Shaking the Disease – The love of the gear.


Shaking the Disease – The love of the gear.

By Steve Huff

Being a guy who constantly receives new cameras and lenses to review for the past 6 years, I have used my fair share of camera gear. I have handled, shot with, tested, used and abused just about every camera that has been released over these past 5 years and while I have not reviewed all of them, I have used or tested or tried 98% of them. Being in this industry and getting to do this affords me quite a bit of 1st hand knowledge about all of these camera bodies, lenses, and sensors. It is something that I feel blessed to be able to do because of my love of photography but also for my LOVE OF THE GEAR!

Let me explain…

Over the past 5 years one thing I learned is that there are many more of us into GEAR AQUISITION than PHOTOGRAPHY! It is indeed a real disease and one that can not easily be shaken. In fact, most of us reading this post right now (I said most, not ALL) are more into the hobby of buying and using cameras than the actual art of photography! This is 100% true though some may be in denial. There are cameras that came out many years ago that one could use and get amazing results with for everyday photography. The newest, latest, greatest and most expensive camera body or lens is not truly needed. In fact, I have many more keepers and faves from my Nikon 1 camera that set me back $200 than I do some $3000 cameras I have owned but many of us love new gear so much we want to constantly trade in and up to the latest and greatest so we can get the thrill of the new camera or lens!

FACT: A decent camera even from 5 years ago can serve 95% of us just as well as a new camera that just came out last week.

But that is not the point for those of us who enjoy and appreciate the day when a new camera arrives from the big brown truck just waiting to be opened, fondled and shot with for the 1st time. Admit delivery day provides a rush that gives many of us a real pleasure and happiness. The same thing happens with others.. like some Women with shoes, clothes or handbags. Same happens for some Men with HiFi, cars or electronic gadgets such as cel phones and tablets and even guitars and amps. It is a way of life and how we have been programmed over the past 10-20 years. Everything is changeable and disposable.

FACT: We now live in a disposable society where the majority of us upgrade our favorite toys on a regular basis even when nothing is wrong with our current toy!

Like I said, it gives us pleasure. It is a hobby. It is a disease. Many of us call it G.A.S., and yes, it is very real in MANY aspects of life with MANY people in MANY hobbies. This is not just related to photography and cameras. I happen to be on of those guys who love photography, the act of going out and taking snapshots and photos but I am also a guy who LOVES to get that new package in the mail with the latest and greatest camera or lens. I know for a fact that so many of you can relate to me because the fact that you are even here on this site tells me this. 🙂 It is rampant on the internet, on the forums and there is a reason that B&H Photo receives over a million hits a day and that is due to the constant gear lust. I speak to so many and meet others who are always asking about the next big camera release, and there is legitimate excitement in the air when talking about it.

So is this a disease I want to shake? NO, not me!

Why? Because I enjoy it. It provides fun, it provides excitement and it is a part of my life so I HAVE TO TRY all of the new stuff. It is my JOB! A new lens, a new camera, a new bag or strap. As long as I am not careless or exhaust my bank account I am fine. The key is to be responsible with it! If you are going out and buying and selling a camera every 1-3 months it may be wise to slow down, unless you are making a profit of course but changing them out every 6 months to a year just means you enjoy the actual act of buying and opening that new fresh box with a new goody inside. It is a  totally separate hobby than actually photography! 

With that said, there are cameras I adore and do keep for the long haul because they are special to me for one reason or another. One of them is the Leica M. I will always have a Leica M and have always had one since the film M7 was released. Just my thing. I also love the Olympus Micro 4/3 offerings and will always have one with a few of those great primes. I will also still enjoy cracking open those new future models to see what they have in store for us. Even so, a few days after that new item arrives, maybe a few weeks..the rush is gone and the appetite returns for something new, something different. It never ends but I can say that I enjoy taking photos just as much as trying out new gear to take those photos and I am sure many of you are in the same boat.



  1. Wow great article Steve love it I am a collector I’ve gotten a little smarter at it with age collecting lenses I love that go up in value or don’t loose the value and cameras for me are scanners and my stereo equipment I’ve had for 40 years it’s still fab and I use all them as my life will allow the time to do so

  2. In some regard, I’m happy to not have enough disposable income to keep purchasing gear. But it also forces me to be more in love with the gear I have and learning to use it in different ways.

  3. Being fascinated by technological inventions is human nature. Yeah, I’m pretty sure our ancestors read spear reviews in stone tablets, or whatever. One photographer whose name I don’t remember was talking about how we fetishize gear, I don’t really see what’s wrong with this. We do it with cars, guns, computer, smarphones, headphones. The complexity, inginuity and design of these devices is something to appreciated. That’s one of the reasons why I’m baffled when commenters shoot people down for discussing the design choices that went into a model.

    Reading through the comments here though, this site has the most users with an actual love for photography, at least of the sites I’ve visited. Those with GAS have nothing to ashamed of though.

  4. GAS isn’t just about new gear. I’m also into old stuff. I bought 6 manual focus nikkor AI lenses last year. Cheap yet great

  5. Different cameras have different limitations and different strengths. I find that using a dslr gives me different pictures to a rangefinder, a compact is different to an evf csc camera. They are different shooting experiences and I feel that GAS is fine so long as you are genuinely buying something that gives you something different as this will give you different photos as you will have to think differently. You can also buy the last generation cameras for a fraction of the cost that offer nearly everything you get from the current model.

    Part of the appeal of the x100 for me is that it’s quirky and limited. Part of the appeal of my dslr is that it’s big and bulky. Taking street photos with the x100, the 5d mk ii or the rx100 all require me to adopt different shooting styles and techniques and I find this leads to different photos.

    My most disappointing purchase was an olympus e-m5. It was a little better than my Panasonic G3 but ultimately was a waste of money as it didn’t allow for anything different and if anything losing the multidirectional screen of the g3 was a bigger loss than gaining the amazing 5 axis stabilisation.

  6. I like the camera gear – audio gear analogy.
    They both have their religious zealots who proclaim to know the one true path to God.
    They both have sub-religions in analog vs. digital.
    They both have subjective appreciation of “good”.
    They both have managed to strip me of my disposable income most of my adult life 🙂


  7. Well my favourite camera is a fully operational Leica Cl with Minolta Rokkor 40mm lens, i use this with Kodak Tri-X 400, and seeing as the camera was made around 1973 its doing just fine.

  8. Hi Steve, Thank you for this honest and instructive contribution of self-reflection. Very interesting, also the comments it is provoking. Quality sites like yours allow me to live at least part of my GAS “virtually”. So thank you for your (and your son’s) great work.
    You are preparing a review of the Pentax K3, right? I’m looking forward to it!

  9. I suppose I have a certain amount of Gear Acquisition Syndrome…I’m always looking for what new lens or camera can take my photography to the next level, but I definitely don’t update my gear just for the sake of having the latest and greatest. I bought a 60D used three years after it came out because the price was right and the features were what I was looking for at the time. That said, when I do order a new lens or camera, it’s very exciting to get it in the mail!

    It’s refreshing to read an article that doesn’t shun the idea of being interested in the gear aspect of photography. No, gear isn’t everything, but experiencing the latest advances in cameras and lenses is part of the fun of photography, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  10. Camera gear can be cheaper than women! And you can sell the gear on eBay when you’ve had enough of it! Nor will a camera take half of your house when you fall in love with a younger and sexier model!
    However, a modest camera and a beautiful woman provides better memories than a Leica and a wildebeest!

  11. I can’t stop laughing my ass off as I’m reading this it is very true what you are saying I am definitely affected your pictures and this site is definitely not helping to cure the problem lol but like you said its part of life and I enjoy it as well my wife has had the syndrome for many years with her hand bags and she does not plan to stop anytime soon why should I it makes me happy and it still feels my life I have 5 kids married for 20 years I think it is a great escape yours truly steve costello

  12. The way to “shake the disease” is to do actual photography. By this I mean go ALL THE WAY from a photo to a FINISHED PRODUCT, which is probably a print mounted on a wall.

    Once you actually engage in the whole process of making a piece of art (i.e. living room decoration), then camera gear gets pretty boring. Only about 1% of photographers do this.

    If there’s one thing I would recommend buying, it is a set of about six gallery frames and mats, of the 12×18 size or larger. Also, get some gallery-style track lighting if needed. Set up your “gallery area” in your house. Hang the (empty) frames and light them. Then, fill the frames with prints. Change them when you get bored of them.

    Do this for a year. You won’t care about cameras anymore.

    • That is not the point..the point is that “the disease” is an actual “hobby” in itself that many do not want to stop. It’s a hobby just as much as shooting or golfing or painting.

      • Steve, no arguing with your point, that camera collecting is a hobby in itself that people don’t want to stop. Heck, any art or sport has people who are more into the collecting part. My main concern, and others who have written replies, is that too many people rely on this gear part of the hobby to get “better.” It’s not your fault people continue to think this, as you’ve made it clear the camera will only do so much to improve someone’s photography. I think people just get stuck in this “using gear as a crutch” way of thinking and it’s hard for them to get out of it.

        I used to teach guitar and any musician knows the most expensive, professional gear won’t make you better unless you get good at the music part first. But tell that to a student who just bought a brand new guitar and hasn’t put in the work yet. How much will they really believe you when they see their favorite musicians playing guitars that cost as much as a new car?

        I’m also into shooting, but I’m not a gun collector and I know I won’t get better at shooting unless I train and practice. Even in shootin;-g, there are a lot of people who think a better gun will help them shoot better, when it’s far more important to have proper site alignment, a controlled trigger pull, and a proper grip.

        Maybe it’s just human nature to blame the gear for our shortcomings rather than ourselves. Or maybe I’m just getting too philosophical. 😛

  13. Again, Steve is right on the money with this one. If you enjoy something then by all means do it. So many people have stated that they are unhappy when they do or don’t do something, which is precisely the point of this article 😉

    I do have to disagree with the notion that you automatically ‘lose a lot of money’ when you trade and sell gear. I have been trading and selling my gear for as long as I remember. I ‘almost’ always buy used and I for one think that you can get quite good at it and leverage your overall cost quite well.

    I try to buy smart by reading good reviews like the ones from Steve and others out there. Understanding a little about the market and manufacturer’s help. I had my Canon 7D for 5 years. I bought it new for $1500 for the body. I recently sold the camera for $789. That’s a camera rental for 5 years at $11.85 per month.I got loads of enjoyment and wonderful photos out of it and I was able to use some of the money to dive into my next MFT camera. Plus I bought it with the money I got from the previous 50D. Not to mention good lenses hold their value even better then camera bodies. But yes you can get hit if you buy and sell too much or too quickly, every trade is going to ‘cost’ you but in the end if you get time and enjoyment out of it, its worth every penny. 😀

  14. Well, I have waited for 5 days now for DHL to send me a 3D scanner of the pro variety (digital photography is so naughties boys :-)) and I can asure you, using stuff is a lot less frustrating then buying stuff thanks to the Internet, and in this case DHL and the sending party, who nicely combined to give my 3D scanner a tour through the length and width of the Netherlands lasting for 5 days on end. Yeps, the Netherlands is a Tardis, much bigger on the inside it seems.

    Greets, Ed.

  15. Thanks for taking a balanced and honest look at this difficult subject, Steve.

    There is a certain photography blogger who would’ve turned this topic into article 4 times longer than yours, and its central theme would’ve been the vilifying of Leica cameras and Leica camera owners in a class-warfare world of the “have’s vs. the have-not’s”.

  16. Someone said: Sony eats presently Leica’s lunch! Therefore, it is required, of course, to make a little advertisement for this manufacturer!

  17. If you’ve ever eagerly watched a video of a stranger opening a box of their new camera gear…you have issues.

  18. I always look at what’s new on the market and imagine myself using that stuff – but I don’t. I’m fascinated by technology and love gadgets, but just because something is cool doesn’t mean I want to use it on a regular basis. It’s like my fathers car magazines, or a Playboy: looking is just fine with me.

    My E-M5 is almost 2 years old now and objectively, there still aren’t many options on the MFT market that are significantly better, let alone meriting a new purchase. There’s the E-M1 that’s better in some respects, but also bigger and uglier, and it still lacks in most of the aspects where the E-M5 lacks (like video). There’s the GX7 which is great in a lot of ways, but then the EVF is inferior and the IBIS can’t keep up.

    My E-M5 has grown on me; after all it took me a few month to really get accustomed to its controls and quirks. So I can’t imagine changing camera bodies on a regular basis; if I were to do that, it would really have to be a better camera in every way and then I would want to stick with it. I’d like to have a next-gen EVF and better video capabilities, but otherwise my camera can do absolutely everything I need it to. I expect to use it another 2 years, easily.

    I still have my previous camera (a NEX) and two analog cameras, but that’s merely for fun – my main camera is here to stay. I can’t understand people who buy a new camera every couple of months because in such a short time, you can’t possibly master your camera. The best camera isn’t worth much if you don’t know how to operate it efficiently. (And on a side note, since my budget is limited I’d rather spend it on lenses than on bodies, despite all the temptations.)

  19. I still love and shoot with my Leica M8 on a daily basis. Every single camera on the market is a compromise of some sort, be it price, size, IQ, usability, portability etc…. The M8 represents the perfect combination of price, size and IQ for me.

  20. Photography and gear acquisition are really two separate hobbies these days. Both are perfectly valid, but they shouldn’t be confused with one another. If you’re a photographer, you should ask yourself two questions whenever tempted by a shiny new photographic bauble.
    1. What does this new bit of gear do that my current gear does not
    2. Will it allow me to take photographs that my current camera does not.
    I’ve saved a huge amount of money over the years by asking those simple questions before hitting the ‘Checkout’ button on Amazon…

  21. There are worse things in life to be obsessed with or even addicted to -so everybody please relax and enjoy your gear if that is what you do. Might be an idea to try and replace that good feeling you get when you buy something new with the nice feeling of having produced some really beautiful images !
    If you do manage this -you may retain your equipment longer as you will have positive memories and inspiration to bond the two together. Eventually you may need something better but you will now have a really good reason to buy.
    I can NOW understand how quite a few of my friends are are back shooting film on their old SLR’S. Maybe that’s the cure if you need one ?

  22. Steve: always have your finger on the pulse of reality. And to your point, my fuji x100 was bought used and it rocks. Other than that- my M6 & M5/Summicron 35mm & 50mm’s can be sold now and I would get 100% of my money back thus, GAS = good deals for those who do not have the latest & greatest stuff…. someone reading this, I will eventually buy your Leica MM!!!!! Happy shooting everyone!-D.

  23. I do buy a lot of gear too, but most of it is for utilitarian purposes. Most everything I acquire has a purpose in my photography. Cameras (3 Nikon D800E’s, D4, Df, D3s), lots of lenses, and a ton of lighting gear (Profoto). I do have a collection though of old classic film cameras, chosen for their aesthetic beauty as objects of art, than to be used (because I don’t shoot film anymore). I sold both my M9 and M240 last year because I wasn’t using them much anymore. Recently though, I having been looking for an M9 Titanium, which is one of the most beautiful cameras, in my eyes, not just to have as an object of beauty, but to shoot with as well.

  24. I have also been infected by GAS for the last years.
    However I am kind of getting tired of it. Why?
    Because the endless testing, comparing, reading etc. gets boaring.
    I feel less and less fun doing it.
    And in many case it is more WANT for gear then LOVE for it.
    There are few cameras where I feel a real relation ship. It never happened for any of my attempts to use mirrorless cameras.
    I feel fun and love if I use the Leica stuff, the old Rollei TLR, but everything else has allways been just a small “FIRE” of wanting it, justifying it, getting it, enjoying it for some weeks and then realizing it doesnt do anything better than what I have got allready.

    For me it is now much easier to justify the money for a Leica lens than wasting the same amount of money with buying and selling the latest and greatest mirrorless cameras.
    The short life cycle of those products also doesnt help to really enjoy the stuff. As soon as you own something the next slightly improved model is announced.

    I am also surprized how much portability has been the important factor over a good user interface and optimizing IQ.

    Why does everything has to be light, fast and easy?

    • ‘The short life cycle of those products also doesnt help to really enjoy the stuff. As soon as you own something the next slightly improved model is announced.’

      The useable life of a camera isn’t affected by the introduction of a new version of it. As far as I’m aware, camera manufacturers don’t beam out a death-ray disabling the previous version.

  25. I think it is interesting that so many are holding on to their V1’s, I myself can see me hanging onto this little guy for years!

  26. As well as G.A.S. I also have G.C.S (gear collecting syndrome) because I’m lucky enough not to have to sell most of my old gear when I buy new gear. Occasionally, I’ll give something away to my father or brother, but I still have the Hasselblad 500CM and the Pentax ME Super that I bought while at university.

  27. Aammmmm!!! if $$$ & wife allow : Oly 25mm f1.8 this month, Oly 12-40mm f2.8 my BD, Ricoh GR for wife BD ( but actually I will be playing ) , Oly 60mm macro ( to take pic of insects) , Oly 75mm f1.8 ( very sharp, you know ) and may be …… E-M1 ( for ….) 😀 We sure good at finding reasons for the next G…

  28. Excellent article and some good comments. I have a personal variation on GAS.

    I like to keep up with the latest, but only in my preferred brands. Apple for computers (since the first Mac). Bang & Olufsen for sound and TV. Hasselblad for medium format (I still have my 70mm cassette model from 1969) . Nikon since buying an early F, and now loving the D300 and, yes, the V1. Leica, of course; I bought the M240 for the added features of video and excellent stereo microphones. ProFoto for lighting.

    All these brands are rather conservative; they concentrate on solid excellence, rather than glitzy novelty. And the products I buy invariably work for much longer than the interval between new models, so I normally skip a generation or two before considering an upgrade. For example, my Nikon V1 is still in daily use; I skipped the V2, but am considering the V3. My H3DII-50 still performs brilliantly and I can resist upgrading to the H5D-50c, even thought on paper it might be even better.

    I enjoying reading your reviews of new equipment. Please keep them coming. But, personally, I only ever consider buying kit from within my own list of preferred brands. Others brands provide a benchmark showing new features that might eventually appear in future models of the rather conservative brands that I prefer.


  29. I think youve proved your point Steve… Look how populat this thread is !
    All the best

  30. Steve, I get your professional process as a professional reviewer of gear, and it makes sense that you handle all the latest things. When I reflect back on my photographic beginnings, photography was kind of a beautiful aside to my fine art focus in college. At that point, I was pretty well conditioned to the fact that you needed quality paint, paper and pencils, but the amount of time spent on just which tools to get was incredibly brief. The rest of the time was spent on putting pencil and brush to paper and canvas, and the process of discovering what it was you had to say about the world, and having having your technique and your message be critiqued by your community, classmates and teachers. When I took photography, I picked up an old Pentax SLR, a 50mm and that was all she wrote for years. Tons of time spent int the dark room, developing, printing…

    I must say, the gadget focused, gear hungry photographic “community” that pervades the internet is very alien to me. The minute details of cameras and lenses are obsessed over, far more than the process of discovering what your own vision looks like, and I must say, this is really sad. And lets be clear, the pursuit of more and more stuff for gratification has consequences beyond our bank accounts, and the time it takes away from our own artistic development. We just don’t often see these consequences because the waste is relegated to the social and geographic periphery, where it can pollute someone else’s air and water. The choice to use and consume less will likely not be a choice for our children and grandchildren. It will be a necessity. But hey, at least our art won’t suck so bad, because the’ll actually have a handle on what’s real.

    • Jack, I’d buy you a beer if I could! I really think most of the photography “community” on the internet nowadays are people who come more from a technology background (programmers, engineers, technologists, etc.). Pre-internet, most serious photographers came from more of an artistic background. That’s a gross generalization, but I think camera companies know who they are marketing too, and the people who are enthusiasts nowadays who are willing to buy more expensive gear seem to be techies.

      Maybe once all these systems reach maturity, as it seems they are starting to get there, maybe photographers will return to the art. We can only hope!

  31. Gas is dead, all this new computer kind of camera make no sense to me i;m going back to my Rolleiflex and some old pentax an Nikon, we are loosing the photography feeling, this was the first thing that attract me.


    Ps as i always say you are a red dot lover. !!

  32. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your review on the EM1. I have been using that camera and 45 1,8 prime for 3 month and love it so much. The camera almost everyday go with me in my backpack. II just passed my 3 years old Canon 60D to my nephew with no regret at all. Also my wife took my backup Sony RX100.

    However, I find trouble to change lens and do not like it actually.
    I like to shoot indoor without flash.

    Thus I am searching to buy another camera with 35 or 50 lens. Would you suggest Nikon Df or Sony RX1R? Will I be dissapointed with their auto focus speed and image stabilizer? I have been spoiled by the EM1. Or should I just buy the EM10 with 20 or 25 lens?

    Need your input.

  33. I’m finally getting over my GAS. I have come to the realization that a newer camera does not give me better pictures. Sure, ISO capability and fast AF are nice. But right now I’ve got usable files at 3200 ISO. Anything better than that is luxury, not necessity. Faster and more accurate AF are awesome, but again – this is a luxury, not a necessity.

    My two photography goals for 2014 are to (1) learn to use manual strobes, and (2) stop paying attention to new gear. But Steve’s website is just so great, hahaha. It’s tough to stop!

  34. I have bad GAS. I just spent 15k on a Leica M and 3 lenses. On top of that i have a Nikon D800 with around 10 lenses (FX and AI), Nikon V1 with 4 lenses (may get the Nikon V3 :)), a Sigma DP1m and DP2m, Pansonic LX3, Canon S95, Leica D-lux 6 …plus much more (stretching back over 20 years). Another recent aquisition is a Sigma SD1 with17-50f2.8 lens.
    I thought the Leica M would “cure” me somewhat but instead it’s spurring me on to discover more about the system and all the accessories you can buy for it!
    I am a hobbyist and just love taking photos and gear. I love testing my equipment to see what effects and performance I can get from it. I take photos of everything and anything…..street, cityscape, landscapes, portraits, color, black and white. You name it I do it. I travel a lot which presents photo opportunities and I have recently gotten interested in macro photography. My interest scope is wide hence my gear……
    I always research before I buy so each purchase is well-considered and fits into my scheme of things.
    I never sell my gear – this is the collector in me I suppose.
    As I suspect with others similar to myself, I am constantly planning the next purchase. Now I want a better lens for my SD1M so that I can make better use of the sensor. I am also planning to buy a wide angle lens for the Leica and so on.
    Fortunately, I can afford my “hobby”.
    But I justify spending all this money by using my cameras every weekend unlike some others.
    Then again, other people spend their money on cars, or watches, or hi-fi, or designer clothes – which can cost even more that photography.
    Im afraid GAS is something that comes with having a strong interest in photography. Just creating images isnt enough for most of us.

  35. I agree in principle but dispute on point –with exceptions. In psychology they call it “transitional objects” starting with a toddler’s blanket (sometimes called “blankey”) to adult object fetishes –an immature response to a basic human need. However I see a passive contradiction in your premise. You state that you will always have an “M”, Olympus m4/3 –always is a long time and I hear a casual acceptance of fetish-lust. You are not alone -I’m here too. Whats devious about this potentially unhealthy gear-relationship (and those of us that make a life out of photography) is an unprecedented acceleration of obsolescence in this industry, exacerbated by the need to address slimming profit-margins in the age of cell phone cameras. Certainly for some its an attempt to fulfill some deep psychological need, for some its a desire to maintain a level of quality and distinction from the heard of image-makers who are doing just fine without real cameras. A scary proposition for those who covet quality. Fuji changed the film industry. years ago (decades actually) I had no problem going from Ektachrome to Fujichrome. Why? To my eyes it was a better product. It pushed with less grain and was more forgiving with less than perfect exposures. What is Fuji doing now? Look at that sensor! And in a pragmatic package so similar in approach to there amazing medium format cameras from years ago. What will the other manufacturers do in response? I don’t know if the trend to remove AA filters is a response but I will wait and read all about it right here. At least I hope so. Oh yeah, LOVE my Olympus gear too -keeps me employed.

  36. Wanted to add….sexy lenses do it for me. Like, those all metal builds with silky smooth focus action. I own a few ZA Zeiss glass. Haven’t tried this fancy Leica stuff and I just bough a EP5 and a few lenses. So now I have two systems…..and wouldn’t you know it, the dark side is still calling me…..I got a look at those Fuji lenses and started thinking about how awesome they looked. I gotta stop myself and check into rehab. Something about a big fat 135mm or a stubby 50mm all metal ball of glass sitting on the front of a rugged brick like camera…bad ass is what that is. Sometimes I stare into the glass on my 135mm 1.8 and swirl it around just for fun to watch the light hit off the corners of the lens. I’m a sick individual and I need help…G.A.S!!!!!!

  37. Interesting how this post reads exactly like something I would blog about – I agree totally! I have indeed shaken the G.A.S out of my life more recently (and Fuji helped drive it), I even mentioned it in a recent casual conversation with my wife humorously. And so I am of the camp of photographers, not so much gear collectors anymore. I don’t think there is anything wrong with G.A.S as long as its not used to justify one’s existence in an over-crowded field in which one is expecting money for services which they haven’t come close to mastering – thats where I draw my tolerance line. I dont mean to plug but if you want to check out what I mean read this…

    As always, the honesty and realism of your personality comes through, Steve and its greatly appreciated by this here photographer.


    Daniel Curtean

  38. You are exactly right about GAS….I have tried to control it by setting a $3000 a year toy limit, inclusive of electronics and photography gear….that is $3000 a year net after offsetting it by selling old gear and “points” from amazon, ebay and B&H …. This setting a limit is working great so far….it’s mid March and I’m only $2000 over the limit…… Eh…sheesh….don’t anybody know if AA has a GAS group?

    • My 9 yo was into Thomas The Tank Engines, then Yugioh cards, and now Skylander figures. GAS is nothing more than our craving for new toys. You know the saying “the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” However, cameras and photography is different than hi-fi, cars, and watches in that it is also a creative outlet that I’m really starting to enjoy.

  39. Great article Steve. I suppose it’s up to each of us to discover our balance. When you look at the quality an iPhone 5s can shoot at high burst rates, with editing software like Snapseed all in your pocket, backed up into the cloud, it was science fiction a decade ago. Makes you think where we will be in another decade. As always it about what makes you happy. Whether it’s the gear, the picture, the memories, it’s all good. An iPhone within 10 years that will out perform today’s top cameras? It wouldn’t surprise me.

  40. consider this : i have been told ( by a good friend of D. Moriyama none the less ) that there is a very small, very exclusive, by appointment only shop somewhere within the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo that deals in extremely rare cameras (Leicas in particular) . . . supposedly they have several private rooms where for a fairly hefty fee you can spend a half an hour with any of the cameras that they have and that you desire to spend some alone time with. as i understand it the room is very small, florescent lit, with a single chair and table , and there’s a handle mounted into a drawer that you can open from the wall when a little light goes on informing you that the object of your desire is in said drawer. as i understand it 5 minutes before the end of your session the light with again begin to blink. you replace the camera and not long after the shops owner will open the door to the room. i’ve also heard that if you decide to purchase the camera that the fee that you’ve already paid will be applied . . . . . . . . . just saying.

  41. New stuff is tempting for most people. I read that buying can really contribute to happiness (if not overdone of course). I’m sure my present camera can do the job for virtually the rest of my life (I guess I’ m one of your “a bit older” readers.) Still I find myself buying a new body on a pretty regular basis and collecting more and more glass.
    And… I also try to do my best with every shot. Still trying to improve, like If I was 18 years old. I think many do the same. Is this photographic art? Well, I plead to be mild. There’s great art and modest art. And it’s pretty hard to draw a line between those two. Whenever the way in which the message is brought adds to the level of communication or the intensity of expression, it becomes art (IMO). This doesn’t automatically make it art of great value, of course. Besides, the value is largely subject to personal appreciation and a whole other matter. But it’s still art. One can make art and still be very discreet and unpretending about it. I plead not to condemn to soon. Being enthousiastic about other’s pictures will only encouridge them and will raise the overall level and ultimately the level of every individual photographer.
    Those were just some thought on the side… I love those articles of yours, that get us to think a bit further, Steve.

  42. Cameras, stuff are tools. I am old so you have to put up wit this story. My father work with a man who’s was a fine art photographer. He may well be the frist person to shoot the witching tree in Carmel Ca. He used a used Rolli in bought in a pawn shop. His photographs were outstanding.

  43. Pretty well guilty of being a GAS sufferer, though haven’t managed to catch this really bad yet … The camera I bought, was a Zenit 3m which I upgraded to a Practika, and gave my old camera to an uncle … 35 years later when he died, this camera was in his house, so I’ve now got it back again! After the Practika, came a Canon EF [auto version of the F1] … That was stolen, so I replaced this with a Dynax 9, plus Nikon Coolscan. That, I still have, and use, because I really like the build quality [Brick Latrine!] and design of the controls layout. Next came my first Olympus, an E1, because I wanted that lovely 7-14mm superwide zoom, which I think is probably the wisest decision I have ever made. Upgraded but still got, an E-3, OMD and and as soon as it appeared, the E-M1, which is superb. THe only other cameras I have acquired recently, are a Hassleblad 500CM, 80mm and 40mm lenses with a 20Mp back whilst in the back of nowhere in Thailand (I challenge anyone to walk away from a shop offering these for sale!) for £1550!! Finally, I have just been given, a 1904 Junior Sanderson with Beck lens, which I am having great fun with, loading up with Direct Positive paper (about 3-4 ASA!) and home processing it! … I suppose I’m pretty selective as to what I get hold of in comparison to other people though.

  44. I had GAS….happy to say its now more curiosity than want. If I still had GAS I wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to China in June just for photography…..

  45. Well I don’t have GAS. I have a 4+ year old 7D and a few thousand dollars in lenses, and an almost 2 year old rx100 ( as my old compact died).

    I’m pretty handy with both cameras, having spent quite some time to muscle-learn the functions. I can’t see the point of having to re-learn all this until I have to. People with GAS typically don’t know how to operate their cameras instinctively.

    I don’t lust after gear. That’s like a writer lusting after fancy pens. I would probably not be interested in reading what such a writer wrote. But I do lust after skills. When I look at great photographers, I really wish I had their skills. People tell me that I’m pretty good, but I disagree.

    My view is that in life, if you’re going to lust after something, make it something money can’t buy.

    Otherwise all you are doing is lusting after money.

  46. So funny. I have my Nikon F3 and some good Nikkor lenses sitting idle since somehow almost overnight the body and film were obsolete. I suffer from something worse than Gear Acquisition Disorder and that is PGS (Perfect Gear Syndrome). I have watched, studied all reviews waiting for the perfect digital replacement that will give me 35mm image equivalent for YEARS! Even though I know there are so many wonderful options available finally nowadays, I still eagerly await the next best iteration. This sucks. I need counselling 🙂
    Anyway this is the year so it’s either the Olympus EM-1 or a FF DSLR body. Gotta get off the fence. Thanks for all your wonderful reviews and features Steve. Imagine how boring it would be if like the “old days” the Camera bodies changed only every few years. Gosh you’d be stuck reviewing film.

    • I think it is important to get something you really like. One thing I have learned is to put very little emphasis on reviews and a lot more focus on how the camera feels in your hands, how it feels to use. How you like using a camera, the feel, is far more important than the specs. One of the problems with a majority of people reading and buying online is that they actually don’t have a clue. When I pick up two different cameras in a store I instantly learn far more about the function of the camera than if I spend a whole day reading.

      The last time I bought a camera was eight years ago. Last month I bought a Nikon DF which fits perfectly, visually and functionally, with my set of Nikkor ais lenses. It’s one of the most misunderstood cameras ever. Reviewers constantly get it wrong, their brains hard wired to conventions. I had an F3 once. You should try a Df with your favourite manual lens and shoot it just like your F3. Ignore the lenses without aperture rings, they don’t make sense. The XT1 is nice too but doesn’t feel as good as the Df to use.

  47. Steve….do me a favour and stop educating people on GAS. Every time some amateur buys an expensive camera he/she doesn’t need another barely used one ends up on Craigslist:)

    I have GAS too but most of the time I feed the need with used gear.

  48. All that GAS syndrom! Gee I`m happy I don’t have a smell app on my comp.

  49. I was just starting to get what you were saying but them came across the embedded B&H link and became distracted.

  50. For me, it wasn’t until mirror-less emerged that I got GAS bad. I used my 5D for many years without thinking twice about upgrading, but mirror-less injected so much excitement and promise into the industry, while at the same time was so very immature of a product line compared to dSLRs.

    I think many of us have been on the mirror-less train, making stops at each vendor, buying and trying, selling and buying as each generation improves.

    I’m at a point now where the A7 provides better IQ than my FF dSLR and is probably one or two generations from matching it in handling. For the m4/3 guys, Olympus is practically there and Fuji just pulled within striking distance with the X-T1.

    Once the mirror-less platform truly reaches maturity will we see an end to the more aggressive cases of GAS?

  51. An astute and amusing observation Steve! I chuckled and felt like I was reading my own personal profile as someone afflicted with GAS.

    However, in my defense I will say that most of my gear purchases were made in pursuit of digital technology finally catching up to film. From the very first Cybershot I bought, to the first affordable DSLR Nikon D100 – since about 2001 I have owned at least a dozen different incarnations of digital cameras – but I think I am finally done. I think most would agree that digital image quality has at least matched film (I think it has surpassed film by a long shot.)

    So, here’s my version of ‘What’s In The Bag’!

    1. Leica M9. This is a legacy camera for me and I will never part with it. Wasn’t even tempted by the M240.
    2. Nikon D800. What upgrades could a D900 or D1000 possibly have? For that reason my D800’s a keeper.
    3. Sony A7R. A compact full frame with no A/A filter. What upgrades could an A8R possibly have?

    For me, digital camera technology is finally where it is meant to be – and for that reason I don’t see myself replacing the three camera bodies I have now.

    Unless, of course … I delve into medium format.

    • I can think of a few improvements to the D800, which I have: better contoured grip, more focus points spread put even more and more reliable, slightly smaller slightly less weight? That’s it for me! Not enough really. 2015 will see an update. Oh well….

    • Ditto same choices for me and quite a few film cameras as well nikon F5 Leica m6 hasselblad canon 7

      I’m selling everything lol soon

  52. Very timely piece. Tuck and Hogan within the last few days have looked at the price (not just in tender, but emotionally, artistically…) of constantly getting new gear.

    The phenomenon seem to have peaked among the buying public. When the latest must-have model produces images indistinguishable from its model two generations back (and no, I’m not singling out Olympus and Fuji), the consumer says, wait a minute.

    Wait a minute. I can’t go on dumping $1000-2000 for bodies every year, watching last year’s must have going for a song.

    As a result, now we’re seeing waiting lists six months long for highly touted new models (X100, NEX-7, D800E, EM-5) now dropping to a few days (EM-1, XT-1, A7, Df). More importantly, we’re seeing this reflected in manufacturers’ financials.

    This may not be so much a sudden precipitous drop-off as it is a reversion to norm. The big run-up in digital camera sales over the last 5-10 years may have been the unusual blip. And now we go back to what things were like in the film days: steady state, run rate sales.

    (Of course, with long term sales still declining… the demographic that likes to fiddle with gadgets… ham radios, stereos, motorcycles, custom cars, hunting, home hobby dyi stuff, CAMERAS… is an aging one).

  53. I used to have The Disease. But, ‘digital’ seems to have cured me of it.

    When film was the dominant medium, i couldn’t get enough of those cameras and lenses. I was seemingly always chasing some magic formula: a specific film with a specific developer, through a particular lens, married to ‘the perfect body.’ Usually, based on some example i had found online or in a book. I had three or four different Contax SLRs, two Leica M7s, an R8, an R7, and CM, Zeiss Ikons,, 3 Contax G2s, T2, T3, my standard Canons, and a bunch of Nikons. Not to mention all of the medium format systems. And, i enjoyed each and every one of them, though i eventually sold most of them for one reason or another.

    But, since digital took over, i really couldn’t care less. I’ve had a 5D, and its successor, and i’ll soon buy the Mk III. But, that’s really it. I’m not interested in it. I don’t crave it — it’s just something that is a practical need. I’ll still prefer to shoot film, and will do so with a limited number of camera options, but my love of gear has practically died.

    With digital, there’s no character. They’re all just DEVICES, and devices don’t captivate me. Not only is it a matter of not liking how they FEEL, but also a matter of output. A digital file is a sterile piece of clay, and while i fully realize files are different between manufacturers and even models, once i’ve gone through Levels and Curves with an eyedropper Black/Gray/White adjustment, i’m still looking at a neutral starting point with all of them. And, that’s just not sexy. I love Alien Skin Exposure. It’s effective. It can be beautiful. But, it’s like buying the most elaborate Darth Vader costume. It’s not BEING Darth Vader.

    I’m so glad Fuji and Nikon have explored the ‘retro’ thing. But, until someone really gets the feel of an F3 or a Contax RX, i’m just not going to give a damn. I still prefer the feel of using my FE2 to anything digital.

    It wasn’t that long ago that’s “Leica/Rangefinders” forum was full of denigrating chatter about “fondlers”: people who bought Leicas just to caress them, photograph their cats and backyard leaves, and then put them away. Little did i know, but that was actually the end of The Beautiful Period in camera design. I don’t hear anyone saying similar things about anything digital. You fondled an M3. Not an M Monochrom. An A7r may be a wonderful capture device. I may even own one at some point. But, i don’t really WANT to. Gone are the days when i’d almost breathlessly click the BUY button at KEH or on Ebay, and check tracking numbers on an hourly basis, waiting for a package. On a couple of occasions, i actually stalked the UPS TRUCK, hoping to get a camera before my usual late delivery time. But, now, i just don’t care.

    After i get the 5D3 i will ‘need’ for work, i hope to ‘re-buy’ a Hasselblad or Rollei 600x. It will be then that i’ll have a renewed sense of what it was like to be excited by gear.

    • lawrinson20, you should check out Robert W. Boyer’s website ( He’s an avid film shooter and he uses VSCO to add character to his digital photography. He’s not using VSCO just to add a retro feel, like so many photographers do nowadays. He really knows his films and uses VSCO as a starting get the feel he wants.

      Totally with you not caring much about modern gear anymore. Older cameras seem to have more character, probably because camera companies back then relied more on their designs for appeal and less on their technical specs. My Canon 6D takes better photos technically than my old Cannonet QL17 GIII, but I would rather carry around the Cannonet any day.

      • Ah, that Canonet, beautiful camera. But personally, I don’t care much for going back to yesteryear in camera design. I believe there is more to explore.

        Don’t get me wrong, to me Fuji X are likable cameras and Olympus OMD is also nice, mostly because they remind me of the past and my dreams and wishes. However, it also reminds me how old I’m getting and how we can stay stuck in the past.

        I believe it’s easy to have this rather nostalgic feeling that to go forward we have to go back (in camera design). Why change what once was great and worked great, right? But personally, I simply feel that for a long time camera design has just been unproductive and stalled; a bit like with what has happened to cars — oh, yes, here it’s also easy to long for the past.

        It is true that I can get very excited about old camera design. And I like Leica as the embodiment of the camera and a sort of linkage between past and present. Still, I think there’s more that can be explored and this can’t happen when we constantly go back to the past. Having seen what has happened to phones through the years, and now with tablet computer, this has made me realize that there are many more objects that can be pushed further if we want to.

        Also consider what happened to video cameras and camcorders. For a long time, we had a certain view of what a video camera looks like and it’s different than a photo camera, right? Why is this? Well, the camera had a certain form factor because of the tape and lens system. And in the beginning it evolved from the shoulder mounted design. But then design seemed to stall when technology advanced. I have always found it awkward to grip a camcorder — okay, some might actually love the one handed operation, but I don’t. In 1997, I was actually wowed by a design by Canon: the Optura (MV1) video camera. It was a video camera that you held much like a DSLR with two hands. And from that point I thought: this is the way video cameras will look like from here on. But Canon didn’t push it forward. And we now see video cameras and still camera simply come together.

  54. My personal reason for testing new equipment and reading your camera and lens reviews (as well as those from dpreview) is simply the question: is there any improvement in technology that let me enjoy shooting more than before? Are there new features or step ups in image quality that really meet my demands?
    Fortunately, up to now the manufactures are making real progress. As you, Steve, I got so happy with the small and lightweight Olympus mFT system which has replaced my bulky DSLR full frame gear. Recently I have tested the newest lenses (25mm prime and 12-40mm Pro Zoom) on my OMD E-M5. Both are simply perfect. Making the OM-D to the best digital camera of the market for me. Period. End of story.
    End of story? Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it?
    Keep on entertaining, Steve!

  55. I have a different syndrome: I need to constantly be up to speed on the newest and best gear, but I never actually buy anything new! I just use what I have 🙂 I guess we could call it G.K.A.S. or Gear Knowledge Acquisition Syndrome. Perhaps winning the lottery would change this GKAS to GAS, but we’ll never know… One of my remedies for GAS/GKAS is to just start looking at photos on flickr, 500px etc and become more interested in the photography rather than the instruments themselves. Although that usually turns me from a GAS-sufferer to being bitten by the travel bug.

    • Megatron! Please divulge what you’re using! The simplest Werra (which I started with many years ago)? A no nothing camera if there ever was one, with a fine lens and off the wall design?

      • Michiel953, I’m not a professional, just a casual amateur shooter. I shoot with a canon 6D with matte focusing screen and using leitaxed Leica R glass that I got off eBay… No AF issues since it’s all MF with those lenses. I shoot almost everything at 50mm f2. Sometimes f5.6 if I want to do landscapes/architecture. Aperture just controls depth of field for me. With a 50mm summicron-R it’s a perfectly balanced and light setup. I think the only thing I would upgrade is to a new 50mm 1.4, but they’re all so huge! The new otus is 1 kilo! That’s too heavy (and expensive). Same goes for the upcoming sigma 50mm art.

        Addendum: I only wish these nice cameras were a little cheaper so that I could take it everywhere and not worry about damage or theft.

        • Seems like your 6D/50 Summicron set-up is perfect for you, I’m slightly envious of how compact it must be and I love the manual focusing of it. Hang on to that stuff!

          • P.s.: a bit like the D800 + 58/1.4 (big but light) I’m carrying around these days. No mf, but still big fun!

          • Well. Looking briefly into the past….. I got the 58 (when it came out; I was first in Amsterdam;-) ) by handing in (and paying a bit…) my beloved 50/2.0 Makro-Planar, manual focus and an amazing lens.

            That 58 was extremely frustrating in having front focus combined with exquisite rendering. I went through three samples and an AF recalibrating of my D800 to get it reasonably right…

            Talking about GAS. I’m set for the next…. Uhhh four, five, six years? Lenses don’t grow old!

  56. Great article Steve and you hit the nail on the head! In fact it was G.A.S on playing with my father’s camera that got me into photography firstly as an amateur then professionally over 30 years ago. Although I do find it difficult justifying to my wife why I have just changed my camera yet again, just bought a mint Leica X2 with add on EVF at a bargain price from eBay! (seems to be every 6 to 12 months for my street camera, although have had the same Canon 5D MK2 for 5 years for my professional work?).

  57. Let’s put the pleasure and satisfaction of owning and using well quality objects (in the end they’re no more than objects) for as long as they’re built to last against GAS. I’m thinking of watches, cars, racing bicycles (in my case, the framesets used to last two seasons when I was still racing), audio equipment, cameras or whatever has your interest.

    Why do we (well, some of us) yearn to own a well worn M or F (or Speedmaster, or Submariner) whilst slightly regretting the fact that we didn’t do the heavy wearing ourselves?

    Think about it.

    I try to control myself. It doesn’t take much effort. I have better things to do with my money, and prefer to use the (high quality and expensive) stuff I have longer than it takes the next model to come out. I enjoy the quality of using that stuff, and I gradually see the signs of that use increasing. That’s a pleasure in itself that cannot be ignored, comparable to listening to good music. Good music doesn’t age that easily.

    • P.s.: audio equipment maybe once every fifteen years. Naim SuperUniti, top Naim cd player, Sonus Faber Guarneri Memento’s with some inexplicably expensive cabling and interconnects. I’m sure that can be improved upon, but why should I? Would the music be any better? Wy don’t I just listen to the music instead of the equipment?

      My 2cts… 😉

  58. I’ve been fortunate enough to have over time acquired a small collection of tools that I use for specific types of shooting. I’ve learned that as new products come out they must be evaluated to see if there is a marked improvement over its predecessor and will it really enhance my abilities. I still shoot the D700 and D3 with 70-200mm and 200-400mm for sports and animal life. For casual shooting I still shoot a M8.2 for B&W and an M9P for everything else. For me it’s all about the intimate knowledge of the tool and all of it’s features and my ability to capture the image that I envision and not going out and buying everything that the marketing departments puts out there.

    • Exactly Harlan. That new stuff might be really better than what you already have, but is that stuff inadequate all of a sudden and will the new gear really improve your output? Usually, not really.

  59. Certainly, there’s anecdotal evidence that points to a lot of us being gearheads, and some being more into gear than photography. But I don’t think you can suggest that a majority are more into gear than photography. Look at your daily inspiration posts as an example. And I find that when I visit that big review/forum site, there are plenty of people who will talk tech ’til they’re blue in the face, then surprise the heck out of you with a great gallery. I suspect a lot of people visit such sites from work, when photography isn’t an option, but talking about cameras is a diversion. That doesn’t mean they’re not into photography. I love learning about cameras and have visited Photoplus Expo every year for the last ten years. I’m on my 3rd DSLR and have switched brands once; I’ve tried a mirrorless, am using an RX100, and would love an X100s. I also have around 60,000 photos in Lightroom, contribute photos to my local newspaper, will be helping out at my daughters school, shooting photos of the play, and spent the last couple nights making a really fun DVD from some footage my daughter and her two friends recorded, complete with “Bloopers”. It’s possible to love camera gear without photography taking a back seat.

    • I think, if I may be so bold as to say, that you have found the perfect balance. Productive use, involving family, still love the gear, but it seems love the results more. I tip my hat to you. 🙂

  60. Hi Steve
    I was sure you will get a bunch of comments as the point you just wrote about is the the main thing industry is counting upon.
    That is the capitalist way of living, It goes in every aspect of life , even food. We can very well live on basic simple food and yet we always look for better and different food ( restaurants) etc.
    The love for photography gear is no different.
    So i was sure you will get alot of comments

  61. I find that poverty is the only effective treatment for GAS. Since I’ve been on Social Security I’ve learned to live with what I have. Occasional purchases of legacy glass seems to scratch the itch I get from time to time. A mint $25 Tokina EL 28mm has kept me occupied for the past month or so.

    Here’s how I pay for equipment. I save my change and bank it. My tax return gets banked too. I work as a precinct judge and that brings in $250 to $500 a year. By May I should be able to buy an Olympus EPL5, or an EPM2 with a VF-4. I could just buy through my checking account, but that is cheating. I might wait until Nov and buy a Ricoh GR or Fuji X100. Not sure if I am that disciplined.

    You can beat GAS, but it is up to the individual to determine if the cure is worse than the disease. If it is fun and does no harm, why change?

  62. Perfectly put Steve. I am like a kid at Christmas when a new piece of gear arrives, but I also love the “art of research” that goes into making my decisions as to what gear to buy. I can spend hours reading about equipment and photography online. I enjoy the research, getting new gear, taking pictures and post-processing them all about equally. For me all of these encompass the enjoyment of the hobby.

  63. Well, you need to want something. You need to have something to dream about. For me that would be a digital Leica M. I own a great Zeiss Ikon ZM for the rangefinder experience. And I adore it. It’s so much fun to shoot. There are moments of weakness that I’m on the brink of getting myself that M9 or typ 240. But then I have my girlfriend talk some sense into me. That does help to withstand the GAS-pressure!
    Deep down I realize that shooting a digital M probably won’t give me any more joy than shooting the Zeiss. At least not thousands of euro’s worth. But the temptation is there.

    • IMHO, the Zeiss Ikon ZM is one of the most beautiful cameras,,ever! That camera induces lust that is only squashed by the fact that it is film, and film is dying/almost dead where I live. A digital Ikon? Forget the Leicas, lol, my wallet would be empty in a heartbeat!

  64. g.a.s – gear acquisition syndrome. OH i did not know that this is what g.a.s stood for… Steve your fabulous site is the mother feed for anyone with this syndrome. you have such good reviews and your photos are always pleasing. That being said, my first camera (nikon 1 j3) is actually an amazing camera with outstanding photos to serve my purposes.. but do to the lack of evf, and having to though menus to change settings I am going to buy an em1 because of the review you have provided… Perhaps I to have developed some G.A.S. Or is my buy logical? Who knows! Yay new gear! 😀

  65. GAS is one reason I cannot bring myself to sell a FM3a or an FA. I would gladly sell my F100….an excellent camera…..but it is hardly worth the effort and frankly, just works! And instead of owning Leica….a Minolta CLE and a Contax G2. I would say that’s G.A.S………

  66. Does GAS affect mirror less or newer system owners more than others? Sometimes I wonder had I stuck with Canon if I would have been less apt to chase new stuff. At least with mirror less I chase newer lens to fill gaps in my kit vs new bodies. Since the 16MP bodies arrived it seems IQ has been stellar and bells and whistles are what they are offering us for now. I will say there is always that devil on my shoulder telling me to switch systems and it is only the banker on the other shoulder that presents the argument that until I am outperforming my kit it’s a waste of effort to obtain and learn a new one.

  67. I enjoy gear as much as the next guy. Being an engineer, I think I probably enjoy gear and technology a little too much. But I have come to a place in my photography where I really want to concentrate more on the art rather than the gear. I have better gear now than a lot of my favorite photographers, but I can’t even approach their artistic excellence, and realizing that helps a lot with my G.A.S. Even hobbyists have to admit they probably got into photography because they saw photos from a professional and wanted to try to be able to achieve the same quality of photography.

    I just personally think photography is an art in the end, and if people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Paul Strand, Dido Moriyama, William Eggelston, Ed Kashi, Sue Bryce, Penny De Los Santos, etc. can create awesome photos with lesser gear, than I really have no excuse. Steve is very good about being clear that his reviews are opinions, but I think a lot of his readers can sometimes get too caught up in the mentality that getting better gear will make their photos better. Go to the library and borrow some books from the photography masters, who did so much with so little, and it’ll help curb your G.A.S.

  68. True!!! I did took few great shots with my Oly E 300, Panasonic FZ50 or TZ30. Still I buy. People spend a lot of money for silly (sometimes obnoxious) things. But to me owning a new camera and using it like testing a fine wine.
    It gives me shivers every time I get a good shot.

    • Aha, Selim. You’ve also discovered what dulls the senses when faced with the bill for a new camera and/or lens. The taste of the wine is but transitory, at least our cameras last a little longer. :-D.

  69. Steve,

    I agree with everything you say. But I also suffer from Gear Retention Syndrome, which confounds the problem. If I knew then what I’ve since discovered, I’d have stopped GAS the moment I bought my Sony R1.

    I blame the manufacturers. They know GAS is an addiction, and pander to it. And most of us kid ourselves, or go into denial.

  70. I admit I’ve had a major case of GAS over the last decade, but I do also go out and shoot more than most, so I think I’m pretty balanced between buying the gear and actually using it. That said, I am so incredibly happy and satisfied with my Fuji X-E2 and XF primes – particularly the 56mm f/1.2 – that my mindset is more focused on using what I’ve already got, rather than on acquiring any more new gear. Kind’a like finding the right girl… ha ha!

  71. Hey Steve, you write:
    “If you are going out and buying and selling a camera every 1-3 months it may be wise to slow down, unless you are making a profit of course but changing them out every 6 months to a year just means you enjoy the actual act of buying and opening that new fresh box with a new goody inside.”

    Where do you get this numbers from? Is this just your feeling? Are those scientific? Or are the six months the usual frequency for you to buy a camera so you don’t have to admit to yourself that you should slow down?

    • Last camera I purchased for my personal use was the E-M1 a year ago. Before that was the M 240 when I upgraded my 3 year old M9. The numbers are just from my experience talking with thousands of people over the years who do this. I am lucky as I get to try all cameras without buying. Then I buy what I want. Many buy and sell every 2 months. Some every 3-4 months, some 6 months, a year, etc.

      • So very true, and have been guilty of this in the past – hopefully less so now. It’s a true disease, an addiction to the “purchasing” rather than the usage . Applies as much to anything else as much as cameras and camera gear. The brain gets a short-lived surge of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine – the same as ingesting a drug – which wears off gradually, re-igniting the desire to repeat the process, to get the “kick” back.
        Not going to go into detail here, but I’m sure many reading understand the process.
        Sometimes it leads to the infamous “buyers remorse” sometimes to a longer period of satisfaction if one uses the equipment and gets the equally potent, but far more constructive, kick of making great photographs, whether for themselves, or if actively engaged in social media, a wider audience, who then provide a further “kick” of satisfaction if they give positive feedback on your photos.
        For me, the greatest kick comes from others positively , and not sycophantically , enjoying my work/art/personal input, and feeding back their pleasure derived from my efforts.
        Still love the feel,of new tech, new gear, but gradually made the shift from the enjoyment of good gear (which is undeniable – buy the best you can afford, and really use) to the enjoyment of taking/making good photographs which give pleasure to me primarily, and hopefully also to others.

  72. Let me just say Steve I learn the most of a camera’s capabilities from seeing pictures by a “good” photographer.Good of course is a subjective evaluation but nevertheless that is true for me. When you couple a camera with a perceptive eye than I can better understand how that camera-lens would work for me. The majority of photographers that post on your site have great equipment but they don’t take very interesting pictures. But the one or two that do – very informative. No need for your readers to get riled up, that’s just one person’s opinion.

  73. Yes I know this feeling. I also regret the many cameras I sold. Like my Contax G2 set. Beautiful camera and Zeiss lenses but I in 2005 I suddenly wanted a Canon 5D instead.

    • Ditto! sold my CG2 and lenses and I’ve regretted it. I’ve got G.A.S., love it and use the gear. The gear I don’t use I sell. All my Fuji’s are keepers though.

  74. I too, have gear-lust (including Leica). As one who makes his living from shooting, I’ve concentrated on (usually successfully) investing in gear that I hope will help make me money shooting, not bogging me down with excessive inventory that sits on the shelf. With all of the cool equipment available, that’s a difficult thing to do!

  75. Last 5 years, I’ve got 3 digital bodies (sold 2), 4 film bodies (sold 1), 7 lenses (sold 3) and 4 compact film cameras (sold 0). Average person may call it G.A.S., but for an amateur photographer, I think it’s quite normal.

  76. I’m afraid I have FAS (File Acquisition Syndrome) in addition to GAS. Daily shooting of 30 – 400 pictures has led to keep too many and filling up a large hard drive. The E-M1’s 8 frames a second for kid’s sports and dance is not helping this issue! I need to be more ruthless and disciplined in deleting bad and just average shots in Lightroom. But I’m reluctant to mark for deletion on a first look at files and never seem to have time to go back and clean up later. Also, there may be a winner that I passed over (but realistically will never go back and find).

    At least large hard drives are relatively cheap these days (and yes, I back up) and electronic files don’t take up much physical space. I also return from every photo shoot (even casual ones) with great excitement and anticipation of the treasures I may have captured that matches the thrill of new gear arriving. It is all great fun and your blog adds to the enjoyment

    • Be ruthless in your editing….unless you are some sort of photography ‘savant’ you probably have large hard-drives full of crap. Keep the best..purge the rest!

      • Clint, I agree 100%. RUTHLESS!! If i take 8 photos of the same subject i will delete 7 (or maybe all 8) and never miss them. As a corollary, the best photostreams on flickr are those that are short/sweet/focused, not the ones with 100 pictures of someone’s cat or even 100 pictures of Notre Dame.

    • I agree. Purge, purge, purge. Trust your gut. If you’ve been photographing for a while you know at a glance if something is worth keeping or trashing.

      • I respectfully disagree. I keep *everything* going back decades ( yup, all my 35mm negatives as well), and storage is very cheap nowadays. I keep all my definite “keepers” on my main drive, and archive the rest. Sometimes, there are memories to be dug into by looking through old stuff, however mediocre the technique , and sometimes it is useful to see how far you’ve come (hopefully!) by looking through past years collections, and measuring yourself against your current output.

  77. Push your gear to the extremes and you’ll loose some of the G.A.S. It’s puts your gear in perspective for what it is. Buying expensive items return the least amount of pleasure (most of the time). You end up with too much resources tied up in one item and quickly want to sell it. Also, the benefits of top tier glass for instance rarely benefit 98 percent of photographers- you seriously have to push the extremes. I’ve taken 1500 dollar lenses and pit them against 400 dollar olympus lenses. In practical use its hard to dicern any meaningful difference.

  78. No offense meant, but you are in a very different position that I am. When you review, praise, and critique equipment, readers might click through to one of the vendors from your site and purchase the equipment that they see here. So, you profit from your hard work and your G.A.S. Again, this is not a negative comment. In fact, I compliment you for being able to do this. I, on the other hand, can only buy and sell, based on market prices new and used. Period. It is what it is.

    That said, I retired at the end of 2013, making sure I purchased some excellent cameras and essentials to stem the creeping G.A.S. Whew, it ain’t easy. However, now that I am retired, I’m getting out more, doing more photography, and enjoying what I have.

    Thanks for you great work and your wonderful site. I do go to other photography sites, but yours is a daily must see!

  79. Steve, I’m a recovering audiophile, a malady where one can spend $15,000 on a SACD/CD player or $5000 on a power conditioner. So, while I readily admit to camera G.A.S, I (and my wife) find it far less damaging to my bank account. Why, I just bought the Sony A7 + Zeiss 24-70mm f4 for a meager $2500! And you must take part responsibility for the fact I also own the RX100m2 (started with the RX100) and RX1! My 9 yo son asked me why I have so many cameras. I asked him why he has so many Skylander figurines.

    In all seriousness, though, what started out as a love of gear is slowly morphing into a love of photography as I started seeing the RESULTS of my hobby. And my wife who actually enjoys photography- with little interest in gear (she didn’t like the RX10 I bought her so I’m stuck with that too)- loves the fact that she is now in pictures. And my kids will thank me because now they don’t have alien-like red eyes during their school assembly or look like an “artistic”
    blur in their night time tennis match 🙂

    • ‘$5,000 power conditioner’…..LOL
      I love HiFi gear too but I refuse to buy crap like $5,000 power conditioners or $1,500 speaker cables….in fact I make my own ‘high end’ speaker cables for relatively nothing. It’s amazing what some people will pay for things that have basically no value. Talk about diminishing returns.

      • Diminishing returns for sure but not insignificant to a discerning ear…just ask Robert Harley, John Atkinson, Michael Fremer, Harry Pearson…

        And what about those on this forum who lust for the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus? Good thing I have no interest or ability to focus manually. The Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 on the other hand…

  80. Yes, I can’t deny it. I have G.A.S. too. But I have found a solution of sorts: Renting. (from LensRentals or BorrowLenses). What I want to do is play with the new stuff for a few days. I can then return it and not incur too high a cost. For older stuff it is cheaper to buy it used and resell it when I’m done. You only end up paying for the seller fees and I’ve even made a profit on some items.

    • I need to try this but the shipping costs end up holding me back. I wish I could find a yearly “rent whatever you want” and pay one up front cost all at once. If I could do this I’d be willing to pay….maybe even 1500.00 if I could have some other item delivered to my doorstep every weekend. Just think about it. Every week some shiny new toy to play with and send back. Camera, lenses, accessories…oh my!

      • I have both the X100 and X100s; the X100s was a very worthy upgrade. I’ve done weddings with just the X100s, using the X100 as backup which I haven’t needed as yet. I’m going to get wild and use an Oly EM1 with their 12-40mm F2.8 ZOOM next! A non-prime at a wedding? How crazy is that! Anyway, the X100s is a marvelous tool.

    • YES! My black x100 has starved my G.A.S for a long time now – still an amazing camera.

    • *hehe*, i just realized it was with on the fourth of the five continent last week. Hope she’ll last long enough that she can visit Australia 😉

  81. I agree with you Steve, in fact some of the Joy of Photography lies in the Gear acquisition process especially when buying a new Leica .

  82. Steve, you once again make a number of valid comments supporting the fact that GAS makes no sense for the majority of us. We suffer from it because it makes us feel good in so many ways. The only true way to lose this disease is to stop coming to this and many other gear-review sites. Then we won’t know about the latest and greatest thing we are missing. I for one don’t have that will power and thus will continue to be afflicted (and to receive your updates)! Time to step out of the closet – I have GAS!!

    • I don’t visit this site for recommendations or new gear information. I am capable of doing my own testing and evaluations. As a working pro photographer, I like to see “photographs” that may inspire me or offer new trends worth exploring. When someone opens their blog with a detailed list of the equipment they use I always scroll down the page until I get to the images. The images are all that matter. REPEAT: All that matter. When your work is on the wall being presented you won’t get to stand next to the viewer and whisper sweet nothings in their ear. Because that is exactly what it would be. The work will be reviewed for its merits and whether or not we give a damn looking at it. A piece of lame work shot with a Hasselblad or Leica M will never beat a great photograph made with a plastic $20 Diana 6×6 camera. Some of you older art school pros will know what I am talking about. I have seen photography exhibits from China where the photographer had to grind his own lens. Talk about lacking ASPH. And the images were brilliant because he invested himself in what he was filming. He got close enough for the viewer to feel they were there with him experiencing the same elation.

      I have seen some good photos on this site but unfortunately too many bad ones. Student work aside, why are people traveling the world to make sniper photographs of people from a mile away or the back of their heads from half a mile away? Is it because you are too afraid to get closer and confront the subject honestly? Are you afraid your expensive toys will be broken or stolen? If so, maybe this isn’t for you. Because I would rather lose my Leicas than my files. I can sell a few prints and get another Leica. But an empty camera is just a paper weight.

      • I like to get close in on the action. No long range shots of the back of peoples heads here. I do ninja street photography and get all up in peoples faces. slap a helmet on and a bullet proof vest and I’m good to go. People love it when I’ve two inches from there face.

  83. My name is Fredrik and I’m a gear-a-holic (not just cameras). Now that that is out of the way I need some advice. I have a V1 that is serving me reasonably well. However, I want better controls and was hoping the V3. Now I’m not sure whether to jump ship (to the OMD line) or keep going down the dark hole.

    The one thing I don’t see you do Steve is wildlife (ultra tele) photography and that is something I enjoy. When I had my D200 my favourite lens was the 80-400 and I’m longing to get back to that (I tried the 80-400 with the FT1 but it was the old version and therefore wouldn’t AF … I’ve had more success with my 18-200, but I don’t like the IQ). Without that it seems like the OMD (maybe even 10 now that I’ve seen your latest review) would be the clear choice. However, the V3 plus the new 75-300 seems like they might be a better choice than the Pana or Oly x-300 zooms. I also like the fast focus of the V1 and, while not a sports photographer, I have small kids … i.e. always let the camera rattle of a bunch of shots at each opportunity.

    Am I delusional and should just forget the Nikon or might there be something there? Which are the most important pros and cons (assuming there is a contest)?

    • The only thing I would add is that the OMD line has very good built in stabilisation in the body. Very good to have at longer focal lengths (and smaller apertures) that the zoom lenses usually have.

      • Just remember that in-body image stabilization is pretty much worthless on lenses past 300mm. Above that focal length in-lens stabilization works much, much better.

    • Hi isail, as a fellow V1 owner, I observed that: image quality and 10MP are fine for me. I don’t mind “better”, but the V1 is good enough in a way that I stopped bothering about these parameters.

      But the V1 introduced two critical features: Endless battery life and incredible autofocus and speed. When I tried a friends Sony A7, my first idea was “what’s wrong with the autofocus?” On V1, it totally gets out of my way. On the A7 autofocus makes itself noticed. My trusty GF1 seems like it needs an eternity to focus.

      The V1 also introduces tiny lenses. The 32mm f1.2 is awesome, and – small!

      And I love the design of the V1. Nice, refreshing and original compared to that fake SLR trend.

      V3’s design is much more conservative, but at least it doesn’t look like scifi movie prop like the V2. If it has focus peaking and supports off brand manual lenses, I’ll buy one. These, and the lack of a proper hot shoe are my only gripes with the V1.

      But judging by the specs and previews, I’d think that it will be, in practice, not different from the V1 when it comes to actual picture taking. I’m very happy with mine, and I start to think about buying a 2nd body for “just in case”.

      • Love my v1 still. Such a great camera, especially when shooting in BW. Steve mentioned the almost film like grain you can get with this camera which is especially nice in BW.

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