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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 09 May 2016 (Monday) 19:44
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When do you stop buying gear?

 
asr10user
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May 09, 2016 19:44 |  #1

Ever since I got my first DSLR a few years ago, it seems like I was always looking for the next lens or body or sale. There was a nice time period where I stopped researching gear, but at that time it seems like I also stopped taking pictures. With the recent birth of my first child, I finally went through with lots of my previous dream setup from years ago. I actually have a good amount of gear that I know takes great images and suits me well. I should have no excuse for taking bad images.

Wondering if there is actually an end to buying/upgrading/resea​rching equipment.

I recently read an article stating 'The best way to become a better photographer is to stop buying gear' and it made lots of sense to me. My current setup is a 6D and a few primes (14mm, 35mm, 40mm, 85mm) With researching gear, I end up thinking things like, maybe my stuff is too heavy, go mirrorless. Maybe my autofocus is too slow, spend hours on reading better AF system cameras. Maybe my camera is about to be replaced by a new model, I should sell now. When really, I should just be happy with my gear and master it.

Does anyone feel the same way? If so when did this hit you? I am thinking of just cutting out my daily routine of browsing forums and just focus on the art. This mostly happened after I went through my 3rd 'backup' body/system purchase. I realized all of them sucked compared to my main setup and I should just be happy. And why the hell do I need a 2nd body, I am no pro, I do this for fun.

If I make a list of gear bought/sold/kept. It would be gross and it makes me think, what the hell was I thinking.


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G7, 14-42mm, 25mm 1.7, 42.5mm 1.7

  
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blksporty
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May 09, 2016 20:04 |  #2

I only buy new gear when the old will not do what I need it to do. If you are always changing stuff, you will never get proficient with what you have, so you don't know when you could improve with another/newer type of gear. I'm not one to jump, just because something is new, hell my bodies are now 3rd gen. but they do what I need. Sure I'd get better ISO IQ with newer bodies, but does it equate to enough sales to justify the expense, when I feel it does i'll buy.


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1D mkIV x 2, 24-70LII, 70-200 2.8 non IS, 100-400, 50D, Flash's and other stuff

  
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Snydremark
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May 09, 2016 20:15 |  #3

As my sig intimates, adjusting the photographer is far more valuable in the long run than buying new gear. When your current gear doesn't do what you need it to do is a pretty good yardstick to use. I found that I was hitting the ISO cap on the 7D a LOT, which finally prompted me to upgrade to the 7DII, otherwise, I'd have trucked along with the MkI for quite a bit longer. I'm glad I *did* upgrade, for many other features of the MkII; but it was constantly running into a limitation of the body that prompted the upgrade rather than a long running episode of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).

One of the big, driving changes for me to upgrade my 100-400MkI, that I've had for nearly 9 years, and would have gone on longer if the MkII hadn't released, was the shorter MFD. I constantly find smaller things that I'd like to take shots of with the ole' Pump, but having to stand nearly 6ft away to get focus made that difficult. Only having to be about three and half feet away is MUCH better.

I now have a VERY short list of needs, as far as my gear goes; mostly spending on new accessories to play around with nowdays. I'm sure *some* body upgrade or new lens will come along at some point that I can't live without, but should be quiet for a while.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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maverick75
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May 09, 2016 20:25 |  #4

Whenever I run out of money.


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Bassat
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May 09, 2016 20:58 |  #5

Stop buying gear? You mean just for today, right?


Tom

  
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Alveric
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May 09, 2016 21:21 |  #6

When you keel over.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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crbinson
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May 09, 2016 22:15 |  #7

maverick75 wrote in post #18001741 (external link)
Whenever I run out of money.


Alveric wrote in post #18001795 (external link)
When you keel over.


Or which ever comes first, right?


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Archibald
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May 09, 2016 22:34 |  #8

I stop buying every time after making a purchase.

There are so many different kinds of photographers. Some love gear more than others and acquire it because they love it, and then use it because they love to use gear. Others love images and don't care about gear, don't understand gear, and just want to be able to take pictures.

I'm not too sure exactly where I sit on the scale, because there are many degrees between the extremes, but I do like gear. However, I have not bought anything significant for over a year now. Well, there was that fisheye lens - but other than that, I mean.


Pentax Spotmatic F with 28/3.5, 50/1.4, 50/1.8, 135/3.5; Canon digital gear
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EverydayGetaway
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May 10, 2016 00:53 |  #9

Archibald wrote in post #18001849 (external link)
I stop buying every time after making a purchase.

There are so many different kinds of photographers. Some love gear more than others and acquire it because they love it, and then use it because they love to use gear. Others love images and don't care about gear, don't understand gear, and just want to be able to take pictures.

I'm not too sure exactly where I sit on the scale, because there are many degrees between the extremes, but I do like gear. However, I have not bought anything significant for over a year now. Well, there was that fisheye lens - but other than that, I mean.

This.

I'm definitely somewhere in the middle of that scale too... in my defense though, I keep buying lenses that are essentially the same thing just for different mounts (XF 18mm and FE 28mm for example) :lol:


Fuji X-Pro2 // Fuji X-T1 // Fuji X-100T // XF 18mm f2 // XF 35mm f1.4 // XF 60mm f2.4 // Rokinon 12mm f2 // Rokinon 21mm f1.4 // XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 // XF 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 // Rokinon 85mm f1.4 // Zhonghi Lensturbo ii // Various adapted MF lenses
flickr (external link) // Instagram (external link)

  
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OhLook
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May 10, 2016 01:33 |  #10

Archibald wrote in post #18001849 (external link)
Others love images and don't care about gear, don't understand gear, and just want to be able to take pictures.

^ Me. I never bought into the prevailing American consumer culture in general. The ideal would be equipment that did everything I want it to do but was simple, small, and lightweight.


PRONOUN ADVISORY: OhLook is a she. | A FEW CORRECT SPELLINGS: lens, aperture, amateur, hobbyist, per se, raccoon, whoa, more so (2 wds.), shoo-in | IMAGE EDITING OK

  
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tonylong
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May 10, 2016 03:33 |  #11

Heh! When does an automotive hobbyist/enthusiast stop pouring money into "feeding the passion"? Or, say, a pilot/plane (or helicopter) enthusiast?

I'd say that the answer is not cut and dried, but like so many "big" questions: "It Depends"!!

As has been said, a gear upgrade can (or should) help you to attain your goal as a skilled, excellent photographer. This can apply on different levels, as we've seen in the answers here. For example, you may want technology that gives the "max" of IQ yields, so that you can, for instance, produce a large gallery-size print that will withstand close, expert viewing/evaluation (or likewise for many commercial output uses). Or, you may be moved to branch into a field of photography that is well-served by state-of-the-art technology, either in camera body performance or in lens performance (or other added functions).

Believe me, these are considerations that have a very valid base for consideration. For example, say you are moved to venture into wildlife photography, for example, shooting birds, but you find that 1) you never have enough "reach" and so you need to look at longer (more expensive and heavier) lenses, and 2) your camera/body can take a good photo but you know that other/newer bodies have the reputation for a faster, more accurate auto focus, and moving up in the quality also can improve the IQ of such challenges, where a good lens/body combination can produce images that when printing/viewing large (or cropping a usable frame) will show the finest detail that you can imagine! Or if shooting sports, again, you will want the body/lens combination that will capture the action while producing the sharp/crisp details of the players! Or, say you decide to move into high-quality portraiture, the kind of quality that could land you in nice magazines, maybe in the glamor or high fashion fields...well, besides the basic camera/lens needs, you also have the world of lighting to deal with! Or, let's talk about Macro photography!

Ah, yes, we see how these things can (and do) lead us down "the path"!

Well, then, what else do do we look at to address the "It Depends" point of view?

Obviously, finances has to come into play. For instance, there is equipment that has come out over the years that can cost as much as buying a house! For many of us, we wouldn't consider that idea, but we'll spend say $10,000 and more for our hobby, not to mention those who depend on photography as a source of income. So, finances is a major consideration!

Then, like I mentioned, you will consider a new "field" or "fields" to enter into, and you'll quickly have to ask yourself: "How 'real' is my motivation to enter into this field?". For example, I may want to play with Macro shooting, which calls for special lenses, lighting considerations, and time/practice to develop the skills and techniques for "knock-out" macros of bugs, flowers and such. However, I also really want to get into wildlife and bird photography, which has another set of requirements! So, what should I do? Well, the only one that can provide the answer is you/me, the person who must choose and commit both time and money!

Well, then, there comes a point where I'd have to address another consideration, and that's that "life changes" can hit! For me, the last 10 years have seen growth in my photography, but then some serious changes that built up on me and brought things to a bit of a stand-still.

So, I spent about 3 of those years building up equipment and following my chosen "fields" -- wildlife/birds, macro, scenic/landscape, street photography, events, and sports fell into place (of course costing plenty, but I could at the time afford those costs).

Well, then, things in my life took turns. First, I stopped buying gear, although the gear I had was serving the various goals I was pursuing. But that wasn't the end -- further changes put further "crimps" in my life, things that limited my ability to get out and do the shooting I was inclined to do, but then, causing me to sell some of my best gear, both a quality body (the 1D Mk III) and several quality lenses...I was left with two "older" bodies and a few older lenses. But, I didn't sell everything, I can still use the gear to get the shots I got say, 9 years ago...

Something funny came up one or two years ago. I was out and stopped at a "thrifty" electronics shop, second-hand stuff. I wanted to just check the place out. Well, as I was moving toward the exit, I passed the front counter. I glanced down, and there was a box filled with little odds and ends, I rummaged a bit and found a little old compact/point and shoot camera...

Funny, because such cameras marked the beginning of my digital photography, 15 years ago, I used them but moved into the DSLR "world", all my little cameras died...

well, I picked up that little old camera, and the store manager began offering deals, starting at maybe $25, but went down to $5 for a little working camera! How could I resist?! And I actually spent time shooting with it!

Well, that was the last of my spending on photo gear for at least this span of time!

Well, I'll stop babbling...have fun and move forward in this stuff!


Tony
Two Canon cameras (5DC, 30D), three Canon lenses (24-105, 100-400, 100mm macro)
Tony Long Photos on PBase (external link)
Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
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travisvwright
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May 10, 2016 06:46 |  #12

I won't. It's odd my two main hobbies are photography and guitar. I'm pretty good at both, if I do say so myself. But I don't consider myself artistic. I love the technical aspects of each. I enjoy the gear itself, understanding what it can do, what it can't do, acquiring it, testing it, using it.

There is a lot more money to be made buying and selling guitars, but there is more money to be made using cameras. In general my hobbies pay for themselves. I once got very satisfied with a guitar rig and went a few years without changing it. Even going so far as to say I was done. But that's not really the case.

Here's an odd thought on this. How do you feel about EDC tops? They are a bit of gear for gears sake. I think it's awesome.


I come here for your expert opinion. Please do not hesitate to critique or edit.
70D, T3i, Tamron 28-75 2.8, Tamron 70-200 2.8 VC, Canon 50 1.4, Canon 100 2.8 Macro, Canon 85 1.8, Canon 10-18 4.5 STM

Franklin NC Photographer Travis Wright (external link)

  
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Luckless
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May 10, 2016 07:16 |  #13

Flip the question around.

When do you buy new gear/upgrade existing gear?

- When your current gear isn't enough to help you achieve your goals.

I started getting serious with photography by buying myself a T3. Cheapest camera I could buy new out of the box with warranty and all that. The kit lens was slow to focus, rather dark, and somewhat awkward to use, so I started adding new lenses to the mix. Some bright and inexpensive primes, an f/4 70-200, and things were good.

Then I got into shooting indoor sports in awkward lighting. T3 was having issues focusing there, the control layout was just not as robust as I would have liked, and I was often hitting buffer-cap. In came a 7D. Didn't really do much for the lighting, but a little more resolution is nice, the focus system was better able to handle what I was doing, and the controls were much better.

Then I wanted to play with flashes, so I ordered some inexpensive manual lights to play with and have on hand. Eventually I wanted to use flash in larger spaces, so I eventually dropped the money on a portable higher powered flash unit, and am still working on budgeting further expansion of the kit.

When I decided that my little light 70-200mm lens simply wasn't long enough for some of the birding I wanted to do, I searched around and settled on a 150-500mm Sigma as my best option. It isn't the best lens, and has more than its share of flaws, but it was able to comfortably squeeze into the budget now and let me get out and enjoy playing with it rather than waiting possibly a few years while I worked towards something far better and far far more expensive.


Phrase your question around technical and practical needs. What do you want to do? Now, what do you need to achieve that goal?

"I want a brand new Hasselblad digital!" is not a practical answer and reason why you should buy a camera worth more than a lot of people's yearly income.
"I want a very high resolution camera system with a critical depth of field control, and a different look and feel to the images than what I'm getting from 35mm based systems" is (kind of) a practical answer, and leads you toward that Hasselblad.

"I want a cool new gadget!" is not a practical answer and reason to buy the latest little mirrorless rig.
"I want a smaller and lighter camera that I can more comfortably carry on a daily basis." is a very practical answer and reason to buy that mirrorless rig.

Camera equipment is just tools to do a task. Add to your toolbox until you have the equipment you need to achieve your goals. Keep your budget in mind, and don't get carried away with your goals or try to expand too fast. You still need to learn to use them after all.


Canon EOS 7D | EF 28 f/1.8 | EF 85 f/1.8 | EF 70-200 f/4L | EF-S 17-55 | Sigma 150-500
Flickr: Real-Luckless (external link)

  
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sjones
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May 10, 2016 11:20 |  #14

asr10user wrote in post #18001702 (external link)
Ever since I got my first DSLR a few years ago, it seems like I was always looking for the next lens or body or sale. There was a nice time period where I stopped researching gear, but at that time it seems like I also stopped taking pictures. With the recent birth of my first child, I finally went through with lots of my previous dream setup from years ago. I actually have a good amount of gear that I know takes great images and suits me well. I should have no excuse for taking bad images...

Though initially starting with a DSLR, I pretty much came to a halt after picking up a Leica M2 and then a Leica 50mm DR. The setup is perfect in its tactility, functioning, and simplicity. Plus, the camera and lens are constructed to last me until I call it quits.

Still, I can see myself picking up another M2 or such for backup, or maybe buying another older 50mm, but I don’t feel the need to acquire anything truly different. And technology hasn’t offered me any persuasive alternatives in the roughly 60 years that followed the M2’s introduction.

The larger point being, and one you likely already know, is that all of this falls much on personal preference and needs.

Buying up to expand technical options serves its purpose, but certain aspects of photography cannot be address by better gear alone.

Identify your current ‘visual’ goals, and then review your images to see what you think could be improved, and not just in regards to IQ/technical concerns. Consider composition, lighting, timing…all the components that contribute to the aesthetic, even if it’s just a ‘snapshot.’


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kf095
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May 10, 2016 11:21 |  #15

Some people buy one camera, few lens and using it for same subjects. Family and travel, for example. Could be done with Canon's Rebel and kit zoom. I have done it. :)
And some wants to try more and buying/trying more. I think, it depends how broad interest range is.

I was interested in trying of all kinds of photography and went through different lenses, added FF 5D in addition to 500D. Prior to this I switched to digital in 2007, because I wanted to try more with digital photography.
And in 2012 I jumped back on film to learn it in full mode. Instead of C-41-lab routine, learned about developing bw, C-41, ECN-2. Started darkroom printing. All kind of equipment was required. I also went through all of existing film formants from Spy Minox to View LF. And I lost my count in cameras, lenses which went through my hands. Often with significant amount of time for CLA before I could use them.

After trying all of this I figured and sorted out what is important and what brings me the joy in pictures taking. I sold some lenses for DSLR to keep only few. I sold all of the film equipment and formats I have no interest after trying.

I'm back to family, friends, "what is going on here and now" photography which needs some, but not load of the gear. And I like the street and some landscape photography as well. Something I wasn't into before trying it all.

I'm glad and have no regrets of trying it all. Because now if G.A.S. occurs I simply remind myself what I'll waste time on learning new camera, lens and it will do nothing good for my photography, but stealing time from the cameras and lenses I really like to use and getting most of the keepers with confidence.

I have 5D exchanged to MKII this Spring, not because it is any better significantly, but because it is still supported by Canon.


Old Site (external link). M-E and ME blog (external link). Film Flickr (external link). my DigitaL and AnaLog Gear.

  
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When do you stop buying gear?
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