G.A.S, or gear acquisition syndrome is common amongst all people, especially photographers. Getting the latest and greatest in new gear not only satisfies the soul, but also empties your bank account faster than you can blink.
There’s plenty of articles touching on this sensitive subject, however, it only really hit home for me until I questioned my choice to sell my Nikon gear and move to Sony.
Over time I had built up a great set of equipment that could do pretty much everything. I scoured the internet for second hand gear and found some really great used items that were still well within their useable life. I figured that I would only have this equipment long enough to get good use out of them before the time came to upgrade to newer gear. I found a great used Nikon D700 and built my system around that. I also found a 17-35 f/2.8, 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.4 and a 70-200 f/2.8. All fast glass, all second hand, all in good nick, and desirable still for their quality. It was a great setup… the only lens I really wanted to complete it was a 24-70 f/2.8.
I used all these lenses for weddings, social events and on Safari in Botswana. I had every focal length I could ask for for any situation. I had a battery grip for the D700 and a few flashes with pocket wizards (remotes) and dabbled in off camera flash for portraits, but never had enough time to fully explore and experiment further.
I was completely happy with my equipment. I even had an awesome Pelican case to carry it in. What would make someone want to sell all this? And what would you sell it for?
The decision came when I realised that carrying all this gear was not only heavy, but big, bulky and unnecessary. It made me look pro (as I had dreams of becoming), and the expectation on me was that I would produce outstanding photos. I did have some amazing photos to justify the gear, however, I did have some amazingly sore arms from holding it all day long. Carrying a big DSLR with battery grip (containing 8 AA batteries) and 3 heavy lenses through the city of KL on a shoulder bag to take travel shots was ridiculous.
The decision was made after my travels through Botswana, to sell my gear and get something lighter.
Changing cameras wouldn’t be such a big deal, were it not that you have to change EVERY lens to match it. Having being spoilt for choice with fast, expensive glass, I now had to replicate as many lenses as possible with a new system.
I chose a Sony A7 for the camera. This was the newest, most up to date camera available and had twice the resolution of the Nikon D700. This meant clearer, crisper photos… or so I thought. Then there was the issue of replacing all my lenses. I could’ve used an adaptor (which the Sony has) but decided to buy completely new lenses. A Sigma ART 35 f/1.4, followed by a Sony 10-20 f/4. Then came the “SpeedMaster” 50 f/0.95! That’s right, f/0.95!
Now completely settled with the new gear and lenses, my main focus (haha) was more street photography, portrait and landscapes. I no longer needed the bazooka sized 70-200 f/2.8. And travelling back to Botswana and South Africa, the lightness was much appreciated. I now had a camera that I could carry with me EVERYWHERE and not be burdened with weight or size. I had reached the ultimate in portability and image quality!
This setup has served me well for weddings and travel, but… I missed the super fast auto focus of the Nikon and that reach of the long 70-200 f/2.8. Also the background compression really is perfect for portraits and you can be a photo sniper at weddings, shooting unsuspecting guests from afar and getting unposed, natural shots that are wedding photo gold.
So what do I do now?! I am progressing as a photographer and improving at a comfortable rate. I’m using the equipment I have to the best of it’s ability, getting the most out of it. But there’s something lacking. Do I sell it all again, jump ship to another system? Do I go back to Nikon? Do I try out something else? Decisions, Decisions.
The pros and cons of going back to Nikon is that I get back all the excellent gear I had, but suffer with the weight. Or, I move to Fuji and get portability, but have a smaller sensor than what I have at the moment. Or I upgrade my Sony to the new one with marginally better autofocus, but then I would have to get the new 70-200 f/2.8 as well which would set me back over $3k.
I think it all comes down to what and how I plan to shoot in the future. There’s no “perfect” camera system. They all have their pros and cons. I just have to go with what I “think” is best for my situation now and in the future. And that for me is Fuji… I think. I will miss the full-framed-ness and the great dynamic range, but as a do it all system with the lenses available, I can’t see a better solution… that or I just use my iPhone.