I came to know about Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S) from Eric Kim’s blog. Before that, I didn’t know there’s such a term to describe the desire to keep buying or upgrading your photography gears.
I have always been fascinated by cameras. I owned many point-and-shoot digital cameras before I got my first dSLR in year 2011. Part of the reasons I had so many cameras was because my father likes buying cameras and they cannot last for long even though I am a gentle user and took good care of them. Of all, I dislike Samsung the most and very fond of Panasonic Lumix and neutral about Nikon.
My first dSLR
My first dSLR was a Nikon D3100, the most basic dSLR from Nikon range. It cost me SGD1100 which could be cheaper had we not been scammed by the money minded seller. (Please avoid Sim Lim Square at all cost!) Ever since, I had been snapping away happily, only focusing on the composition without learning about the ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Looking back at those photos, I wonder why did I even think they looked artistic. I have since make the albums on Facebook private. Heh :p
My second dSLR
While I was in England, my dSLR died on me. Slowly, I was losing interest in photography as well. I was discouraged from the freezing weather so most of the time, I just wanted my hands inside my warm pockets. Actually before I left for UK, my camera already had some issues but it was more than the 3 years guarantee hence I could not do anything. Finally it died on me in year 2015. It became totally non-functional after my silly brother dismantled it.
Then, it was December 2015 when I decided I would pick up photography again. I bought the upgraded Nikon D3300 at $800 from Singapore IT Fair where they gave away lots of free gifts including an incubation box. Then, I also bought a 50mm 1.8G lens at SGD300 because I love the bogeh effect without even knowing what 1.5X crop factor is.
Now thinking back, between my first dSLR and my second ones, I had no desire to change the gear. I was satisfied because I thought my Nikon 3xoo was superior. That’s because I knew very little about cameras and basically photography.
G.A.S after knowing more
I only started learning photography seriously when a few of my friends discussed, seek my advise and started to ask me to teach. Then I read on more and more. But I still feel that by reading but having no real teacher/photographer to guide me, my photography remains stagnant. That’s when I signed up for a course with Pictoria Singapore and I had learned a lot from Keith. From him, I know that a real good photographer does not rely heavily on PhotoShop to create an image.
Keith is also a ‘spokeperson’ for Fujifilm. I must say image quality by Fujifilm mirrorless cameras are really good! With peer pressure, I was so tempted to buy one. Fortunately (or not), Fujifilm cameras cost a bomb! I cannot afford to put a chunk of money just for a camera. Hence, I still haven’t got hold of any.
I find that after every class, GAS hit me real bad. As I am now in Master Class where there’s no frequent lesson, my desire died down after a few weeks and came back again when class starts.
How I shunt off GAS?
1. Remind yourself how many times have you regretted buying things?
Yes, we all buy things on impulse most of the time. We buy things when we are sad or when we are in the mood. But look around, how many things we bought is what we actually need? We human beings are tuned to be desired for things we can’t obtain. Once we have them, we take things for granted. Instead of dreaming about Fujifilm XT-1, I should remind myself I don’t need a fancy camera when my Nikon D3300 is good enough to give a nice image quality for social media purposes. Followers can’t tell whether you took it with a $800 or a $2000 camera.
2. Expensive cameras won’t improve my photography
This is true. I have seen a lot of very nicely composed photos shot with phone cameras. See, if your skill is good, you can create a nice picture with a simple tool. By buying a new camera, you might feel more motivated to shoot. But the ‘curious effect’ often died down after a few weeks. So, everything is just an excuse to buy a new camera when you current ones still work fine.
3. Weight the impact of the price to pay
One of the reasons why I restrain from buying my desired Fuji XT-1 is the price. It is bloody expensive. I draw an average fresh-grad salary and the whole set is almost my monthly take-home! Furthermore, one lens is not cheap, they are at least SGD1000! Compared to my crop factor Nikon, a new lens is a few hundreds, even cheaper with second hand. Then, I also thought of the sudden ‘loss’ of >$2000, and the things I can buy with it or the places I can travel to…
Alright, that’s the few most important tips I used to deter myself from spending. It has worked so far… I don’t know how long I can resist the temptation. My willpower needs to be very strong.
I have avoided going to the camera stores, looking at Youtube reviews, and most importantly, always remind myself the impact of spending >$2000 on something that would make me spend more due to the lenses, and the regret I would feel when my bank is depleted.
We shall learn to appreciate things we already have, instead of complaining about how bad they are. With a contended heart, you are a rich man.