I've woke up to what really matters (to me)

Bidkev

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I love photography............always have.............but considering the low tech that my generation had to "conquer" in order to feel proficient in their field, I freely admit that in later years I succumbed to the hype surrounding modern gear and the expectations of the "photographic consumer" who were beguiled by this hype. I guess this can be attributed to my efforts at attempting to "stay in the field" with a different generation of photographers.

A "shoot anything" photographer, I got into birding late, and chased the reach APSC (7Dmkll) which afforded me the quality of lenses such as the Canon 100-400mkll which I still consider, that in the right hands, can outshine any prime (in the wrong hands). I got into full frame for it's use in low light situations.............but in retrospect?..........I had the birding gear so I had to use it, and subsequently, my landscape and Street photography got sidelined.

I fell into the same trap when I switched to m43. I was, (IMHO and in retrospect) achieving quite adequate birding imagery (for digital sales and my own satisfaction) with my 75-300 but sucked myself into the "reach" and IQ vortex and invested in the Panny 100-400................Megabucks for me, being only on a basic pension with no superannuation, and the thought, and guilt of spending, (after 2 heart surgeries) what cash I could be leaving to my kids going on something that could be worthless in a few yrs weighed on me. I appreciate that none of these thoughts will apply to younger parents but my thoughts I think hold true............what may seem like a sound investment (in a hobby) could be worthless within only a few yrs.

The previous "megabucks" that I may leave behind will be old tech by then, and perhaps worthless, so with that in mind, now that my time on this earth is limited, you may perhaps notice, well you will now 'cause I have drawn your attention to it, that my signature has changed. There is nothing in my stable that has cost me more than A$400 but that said, and pixel peeping and large wall art aside, I hope that no one will notice, otherwise this diatribe of an excuse for gear "downgrade" has been a waste of time :)
 

agentlossing

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I hear you. I'm not a parent (yet?) or close to pension (in my case 401K)-hood, but I've never been able to really justify spending big bucks on photography. In fact, my Ricoh GRIII at $900 is the most expensive piece of camera gear I've ever bought (and sold a GRII to offset almost half of that). Before that it was my GX85 at $800 at its release. And I sold an EM10 to help fund that.

Modern digital photography can be relatively affordable when you husband your dollars judiciously (my strategy is to never sell gear and not turn it around back into the photography fund - adding little bits at a time but trying to keep the value of the gear inside that loop), but it is just as easy to fall for the hype surrounding the expensive stuff. And my, can you go insane with the expensive stuff!
 

Hendrik

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My excuse for buying good gear would be that it could help to maximize the number of opportunities I might have to grab a good image. Even if it may only raise the probability of a productive encounter from 1% to 2%, that would still represent a substantial change. I could achieve the same thing (maybe better) by trying harder, that is, scheduling my shooting for more optimal times of day, shooting longer or traveling to more productive environments.

As long as I manage to shoot up to the capacity of my gear, it’s doubtful anyone will take much notice of the shots I did not take past the limits of my rig. It’s no different than the curious incident of the dog in the night. Only Holmes noticed the significance of the dog’s silence.
 

Carbonman

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My heirs will get the revenue from my real estate when I'm gone; it's worth a whole lot more than the relative pittance I've spent on my camera and audio equipment. I fully expect my gear will be flogged off for pennies on the dollar.
In the meantime I've accumulated pretty much all I need or want in lenses and have a camera body I'm happy with (until the next great advance comes along). Photography is one of my primary pastimes and I'm not afraid to spend serious money on it. I'm already at retirement age and will ramp up the photography as I eventually wind down the business.
 

acnomad

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pixel peeping and large wall art aside, I hope that no one will notice
A good image need not be pixel peeped, and is seldom enlarged beyond what modest photographic gear can render sharply. As you put it, "in the right hands," much can be achieved with what is readily obtainable.

Still, I can't seem to resist the urge to overspend on gear. What remains of my native micro 4/3 gear is pretty tame, but I fear I have invested much more than I should have on the FF side. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. More wisdom such as what you've written is needed...
 
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Interesting thoughts from the contributors so far.

I'm honest with myself, I know my limitations too. The gear I have is more than adequate for my ability. The 75-300 mk ll in the right hands can be used very effectively, for example, in my hands it's a bit of a dog because I need to apply a bit more thought when I use it. For the few and far between long range stuff I do it would be a waste of money to buy something like a 300mm Pro prime, although I'm sure it would be much more forgiving, just like my long-gone Canon 100-400 and 2.8 70-200 mk ll was/were. I just couldn't justify the cost to the use. If I shot sports or birds on a regular basis I would have to think seriously about better bodies and lenses, but what I have fulfils my hobbyist photography agenda. I like to cycle, one of my bikes is probably 25+ years old and my 'best' bike is 11 years old, I've toyed with getting a better and more up to date bike, but at 71 (quite fit) I realistically wouldn't get more than 2-4 years of use from a new machine, so I just upgrade the old shit that I have. I'm not short of a few bob, and I know my kids will whizz through their inheritance when I'm gone - none of us can change what we are.

m43 was a photographic epiphany for me, I'm not sure to this day why. My only photography ambitions are to keep on enjoying what I do....and I like being cheap :)
 

PakkyT

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I have been pretty good myself both when I was shooting 4/3rds and now with micro, about carefully deciding what equipment would do as well or better than I am as a photographer and then basically sticking with it. I will put some good money down on a good lens that I know I can use for many years with little desire to move to another "latest and greatest" equivalent lens.

As an example I have the Oly 17/25/45 f1.8 trio, really enjoy using them. Then the Pro line came out. While I would LOVE to have weather sealing, my non-Pro versions are still able to provide plenty of headroom for my skills to continue to improve into. It is why I am still using two of my old 4/3rds "HQ" lenses on my E-M1 and why I am still using the Mark 1 of that camera. It is also why I don't buy really long focal length lenses knowing full well that I would get very little use out of them so I don't even try and talk myself into those.
 

ac12

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Everyone is different.
No right or wrong, just different, with different priorities and ideas.

I am somehow by nature CHEAP.
But I will spend when I feel I want to.

One thing that I learned from my father.
You spent a LONG time and a LOT of effort getting to where you are. We can't take it with us, so enjoy life.
But first, be smart for financing your own retirement. IOW, don't spend your retirement money on toys and then have to go on welfare.
To me what that means is, IF I want a better camera/lens, and IF I can justify it, and IF I can afford it, I will get it. However, getting past the mental justification is the hard part. Remember, I'm CHEAP.

But I'm still CHEAP. My TV is 15 years old, and my car is 13 years old. They both run fine and do the job, so no need to "upgrade."
 

ac12

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As I've gotten older, the idea of chasing the "latest and greatest" has become less and less of a priority.
"Good enough," has been my guideline. I very rarely need that last 10% performance or features, so why buy it.
And I tend to use my stuff for a LONG time, maybe too long. Still have a laptop running XP.

In the film day with max ASA/ISO of Tri-X at ASA 400, a FAST lens was critical.
But today with being able to shoot COLOR at ISO 10,000+, a FAST lens is not the critical need it was before. As @PakkyT said, the f/1.8 lens is "good enough" for me and my average use.

While I do use long lenses, I do not use them enough to justify spending serious $$$$ on it. The Olympus 75-300 is "good enough" for me, and how little I use a long lens. And buying it on a clearance sale made it even better. The Panasonic-Leica 100-400 and the new Olympus 150-400 are interesting, but I won't buy it, cuz I won't use it anywhere near enough to justify the cost.
 
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Well written Kevin and it's sobering and challenging if one allows oneself to be.

Probably sealed my thoughts as I mulled on another lens I'd eyed for a while
So your input is appreciated thanks.
 

WT21

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I actually enjoy coaxing great shots from cheap gear. I'm not of the lomo variety (though I enjoy a bit of that), but there's something nice about making something from nothing (or at least cheap stuff).
 

fader

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Beautiful post. I think it’s important to understand how much of a link there is between a physical object and the satisfaction of producing something out of seemingly nothing. In my heart I believe that photography is the closest thing we have to magic. Cheers to you for keeping that close.
 

agentlossing

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Everyone is different.
No right or wrong, just different, with different priorities and ideas.

I am somehow by nature CHEAP.
But I will spend when I feel I want to.

One thing that I learned from my father.
You spent a LONG time and a LOT of effort getting to where you are. We can't take it with us, so enjoy life.
But first, be smart for financing your own retirement. IOW, don't spend your retirement money on toys and then have to go on welfare.
To me what that means is, IF I want a better camera/lens, and IF I can justify it, and IF I can afford it, I will get it. However, getting past the mental justification is the hard part. Remember, I'm CHEAP.

But I'm still CHEAP. My TV is 15 years old, and my car is 13 years old. They both run fine and do the job, so no need to "upgrade."
You make me think about Thoreau's Walden, which I just finished reading. I think there's a lot to be said for practicing a little of what he did - and by that I don't mean environmentalism, I don't mean asceticism, I don't mean minimalism. I just mean that Thoreau set out to see what he could make out of set limitations. he was exploring the ability to have initiative, high personal agency, the ability to solve problems by means only of oneself instead of relying on the machinery of society.

I think photography often tempts people into both feeding the gear industry (good old love-hate capitalism) and depending on the connectedness of the photography 'community' which is less a community and more a bunch of people who repeat a lot of information to a lot of other people who for better or worse function as net consumers instead of producers. I think Thoreau's logic taken to photography would be maybe to simplify gear (probably to be "cheap" as you put it, since he went for a lot of second-hand, or free, materials) and to free oneself of the constant photography "press" on the internet to focus on bettering personal agency with that gear, AKA improving skill. Something like the OP is saying, as well.
 

Stanga

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I have given up on trying to take long range photos with my M43 gear. So I have allocated those sort of tasks to my smaller sensor cameras. I am far better at holding them steady at their maximum focal length than I could manage with the PL 100-300mm. A motorbike accident weakened the strength in my left hand.
But I have set myself the challenge to try to take at least one good shot of the majority of popular photographic subject areas. I spent most of my life taking family and friends type of shots, but that was mainly due to the lack of spending power to buy a wider range of lenses for different tasks. Now that I can afford the lenses, I have missed the boat health wise to pursue my passion with holiday trips. I just can't get round to sell any of my unused gear. I somehow feel that I might need one of them at some stage...
 

Bidkev

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Well written Kevin and it's sobering and challenging if one allows oneself to be.

Probably sealed my thoughts as I mulled on another lens I'd eyed for a while
So your input is appreciated thanks.
@Avondale87

Actually Richard, It was down to some of your posts that got me thinking this way. Your recent shots of the superb fairy wren taken with the 75-300 were (pun) superb and caused me to look back at what I had done with my since departed 75-300 in the past. At monitor size, I could see very little from my panny 100-400 images that distinguished them from the 75-300 and began to think, "is that extra reach really worth that money?" I decided it wasn't, a decision also based on it's weight, as being right handed, with a frozen shoulder and irreparable torn bicep, (caused by playing a 3 metre shark for too long) it is getting increasingly difficult to use in a manner perhaps worthy of that extra reach and cost so it is now up for sale.

Some of it's expected monetary return is already pre-spent on a 40-150 and 14-42 kit lenses both of which cost me a grand total of less than $A200 and which I personally, consider to be able to produce images that are quite adequate, (with nice rendering to boot), based on images that I have on file from my previous foray into m43 some yrs ago such as:

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Test shots Olympus Zuicko 40-150 (3) by Kevin Dickinson, on Flickr
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To Go In Or Not by Kevin Dickinson, on Flickr
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Orange On Blue (1) by Kevin Dickinson, on Flickr
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Best Seat In The House by Kevin Dickinson, on Flickr
 
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Bidkev

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My advice to my parents is to spend it all. on whatever they want. Spend all the money you worked for as you can't take it with you and your children are adults who can take care of there own.
There's the rub for me though. One of my sons is autistic and although he has achieved much, and has a photographic memory for music facts such as being able to quote every session musician who's ever played with Van the Man, Slowhand, or Dylan, he will never command a decent salary in the workforce. It is imperative that I leave him as financially secure as possible. To this end my mortgage has been paid off so that I can be at peace knowing that he will always have a roof over his head..................he will likely now be a couple of $K better off as well, now that I have offloaded my PenF, 100-400, 12-40, and 8-18. The problem for me now is that I will have to remain in this vein of thought and not succumb to GAS in the future :)
 
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Thanks Kevin
Interesting as you may recall me querying the beautiful results you were getting from the 75-300 whilst I was unhappy with mine
It gave me the encouragement to do more with mine, which I did through experiments and learning its limitations.
Then you bought the Panasonic and we exchanged comments but I went for Olympus 40-150 pro which I don't regret, but then, then continued to use the 75-300 when it suited.
So we both learnt from each other by the sounds of it.

And yes, you're right with the inheritance matter. Good for you.

BTW, I still see your Jade in posts and she and her birds are lovely to watch. She looks resplendent in her red dress.
 
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