Q: I REALLY APPRECIATED YOUR ANSWER TO THE ANONYMOUS PERSON WHO ASKED ABOUT GEAR LUST. I HAD GIVEN IN TO THE HYPE AND BULLSHIT AND SELF-IMPOSED INFERIORITY COMPLEX. I HAD COMPLETELY AVOIDED MY CAMERA FOR ARTISTIC PURPOSES FOR OVER A YEAR. AFTER READING YOUR ANSWER, I TOOK 10 MINUTES TO WALK OUTSIDE AND TAKE PHOTOS—SIMPLY TO TAKE PHOTOS AND HAVE FUN. IT FELT REALLY, REALLY GOOD.
A: Glad to be of service.
We need to remember how amazing our camera was when it was announced. We need to remember how excited we were to finally own it. We read everything we could about the camera. We looked at every sample image coming out of the first models. We counted our pennies until we could finally own that amazing piece of gear we wanted so much.
Then it became old. It became outdated. There was something newer. And flashier. And more advanced. The siren’s call of better photographs lured us into researching the even newer camera. Looking at all of the sample images. It has us counting pennies again trying to get to the end of the rainbow to find the new pot of gold.
That great camera we already own seems worthless. It seems like an anchor weighing us down and holding us back from our dreams. If only it did what the new camera can do, then we could find success.
Then we study the masters of old. How many AF points did Avedon have? How many frames per second was Bresson shooting? What did the DXO labs find of the camera Annie was using when she shot her first Rolling Stone assignments?
We have so much technology and so many options at our fingertips right now. Even the simplest of cameras are good performers when used correctly. That camera you were so excited about two years ago is just as good today as it was then.
Yes, there are times to upgrade. Yes, there are times when gear matters. Yes, there are some advantages to staying up to date with certain technologies. Yes, there are times to retire a piece of gear and replace it with something new. As a professional you will see gear come and you will see gear go, but I have yet to get a camera that made my photos better. Or made me see the world differently. The closest a piece of gear has ever gotten me to something new and different was my Fuji X100 because suddenly I had a camera with me at all times. I began shooting things I would not have shot before because I wouldn’t have had a decent camera with me at those times.
Enjoy what you have. Do the most with it. Remember there are folks in the world with older gear taking better photos than you are. If they had your gear they would see it as a blessing when, at times, we see the gear we have as a curse.
Take more of those walks.
My wife, Meghan, has been catching the photography bug lately. Meg is more of an analog girl and has never taken a liking to digital cameras. She prefers shooting Fuji 3000B in old Polaroid Land cameras and Impossible Project film in an old SX-70. The cost of film, though, usually keeps her from shooting all the photos she wants. I recently bought her a 10-year-old Epson R-D1 digital camera, and it is the perfect mix of analog sensibilities with a digital sensor. It’s an amazing camera. Look it up. I wish more digital cameras were made like that. It’s an old camera that still performs very well. :: Epson R-D1 / Voigtlander 35mm / f2.5 @ 1/200th @ ISO 400 / © Meghan Arias / Shot in Havana, Cuba.