Personal gear churn and obsession. Maybe this is the reason?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by WT21, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've spent a lot of time lately on various forums talking about gear and buying and selling gear. Pursuing what? I don't really know.

    I think I know whats wrong. I've lost a focus (not lost focus, but lost A focus). I've fallen back into the habit of trying to have gear for "any" occasion -- which for me means kids sports, kids portraits, travel, landscape, "art" shots (for myself), kid and school events (making pics available to other parents), etc etc.

    So I wonder about zooms and wide angle, speedy cameras, and fast focusing cameras, low light and good base ISO, flash and fast lenses with good bokeh, etc.

    Trying to do everything leads to doing nothing, at least not well. And, I end up collecting $thousands in gear, that I then feel nervous about it because of gear depreciation, and generally not using what I spent all that money on. Then gear buying/selling becomes the hobby and not photography.

    I need to stop trying to take pictures for others (I'm not a pro), be there for my kids, and maybe focus on just one project to better focus my creative drive. For instance, I'm considering taking pics of public restroom soap dispensers (don't ask me why). Then, if I have only a few uses, the gear will dictate itself, I can slim down on gear, and stop feeling bad about having too much of it rotting on my shelves.

    Wondering if that kind of "focus on everything and therefore focus on nothing" hits others?

    P.s. if this kind of discussion annoys you, please feel free to take a pass on commenting.
    • Like Like x 4
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Yes, absolutely.

    I made precisely this mistake when I became involved with (regular) 4/3. I basically collected lenses for scenarios that it turned out I didn't really encounter much, or enjoy shooting.

    One of the nice things about m4/3 was starting out fresh. Admittedly, I've since collected rather more stuff than I need, but most of it is pretty cheap stuff so even if it's not being used much, I don't need to worry about depreciation (well, except for the bodies - they're hopeless).

    • Like Like x 1
  3. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    You speak the truth, at least as far as I am concerned. I've got my Nikon DSLR. I've got my IR converted Nikon DSLR. I have fast primes and VR zooms, and a big sturdy tripod.

    What camera did I use to produce a nice large print that got a ribbon at an art show, and sold for a good price? A little Canon Powershot A590!

    I will soon be unloading a bunch of legacy lenses I bought for my GF-1 and E-PL1, and anything else that doesn't make sense.

    I still like the Nikon for airshows. But it otherwise will stay in the closet.

    I'm too embarrassed to list all the other gear I've managed to accumulate.

    Focus, Mike. FOCUS!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    Hmmm, well I've had similar thoughts I guess. I too find myself wanting to be prepared for anything, so I have amassed a decent size lens collection yet still look at new lenses, cameras and even other systems. However, the real reason that bugs me is I have too darn many choices now when I do go to take photos :tongue:

    I've come to accept that the reality is I'm a gear nut for whatever hobby I'm most into at that time. Currently it's photography; before that it was camping/bushcraft/outdoors gear, before that guitars and so on. The thing is, I work in the software industry. I spend all day working on a computer troubleshooting virtual problems, and it's nice to have an escape into something fulfilling, whatever that may be. It's as simple as that - I can't be out camping, shooting photos, or pursuing some other hobby all the time. The next best thing is to talk about it on forums, and research, shop for and purchase gear.

    All I can say is that if the gear isn't being used, then it's all a moot point. I make a concerted effort to get out and shoot photos on a regular basis, go camping at least once a month to make use of my camping gear, and so on. That's my personal barometer for knowing when I'm just buying stuff "because" and when it's time to let some stuff go.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I hear you. I have always been a bit of a gadget hound.

    Just a few months back I had four m43 bodies and a ton of lenses and most of them just sat around. I went through my stuff and purged without mercy. The biggest thing that I got caught up in was buying gear because I wanted the newer, bigger and better. A while back I sold my G2 and traded an E-P3+VF2 and for a GH2 because I was sure I NEEDED the video capabilities of the GH2. I didn't use the video once. There was nothing wrong with the GH2, it's a fine camera but the E-P3 was also fine (and the E-PM1 before that, and the GF2 before that). I found I was coming up with reasons to justify my trades and purchases and none of them really resulted in any better images. In fact I spent more time wheeling and wheeling than I did creating images.

    I think "focus on everything and therefore focus on nothing" is a perfect description of it. Now I have just one m43 camera and 3 lenses. I have a PL25 and PL45 (and to be honest I could probably lose the PL25 and perfectly fine as I use the PL45 most of the time) and a P14-45 zoom because it is way ore convenient when I travel or go on family outings. That's about the only "reason" I ever came up with that holds water. Since the purge I am taking lots more pictures and feel pretty good about some of them. I also have way less money tied up on my shelf which feel pretty good.

    I still enjoy this community immensely but I fell like I just emerged form a 12 step program for recovery from my gear binging. It probably leads me to wave the "gear doesn't matter" flag a bit more than I probably should. I still love gear (like a crow drawn to shiny shiny objects) but going more basic has been really great for me. Good luck and I hope you find what you're looking for. You always have friends here to back you up.
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    3 lenses can cover everything with that! Though I consider my AF collection separate from my MF glass. :wink:
  7. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    The answer is to go Fuji or NEX. You only have a couple of lenses to choose from and won't have this issue. :biggrin:
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010

    Your posts actually helped me clarify what I was doing. You got so focused on a couple of MF lenses, that it got me to thinking about narrowing down what I'm trying to do, so thanks for your posts!
    • Like Like x 1
  9. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    I am in the same sort of boat but for slightly different reasons. My vice is telephoto stuff such as motor racing, aircraft, flowers etc. I really enjoy taking pictures of this stuff but don't really enjoy looking at the pictures much at all if I am being brutally honest. The pictures I posted in the 100-300 thread are a case in point, there mostly like nothing images to me. The one of the swans head for example got some comments but to me its an image I have seen a hundred times over photographed by other ppl. Is my image especially good or memorable? I don't think so and it doesn't really have much of a connection to me either. I think I have concluded that its only the stuff that has a personal connection to me or is in some other way a bit unique or interesting that has much if any value. For this reason I am considering not bothering to have gear focused on taking pictures of flowers, aircraft or sports events. If I attend such events in the future I might just take my X100 or similar m4/3 setup to capture the sometimes unusual or interesting stuff that happens around you. Along similar lines if I was going on say a day trip to London I just wouldn't bother taking a lot of the typical touristy pictures for the same reasons.

    I don't feel particularly good about this conclusion but it will save me a ton of money and help focus on something achievable.

    To highlight exactly what I mean I went to the Olympic sailing down in Weymouth, took a ton of pictures, loaded em up at home then decided that most of them were just bad versions of those in the sports news or posted by a thousand others. I came up with one image that I really liked as it portrayed exactly what Weymouth was like to me when I went there for the Olympics but hadn't been posted by a thousand other ppl online or splattered all over the media, and this is it:
    • Like Like x 2
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have found (for me) that I get so much more enjoyment and creative inspiration of out of having less choice than I do with more. I think the notion that more is better is so engrained in us culturally that you gotta really consciously choose to go the opposite way. Be sure you let us know what you do. Whatever direction you go I'd love to hear about it.
    • Like Like x 4
  11. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    Great thread. Couple of thoughts:

    First, it's not always getting the right gear for every situation . . . sometimes it's just the joy of experimentation. I like to check stuff out, especially old things I find intriguing partially because they're old and well-made. So I like to buy old and odd lenses and see what kind of images I can make with them with my m43 camera.

    So in a way, the hobbies of buying/selling gear and taking photos with said gear become merged into one. I enjoy the hunt for interesting old (or different) lenses as much as I enjoy trying them out. And being able to sell them back when (oops I mean if) I lose interest in their novelty is part of the equation.

    Second, I continue to shop partly because I enjoy finding a "great deal". I love my Yashica 50mm f/2 not only because it takes really nice photos, but because I paid the princely sum of $0.01 for it on eBay. I'll never sell it!

    My photography hobby has never been about what I need; it's all about what I want, in the sense of what brings me pleasure. I have no guilt about that. Sure I could probably get by with a single kit zoom lens--and given my level of skill, I'm certain the overall quality of my photos wouldn't suffer at all. But I simply enjoy experimenting with different lenses, and to a lesser extent different bodies, and that's why I continue to buy stuff. For me, I enjoy the process of photography as much as the images it produces.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. jsusilo

    jsusilo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    In a short time [3 months] I stumbled onto this forum due to recent investment in m43, I have been following near all posts and very much enjoying the pictures posted in various lens - body combination. That said, this is the post that really got me thinking and refocusing what and where I wanted to take this journey realistically to .... I have only invested moderately ~2500 in 1 body and 3 prime lenses but reading this post make me think that should be sufficient for what I'll be shooting [street & landscape]. Thanks for sharing. J
  13. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    The less gear you have the more pictures you take and the more you enjoy doing it. Personally I don’t mind spending extra $ on something I know I’ll use all the time vs. something cheaper which won’t get nearly as much use. When I was making the decision to buy “expensive” RX100, I knew that if I liked the images I’d use it all the time and I will sell most of my lenses. As I pointed out in another thread, the images from RX100 far exceeded any expectations I had (even better than canon T2i I had by a solid margin) so I don’t need to think about buying any gear soon. No, it doesn't have to take all kinds of images in every kind of situation but I am not a pro and not making any money off my photography. Hobby is supposed to be fun not work. Remember, that iPhone camera is still the best camera in the world because it’s always with you AND because it’s FUN to use. RX100 is a total DSLR replacement for me except shallow DoF (I shoot a lot of portraits) for which I’ll be keeping my E-PM1 w/Oly 45mm but although I do understand that shallow DoF is absolutely not necessary for anything (unless again, you plan on making money). I will consider E-PM2 if it will have OM-D sensor, touchscreen and other improvements. E-PM1 was a compromise from the start for me but I didn’t spend much on it and I got thousands of keepers from it including two vacations.

    I think it’s easy to get caught up in the upgrade game and it’s not only just about cameras. We live in the world of disposable electronics. I have more and more respect for companies who stand by their products even after the next best thing comes out. Apple and Canon are prime examples of such companies. Samsung, Sony, Panasonic are the opposite.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    There is also a very fine line between standing behind their products and not being innovative enough in a market that is still developing. Apple seems to fall on the right side of that line to me; not so sure about Canon any more though.
  15. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Real Name:
    It's weird, for me the "gear quest" resulted in an unexpected turn. Over the last year what started as a curiousity about photography (I'm still a big-time newb) and then gear translated into a decent side business. However, packing/shipping/answering questions/finding deals on camera bodies/lenses all takes a toll in free time-I could otherwise be out shooting. I'm cutting way back on the business side of things and trying to concentrate only on the photography.
  16. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Canon is like Honda. It's simple, reliable, predictable, and reasonably priced. I guess for now Apple remains the only company which has all those qualities plus innovation.