their emphasis more towards sports photography and video–both areas I’m not interested in.

    That was an expensive transition. But now that I’ve made it, I plan on sticking with Nikon for the foreseeable future. I don’t see that changing, even when a competitor inevitably leapfrog’s the D800E in terms of IQ. The reason why I feel comfortable saying that is because digital has finally arrived. In just the last year, we’ve seen the 35mm digital format exceed 35mm film in every meaningful technical aspect. Resolution, signal to noise, high ISO performance and now, finally, dynamic range all surpass the best of film in the best digital cameras. The only reason now to prefer 35mm film over 35mm digital is if you like the look of it (perfectly valid), but not because it can outperform 35mm digital technically. So I’m set. The big IQ improvements, vis-a-vis film, have all been realized. Future IQ improvements to digital, I’m convinced, will be more incremental than they have been over the last 5 years.

    • As you, I switched from Sony to Nikon. But it was for high ISO and system flexibility reasons. However I have also found I like the images better.

      Agree that it has been maturing rapidly, but I’ll bet we have quite a bit more room to go in terms of dynamic range vs. speed and higher resolution. After all, do you really think Nikon will stop at D800/D4 levels for long?

      Just got my RX1 a couple weeks ago and think it a great addition to my D4 and zooms… but the DP is supposed to be amazing at low ISO’s… and maybe I need a D800 for some things…

      • No, I don’t think anyone will stop moving forward. And I’m sure I’ll buy a new Nikon body for my lenses eventually. But I do think that the IQ improvement curve will not be as steep going forward. Of course there will always be room for improvements, but I think those will tend to be less drastic year over year than they have been up to this point.

        There are other considerations as well. Only a relatively few 35mm-format lenses are capable of doing justice to today’s top of the line sensors. We’re just about at the limit of what those lenses can handle, and well beyond it for most consumer level lenses. We’re also at a stage where photos taken with the best digital cameras are of such high quality that they exceed the ability of any existing display or printer to reproduce them fully. Until those technologies catch up with capture quality, any improvements to the latter seem somewhat academic.

        • Totally agree. The manufacturers are beginning to run out of headroom. What CAN be improved is signal-to-noise ratios for existing sensors and low light performance at high ISOs. That’s where most of the advances will come over the next five years, IMO. I think the megapixel wars, per se, will slow drastically.

  77. Buy Leica digital and will not need a new camera for long time, I have M8, it’s 6 year old, I really don’t need something better, even glass what I have, it’s pretty enough for me. Also I have 10 years old PhaseOne digital back on Hasselblad ELM, why I need something better?

    • You wouldn’t, necessarily. Your glass will still be as great tomorrow as it is today. However, you would need to upgrade to more current versions of your camera and back if you wanted, for instance, to shoot at ISO1600 and above and get good results or if you wanted a few more stops of dynamic range so you could shoot in a wider variety of lighting situations and still retain detail in highlights and shadows. It all depends on your needs and expectations.

  78. My only comment is that through all of those cameras you keep taking beautiful pictures…..so you must be doing something right!!

  79. I definitely suffer from GAS. My main camera is a Canon 60D but I also have a Nikon V1 which replace a Fuji X10 only about a month after buying the Fuji. Then I was lusting after either an Olympus OMD ME5 or a Fuji XE-1.

    But now I have discovered film and the loads of cheap kit you can find on eBay second hand and I have really fallen in love with medium format folding cameras. I love their mechanical nature, quality of build and simplicity. In a couple of months I have acquired a Franka Rolfix 6X9, A Voigtlander Perkeo I, an Agfa Isolette III and a Voightander Bessa I. Today I won Zeiss Super Ikonta 532 on eBay. The cost off all these cameras added together came to less than the price of any digital camera I have owned.

    I have also started to develop my own B7W pictures.

    I still like taking digital photos, but there is something quite refreshing about having to slow down and not knowing straight away whether you have taken a good photo and having to wait to scan the negative you developed.

  80. Oddly, I returned my Fuji X100, bought the Oly 12mm f2, and have gone exclusively with the OMD and mostly Cosina lenses, and a V-C Bessa R4A. My Nikon D7000 sits in a bag with a 105 f2 DC lens. It’s just too heavy for me to lug around. I never got the handle of the x100, slow to me even with updates, but I loved the viewfinder.

    On side note, I see Rockwell trashed the color renditioning of the Sony RX whatever model. Lot’s to pick from. I’m sticking with the OMD with my eye on the new Macro and 75.

  81. I guess I’m a terrible case of gas. I have an M3 with a 5cm collapsible cron and I’ve been pondering for the last five years whether getting a 35 mm cron. People say the collapsible is soft, but I find it changes according to light. With lots of sun, it’s damn crisp, with soft light is delicately soft. I love it. I think I’ll spend next 5 years pondering whether getting the 35 mm or just enjoying the 50 one. Oh, I forgot, five years ago, I got a GRD2. I love the Ricoh too, despite being digital. It has a wonderful interface and a terrible IQ, delightfully weird in B&W. But my most precious good is my analogue Sekonic. I thought sometime about going digital, but I kept the old guy. Sometimes, more than taking pictures, I love just measuring light. It’s my ultimate pleasure. Merry Christmas.

  82. Emil, it’s quite unusual to encounter someone with excellent skills in both writing and photography. Yours is one of the most fun, interesting, and photographically inspiring posts I’ve read in a very long time. I’ve followed a very similar gas path and your writing and lovely photos certainly resonate for me, I only wish I had your eye for composition and some of the other things that make your photos so great. Buying cameras is easy if one has the bucks, capturing photos of this quality is something else entirely. Thank you for a great article. I think I may opt for that new Fuji as well, with my RX-100 and OMD kit to handle the things it can’t (without buying more lenses than I care to).

    • Hi Don,

      Thank you also for the kind words, I’m happy you enjoyed the post! The RX-100 is a great little cam too! Good luck!

  83. Wow, I never realized just how GASSY I was, until I read this! I’ve had all the Nikon D’s, starting with the 100, then the 300, and 700 – finally settling in with the D800. But for a fun camera, thanks to this site I LUSTED after a Leica M9 – but had trouble wrapping my brain on spending $10K on a camera.

    So I sought out a substitute. The Fujifilm X100 had that retro look and was much cheaper so I tried that; great photos. But it wasn’t an M9.

    Hmmm, the Leica D-Lux 5 was getting some great reviews – and it was after all a Leica with a good lens. A no-brainer at $750.00! Yeah not so much. Great IQ, but it wasn’t an M9.

    Then I found a great deal on a lightly used M8.2. Looked just like an M9 for half the cost and I could still brag about my Summicron lens. Yeah no. The M8.2 was good, but it wasn’t full frame and definitely wasn’t an M9.

    So, I finally bucked up and bought an M9. Eureka! The holy grail … the mother of all cameras!!

    I know, you’re waiting for the punchline … the ugly irony. Sorry, the M9 is STILL all that AND a bag of chips for me – and I will live happily ever after with it.

    Of course, that didn’t stop me from picking up the new Fujifilm X-E1. I mean, how could I resist a camera so beautiful it’s nicknamed the ‘Sexy One’?!

    Anyone know of a good support group I can join? Merry Christmas and happy camera shopping :-)

  84. The M9 took care of GAS for me. I plan on shooting it into the ground.

  85. I am also in an endless loop, its not even about the photos anymore…sadly…
    my 2 year journey…
    GF1+20mm > Nikon D3100 > Sony A33 > Panasonic GX1 > Olympus EP3 > Olympus OMD E-M5 > Sony 5N > Sony A57 > Sony RX100 > Nikon 1 V1 > Olympus EPL5+20mm…i think i am going to NEX6 or NEX5R…or maybe even try Fuji after this article…

  86. @ Emil: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am recovering from from a severe GAS. In student time (~1981) I loved my Minolta XD7 and acquired a few lenses 20mm, 35, 85 and 70-200 zoom. It was the only camera that I used until about ten years ago, completely ignoring the auto-focus age. Then I made my entrance to digital photography. However, it did not bring the same joy as my old Minolta XD7. I did regain my pleasure in photography after I discovered the new OMD – with Lumix-Summilux 25mm lens. Suffering from a severe exacerbation of GAS I bought many vintage manual focus Minolta Rokkor MD lenses for my Minolta XD7 from 16 to 800mm.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10413551@N06/8119530034/

    Now I am shooting color slide film again! Fighting for a cure of my GAS I did pre-order the Leica M 240 and Novoflex adapter MD->Leica M. I will use it exclusively with my old Minolta Rokkor lenses side by side with my Minolta XD7. I hope that the acquisition of the new Leica M will cure my GAS!

  87. PS to 39 above. When it’s really bad, I think we should call it Gear Acquisition & Addiction Syndrome – GAAS, which is the old Danish spelling for “goose”. There’s a thought. But carry on seeking the happy factor!

  88. I have no bills, just bought a place in Bangkok and travel at least three months out of the year for pleasure. For the last two years I’ve used only cameras costing $200 USD or cheaper and couldn’t be happier. Actually two of them so I spend $200 a year. Sharpness, contrast, pixel density and such have no correlation to memories …I’ve captured a lot of them too, by spending money on experiences, not equipment.

  89. I’ve owned an Olympus e510 for the last 6 or 7 years. That’s been my only piece of gear until this week, and it’s been a gear camera despite its flaws. I’ve decided to go for more compact systems since I’ve gotten into ultralight backpacking. I’ve been thinking about NEX, and the RX1 also, which seems amazing.

    Then I thought I’d look at some pics on Flickr to see which camera would have the best “feeling” for what I shoot, instead of being trapped into the pixel-peeping frenzy. In the end, I got bored by the “flatness” of all these pictures, even by the RX1. The only digital camera that really made me feel something new when looking at the pictures was the DP2 Merrill by Sigma. I ordered one last week, it should arrive soon and I’m so looking forward to it. I feels more “analog” than other Bayer sensor-based cameras to me.

    I also bought a second hand Olympus Mju II to start shooting analog (after having read an article right here :). I’m really looking forward to shooting with it and to develop BW film myself, that’s going to be a lot of fun! It makes me rediscover photography. And that’s essential.

    Keep it simple.

  90. Emil,
    Beautiful pictures. These are great examples of the photographer being more important than the gear. I’ve often had GAS out of photographic need and personal want. I started with Nikon crop DSLR’s and begin using AI and AI-S glass due to financial inability to purchase expensive new AF lenses of comparable focal lengths and apertures. I was driven towards superfast lenses and a D700 out of the desire to take pictures of my new son in our dark rent homes. I’ve got some 35mm Nikon equipment because I like the look of film, and eventually got a medium format system just to see what all the fuss is about. Now I see! With my family growing, moving, and having brighter houses, I’m gravitating towards small mirrorless systems so that I can make the images I want without lugging loud, heavy cameras that get in the way.

    So I now mainly use a Leica M6+ZM35/2.8 and an X100. I’ve played with the X-Pro1 and X-E1 in stores and really like them. In 6-12 months when the system is smoothed out even more, I’m taking the plunge. I really hope Fuji brings out a larger sensor version of the X-system one day… FX is the sweet spot for me in terms of general purpose sensor size.

  91. Although I have been bitten more than once by the G.A.S. I have resisted many times buying NEW equipment by locating used camera equipment that may be several generations behind, but still takes excellent shots. In between the expensive purchases, I look for vintage cameras at secondhand shops, often picking them up for pennies. Just 2 weeks ago I found a vintage Olympus C-211Zoom Digicam in need of some loving care. I paid $4 US, took it home, cleaned it up, put in batteries and a memory card, and it works great. The camera was unique in that it also could use Polaroid film to print selected shots. Alas, no more Polaroid film available, but it still takes perfectly good, but small resolution photos….. Here is a link my shot of the camera….
    http://flickr.com/gp/rottman/0r7qjE
    I have about 30 small used point and shoot classic digicams that I use occasionally. It’s fun to be limited by their quirks and faults and work to bring out their best qualities.

  92. It’s tough to fight off consumerism and the contest battle to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. I have a Panny GX1 with their 20mm/1.7 and I love it. But when I see the files of the X-E1 and it’s film like qualities, I envy those who own one and constantly struggle to tell myself that I have a perfectly fine camera. If only the Panny’s color files were better…I can only thank the invention of RAW and it’s better color output.

    I’ve been through GAS once before as an amateur golfer all through college and up until about 2 years ago. I’ll admit, I changed through my irons and drivers almost on an annual basis…and it drained my bank account…and it affected my mental approach to the game. ‘The shaft to strong? Is the forging not soft enough? Did I gain en extra 10 yards with this driver?’ I finally gave in and dropped the game. Hopefully I’ll get back into it soon enough…and I hope GAS doesn’t burnout someone’s desire with THEIR camera in their hands.

    • Thank you for being so honest and sharing your experience. I shoot mostly with a NEX 6 now and I am truly just amazed by the convenience of the technology. However every now and then I load up my Mamiya c330 TLR and get back to the things that drove here in the first place, composition, story telling and spending time thinking about my next create…

  93. This Just make me think how stupid we are !!! What kind of sociaty we are growing and what we are teaching to our kids.

    Something is really wrong with us if we don’t know how to choose and we Just follów the market. Less is more.

    Hope. 2013 will get me excelent pictures !!!

    Greg

  94. Yeah,

    I first got the Canon 5D, I loved the Canon 5D MkII, then I got the FijiFilm X100 because I wanted something small to take to work every day. Then I got the Canon 5D MkIII and loved it.

    Now I’m not buying more cameras. But I have lenses.
    I endured the whinging bastards on the FM forums in the name of ‘research’.
    I first got the 50mm f/1.4 with the 5D, Then the 24-70mm L, then the 70-300DO, then I got the 400mm f/5.6 and then the 50mm f/1.2L, then the 70-300mmL and sold the 5D and the DO and the 50mm f/1.4.

    So I just have the 50mm f/1.2, the 400mm f/5.6L, the 24-70mmL and the 70-300 L. This covers the whole range but I’m drooling over the 24-70 f/4L because it’s much smaller and lighter.
    The expense slows me down a little.

  95. I’ve found the surest defense against GAS is being broke. I can’t afford to buy all the latest gear :p Oh, and the analog variety is much cheaper than digital. haha

  96. Intresting to see that I’m not the only one suffering from terrible GAS. I began my digital age with a Konica KD-500W (still functional, if a few pixels less), then a few misses, till I returned to SLRs in the form of Pentax K-x, a simple, but for its age, very capable camera, with one of the better sensors on the market.
    Then followed a K-7, a K-5 (and the wife bought her own K-5, with a couple of really nice lenses), and a heap of lenses, most of them FA (full frame) versions, and a few Tamron, and two Sigma.

    But weight was a problem, and photographing BIF (Bird-In-Flight) with Pentax is tricky, if not impossible. The wife had begun her camera system with the E-PL1, with a few nice lenses, but as she got her own K-5, after a while, they were seldom used. I gave her a Nikon V1 for her birthday, but she wanted the OM-D instead, so I got the V1 back. Now her m4/3 lenses showed their real quality, and more lenses were added.

    I had meanwhile got bitten by the V1 seriously, so I bought the adapter so I could buy some old (and new) F Mount lenses, and that in turn led to the D3200, and, eventually, the D600. But it weighs a bit, so I’ve decided I’ll never get any lenses heavier than around 500 grams for it, and use it mainly for landscape and portraits, using the lenses I have.

    Lately complemented the V1 with a few new lenses, including the utterly sharp 18.5/1.8. The question is now – should I buy a V2, or wait for the next generation, with similar layout, but a sensor with less noise?! Most owners of V2 say their shots are no better than the V1′s, as noise suppression has reduced resolution to be no better than before.

    Have promised myself to go easy on cameras this year, even if I occasionally can long for a K-5 II, with the great FA43.

    So my GAS troubles are hopefully over ;-)!

  97. Easily fixed if you have the will.

    Stop reading photo blogs (including this one) for 3 to 5 years. Blogs make money by selling you stuff. Blogs gain readership by reporting on new stuff and making you feel inadequate about your old stuff.

    Go out and take photos.

    In 3 to 5 years, look at the photos you’ve taken. Then figure out if you’re a picture taker or just another consumer, no better than the mall crawler buying a new pair of shoes for the week. Accept whatever you are, and take it from there.

  98. Hey Emil. I truly enjoyed your article.
    And not to comfort you only but there are some points I wanted to share.

    Your pictures talk for them selves. And they say good things to me. Thanks for sharing them. I did not need you to talk about them necessarily.

    Second, it’s not plain wrong to do what you did, hunting for better. It’s in every human. You looking for a different alternative on your cameras actually engaged you to photography in one level. Made you question what is good to achieve and what to avoid.

    And, you got to feed your shopping side, experience new gadgets, play with new toys. I don’t find this ugly or cruel. Unless you waste them, put them on a shelve and forget.

    I owned so many cameras in the past from pentax k1000, Bronica etrsi to now, Sony nex 6. Being a traveling artist always on the road, I have never owned more than one camera in the same time. Feels so good to live with a small camera foot print.

    Looking forward to hearing you getting the RX1 next my friend.

    M

  99. “Steinway does not make a pianist a better pianist.” No it dont, but it does make all the difference in the sound quality ;) Off course, then said most pianists will only play that instrument on stage, while training on a cheaper alternative..

  100. Hi…my name is Sil, and I’m a GASaholic….

    Over the years, I’ve taken a similar journey to the one you described in your wonderful story…from a single Nikon D70S…my GAS problem has slowly creep-ed up on me…

    But 2012 was the year my medium grade GASaholisim exploded…. So much beautiful new gear!!

    I couldn’t help myself, I swapped my Fujifilm X10, Nikon D300 and Nikon D3S… all wonderful cameras which took fantastic pictures… for the OM-D, D800 and Sony RX100…. I kept my Fujifilm X100…because every time I hold it and snap a picture with it I get a physical reaction much akin to the feeling I still get when a pretty girl smiles at me….

    These are great cameras that I have now … and of course I have also invested in the lenses that they need to be at their best…. I like the pictures I take with these cameras… there may be more capability in these cameras then I currently have the photographic ability to exploit…. so that is it…. I am set from a gear perspective….

    …and yet…and yet…. I see a Sony X1 or Fujifilm X-E1 or even the $299.00 Nikon V1 offer that Steve has been pushing (than God that B&H closes for Sabbath or I would have bought that damned thing three times already) … and my palms sweat….my heart races… my mouse finger trembles….. somebody help me…….

  101. Great article and great photos, Emil.

    My own GAS has been somewhat limited. Being destitute more often than not is great discipline in that respect. But I’m also from an older, pre-Internet generation. I know anything on my short list will give more tonal range than anything we had on film other than Tri-X. I don’t worry about continuous AF and eleventyleven-frames-per-second, even though I recognize the advantages, because that’s an infinitesimal part of my photography and because, if I do want or need to go there, I remember how it was done in the old days: anticipate the action, pre-focus at that spot (“Skate to where the puck’s going to be” — Wayne Gretzky), and wait for the moment.

    For me, it boils down to handling. I am in the market for a new camera. I no longer want a DSLR for general use. I want a light, mirrorless rig. Try as I may, I can’t get on with the stinky-baby-diaper hold, so the camera must be equipped with an EVF. I want basic controls (aperture, shutter, ISO) where I can get at them, not buried in menus. At the beginning of the month, I thought it would be the NEX-7. I just handled the X-E1, though, and there was an immediate, visceral attraction I didn’t feel with the NEX-7 (close) or the EM-5. I can’t really explain it: some has to do with the honest-to-Betsy aperture ring and shutter speed dial (I never bonded with twiddly knobs, and drilling through menus on my K100D drove me nuts) but that’s not all of it. The NEX-7 felt better to my longer-than-average fingers than the EM-5. The X-E1 felt similarly small but, unlike the EM-5, I found an alternate hand placement that works. Still, there’s some quality as yet unexplained.

    I’ll do a back-to-back comparison when I have cash in hand, but I think I’m going to go with my gut on this one. Emotion: that’s what drives the muse, is it not?

  102. All right. Know this syndrome very well. My case is lighter, I’ve read forums before buying the camera (or lens) and then I use it, not change frequently. Having so little money, it’s logical. I know if I’ve got more, I’d get this and that cameras to test, but I know, it would be no more than several days.
    And getting the new (or used) equipment I worry about could I shoot with it not worse photos than with an old one. I stop on one decision looking will it inspire or not and thinking of those occasions which I could shoot with this and almost couldn’t with that. But yes, I feel a wish to test, test, test, just to let know what’s new in the photo world.
    Thank you very much!

    P.S. Lovely photographs and in particular those taken with X-E1 and D800!

  103. Great article, GAS, we all suffer from it 1 way or another. I spent years and thousands chasing this particular dragon wether it was Pro spec 35mm cameras (Canon F1n’s) or “better quality” medium format (Bronica SQa) or more recently the megapixel race and Pro spec DSLRs (Nikon D2x & D3). Then I realised that my kit outweighrd my enthusiasm so Olympus here I come (E-410/620) fantastic light kit. Oh-oh need more durability for poor weather and rough handling (E-5 + 12-60 weatherproof) back to needing a Sherpa :-( .Then Fuji (X10 and X-Pro1) light, portable easy to use (once I learned) and blistering IQ rivalling all that had gone before. Still carrying the E-620 with 9-18 and 70-300 for the extremes of range (until the 14mm is available) but no longer need a Sherpa and back to enjoying taking photos rather than gear boasting and posing. Can’t live with just EVF though hence X-Pro1. Thanks for posting and sharing the great photos, gives me something to strive towards. Happy New Year.

  104. All I’m going to say is… Surely a photographer is allowed to have an equal passion for the gear too. I love photography – I also love cameras. So if I want to buy more cameras, I will – because that is part of my hobby.

  105. Great article. I’m about at the point where I’m going sell all my gear and get one good body and use a 35mm and just let that be my vision. For me everything just has too many buttons, too many choices and I’m not built that way. I just need simplicity.

  106. Emil – a super article and I agree with everything you say – I am definitely a GAS! I have now settled on a D600 with a couple of very heavy zooms. In desperation, after getting exhausted lugging this heavy beast around during an Asian trip, I recently bought in Hong Kong a Fuji XE-1 with an 18mm lens, it being the only one the dealer had in stock. I found the using the prime 18mm lens bought back a lot of discipline to my composition and love the XE-1. A question for you wizards who read this site?! The 18mm is a little restrictive and I want to invest in some more lenses (to hell with GAS!). I am sure I will use the XE-1 in preference to the D600 for travel/family/general photography in future. Therefore I want it to be as convenient as possible. Should I go for two more primes – the 35mm and the 60mm, with their faster speed, or buy the 18-55mm zoom for convenience? The latter is probably extravagant as I am doubling at the wide angle end but am very tempted to do so for portability. Any thoughts/advice gratefully received! David

  107. “If I spent nearly as much time shooting photos as I do looking at gear I may have a little more to show for it. ”

    Sadly, in my case also, this statement is wholly true.
    Also true is that I get a rush of “happy hormones” to the head when buying new gear. and the frequency of swapping one system for another has become more frequent!!
    Then you truly do have an addiction problem. not funny any more.
    (just sold my *3* month old D5100 and 35mm lens, and immediately went out and bought virtually the entire Nikon V1 system. Is insane.:( Make all sorts of justifications, but I should be shooting, not acquiring. much easier when I was poor, and the web wasn’t clogged with photo review sites {no disrespect to Steve Huff intended in that, this is a more rounded photography blog, not merely gear}
    I’m trying my damn-est to overcome this, face it, Addiction.!!

  108. Thanks for your article, hits close to home for many I am sure.

    Unfortunately I am the same, sold my X100 which i was in love with for the amazing OMD EM5 i just couldn’t resist after reading all the wonderful reviews. Sadly I don’t really feel the connection with the OMD, it just doesn’t fit well in my hands compared to the Fuji so now my OMD is up for sale and I want my Fuji back.

    I too should spend more time shooting and less time buying, so before I buy again I am going to shoot some film and get back to what photography is all about – taking pictures not buying and selling cameras.

    • Hey Tee,

      Well the cool news now is that the X100S has just been announced which looks like a wonderful improvement!

  109. I had GAS because I’m shooting digital and analog with the same lenses.
    I had about 13 lenses for M42 and MD, sold everything for 35 and 85mm 1.4 nikon with slr, sold that to get back to minolta, got my 58mm 1.2 for general use and a totally beaten up industar lens for bw.
    I habe now 3 bodys, my Nex 3, Minolta XE1 and SRT 303 and I am very happy. The only thing I would sell it again would be Leica M but I just dont have the money!

  110. 110 replies. A common addiction. Me too. Yes I am a camera gear addict.

    Why?

    The dopamine surge of the purchas.

    The need for reward for all that hard work

    The idea that we might finally take those outstanding award winning photos with the new gear

    The desire for control and perfection in one small area of our chaotic lives

    The desire to get the best in one little arena when we cannot ever afford the best car or the best house

    The desire for a beautifully machined silky tool – a work of art in its own right.

    These are all thoughts I have had of myself of my addiction

    Why not ?

    The inevitable loss of money. Ebay fees, forex fees, shipping fees. They all add up even if you sell at top prices.
    Loss, loss and more loss.

    Too much gear – too much confusion and complexity

    Best to have a small collection and know it intimately

    Buyers remorse. Then guilt driven sales of what is really good gear after all. Wish I had never sold that —-

    The bad purchase – that has to go out 2 days after its in. Cutting your losses but still losing

    The waste of time and energy. Should be out shooting not repairing lenses or looking at Ebay – AGAIN !

    The loss of sleep tossing and turning thinking of selling that lens

    The loss of productivity as a result of the whole GAS fiasco

    So it comes to this. Diminishing returns – down to zero and less.
    The downside is much greater than the upside. A true addiction.

    My head a burnt out hollow from all this nonsense.

    I never want to buy another lens !!

    Too much pain. I think I am probably cured.

  111. I simply love this article – I laughed a lot, really a lot, but mostly because I could see myself in it.(have 8 cameras from Nikon D3x to Sigma DP2Merrill)

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  112. ….and the worst thing: I am looking for a really pocketable camera now with good handling – should it be Coolpix A, Ricoh GR or Olympus E-P5 ?? this puts me in the 9 camera-league.;)

    Can not help it.;);)

    The only upside is: At assignments I never shift lenses anymore, just cameras, no more dust or pollen inside my cameras,………… every camera has its – personel – own lens.;);)

    ….and primes are better than zooms, and smaller and lighter so my bag is not more filled than before, when I used huge zooms and only had 2 cameras.

    Is it an excuse ? = of course it is ;)

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