GAS Explosion vs. Reality

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Archiver, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Archiver

    Archiver Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    For several years, digital photographers have been saying what a great time this is to be alive. New cameras are coming out all the time, promising more of this and bigger that. It's easy to be caught up in the excitement of new announcements: current cases in point being the Fuji X20, X100s, the Sony RX1 and the just-announced Nikon Coolpix A. The new Fujis offer upgrades from their still-impressive predecessors, and the RX1 and Coolpix A are the smallest full frame and aps-c cameras, respectively.

    In the past, I've succumbed to GAS just as much as anyone else. You only need to glance at my flickr sets to see how many cameras I've got, and a few aren't even in there! Leaps of courage like the Sigma DP1 and DP2 are in my collection, along with proven stalwarts like the Ricoh GRD III. I'm running three or four lens systems, including Canon, Leica, Micro Four Thirds and Ricoh GXR. Frankly, I've reached a saturation point where almost anything new is a rationalization, not a direct need.

    Sigma DP1:

    <a href="" title="DP1 - Boyds Point by Archiver, on Flickr">[​IMG]"500" height="333" alt="DP1 - Boyds Point"></a>

    Ricoh GRD III:

    <a href="" title="GRD III - The Time Traveller by Archiver, on Flickr"> 4504096830_4276e51743.jpg "340" height="500" alt="GRD III - The Time Traveller"></a>

    This morning I awoke and reflexively scanned through the forums on my phone to see if any more updates about the Coolpix A had been noted. Any tests from Japanese camera blogs or YouTube videos showing its operation? And then it struck me. I've got a Ricoh GXR with 28mm module. The 28mm aps-c niche has been sorted for well over a year, and by a really wonderful camera.

    Ricoh GXR 28:

    <a href="" title="GXR28 - Borders By Night II by Archiver, on Flickr"> 5968996284_4b44ee9583.jpg "500" height="332" alt="GXR28 - Borders By Night II"></a>

    Not fast enough, or movies not good enough? I have the Panasonic 14/2.5, which gives me a 28mm FoV on my OM-D. And if I take off the grip, the camera is like a nice, ergonomic compact that can fit in a large coat pocket. Operation is lightning fast and silent, face detection is accurate, the shutter is muted and video are great.

    Olympus OM-D EM-5:

    <a href="" title="EM-5 - Nobu by Archiver, on Flickr"> 8195909414_537ee61fc2.jpg "500" height="281" alt="EM-5 - Nobu"></a>

    New Leica M 240? All of the upgrades like weather sealing, manual video mode, good high ISO performance and live view are all very nice, but my M9 is still an absolute machine of image quality. Yes, I want it, but not enough to put down the cash right now. I'll let the new users figure it all out first, like I did with the Fuji X100. By then, firmware updates had been issued and quirks had workarounds.

    Leica M9:

    <a href="" title="M9 - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest by Archiver, on Flickr"> 5593238321_f32f20c071.jpg "500" height="333" alt="M9 - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest"></a>

    Fuji X100:

    <a href="" title="X100 - The Glories of Melbourne by Archiver, on Flickr"> 8178293371_281cb15cc1.jpg "500" height="332" alt="X100 - The Glories of Melbourne"></a>

    The GAS explosion that has wracked my brain for the last month or two is abating. The reality is that I own an almost ludicrous amount of gear, cameras that represent the pinnacle of achievement for their times. They all take great photos and they all have their unique charms. I'm not saying that I won't buy any more gear for a while; my needs at work are nudging me to flesh out the Canon and Olympus lens lines a bit more. But for the 'ooh, isn't this nice?' cameras, I can wait for a while. I'm sitting pretty right as I am, and I'm very thankful to be in this position.
    • Like Like x 12
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    The photos speak volumes. Everything about the post is right on the money , but perhaps eliminate "almost" from the above sentence :wink:
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Good for you :clap2: Beautiful images and yes after a while the enthusiasm kinda fades and it's like.. eh, that [new camera name] isn't so impressive..
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    That series of pictures proves

    that it's not the camera.

    So what is the common denominator?

    Oh, yeah . . . you!

    Well done.

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Yeats

    Yeats All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Excellent photos Archiver!!!!

    I think part of getting caught up in new (nice) cameras is the fact that they are often shown off by really good photogs such as yourself. That makes a plebe like me fantasize about what I could do with such a nice piece of..... kit. Alas, I am me, no matter the camera.

    There is something to be said, though, for the surge of creative adrenaline a new tool inspires, no?
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I think you hit the nail on the head there, we get inspired with something new and shiny and are more prone to get out there, refreshed and shooting and in doing so.. we do get better. Uhm and that sounds like an advocacy for GAS.. but anyway.. a little something or other is a good thing right.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Archiver

    Archiver Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    I do have to say that every camera I have bought has inspired me to go out and shoot more. If I look at the reams of photos I took with my first digital camera, not much stands out, apart from the fact that I was taking them all the time! I got some nice photos now and again, but that was more by accident. With more cameras came more incentive to improve; after all, how else could I justify these new blocks of metal that were appearing in my bag? As the cameras improved, so did I, as better responsiveness and image quality fed my desire to get better, in turn.

    Yeah, it does sound a bit like GAS advocacy, but in my case, I've reached saturation point. My (ludicrous!) collection gives me the opportunity to mix and match cameras and lenses for almost any situation, from a day of landscape shooting to an evening out with friends, from a real estate or interior shoot to product photography. The only things I don't do are fashion or studio portraits, which requires an entirely new skillset that I have not wanted to touch.

    If a new camera inspires you to hit new heights, go for it! But if you're like me, you'll reach a point where the gear only takes you so far, and it's up to you from then on. :smile:
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  8. nippa

    nippa Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    GAS started for me when my wife and I decided that it was time to see a bit of the World.
    With an understanding partner willing to accept that "we" needed the new camera to record "our" journey - I got GAS in a big way.

    Looking back , only 5 cameras stand out as significant buys...Dlux4 (LX3) ,GF1,Leica X1,Fuji X10 and the Canon for the rest it was a mainly a case of "Emperors New Clothes"

    The GAS symptoms have eased a little over the last week as I've worked my way through images taken over the last 4 years with a variety of cameras.
    What is clear is that apart from High ISO noise improvements/AF speeds the rest of the changes have been largely hype with lenses falling in quality to improve aperture or zoom range.

    Sadly I can hear the siren call of the Sigma DP3 and a local dealer says that he'll trade one for some of my Junk...and then there's this X20 looking gorgeous!
  9. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Archiver, those are some great images and I'm right there with you. New gear often does inspire us to get out and shoot more and in that sense it's a good thing. However, at some point we all have to just stop shopping for more gear and tell ourselves to go out and shoot with what we've got! :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  10. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    After nearly a lifetime (long time!), of trying to get the "right" gear for MY style and methods, I have been really trying lately, to settle in to "what's in my hand". My current equipment does not put much limit on my hobby. Nor does new gear make my output any better. As has been said, I am the only factor, that can make the output better.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Gary

    Gary All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    The contrarian here. I don't change my shooting schedule when I acquire new gear. I don't make special plans to accomodate and use new stuff.

    I think every new piece of equipment has improved my images and photo taking in various degrees. My most recent purchase, for the OM-D, was a P35-100. That lens significantly improved my images from the P45-200. Some acquisitions make less improvements to my images and some make more.

    But here is my caveat(s) on equipment. One needs to learn, understand, become one with the equipment before adding more. With the same subject, I believe you need to be able to visualize, in your mind's eye, the image you'll get with that 35mm wide-open, or the 85mm closed down, or a 300mm @ f/2.8, while the lenses are still in the bag. Once you have mastered a lens, once you can previsualize frames and DOF's for that lens, then you're ready to move on. Photography is a craft, a skill, an experience and can be a lifetime of discovery and learning. For most of us, learning is best swallowed in bits and pieces. Acquiring a ton of stuff over a short period will dilute the learning process and extend the learning curve.

    While the above methodology makes some sense, especially for a 'photographer', it certainly isn't fun or exciting or impulsive. For the professional it is all about the final image ... period. Nothing else matters, not how one captured that image, nor the equipment used ... only the image matters. For us 'hobbyists' (less than professional), all of it matters, lenses matter, color of equipment matters, one-hand or two-hands matters, how the equipment looks matters, scratches on the equipment matters, hell ... even how the equipment feels matters. It all matters. Okay, just to clarify, yes, a pro cares about lenses, scratches, et al, but to a professional all that stuff matters less, much less than to a non-professional.

    In summary, if you're low on the learning curve with your present equipment, then new, better, more sophisticated hardware won't significant improve your images. The higher you are on that learning curve, the greater the potential for improvement to your images.

    • Like Like x 6
  12. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Regular

    GAS--SMAS! I have owned a Pen E-PL1 for nearly three years and have almost got it domesticated. The OM-D which I've had for less than a year is coming along, but still not fully domesticated. I had planned to get an E-PL5 to supplement the OM-D, until I saw a photo of one. What I particularly like about the older Pens is their form. The PL5 is smaller, and does not have a built-in flash. I would like to have the better sensor of the PL5, but that does not for me outweigh the other factors. Plus, the refurbed E-PL2 for $169.95 at Cameta Camera was just to good to pass up. So, I ordered the last one they had in stock (so they said). I will have the PL1 converted to infrared and use the PL2 as backup to the OM-D until I can get a second OM-D.

    I love cameras and lenses, but do I have GAS? I don't think so, not a severe case, anyway. I have been using the same Canon 5D since about this time in 2006. I do like to play with film cameras, but my dad left me a bunch of those, so not many new acquisitions there.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Yeats

    Yeats All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Sometimes to only way to relieve GAS is to assume the SIMS (Sudden Immediate Moratorium on Spending) position.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    Very well put.
  15. Yeats

    Yeats All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    I admit, I'm having a bit of a GASsy moment... Pentax K-01 + 40mm lens for under $400... I have a Pentax M 28/3.5 (with it's wee bit o' pixie dust), Pentax F 35-70 (it's like having a handful of slow primes, no need to stop down for sharpness) and the Krazy Komrade Helios 44-2.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    You'll understand of course that many if us don't yet own anywhere close to a ludicrous amount of gear. Yet. And a subset of that "many of us" are working feverishly to get there. I count myself among that subset. I realize, of course, that none of it makes me a better photographer, but as I've said a few times more than a few - photography and gear are two separate hobbies, they're related but they're not the same. I love photography, have since about 1968 when I was yet to reach the age of 10. I also love camera gear which is a much newer thing - probably just the past three years or so since I got back into digital photography in a big way. It may subside at some point - probably will. But that day us not today!

    Like you, I was really fascinated by the Coolpix A. Like you, it led me back to my GXR-28 and I realized there was nothing lacking in that wonderful camera. But still being a gear hound, that led me toward the RX1, which would cost more than twice as much. So realizing I didn't need or maybe even want a Coolpix A probably doesn't become a money saving realization for me!

    • Like Like x 3
  17. Pelao

    Pelao All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Matches my experience.

    I feel this is very true, and is likely true for a number of interests. I am fortunate to have access to a wide range of gear at work, so I 'play' a lot with it, even though it's essential to what we do. This helps cut down on gear purchases.

    Personally, I have become much less interested in purchasing new cameras in the last few years. This could be partly due to the access I have to many cameras. I suspect that it is also because I am very happy with what I have, and a few years ago there were still some gaps that left me wanting. I do feel though that I am much more interested in the output and creativity. It's just so challenging, and so much fun. That said, technological changes and innovation (the latter being rare in my view) do interest me.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Los Angeles
    That is by far the best way of thinking about it. To just say (imagine a snobby tone), "Only the photographer matters, not the gear" is fine and dandy, but if we held to it 100% we'd all be using, well I don't know what- pinhole cameras made from oatmeal boxes? We also wouldn't have anything other than the most ruthlessly simple cars, etc.

    Just don't use one hobby (photography) to justify the other (gear). If you want new gear then just budget for it accordingly amongst your other expenses, and you won't need to justify it.
  19. Jenna

    Jenna Regular

    Aug 18, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Mmmmm I just succumbed to the K-01 when a local store reduced the body only to 299. I mean really, how could one resist a body so cheap that will take my glorious but dust collecting old Takamaurs and my lensbaby.
    Have had the little black brick for a few days and am really enjoying it.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Yeats

    Yeats All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    What color did you get?