Is Camera Lust Destroying Your Photography?
This morning I did something I’m a little ashamed of. I locked myself in my office, opened up my computer and began to surf the web and look at things I knew I probably shouldn’t be looking at.
I ended up on sites that I knew would get me in trouble. Sites that could lead me down a path that I’d have a hard time explaining to my wife. Sites that make time fly and that you can spend a whole morning wasting your time on.
You know the ones – camera review sites.
I had a good case of camera lust this morning and I’m not really proud of it.
It started off innocently enough – I was simply checking in on a few of my favourite blogs (thanks Dave, Steve and Eric) but a simple comment or two about a couple of cameras from those guys and I was off on a wild ride. In the next 2 hours I looked at new mirrorless cameras from Olympus, old film cameras from Contax, lenses from Leica, ND Filters, Speedlights, read detailed comparisons on Nikon and Canon’s new DSLRs and much much more.
At the end of it all I had read a lot, compared a lot, wished I had a lot but I had done absolutely nothing.
Is Camera Lust Destroying our Photography?
This might sound a little strange coming from the owner of a photography site that publishes a camera review or two a week but sometimes I think our lust for cameras and gear could be getting in the way of actually becoming better photographers.
Perhaps ‘destroying our photography’ is a little harsh – but at the very least I suspect camera lust is distracting us from photography.
A Common Comment I Hear
“If I could just upgrade to a better camera or lens my photos would be better.”
I get a lot of emails from readers who seem to put a lot of hope into a new piece of gear improving their photography.
While there’s no doubt that there is a difference in the output of one camera vs another and that not all lenses are equal – I do sometimes wonder what would happen if we put the time and energy that we put into researching gear into actually practicing our photography whether we’d see a bigger improvement.
This morning I spent a good 2 hours looking at cameras that I could have spent out with one of the cameras I already have at my disposal (and I have a few to choose from).
Use The Gear You’ve Got
I have no problem with buying new gear or upgrading your camera but I guess this post is a challenge to us all (and mainly myself) to actually keep your camera lust in check and to get out and use the gear you’ve got.
The best way to improve your photography has nothing to do with the gear you’ve got. It’s all about practice.
It’s about taking (or wearing) and using your camera. It’s about learning to see light. It’s about understanding how your camera works. It’s about experimentation and play. It’s about learning and using new techniques.
Do you find yourself distracted by Camera Lust? What advice would you give others who do too?
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Some older comments
May 1, 2013 09:59 am
This could not have been any more spot on!! While lust might result in buying something new, resulting in some initial excitement and helping one to get out of the rut by investing more time with a camera in hand, it's not a particularly meaningful way to improve one's skills. Like some others, I have a minimal investment in a Canon D550 with the kit lenses and a Sigma 18-250 macro, tripod, external flash, and other gadgets, I despertately try to hold the "I need a full frame body" at bay. Without having reached a professional level, there's far more to get out of what I've got through practice than there is in upgrading the gear with same knowledge and skill level.
January 4, 2013 06:30 am
Recently, particularly in the run-up to this past Christmas, the deals available on used/traded-in equipment at an excellent outlet store near me made me come to realize that Digital bodies will probably plummet in price faster than we ever saw with Film bodies when they were current technology.
I think that part of that is because digital body shutters all seem to have some arbitrary shutter lifespan - 25,000-35,000 actuations seems to be one common number - and many cameras record exactly where they are in this hypothetical lifespan, either in the exif information in their pictures, or the body will show this in an information mode. I guess folks figure if a shutter is 25% "used up" then it's time to change, or they've seen something with 30% more megapixels and feel compelled to upgrade.
Case in point - I could pick up a fully-equipped used Canon XT body, 8MP, with charger and a workable battery for $66, which is more than 50% off the "killer deal" of $129 I got on the same body exactly one year ago. In retrospect, I should have bought one last month for $66 as a backup to my existing XT - it's cheaper than any repair I might have done to my existing camera ... then again, in a few months I might be able to do that for less than $66.
Why mention this? It's because, for those of us without much of a budget for "toys" (like those of us with two kids in university concurrently), it's amazing what one can create with equipment that is behind the curve technically. An 8, or 6, or a 4 megapixel image can make for a really nice large print to hang on the wall.
If all you ever do is look at your pictures on a computer screen, you probably won't see the difference between a 3MP picture and an 18MP picture until you start zooming in (because screens have such poor resolution compared to the original image).
As for feature-itis... so what if I can't shoot a movie with my DSLR? My Nikon D90 can do that, yet I've only ever used that feature once... it's simply not why I bought that camera. I have taken amazing pictures (and made excellent prints) with a 4 megapixel Panasonic camera with a brilliant Leica super-zoom lens, a camera that cost me all of $9 at a thrift shop... it's high-ISO performance is not stellar, so I use that one outside. I carry it in my knapsack everywhere I go, and if I lose it or it breaks, I'll be sad but I'll only be out $9. In the meantime, I have a great little camera with a super-zoom lens that can beat out anything I can do with my iPhone's camera, nice as that is.
Get something, anything, learn it and use it... use your money for quality lenses, learn how to expose correctly (something your camera's automatic modes won't do in all circumstances), and get out and make pictures.
Truly, unless you're shooting pictures to be printed on billboards, you won't get a dramatically better picture at 24MP than with 6MP, and you may save a ton of money by staying behind the technology curve. Get in close, use the whole frame, and experience the moment.
Or, consider helping us 35MM enthusiasts keep film alive as a creative medium which has a more agreeable and randomized look when over-size printed (no pixellization, just random but relatively uniform blobs of grain/color) AND a 35MM film frame has an equivalent resolution of about 24-40Megapixels. Shooting 120 Medium Format (6cm x 6cm negative) has a resolution closer to 80Megapixels.... and right now that venerable equipment can be had for a song, and can still produce true quality results.
January 4, 2013 05:26 am
You are so right BUT you need to take into account depreciation on digital cameras compared to older film cameras and excellent glass (lenses). Good glass holds its value on auction sites such as eBay and when I sold my Cannon system I probably only dropped 10% on eBay on all my L series and EFS lenses, whereas the bodies were worth less than 50% of new cost.
Cameras, on the other hand, and bundled lenses, drop in price very fast. I bought a Panny Lumix G3 with 14-52mm and sold my G1 with this lens (keeping the better 14-55mm) for not much less than my purchase price of the newer camera. While the cameras are reasonably new the second hand prices hold up, as soon as they are considered outdated, you find it difficult to give them away.
So, yes, take more photos - no one can fault that - but also keep an eye on the value of camera bodies because a judicious swap at the right time will save you several hundred pounds.
December 31, 2012 11:46 am
I came to Digital photography when I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 some years ago.I loved it then and still do and have no intention of retiring or selling it,however it has some serious limitations at the high ISO range that I found frustrating. So began my obsessive search for an upgrade to a more "modern" DSLR.
I researched everything on the market, bought countless magazines, and read every independent review I could find on the web. Enter the Nikon D 7000. I fell in love, or was it lust ?
Big, black and shiny with more menus than a restaurant chain, this was my dream girl,this was my life companion with whom I'd travel along my photographic journey.......be still my heart !!!!
I reined in my impulse to go out and ply her with money and tempt her home with me, I knew that her price would drop given the passage of time and decided to wait a while before committing myself to her voluptuous charms. I still visited her at least once a day on various web sites and found that my lust for her was unwaining.
Long story short, My darling daughter presented me with the object of my dreams as a present for my fast approaching birthday. I was now the proud companion of a D7000 with 18-105mm kit lens. Oh Happy day !!!
On our 1st night together I took her to bed and explored her many charms, I twiddled with her settings,was awed by her beauty and inspired by her flexibility. I took shot after shot of objects within my room, dressing table ornaments and accoutrements, the wood grain of the furniture, my own feet and even my Levi's on the hook behing the door. I pushed her to the limits of her ISO and was excited by her potential at these speeds. All in all the most fun I've had lying down for many a year.
She was everything I wanted, or was she ? I soon discovered what happens when you own a proper DSLR. Thoughts turn to additional lenses, I wanted to go wider...lustful thoughts again entered my head, research pointed me to Nikon, Sigma, Tokina W/A telephoto's, confusion reigned as each has it's pro's and cons, each has it's supporters and detractors so the search goes on.
In the meantime I have blown the budget on a Vanguard Alta 263 AT tripod with a GH 100 pistol grip head ( I justified this by claiming the need for the more stable platform it affords in comparison to my old Velbon + it's outstanding flexibility.)
Next came A Nikon remote shutter control cable, an ND 400, a Cicular polarizer and,of course, a UV filter, none of which I could live without !!!
Will any of this make me a better photographer, perhaps yay, perhaps nay. Will it give me greater flexibility in some situations, a definite yes, do I need all the bells and whistles that the modern DSLR comes equipped with, absolutely not as most of my photography is done in full manual mode with incident light metering and always in RAW. Will it stop me Lusting after more lenses/gadgets to stick in the dim, dark recesses of my backpack, I fear not and indeed hope not for, not unlike fishermen, we photographers are insanely attracted to new and shiny objects.
I loved this Blog, I am not alone, Thank you DPS members for assuring me that my constant brush with the edge of insanity is not a lonely journey.
May 11, 2012 06:00 am
I have had a really bad case of 5DMII lust for a while and here is how I have dealt with it. We have pretty spectacular sunrises and sunsets in Namibia, and one day I borrowed a friend's 5DMII and headed off to a favorite parks for a panorama shoot. Two hours later, having imported the Raw files into Lightroom, the world changed. Did the photos show more detail than what I could have hoped to resolve with my 40D? Yes. Were they magically perfect? No. I made the same technical mistakes I would have made with the 40D and the photographs showed them. Was the extra detail worth the price differential? No way. Shooting two cameras side by side is the best way to understand that the best camera you have is yours.
More advanced camera equipment will marginally expand your creative options, for example by letting you take less noisy exposures in low light or focusing more accurately in a fast-paced action scene, but it will be entirely up to you to take advantage of them. It will not be a substitute for creativity or technique and will not enable you to produce awesome images all by itself.
Lenses are a somewhat different story. Whereas the difference in technical image quality under low ISO and normal shooting conditions is very small for cameras this side of 2005, the use of a fast prime lenses will make a difference compared to kit gear any day of the year. There is just very little you can do to beat speed.
Last comes in the lighting equipment. Put your subject under carefully controlled, awesome quality, creative light, and your camera (no matter how complex it is) becomes little more than an image recorder. For web posting and such, there will be really very little technical difference between a shot taken with with a 5DMII and an iPhone camera.
If spending a bit of money (or fantasizing about it) were a must, here is where my priorities were: 1) lens, 2) lighting equipment, 3) camera.
May 5, 2012 05:48 am
Camera Lust can be one of my favourite procrastination activities. And you're totally right about it: In the end you have done nothing in all the time researching for the cameras and you have learned little about new teqnique. The best advice is always: get out and shoot with what you have! If you don't, at least write a blog post about your procrastination activities..
May 2, 2012 05:29 am
I totally agree with Darren. I have access to a Canon 5D at work and yes, it is a true work of art. But you know what? When I go out the door to shoot, it is almost always with my lowly Olympus E420. Why you ask? Because it is small, half the weight and I know it so well that I can get it to do just about anything I want it to.
No matter what camera you have in your hand, photography is about solving puzzles. The puzzle pieces are iso, speed, aperture, white balance, etc...and they have to go together just right to complete the puzzle. That's part of what makes it fun for me. I always get the shot I want with my Olympus, I just have to be more creative about solving the puzzle than I would with the 5D that's all. If you think of it that way, any camera that gives you the ability to use manual settings will make you very happy!
May 2, 2012 04:22 am
Completely agree! I went clinically mad when I saw the prices drop on all the amazing film equipment I could never have afforded in the past... so I bought it - pretty much all of it, actually!
Currently, I have something north of 50 film cameras - every one of them a jewel in its own right (60's rangefinders, Minolta X-700s, Nikon, Canon, medium-format, etc,etc.
However, I have to confess, I'm at the point that I can take the same great picture with pretty much any of them, so (now that the meds have kicked in) I can see that this may be too large a number of cameras, particularly those that shoot film. The down side is I'll likely not live long enough to really put the majority of them through their paces.
I have finally got into shooting digitally, and started with a lovely older Fuji S2 Pro (which produces beautiful flesh tones, rich colours - it truly is like shooting Fuji Velvia slide film)... I got that plus an 18-55VR Nikon lens for so little that I could actually make money selling the set, but I won't part with it for now.
Then I bought both a Nikon D90 and a Canon XT (because I have plenty of lenses for both Nikon and Canon bodies).
I have to confess, though Digital is great in that you know pretty much immediately whether you've accomplished the shot you were hoping for (or at least you know you can poke, prod and re-work the image you got into what you really wanted using Photoshop), but in some ways it feels less like photography to me in that I feel I'm getting lazier - I can shoot without thinking too much, check my screen to see what the curves look like, and figure I either got the shot or I can re-do it.
As one person aptly put it, it's the difference between fishing with a trawler where you scoop up everything and discard what you're not looking for, versus standing focused and quiet in a trout stream, deftly placing your fly EXACTLY where you know the fish are based on intimate knowledge of the stream.
So... I still shoot film - a lot - and have recently bought myself a Nikon F4s that will definitely be kept when some of my other Nikon equipment has been sold. It's a beauty, and I fully anticipate it will last as long as 35mm film continues to be available. For some reason, I think through each shot thoroughly when I'm shooting film (I guess because it's in finite supply, and I have 24 or 36 shots before having to reload so they need to count). With a 32GB card in my D90, my reload is at about 1000 shots, and I shoot both Raw and JPG High concurrently (I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy, I guess).
As far as I'm concerned, it's ALL good, and I hope nobody decides to start another stupid flame war about which is better - digital or film.... In my mind, they're both better (see Bresson-Cartier's shots, or anything published in National Geographic during the last century and the lovely new digital shots we're seeing these days - how can one but rejoice at the true artistry that has created those) but the best is what goes on inside the eye and the mind of the photographer.
My old Dad, who introduced me to photography when I was about 10, had gone to see the first solo exhibit of photography at the New York Museum of Fine Art. The photographer being showcased (I don't know who) used a box camera that had one shutter speed, and that cost him half of what he paid for the yellow filter he used to add some detail in the clouds of his landscapes. He knew his craft, knew what he wanted to get, waited for the light to be just right... then click.
So, shoot what you have, learn it inside-out, (and I'll probably be assassinated by the camera marketers for saying this), save yourself a TON of money by buying equipment that's a generation or two old. I bought my Nikon D90 (new, open box, saved $150) even though I could have got a D7000... for twice the price.
When you're agonizing, as an earlier poster did, over having to wait to buy because there may be a new Nikon D5200 coming down the pipeline, you're sort of missing the point... get out there, get the photo. Save your money for lenses.... they're like the loudspeakers in a stereo system (the only part you can actually hear)... lenses are the only thing that does your seeing for you.
May 1, 2012 11:54 pm
Thank you, Theresa for seeing things the way I see them. Well, even the rivers do not flow in the same direction but they end up in the ocean somewhere. Advices of the experts are invaluable, more so to us novices but, life life moves forwards because, in reverse, one cannot cover the distance 'progress' demands. Its just that simple. If my purse was fat enough, why not get myself a 'flagship'? This "camera Lust" fever has made me ashamed even to tell a best friend of mine when I acquire a camera because I feel he will think that I'm wasting money or I'm being arrogant or (showing-off). Am trying to quench the 'thirst' for a desire to up my knowledge. True that a tool with advanced features will not make someone an expert but, it can improve someones know-how in order to know more - if one wishes to improve. I can write and make volumes of examples in this issue but let me leave it at that; but touch a little bit on technology at hospitals (mechines Chris Barnard used for Heart Operation) have improved, racing cars have improved - you name it.
May 1, 2012 08:14 pm
I agree with you, Henry K.
I just got the B&H catalog in the mail yesterday... and you wouldn't BELIEVE how many pages are already dog-eared, offering upgraded equipment that I want/need!
The lust-monster striketh!
May 1, 2012 04:33 pm
Totally agree with a lot of comments from photographers of different grades/statuses, if you like. However, differ a bit in that, it is difficult to quench the "camera lust" because the 'desire to improve' in whatever field one operates is demanding. Most of the people who supply constructive advices are people who have been there and who know what they are talking about. They are talking from experience, for all I can detect but one does not develop experience from meer theory. Yes, the old gear works well but who does not wish to put hands on a tool that has been improved with so much of features? Maybe, if one looks at this "LUST" monster from the other angle; I am tempted to think that photography (Film vs Digital) is where it is today because of "LUST" for the engineers to improve and design new technology and new tools of the trade. So true is the dictum: "not the tool but the operator/ not the camera but the photographer" that produces the best shot! Learning is 'progress" and 'pinhole' images are still possible but should we still be stuck with those 'brownie' box cameras that were there when I was still at school 70 years ago? I think, finance dictates the mind to accept that, 'am still happy with my old faithful'. Otherwise, we would be rushing to put our hands on the new 'flagship' of the brands that go out on the market.
May 1, 2012 07:16 am
I had to chuckle when I read the beginning of your post. I had just finished "researching" before I started to read the article.
April 30, 2012 11:06 am
This is one issue I struggle with all the time and being an instructor in photography as well, it doesn't make it any easier to deal with when I am approached by students who have the same issues and want advice. It is true that getting the latest and greatest will give you advantages but the thing is how much more of an advantage are you getting by running out and purchasing a new camera? Further, are those advantages significant to the sort of images that you produce regularly? I empahsise regularly as it is very easy to get caught up in the idea of getting tons more features from a new camera but it is not worth it if you are going to use that feature for just one photo and then it is lost. In such a case, it would probably be better to just rent the camera rather than by it full blown.
I think a purchase of a new camera should be made when the need outweighs just the want/lust for having it. If you can already achieve the same sort of capability with just a little bit of incovenience, my guess is that it is not needed. If it is something where the feature is needed on a regular basis and it is pivotal to imrpoving your shot or to the economics of your business, then it may be good to get it as it will pay for itself through the sale of your photography.
April 30, 2012 09:13 am
Oh sure.. I read this 15 minutes after buying a Polaroid 330 on eBay, with no guarantee it'll actually work, and a couple packs of fuji film instant to go with it! Not exactly what you might have had in mind.. but lusting after a new photographic experience instead of spending a couple hours on photoshop can certainly fall into the same catagory!
April 30, 2012 07:42 am
Darren, you're a brave man to let this thread get so long. I hope your advertisers - who after all rely on 'camera lust' to stay inbusiness - dont start jumping up and down and threaten to pull their advertising ! You, and they, have been pretty patient .
April 30, 2012 06:25 am
Reading these comments is beginning to be a bit mind numbing. I think I'll go take some pictures.
April 30, 2012 03:22 am
Here's another thought I had: The reason for "upgrading" in the first place was to achieve the kind of smooth, tack-sharp photos I wanted.
With DSLR's that possible BUT there is post-processing involved... which does what?
Answer: offers "Heavy Grain" and other treatments to create "nostalgic" prints!! LOL
With the Canon EOS 50-D I'm using now, my photos are in line with what I want them to be & I can offer the best of both worlds. The only investment I see myself making in the near future, is in the lenses I want for macro and wide-angle shots and maybe backgrounds and lighting equipment additions.
April 30, 2012 01:49 am
There’s another aspect to current digital photography that’s not been mentioned here. While the camera/lens tool you use to capture the original image is very important, we now have a fantastic toolkit of software to work with for post-capture adjustments. Don’t forget to learn how to use these tools. Ansel Adams spent more time on his photos in the darkroom than he did behind the camera. The picture isn’t finished until someone views and enjoys it. As I learned how to effectively use the software tools, I actually got better at composing and taking the image with the camera. The two aspects go hand-in-hand.
--Make it a great day!
April 30, 2012 01:21 am
Thanks a lot for this. I was experiencing camera lust badly...really. This article really inspired me to choose a camera more carefully, and to love the little crappy one that i've learned to use so well. Thanks a lot. I'm not trying to spam, but my full write up on how this article helped me is here: http://www.siqmindedfuq.com/updates/lust-vs-love
April 29, 2012 09:39 pm
Yes,that's true. I had been trying to change the gears mainly camera because all the new releases seem to be better than my one. Sometimes I was so sad not being able to get the new one. Now I am almost settled with my present camera EOS 7D, I wonder,I had been taking better photographs with previous EOS 1000D and a compact canon Ixy 810 ,even T70,eos 500N etc. Why? those were light enough to carry more often. What happens to me,I surf to several web-sites to read the new reviews,this is wasting my time sitting to computer. NOW,I WISH TO TAKE MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AND EXPERIMENT WITH MY PRESENT CAMERA, I have decided to purchase one or two more lenses,to cover the focal length I have to cover. ......This is one of the best article about photography in recent times,thanks.
April 29, 2012 03:25 pm
After completing my photography course, I started to collect cameras. Within 4 years i had acquired 60 cameras and 100 of lenses. This is like an addiction when you have the money and the greed to feed it. I am guilty of going through all the camera reviews. Now I satisfy myself by buying a camera every 6 to 9 months. Does this make me a better photographer? Anyway, I am guilty of spending time reviewing new cameras than going out and taking photographs. To all those out their.....the best camera is what you have. I need to stop buying new gear. That's a hard one to achieve.....
April 29, 2012 01:01 pm
I can relate A LOT to this. I have looked up cameras and lenses for hours and never seem to get out. Spending the time to look up the equipment that I probably won't get, I could be practicing my photography.
April 29, 2012 12:58 pm
It was only in the beginning that I had camera lust. But it was mostly because I started out with an automatic point-and-shoot camera when I hated that the photos would not come out the way I wanted...and then I thought...If I had one of those super intense DSLRS my photos would come out great...and while I'm personally happier with my photos, sometimes I still deal with some camera lust.
I have a canon camera and every time I look at the camera info on some pictures, I notice a lot of Nikon, and I sometimes think...man, can my camera even do that?...
I love this post by the way. I did not know "Camera Lust" was the proper name for this kind of thing. But It really taught me to love what I have even more and that I can still do a lot with it. Thank you.
April 29, 2012 09:29 am
April 29th, 2012 at 8:53 am
Well some camera lust is probably normal but if you experience it continuallyt…..you’re probably don’t have a lot of talent for photography in the first place if the newest gadget is that important to you.
Oh now, Onxye, there you go.
Come on now. We don't know exactly what kind of photographer is out there. Just because a person pursues the latest and greatest doesn't mean he/she isn't a great photo maker.
And...by the same token, one who holds on to the oldest equipment doesn't make that person some kinde of photo grand poobah either.
Some of us just like new stuff, and some are early adopters. It might say something about your personality, but not necessarily about your skill level.
Plus ++ new stuff might inspire you!
April 29, 2012 09:25 am
I am so glad to read this! I have and adore my Fuji Finepix s5700! I get into those lustful moods and start the seemingly endless research process but it always seems to come down to the reviews telling me to not fix what isn't broken. And my relationship with my current camera certainly isn't broken. We have been through a lot together and how this girl is still holding up is beyond me. I just thank her for being so patient with me. Would I be better off with a Nikon or a Canon? I have no idea since i have never worked with one. Yet when that lust hits, I get so worked up I feel as if I am going mad!
I simply remind myself of the amazing photos I have in an album that were taken with a kodak instamatic when I was about 8 to 10 years old. I love those just about as much as I do the ones I take now. I also remind myself that (since I am a creature of habit) the photos of a particular subject I took a year or two or even three compared to what I do now shows I have improved..with the same digital camera.
Thank you for this great article.
April 29, 2012 08:58 am
Bill....I had to comment on your comment about the Pentax Spotmatic....that was my only camera until last summer I decided I NEEDED a digital so I could get some action shots of Canada geese and other wildlife.......so I bought the Pentax K5 but I'm not at all certain it takes better pictures of still subjects.
April 29, 2012 08:53 am
Well some camera lust is probably normal but if you experience it continuallyt.....you're probably don't have a lot of talent for photography in the first place if the newest gadget is that important to you.
April 29, 2012 12:34 am
I perfectly agree with you. Unfortunately, equipment lust, is what the manufacturers want us to have. Photography, since the digital era begun, has turned into a huge money making business and lots of people throw away perfectly functioning cameras that take great pictures only because the manufacturers blind them with new models, higher specifications, new functions, etc that should help them take better pictures. I still have my D200, it works perfectly and I shall keep it and use it for many years to come. Yes, more mega pixels and higher ISO performance could be helpful but they are not indispensable. We don't have to forget, that until few years ago, a lot of us were always using the wonderful Fuji Velvia 50. It was perfectly fine and I still miss it !!!
April 28, 2012 07:24 pm
THanks Darren - a great post that really speaks to my accountant husband and our budget! This obviously applies to so many arears in our lives and I heard a great quote the other day on Rhema FM - "don't let your want for something new ruin the enjoyment of what you have". So great to encourage each other in these simple things of life. Cheers Michelle
April 28, 2012 11:02 am
Another camera that would just remain a dream to me. Newbie in photography started just this month using Lumix DMC-TZ4 on shots I post on my photoblog Retrato Manila. With limited equipment I focused on street photography and I am quiet happy with reviews I get for my shots but still want to have someday a camera that saves in RAW format. Current equipment max out at 8MP and saves in JPEG.
April 28, 2012 07:30 am
Even having the best camera equipment will not always make a good photographer, by the same comparision neither will an expensive musical instrument produce a great player, it is the person behind the Camera or musical instrument that matters. Being 72 years of age I have had quite a few cameras ,and taken lots of shots, mainly rather mediocre. Now I could afford a camera in the 2k + bracket, but to be honest it would be wasted on me as I only take the occasional photo on my Canon EOS 350D. It is a great feeling to plan a purchase of a new camera + lenses and finally make the actual purchase, I fear for some ( and including me ) this would be a short lived happy experience. It really is ' Pride Of Posession ' Of course, some people who wish to 'Upgrade' may well benefit from a better camera, so good luck to those concerned.
Best wishes to you all, and happy shooting.
April 28, 2012 05:52 am
I just browsed to this page after my obsessive periodic checking of canonrumours.com because for some reason I NEED to know right away when something new comes out even if I can't afford it right now. This while some of my favourite photos I've ever taken were with an old Canon G6...
April 28, 2012 05:32 am
Thanks for the refreshing reminder! When I spend hours with my D7000 on tripod, I take a break and grab my 2nd camera, D3000, and capture pieces of life around me; a family picnicking on the beach; a child building his sand castle; a hesitant swimmer feeling the water with his foot before the swim - and oh boy! I have captured wonderful shots this way - surpassing my 'planned and composed' D7000 shots.
April 28, 2012 04:31 am
SOMEONE had to say it!!
I'm so glad it was you! lol
Excellent article... and you should know, you're not alone. No matter how strong we are, sometimes we ALL give in to temptation. Just accept the fact and forgive yourself and move on *snickers playfully*.
Seriously though, fab article. I agree a thousand-fold.
Never having had the experience of having endless amounts of money to buy what I've wanted: my motto is: make the most of what you DO have. Learn to make it SING!"
April 28, 2012 03:28 am
It's the person behind the gear that captures the image, not the gear.
You could have a pin hole camera to take a picture.
In the days of electronics seems everyone is an instant photographer, however I say there is more to photography than what meets the eye.
I just love it when I see people walking around strutting their equipment like a male peacock, trying to make an impression.
Be better if they would try to impress us with their camera skills instead.
April 28, 2012 02:00 am
This post touches close to home for me. My equipment consists of my T2I, the kit lens, a cheap tripod, polarizing filter and a backpack. I VERY often adore other people's photos, then realize I am the only one out there trying to take professional photos with a T2I with the kit lens. This discouraged the hell out of me because it took me two years to save for this equipment (I have four kids).
As I cried about wanting a true "professional" camera and lens I began I slowly began to think about making the best use of what I have. I became grateful for my equipment, and tried to ignore the egotisitc photographers who laugh at me for what I have. Ignoring the negative I started entering my photos into contests in hopes of winning an upgrade and was pleasantly suprised to hear I had won second choice in a contest! I won abtolutely nothing except my photo was placed on a website. Even with the low end camera and lens I make it a point to practice, check DPS for learning ops ( I ADORE this site) and will keep trying to win, well anything really. And I will always keep in mind that a photo I took with my puny T2I was chosen above a few dozen other photos captured with mucher higher end quality equipment. Articles like these make me realize I just can't quit. Some day I will have a photo published, someday.
April 28, 2012 01:08 am
What a fantastic article. I am currently suffering massively from cam review/info overload and as a result purchase paralasis. I have been happily snapping away with a canon g9. Recently I have been looking to upgrade to a DSLR. Initially to expand my hobby and see where it went but more recently my friends and family have been pushing me to pursue it on a more serious/professional basis.
I was looking at the canon 7d after handling a colleagues. It seemed a natural step from my g9. Then came the opportunity to get a Sony A77 through my job which witj a kit lens would cost me less than a 7d body only.
Thinking from a hobbiest view my mind was made up. Go for the cheaper newer camera and enjoy it. Now I am thinking about it from a work perspective my mind is frozen from fear of making the 'wrong' purchase.
As a hobby I snap anything and everything so no issue but from a work perspective I would be focussing in events especially Thai boxing events which are normally badly lit. Suddenly after reading too many reviews the A77 seems like a bad idea for low light.
Perhaps you more experienced level minded folks can help?
Do I dismiss the A77 low light concerns and use down scaling and post to handle iso issues an invest in modern kit or do I look at the likes of the 7d and invest in 3-4 yr old kit that will soon be superseded? I do I need full frame to truly do the job properly?
If any one has any advice it would be greatly appreciated.
April 28, 2012 01:03 am
I'm soaking in camera lust right now! It's akin to being in the throes of a new love relationship...I fantasize about the Canon 5D Mark II...and the 7D and soon one will be at my doorstep....however, I have shot the criking bejeebers out of my Rebel XT. It's been in my hand almost every day for seven years! I have done everything with that camera it can do and I've pushed it past its limits..I've waded in the cold rivers in the early dawn for the mists and I've sat in the pastures in the late dark for the night stars and come out of the woods after a sunset waterfall...I've photographed every horse for 50 miles, every dog and its kin for 5 miles, and even the birds of the sky..I've had people pose for my camera, shot glass, metal, people, all in studio and I catch people on the run...I've proven to myself that I can make that camera do what I want...now I want to upgrade and after seven years, the time is coming! I know my f/stops(even to 1/3s), I know my shutter speeds..I can even use studio lights(in studio and on location) and my trusty little Rebel has been there every step of the way..so please this is one time that lust is good!!!
April 28, 2012 12:54 am
These postings are depressing. All of you are correct. I'm sure I should go to Camera AA, but I'd rather get the D800!!
Man! Talk about lust! Just when I was about to turn my attention to something else, Boom! D800--and just like a new shinny car>>36mp too.
So I tell myself, be cool, calm yourself. Make sure you Deserve that new gear (I'll never deserve it).
And don't kid yourself about the penis envy stuff. "it don't matter?". It ALWAYS matters.
Come on Amazon, give me a sale!!
April 28, 2012 12:23 am
I too had camera lust. I use a Nikon FM 2 for years and resisted the move to digital. Then I started to lust after a digital camera. Not having enough money for a "QUALITY" digital camera I ended up buying a Nikon Kodak DCS 620 off of ebay that would accomodate my existing Nikon lenses.
I shot the hell out of that camera but still lusted after a "QUALITY" digital camera with lenses that would be auto-focus and have VR.
Last year I got lucky and a company that I sell for had a contest and I won enough points that in the catalog of prizes I snared a Nikon d700 with several lenses. I also picked up a Lowepro camera bag, a Monopod and some ND filters and polarizer filters for all 6 lenses I own..
So currently my lust has been satisfied. I should be happy for the next few years.I think!
April 27, 2012 11:55 pm
Thank you for this article
that owning a guitar does not make you a guitar player
April 27, 2012 09:58 pm
No I don't have this lust as I don't know everything about my new camera as of yet (Rebel T3). Two of the best pictures I ever took were from a Pentax ME Super and a throw away 35mm format. The key to both shots was I had a camera (wearing it) and positioned myself to take the shots. They look like they are from the same camera. My two cents worth, Thanks.
April 27, 2012 09:37 pm
I have a Nikon D40 I love it have had it for 4 years I have been told it's only a really fancy point& shoot I don't know if it is or isn't & really don't care about a new camera I'll buy a new one when my Nikon dies I'm pretty simple.....
April 27, 2012 08:40 pm
I too can be seduced by a great camera review and get the itch to change my camera. I stop and think, why should I? The money would be better spent going somewhere special...... a trip to take a range of photos you never get the chance to, rather than being stuck in the same environment with the same photographic opportunities. But then the Fuji X Pro 1 is so nice, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No.
April 27, 2012 08:22 pm
I have been a keen amateur photographer for over 40 years. My first digital camera was a 2 megapixel Nikon Coolpix 2100. Inspired by my new camera and a new medium I took dozens of great photos, (though I did have to spend a lot of hours in my digital darkroom smartening up my images). I don't have enough wall or shelf space to display even half of my favourite pictures taken with that camera.
Since then I have owned 3 other digital cameras, with the best one being the little Canon S95. The S95 can take superb images, but it has never matched the creative output I got with the Nikon.
I am now dreamily looking at bridge cameras, but I suspect that buying one would just be a waste of my time and money.
April 27, 2012 06:28 pm
Firstly, what a superb post! So very true. Secondly there seems to be a lot of balanced and experienced people on here who may be able to help me?
I struggle with big purchases at the best of times but lately I have become paralysed by review/information overload and it's driving me insane.
I was looking at upgrading my G9. Originally I became obsessed with the NEX7 but after handling it with my giant hands realised it wasn't for me. So then I decided it was time to look at DSLRs. At I had no clue but after handling a colleagues 7d I decided that would be a good and familiar step from my existing canon. Then things got tricky... My friends and family have recently been pushing me to try and make some money from my pics and look at any camera as an 'investment' at the same time I was in the fortunate position that I could get a A77 with kit lens for not much more than a 7D body only.
This is where I have frozen, with the added pressure of this being an investment for a potential change in career I have been frozen by the fear of choosing the 'wrong' camera. The A77 seems the perfect cam for me due to relative cost and some of its features. But. The area my venture would focus on involves shooting amongst other things, Thai Boxing events in pretty poorly lit venues, since reading reviews about the A77s low light performance my mind has frozen and I've started looking at cameras better suited for low light sports but then my budget would mean I could only buy 3-4 year old kit which I worry about.
So please if anyone out there can help, please do! Will I struggle to get saleable low light quality from the A77 or will downscaling the 24mp images in post sort most issues? I am fully aware kit won't improve my ability but I am very much frozen with fear as to which is the 'right' camera for me to finally invest in :(
April 27, 2012 06:21 pm
Yes & No.
Trying to buy talent is not going to happen.
But dreaming and thinking and scheming about stuff including equipment does no harm, it feeds my soul. I also flyfish but I spend more time tying flies than on the water and every fly I tie takes me to mountain streams and fresh crisp mornings, as i hold the fly between my fingers I see the clean take of a feisty wild trout.
Ok so I did buy the book mentioned in the first post 60 sec ago on amazon kindle and I did buy a D800 yesterday, and as i hold it in my hands I think of what I am going to make with it.
Got to go ...
April 27, 2012 04:50 pm
I have a camera and a piano. Buying a Steinway won't make me into a better pianist!
April 27, 2012 04:47 pm
Many years ago when I enrolled in photography classes in high school, I learned this lesson. A classmate worked for 4 years with the best camera she could afford: a Kodak Instamatic that used 126 cartridges. No focus, no aperture or shutter control. A true point and shoot, or as some of us called it, point and pray. However, she consistently got the highest grades, won the awards. I’m sure she envied the fancy SLRs some of us had, and she did learn to use them. Her work was not based on high end equipment, but on learning to use the tools she had- one inexpensive camera and a brilliant eye behind the viewfinder. Here’s to you, Jackie!
April 27, 2012 04:31 pm
I have the lust and the apetite for cameras, but I think if you are learning photography and its your passion, don't let your wife stop ya! ;) I do agree you spend time knowing and collecting information about the equipment but I also think that atleast some of the time spent is worth it, not only it makes you aware of the limitations, but also makes you ask questions like the one you did with this blog post. I own A LOT of cameras and I am quite proud of my collection, have they helped my photography, definitely yes! Have they been a bane for my wife, definitely less, have I wasted time looking out for them, collecting them, definitely not! I have learnt a great deal of how old timertogs used to use their equipment, not knowing the what kind of light they would be using it until light meters came along and then digital ones came along. Have the cameras made my composition better, definitely maybe, because instead of clicking and clicking, now I have to think what to click, how to click, what settings do I use, what am I trying to saw, all in under seconds, knowing I would only allow so much time with one camera before I move on to the next!
April 27, 2012 04:25 pm
In an earlier post I pointed out that some genres of photography demand higher quality equipment and I do believe that is totally valid. On thinking about this post more deeply, I find that a more general rule might be that if you have mastered the current equipment AND it is holding you back from advancing, then it is time to upgrade and extend your learning curve to the new equipment.
To some degree I think it is a disservice to suggest that "shooting more" is a substitute for adequate tools. If the shutter lag on your point and shoot is keeping you from getting the shot, it is time to move to a DSLR. And so on! The point being that the only reason to upgrade is if your tools are holding you back from the creativity you desire. Just upgrading to have the best when your current camera and lenses are working for your style is silly and can be counter-productive. As I said before, upgrading can often result in worse images until you master the new equipment and its associated learning curve.
April 27, 2012 03:34 pm
Excellent choice @don yurchuk.
When are you buying your X-Pro? ;-)
April 27, 2012 03:31 pm
I did it! I put my 5D mk II and thousands of dollars worth of pro lenses aside and bought a Fuji X10. Then I set out to learn how to use it and how to shoot the best photos every time and without using Photoshop. Three months later, I am taking the best photos I have ever taken and usually take only one or two photos instead of ten. I used Photoshop for the first time today and then only for a crop and resize. I took this one camera on a trip to Jamaica and it was all I needed to get stunning stills and 1080 HD video.
I will be selling most of my pro gear. No more heavy DSLR with an upgrade every year or two. No more new lenses every time there is a change. You were spot on! I kept buying gear, seeking the Holy Grail of equipment, when all I needed was a superior camera and the time to learn how to use it to take great photos!
April 27, 2012 03:20 pm
So true! The best camera is the one you have on hand!!!
April 27, 2012 02:56 pm
I took what may be the best photo of my life to date with an old Kodak brownie camera. When I was in art school, back in the day before digital cameras, my photo instructor gave us an assignment to get an old brownie camera and use it to take some photos. The purpose of the assignment was to demonstrate that the camera doesn't matter — it's the photo and not the equipment and a good photographer can take a good photograph using an old crap camera.
And he was right.
April 27, 2012 02:49 pm
AMEN!! I've said for a long time that the worst thing that ever happened to some people's photography was the idea (or the reality) of getting a new camera or more gear. Focus on consistently executing the basics and your photography will get better with ANY camera. I see so many folks dropping big bucks on more camera than they have any intention of learning how to use effectively. Better to spend less money on gear on perhaps a bit of cash on ... classes? Great post!
April 27, 2012 02:00 pm
Great article. I totally agree with Darren. I am a Geek photographer and have upgraded and upgraded my Nikon bodies and lens until now. I have a D300s and a D3S body with a range of Nikon & Tamron lens to cover all expectations. While I am impresses with the new Nikon D800 and D4. This is it for me. My gear is now complete and I can spens more time perfecting my skills in what I love. We tend to forget that the lens are the key entity in photograpgy, once you know for to use the camera body -RAW vs JPEG and the process software.
Love to surf the net to review photo galleries to inspire my creative hunger... I will provide images in the next review
April 27, 2012 12:38 pm
I'm ashamed to admit it but I'm one of those people. I have a Canon 550D which I've had for a little over a year but I haven't used it a great deal and I keep saying to myself "I'll go out tomorrow and take some photos" but I very rarely do.
I will (I promise) put all the good advice you give into practice from now on (watch this space)
April 27, 2012 11:33 am
True in my case. Now I've taken a strong decision, after buying 5 digital cameras and 5 digital camcorders, never to buy anymore. And the pity is that I couldn't get rid of any of these 10 gadgets.
April 27, 2012 11:29 am
Totally agree to a point. I have been working with the same two lenses for 3 years. Just working on composition. When asked to photograph a band in a poorly light bar I "had" to upgrade. Especially after reading articles on this website about shooting bands. Bought a fast 50MM after reading review after review after review. It did pay off as the band asked me to shoot the photo for the CD cover.
April 27, 2012 11:23 am
I, too, am guilty of camera lust. To the point that I'm actually doing exactly what you were doing (checking out new cameras, lusting after the latest gears etc.) instead of concentrating on improving on the art of photography. Bought a Nikon D7000 and some lenses after the camera came out, it's basically just sitting there gathering dust. A few months ago, I bought a Canon G12, thinking that because it is lighter I'll be able to carry it around more often and therefore take more pictures. Alas, that too, is sitting in the car. BTW, I found this article as I was surfing the web, looking for more camera gears. :(
April 27, 2012 10:39 am
Camera lust, yes I must admit that I have that to some degree, I know that upgrading to a more expensive camera is not going to make me a better photographer, I am fully aware of my own abilities or lack there of,
What I am lusting for is a camera which feels right in my hand the way the old Pentax's did or my Akarelle (Leica clone from Eastern Europe), my main take everywhere camera right now is a Samsung EX1, which I really enjoy using, if it had a bigger sensor like perhaps 4/3 or APS-C it would do me very nicely, I know I am rambling on a bit, forgive an old man, :)
Anyway nice post Darren,
April 27, 2012 10:34 am
I completely agree! I just upgraded to my first DSLR. It was time. I researched the heck out of my options and went with one prime lens, one zoom lens, a middle of the road tripod set and a nice camera bag. There are about a million other things I covet, drool over even. But I've made a promise to myself not to buy anymore until I'm shooting comfortably in manual settings and taking consistently decent photos. I could spend millions of dollars, throwing money at my hobby, but until I put the work in, the most expensive gear in the world isn't going to make enough of a difference.
That being said, I have my eye on two other lenses. =)
April 27, 2012 10:30 am
One of the best articles I've read in years. My first photojournalism course in college was taught by a gentleman who showed us how to see what we were looking at and to bring out the beauty in life with a camera. We got a Pentax Spotmatic, a 50mm lens, tons of TriX Pan and a sheaf of printing paper. That's it. What a revelation that was for me and still served me well as I did a shoot for a client last week, 40 years later.
April 27, 2012 10:14 am
Envy.... Mastering my camera and my technique took a considerable amount of time. With that said, I own a Nikon D200. Should I fall prey to my lust for an upgrade, or continue with my current setup? My photos are fine, but I feel that they could be better given new technology and better resolution.
April 27, 2012 10:06 am
I once heard of a response given to a student who was asking a Master of Photgraphy this question.
"what camera would you recommend I use to improve m photography?"
The Master replied; "the you are holding right now"
April 27, 2012 09:54 am
Hear, hear! Well said, Sir!
April 27, 2012 09:46 am
Well, actually, I believe a better camera will deliver better results, not better photography. As long as you know how to use it. For instance, I shot an interior of a museum with some very challenging geometry. There's no doubt in my mind that a 5x4 monorail camera would return a significant improvement over what can be achieved with a DSLR and lens correction in post.
Am I discounting the comments being made here by others? Not at all. All the comments thus far are valid. I just think it can be misleading to novice photographers to assert that excellence is entirely dependent on practise and attitude.
April 27, 2012 09:39 am
A great way to limit one's camera lust, or at least the implementation of it, is to be poor. Relatively.
In the camera club to which I belong there are many members with much fancier equipment than mine and a lot of them produce much better images than my Nikon D5100 with kit lenses, and PSE instead of the full Photoshop and Lightroom, is capable of. But I get by and am improving (I hope) in spite of not being able to justify spending several thousand dollars on a hobby.
If your camera earns your living for you that's different, but us hobby photographers, the less affluent ones anyway, have to choose between keeping up with them or eating ! .
April 27, 2012 09:39 am
Were you checking in through my window this morning?
I thought I was secretly lusting after a "SIGMA 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC Circular Fish-eye Lens for Canon" !!
I though no one would know!
Lust is a very powerful pull magnet!
April 27, 2012 09:38 am
I've been going through this same conundrum myself. I really, really, really want the Nikon D300s. For me, that's quite an upgrade from my D60. It's also $1,700. That's quite a steep price for me right now. So I decided that until I saw a tremendous improvement in my photography using my D60, my iPhone 4S, and Photoshop skills with a bunch of $100 point and shoot images I have in my stash... I don't deserve to buy it (and I'm not a bad shot, either). So, that's what I've been doing. Digging deeper. Learning self-portraiture. Bought a wireless remote. Practicing Photoshop. Its working. I'm getting better!!!
April 27, 2012 09:32 am
This is one of the subjects talked about in a recent online photo course I took. It's not so much the camera but the Photographer that makes the picture.
Take a Photography course! It will make you want to go out and use what you have.
April 27, 2012 09:26 am
Oh Darren, how true. I get these weekly emails and spend less time reading them sometimes than I should. I imagine these weekly "tips" should be taken as more than light reading. What I should do, is read one and go out and work on the actual tips. It is that kind of practice that will make me/you/us better. Even the best of the best performers practice regularly. As photographers, if we are not out there shooting, than we are regressing. With that said, I have a shoot tonight, on site business portraits, and I should brush up on my reading of that subject to put into practice tonight! So, that is what I am gonna do. Thanks for the post.
April 27, 2012 09:23 am
"The best way to improve your photography has nothing to do with the gear you’ve got. It’s all about practice."
That is exactly right. Anyone who believes that simply getting a better camera with improve their photographic artistry is deluded. Now, it is true that better quality cameras, a better selection of lenses etc. will give you more control over how you choose to express that artistry, but they are no substitute for the imagination and thoughtfulness required to get a good photograph. That does indeed come with practice.
April 27, 2012 09:05 am
Wonderful post, I have one Nikon 3000 and I shoot stock photos, have several food shots going all the time, and a granite installer that I do work for. I have two lens the 18-55 that came with the camera and a Tamron 70-300 that I use for a lot of my stock picks. Lighting is the same, basic stuff, floods, umbrellas, and reflectors. And I'm doing pretty well with my business. I do have this addiction to books however, and having a kindle I read several photo books a week. I Do wish that I would have gotten the next size up on the Nikon for the megpixs'. But other than that, I'm happy with my little Nikon 3000. In fact I'll put my pictures up against anyone else's. I ran into a guy not to long ago that had a full Hassablad system, All the lens etc. I asked him if he has sold any pictures with such great camera gear, and he hung his head down and said: no not yet..! So it's the person behind the camera, not the camera that it does the work, ....
April 27, 2012 08:55 am
Darren, I partly agree with you, but for those of us with entry level DSLR and a kit lenses or two there are *real* limitations to what we can achieve.
I've reached a point in my photography where I've realised that I actually *do* need to up my game - I find that low light photography at gigs is virtually impossible, and I really need a better wide angle lens to do more architecture and landscape photography. Let's not go into being unable to get decent separation between my subject and background because I don't have a lens that will go below f4.5...
April 27, 2012 08:48 am
BTW...has anyone checked out the new Fuji X-Pro 1:-) Hit me right in the vein...I'm addicted!!!!!! My Pentax k20d is not getting me high enough anymore.
April 27, 2012 08:46 am
Nope. I have three cameras I use all the time.
Nikon D300s for most things
Nikon D90 for more dangerous situations
Nikon N80 for film
Sure, I lust after a D800 or D3x. But it would never leave the studio and what is the point of that?
Love the one you're with!
April 27, 2012 08:43 am
Very correct. I've been involved with photography for 20+ years at a professional level and as a lover of the craft. I decided this year I would formalise my education with an advanced diploma at TAFE. Our first field assignment was to visit the Botanic Garden and capture images utilising five composition methods. I turned it into a photo safari and spent the whole day there. When I looked at my take for the day, I was thrilled to see I'd used every lens I have and both camera bodies to gather a set of images that I found very satisfying. It was not only great fun sharpening some well-established skills but taught me the value of appreciating the gear I have, which when used well delivers stunning images. So the advice to just get out there and shoot is really valuable.
That said, I would suggest there are some very real reasons for photographers, especially professionals, to practise a little camera lust every now and then. Fact is, camera design occasionally takes a giant leap forward and when it does, the professionals with whom you compete who have upgraded their camera bodies have a competitive edge over you.
April 27, 2012 08:41 am
Wow!!! Thanks for sharing. I thought I was the only one that did this. At one point I had purchased and traded 3 perfectly good cameras and about 6 lenses based on the latest tech info and not actual performance. The cameras maybe left the house 2 or 3 times when I went out to the backyard and took pictures of the bushes to check sharpness. I had turned into a camera reviewer and forgotten about photography. I did this for about a year before I returned to my senses.
April 27, 2012 08:40 am
My camera lust is tempered by my nonexistent budget for more gear. At some point the limitations of the gear you have does get in the way of moving in new directions. Knowing how to shoot in full manual from a tripod does not help you when your sensor and in camera processing leave you with a noisy mess when you are shooting with available light at dawn or dusk and your subject is moving. Sometimes the solution does involve more dollars.
April 25, 2012 10:07 am
I'm also guilty of this though, to an extent, it is under control. I've upgraded my 20d (2004) to a 5D MKII (2009) so feel I now have the main camera I need and I also don't feel I am upgrading on a whim. I admit to wanting the focus system of the MKIII (although the MKII should have had it - Nikon don't have a problem in this regard) but I'll wait several more years and be sure I'll get a better system still.
No, my main lust at the moment is for a petite little number. Something I can truly carry everywhere and moreso out at night in areas where one may become involuntarily separated from one's possessions. My conundrum is whether to choose a mirrorless camera for it's greater flexibility and low light power (although I'd doubtless be using a gorillapod) and perhaps move on to lens lust on that or just get a Powershot S100 for it's compactness. My instinct is for the cheaper and more compact S100.
This would be to replace an Ixus 800 and a G9 neither of which have comparable noise control - even the G9 gets messy at ISO 400 and has proven too lumpy to carry everywhere.
April 24, 2012 03:24 pm
Camera Acquisition Syndrome affects us all, but for me at least, there is a good reason. Each piece of kit is a tool. Each tool allows us to do different jobs. If I want to build a house or a cathedral, I can't do it with just a saw or just a hammer. Photography is the same way. If I want to make a masterpiece, I need the right tools. And I want tools that are a joy to use, not ones I have to struggle through. I want to be a versatile photographer, which means lots of tools, and preferably ones that don't break but will hold their value. Do I need to upgrade to the D800 when I have a D3s? probably not. Do I want the faster AF to not miss critical moments, and the ability to crop like crazy and retain detail? You friggin betcha!
Know what frustrations you have with your gear before you buy new gear or else it's not going to be helpful. Know yourself and your shooting style.
April 24, 2012 09:01 am
This post just confirms my latest decision. I have been saving up for a DSLR, but decided I need to learn my Canon Powershot 10mp 20x zoom better. There are many settings on this camera, I have just started to touch on. (Researching photography sites has been really helpful.) When I am comfortable with them, and my composition is better I will move up to a DSLR.
April 24, 2012 07:17 am
My wife compares it to “Penis Envy”. We walk into a room of photographers and my wife says, “Is his better than yours?”; “Is it bigger than yours?” Sigmund Freud would be proud….
April 24, 2012 03:38 am
I almost did this. I ordered a 5D Mark III (upgrading from a 60D) $3500, and added to cart the full frame versions of 4 APS only lenses I have. ($3200) then waited a week at which point I wised up and cancelled the camera and emptied my cart. I need to be learn to use what I have.
April 24, 2012 02:30 am
This is much the same conversation that is often on the web. And generally speaking, it is true to an extent. The catch is that certain fields of photography REQUIRE a high level of equipment. I was warned about the high requirements of nature photography before I started this journey, but I still wanted to go this way. So I bought a Canon XSi and a Sigma 70-300mm lens. In just a few months, I saw that 300mm was insufficient and tried an older Tamron 200-400mm lens, but that had very harsh bokah and no image stabilization. A few months later I invested in the Canon 100-400mm L series and was very happy for a long time.
After a while though, I tired of the "bird on a perch" shots or the "wading bird in flight" shots. Once I started on action, decisive moment types of shots the shortcomings of the Canon XSi really became apparent. Inadequate buffer, slow write speeds, insufficient processor to use AI Focus and so on made it apparent that I had to upgrade to the 7D so it took a while but I made the upgrade last summer. The point is that it is only time to upgrade when your gear is holding you back. I did not need the 7D for shots of still items. Birds, flowers, landscapes, etc were just fine with the XSi unless they started moving at high speeds like an eagle attacking the water and rising with a trout in its talons! I cannot count the numbers of shots lost due to the failings of the XSi.
However, one thing that I am learning the hard way is that the 7D while it is much more capable, also demands much more of the photographer. This camera is requiring me to learn much more about it than the entry level XSi ever did. Refining the controls and learning the limits and capabilities of the 7D has been and continues to be a large venture. For many months I felt my photography had taken a huge step backwards and is only now getting back to where I was but with the improved possibilities. So consider the learning curve as well as the added cost when upgrading to the semi pro/pro level cameras from the entry level DSLRs. I just thought it was the extra money, but no one told me about the learning curve needed. Good luck to all. PS I am saving for the Canon 500mm f/4.0 L series lens now as it is the holy grail of wildlife photographers, so be very aware of the expense involved in this specialty field of photography!!!
April 23, 2012 10:30 pm
i too have fallen victim to going on these filthy websites, closing the door and researching and endlessly comparing certain products. i'm a firm believer in 'gear doesn't matter.'
i recently ordered the new nikon d4. since then i've found myself shooting my older cameras less and comparing the d4 to everything under the sun. besides that, i ordered the camera back in january. i've been looking tons of blogs to see who else was waiting so long for this new camera. i was totally engrossed in reading every spec on the body. i have tried to escape this but it has been difficult.
i now notice how poorly my camera performs at higher iso levels. this makes me want to shoot my camera even less, knowing how well the d4 performs.
it is tragic. trust me. i know. i've been really putting forth an effort to ignore gear comparisons. it ain't easy. lol.
April 23, 2012 05:38 pm
Absolutely spot on, you can't buy a good eye!! We all get product lust, but sometimes you just need to step back and ask, do I really need that? Its very easy to get sucked into the hype of new products and cameras, but they won't make the blindest bit of difference without the knowledge and experience of knowing exactly how that new item will affect your current work.
Granted, there is a significant difference between shooting on a compact point and shoot, and a mid-range DSLR, however the recent Canon MkIII launch is a typical example of how photographers can get sucked in to the hype that a brand can create. It was only 3 or 4 months ago that people were raving about how good the MkII was, and it is, but the amount of photographers that seem to think upgrading to the MkIII will drastically improve the quality of their shots is truly astounding. For me, its over-priced and over-hyped, but that won't stop thousands and thousands rushing to buy one, because its the new camera to have!!
April 23, 2012 05:37 pm
"The best way to improve your photography has nothing to do with the gear you’ve got. It’s all about practice."
Yep and it took me 3 years to learn that, LOL! I finally got the camera I always wanted last August a 5D Mk2 with 24-70mm and having bought it I knew there was nowhere left to go, if I couldn't shoot with it then I might as well give up and find a new hobby. Luckily it is skyrocketed my creativity and I can't wait for every opportunity to get out and about with it. I love using it, the clarity comapared to my old Canon 550D is absolutely mind-blowing. It was a massive expense but in the last 6 months of using it, it has paid back in spades and finally for the first time since I started shooting I am satisfied and have no desire for new kit.
When the 5D MkIII was annouced I took one look at the specs and other than the 63 point AF, there is nothing on the new model I want. To be honest I am manually focusing 75% of the time now, so the new AF point system would be a waste of time.
April 23, 2012 10:27 am
I think as in everything, the answer is somewhere in between.
FIrst, the ten thousand hours rule holds true for me ( if you spend ten thousand hours on anything you're bound to get good)
That said, if you're into landscape photography and are shooting with a 50mm lens, be prepared to move around and walk backwards a lot. and THAT said, we all know people whose CAMERA'S ability to RECONSTRUCT a scene accurately far outstrips the owners ability to INTERPRET the scene and capture its mood.
April 23, 2012 09:52 am
I don't see a problem, myself. My current camera is about three years old now, and while a new one would offer some advantages, I'm under no illusion that it would make me a better photographer, or that it would in any way be worth the cost...
April 23, 2012 04:14 am
Yes, I agree with the issue of lusting after shiny, new gear of all kinds. My wife informs me this process is " Cognitive Dissonance " in marketing it is the the second guessing of products you have already purchased. A psychological issue I'm sure I possess , the second guessing of ones decisions. I have a nice new camera on order after months of research. Now I have " Pre-CD " a term most men hate because of " Pre " anything. While waiting for arrival, many hideous web searches still occurring. Good luck with your habits, you ARE NOT ALONE!
April 23, 2012 12:04 am
What a timing for this post.. I was getting into this "lust" although I know skills are far more important than gear. Your article helped me in bringing back the interest in my present gear.. Thank you
April 22, 2012 10:13 am
I like this post! While it's fun to buy new cameras and other gear, I'm convinced that good photography is ultimately about the photographer's eye. I'm an amateur, but that much I know. I also agree that practice is the way to improve --- just keep taking pictures and really look at them.
April 22, 2012 09:50 am
I really like this because i always looking a camera and lens to upgrade my 550 and my lens thinking that my photos will going be nice if i got those big one.
April 22, 2012 08:39 am
Yes, and I have a bin full of dollar film cameras all have been used once, with one roll of film through them. The keepers are the Nikon F65, and the Evighander, voigtlander to you but not to the eBay seller! The rest need to be put back on eBay for a dollar,
Then there is the collection of Nikon lenses I have acquired but I'm pretty much always using the much loved Panasonic, at least a cheap eBay adapter makes it possible to use those lenses manually on the G2.
The latest rush of cameras especially the new 3200 from Nikon raises a question about my D90, currently only kept as it focuses older style lenses, 3 fast ones in particular, has a battery grip, a remote flash unit and....can out shoot the Panasonic and feels much more robust....
But I read reviews not instead of photographing but because I can't get out and photograph just as we need to look at others work for ideas knowledge and inspiration in our spare moments. I tried 365 days photography but found it too hard to squeeze in my daily schedules, no I enjoy photography when I am I'm mode for it and have given myself the headspace to be creative....and am free of any other distractions, ignoring the wife on holiday doesn't go down well but at least when she has a camera in her hand and lingers over a shot I get my freedom but frequently her shots are better than mine and she uses automatic settings only, not even scene settings! So what does that tell me? Composition is often the real key everything else is a distraction! So I'm sticking with my kit until the manufacturers stabilize their offerings, I need a D90 replacement with a built in lens motor or maybe the next generation Panasonic....
April 22, 2012 05:04 am
I love my camera body, I only lust for new lenses. I have a regular EF-S 18-55 mm F-3.5 kit lens and EF-S 55-250 mm F-4.0 zoom, but I would love a Wide Angle Prime lens or a Macro or Fisheye. But even without all of the cool lenses I am satisfied with what I have and I am practicing and trying to become a better photographer. Thanks and Have Fun!
April 22, 2012 02:14 am
I have a little camera dust but no lust. I can create the best with what I have. Too many people are hung up on what we don't have and not what we do.
I have to say this post is a bit mean to those that do have lust. It's like the well nourished hanging a loaf of bread in front of the hungry.
April 22, 2012 01:01 am
Great post! I wouldn't say I have camera lust (Right now), but I have a huge case of lens lust! lol I keep looking at the super telephoto lenses that cost multiples of thousands of dollars. Oh, to have an 800mm zoom lens..... But, my wife insists on paying the mortgage EVERY month and she's kind of fond of electricity. With that in mind, I'll just have to keep saving up for it.
April 22, 2012 12:02 am
after my omd em5 arrives, I. AM. DONE. i'm selling off some items and 2 camera will have to work for me - not counting my E1, that i can't seem to part with. it will have to break first.
lusting is never good especially when it leads to action
April 21, 2012 11:56 pm
Fantastic post. I am happy with my current camera body and want to learn more of its capabilities. Some day I may add a Marco lens, but it can wait :)
April 21, 2012 07:17 pm
Been there, Done that. Had to learn not to!
Marketing campaigns tend to ignore the fact that a particular camera / lens combination is a tool to do a job. Concentrate on what you are trying to achieve, and make sure you have the tools you can afford to do that.
For myself, my 450d will do the job for a while. Three of my five lenses date from the pre-digital Canon SLR world, but still deliver images which are quite ample for what I want.
This picture was shot with a 100mm Cosina lens bought second hand seven years ago for £30:
Cherry Blossoms in the Sunset.
Do still enjoy reading the odd review though!
April 21, 2012 04:38 pm
so AM I... suffering from camera lust, want to make my gear as "SEXy' as I could... checking the net for upgrades and easily gets frustrated if my so-called GF ( gear friend) doesn't perform well. thank fro this post I an enlighten now regarding my photog-misbehavior....
April 21, 2012 02:59 pm
LOL, i guess i am not the only one who spends more than two hours on the net and youtube watching at camera gears review. but i dont think it is a bad idea, because i can learn from it too. plus, if i have something i need or wanting to buy, youtube is my friend. it is not a waste of time
April 21, 2012 02:56 pm
My photography has improved with each new purchase. Now, granted ... I can give my D7000 to a family member and get back some horrible shots, but *if you know how to take pictures*, the equipment *does* matter.
My daughter was born before I could afford nice gear. I look back at those pictures, and although they are still very special, I wish that they were shot with the stuff I have now. The difference is huge.
April 21, 2012 02:38 pm
I have to disagree to a point. My gear IS ruining my photography. I have a Sony HX9V compact - and it really does not do what I want it to do. I love the 16X zoom and the HD video and the ability to take reasonable stills while shooting video, but the focus for general shooting sucks. It always chooses the wrong point to auto focus on (and no, there is no manual focus), and no matter how I re-angle or reposition of attempt to get it to focus where I want the focus it fails miserably (I also don't like the lack of RAW, but the sweep panorama is radically cool)). And forget macro - my old Kodak Easyshare (camera gods rest its soul) had a far better macro function! However I simply cannot afford to upgrade to a DSLR (not even a body only!), given the type of photography I favour requires several very different lenses (long telephoto/zoom, landscape/seascape, animals, sunsets and macro) and would end up being a large and expensive kit. Yes I have camera lust. But I think I have every reason to!
April 21, 2012 02:25 pm
I've always been of the opinion that your photography will improve faster if you spend your hard earned money on books, magazines & visiting exhibitions than you ever will buying gear. Photography is about the moment, light & composition; not gear.
Nobody looks at HCB's iconic image Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare and asks what camera and lens he used.
Camera gadgets, sorry tools, do play an important part in image making though. Professionally, I shoot with FF bodies and fast primes. This allows me to shoot in dark environments and make images that I would struggle to achieve with "lesser" equipment.
My personal work however, is shot on a 1965 Bronica s2 and its original 75mm f/2.8. No AF, no metering, and no chimping!
Going back to basics helped improve my photography no end. I highly recommend it.
April 21, 2012 02:14 pm
Since 2006 I have got some great photos out of my Lumix FZ30 mega zoom. I have learned heaps from it and it has served me well but, it's time to upgrade now! So many different types of cameras to choose from. Even within the one brand name. If I had the money I would go something totally wild like one of those huge affairs for my landscapes and panoramas but, that is not the case. I have finally settled on a Canon 600d [twin lens set]. This will suit me down to the ground and is something I can build on. In saying that though, I do have another camera that really excites me; my dads Voightlander Bessa 1 !! It appears to be in good working condition and I will be putting a film through that shortly! All going well I will post the results
April 21, 2012 01:20 pm
Sigh... I feel your pain. This week I bought two Olympus lenses in the "really-good-but not-quite-pro" range and spent more than is good for me. More than I feel comfortable explaining to my wife too. Now I feel like I have to run out and take a boatload of National Geographic quality pics to justify it. Sadly, I know from past experience that while the glass is better, my eye does not magically take a quantum leap into the sky.
There is no magic formula. The way to take good pictures is to take lots of bad pictures and learn from them. That doesn't stop me from looking and dreaming though.
April 21, 2012 01:16 pm
I have a Nikon D3100, yes, entry level I know, but I'm happy with it for now. Am having heaps of fun trying all the different settings, aperture, shutter speed, etc. I stopped using auto mode a few years back when all I had was my Canon Powershot, which incidentally, I still use. I think the only camera/accessory I 'lust after' is a macro lens, I'm having a great time getting close up shots of all sorts of insects, flowers, seed heads, whatever takes my fancy, but would love to have a macro lens for even more detail. Finances dictate I need to wait a while, so rather than feeling sorry for myself at all the equipment out there that is way out of my price range, I get stuck in taking photos every single day, and learning more each time.
April 21, 2012 01:11 pm
My inability to buy much gear when I first took on photography as a hobby is precisely what forced me to learn to be a better photographer through taking photos, instead of through gear upgrades. Without question, this is the path to take. Gear is the smallest denominator in creating a good photograph. While I've definitely upgraded since I first started, I have also shot a number of national and international brands with gear that many amateurs might snub their nose at. Practice more, pine less!
April 21, 2012 10:12 am
I love my Canon 40D, and while I am not solvent enough to buy the Marks, and yes, I envy Nikon's high ISOs, I am happy to invest in glass. All of the new models, technology, lighting can be exciting and frankly, overwhelming. I have my three darling lenses - 24-70 f/2.8 L, 135 f/2.0 L, and 85 f/1.8 - and my trusty body, and I am pleased as punch. They all get the job done. And it is not beneath me to rent for an event. I borrowed the 70-200 f/4 L and did not like it at all for my style. I am certainly happier that I tried it out on different shoots before plunking down the ducats. Plus, it truly is about the artist, not his toys.
April 21, 2012 10:11 am
There's always a new piece of kit.......
April 21, 2012 10:01 am
Gear and hobbies go together. Ask any bowler or golfer.
I understand perfectly that a good photographer can take stunning pictures with disposable camera, but you don't see the pros running around with disposable cameras.
In the days of film, in a lot of cases, all you needed to do to upgrade your gear was to by better or more appropriate film, but now when you buy a camera, you're buying into a sensor that while more versatile than any roll or film, is what it is and not much will change that until you spring for a camera with a better sensor on board.
As for reading the reviews, no matter who you are, if photography is your hobby or your profession, you may not need every upgrade that hits the shelves, but it is fun and also necessary to keep up with what's coming down the pike.
I have a D7000. It will probably be the last dSLR I ever buy, but I really want to keep up with the technology, so I will know it if something comes along that I will be better or I will just want to have for its own sake.
We don't have to be slaves to the manufacturers or the pixel peepers. We should just be interested enough to know what's going on.
April 21, 2012 09:28 am
LOL! Eric's Ricoh purchase had me surfing too and then I tangented from the GR1s to Camerapedia's comparison to all the GR's in the series and then I went to Bellamy's site to see what he had, then looked at a couple things on ebay to see what this stuff actually sold for because inability to purchase instills a sense of confidence, tangented some more to a couple other photographer sites, people I know that have good sized collections, was looking at a Kiev 88 on ebay, then on to Digital Rev on the Olympus review, back to the old OM's, round and round we go. I ended up on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and then stopped looking but rather enjoyed the Bondi and beach videos since I had been out that way just this January. Blaming Eric but in all fairness he did sell is Leica so his Ricoh is considerably more humble a trade up.
April 21, 2012 05:31 am
I did notice a big improvement when I upgraded from a D90 to a D3s and I should hope so with the huge difference in price.
However some of my old shots still sell well:
April 21, 2012 05:18 am
I know what you're talking about, but for me it's better lighting gear that occupies my thoughts and much of my surfing time when not looking at Facebook, Twitter or G+. Yes I'd love a 5DmkIII, but my priority list reads light, lens, body not the other way around.
April 21, 2012 04:28 am
There gets a stage where what equipment you own, will no longer improve your photography, however, saying that equipment gets in the way to creativity is an awful statement. You can take a much better picture on a point and shoot with various photography features than you can most mobile phones with just a shutter button, but of course with a DSLR you can get a better picture, both quality-wise but also feature-wise, being able to change settings to what you want.
Then there is also the features of those cameras, sports photography is a lot easier (and more likely to come out with a better photo) if you use a 7D with a nice fast lens, than a 600D with a kit lens.
April 21, 2012 03:53 am
I, too, love this post. I know first hand that the camera you use has little to do with your output. Oftentimes it's pure luck as was the time I stopped at a beach, found yellow daisies growing out on the sand and took two shots with my pocket camera. Last I checked the photo has sold over 200 times. Love the one you're with!
April 21, 2012 03:36 am
Oh yes, I know this feeling of guilt after spending an hour looking at reviews of/rumors about/images from cameras or lenses that I'd like to have, whether I'm going to buy them in a month or two or even if I know I'll never have them (too expensive and/or not useful for the kind of photography I'm making).
I know I should just close this browser and go outside with a camera that's just taking dust, but I keep coming back at it. It's just way easier to do than taking pictures... And the worse part is that it's not only for photo gear. I do the same for computers, audio gear...
But I'm working on it, and a good thing I found is to read more about the art and less about the gear, looking at other photographer's work (and artists in other visual arts, too), in books, on the web, in galleries, trying to get inspiration instead of frustration. It's still procrastination and it's not saving me any time (it can even be more time consuming), but at least it points the mind in a better direction. It's not "I could be doing better pictures with this camera" anymore, it's "I could try to do something like that" .
April 21, 2012 03:14 am
Yeah, it's really easy to get distracted by shiny new gear. Every once in a while, I'll pull up B&H's website and fill my cart up with all the cool gadgets I'd like to have. A quick calculation on how many hours I'd have to work to pay for the stuff and I'm quickly back to reality.
I agree that you need to use the tools you have, I'd be willing to bet that most of us don't get the most out of the gear that we own. That being said, I think it is perfectly natural to read up on the latest gear and trends.
April 21, 2012 02:56 am
I suppose I should be glad that I've never encountered this "problem" myself.
I know some of my friends struggles with this, especially new lenses.
But for many years I shot around the clock with my Nikon D40, carrying only three lenses; 18-55, 55-200 and a prime 50mm.
Was always happy with my shots, never felt the urge to upgrade.
Recently, after many years and many shots, my D40 gave upp. The same day I went and bought a Samsung NX10 with stock 18-55 and a prime 30mm.
Just as happy as I was with my D40, shooting even more now since the camera takes less space and follows me even more than my D40 did. Rougly cut the size of my camera bag in half, love my new camera.
To summarize it, it's not about the gear, just make the best you can with what you have and most of your pictures will turn out just fine.
I found the NX10 knowing that there are better gear availible but I felt that this camera would satisfy me and it did!
April 21, 2012 02:55 am
Yes! Thank you for posting this! It's easy when you're in a photography rut to blame it on the gear. Whenever I start to feel the way, i know it's the right time to experiment. Shoot something new. Maybe a buy a new CHEAP toy camera and mess around with film. Go to art galleries. Read books. Although it's important to note the difference between upgrading from a point & shoot to a DSLR, and upgrading your DSLR. The first action I really do think makes a difference. But beyond that, it gets dangerous to focus on gear.
April 21, 2012 02:38 am
"Is Camera Lust Destroying our Photography?"
April 21, 2012 02:29 am
I think we often try to buy results and ignore the process. Every January people buy fitness equipment, gym memberships, etc. because they are trying to buy the result (fitness) rather than look at the process of diet and exercise to get that result. I think the same idea is going on with camera lust. If I just buy a better camera, I will magically take better photos even if I ignore learning about the basics to get there.
April 21, 2012 02:18 am
I read your articles quite often, enjoy them, and this one especially resonated with me. Like most people I have gotten caught up in the thought that if only I had a more expensive camera then I might get better results. I know better then to think like that, but it is something that most of us consider. I plan to put more time into actually shooting more photo's, and to work on improving my processing skills. Once I get better at those skills then I might consider another camera. At this point in time a new camera is at the bottom of the list of my priority considerations. Great article...Thanks
April 21, 2012 01:56 am
Often when people are looking at my photos, they ask "What kind of camera do you have?" Knowing where the conversation is going, I invariably end up quoting Ansel Adams: "The single most important component
of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." I then go on tos explain that some of my best photos were taken with my crappy ENV2 cell phone (2 megapixel..) camera.
I do my best to encourage them to use whatever they have, and learn all the different features, but more importantly, learn to "see" the photo before you take it.
I have one friend that only has a cell phone camera, and she does amazingly with it. She gets a bit frustrated at times, as she can't afford a "good camera", but I encourage her to keep using her cell phone, as in the long run, she will be a much better photographer for it.
April 21, 2012 01:48 am
I really agree with you. When I first started, I wanted every lens I can get my hands on. But now I just concentrate on learning my equipment really really well before I upgrade. I still get sad when people I know buy higher end cameras than me just starting out, but I try not to let it affect me.
I'm with Spike, I hope this is the inspiration I need to get out and use my camera this weekend!
April 21, 2012 01:44 am
I completely understant this article, as lens lust gets in the way of my collegework
However I have to say I recently upgraded from a 1000d to a 60D after having the former for over three years, and haven't looked back.
I had to do it because I was helping out at a friends wedding and the 1000d is not good enough in low light.
So I understand the point about using the equipment you have. But if that equipment isn't up to the job, you have to upgrade.
April 21, 2012 01:29 am
I'm happy with my 10 megapixel camera. Learning the menus and setting up the custom presets gives me alot of versitility on the fly. I really don't see the need to upgrade unless I can get a complete 50 megapixel Hasselblad system. That means I'll have to be thankful for a long time.
April 21, 2012 01:28 am
OMG, I understand this so well. Not having the dinero for top-of-the-line cameras, I spend far to much time researching each purchase, and then find the camera (a decent Fuji) has major sortcomings (range of f-stop in this case) I can get a different camera, but it will have different shortcomings, (color fringing, or flimsy construction, when I was shopping) a little more money will get a little less shortcomings, but they're still there, and real improvement is still out of reach. And don't get me started on more megapixels, the Fuji has a reduced megapixel setting with less noise. My old Nikon (broken now) shot under 6 MP, and I can blow those shots up to small poster size, easily, no processing. Right now, more does not appear to be better, and I'm thinking of looking for a used Nikon D70/80. I've professionally beat those up unmercifully, and they'd never die, the shots looked great, and they acted about like a normal old film camera. And high turnover technology, like cameras and phones make me nervous.
April 21, 2012 01:25 am
Darren, you really hit the nail on the head for me with this post. I've got the Nikon D700, have had it for more than 2 years and I think I've taken some really great photos with it. That camera has a lot of life left in it, too. But recently I've become obsessed with the D800, which of course is impossible to get. I find myself sitting at home planning shoots that I think will take advantage of the increased resolution of that 36 mp sensor and telling myself, "no point in going to X to take photos, I should wait for the D800. My blog is starting to mirror this obsession, filled with links to reviews and news about the D800 rather than my own photos. Tomorrow, rain or shine, I'm getting out there with the D700 and shooting my guts out with it. Thanks for the inspiration!
April 21, 2012 01:24 am
I completely agree with this!
Being in photography for about a year and a half now I look back and remembered how I used to drool over the D90, or the Mark II 5D's. Only a teenager with a strong passion for photography but in possession of no money what so ever. I had to gather up a couple of bucks from my birthday and Christmas and finally got myself a Nikon D40 (budget camera but best at its range).
After awhile I got over wishing for a better camera and started to pursue knowledge, and boy all that research sure did me well. The websites, the books, the hundreds of questions I would ask to people I looked up too, all brought me to where I am now. I'm quite satisfied with my work especially for the camera that I've been using.
Might I add working with minimal equipment and having to rely on your skills can really improve your photography. It's not the camera it's the photographer.
April 21, 2012 01:23 am
Great post. I struggle not to be a gear guy, but the "stuff" of photography can really consume someone. Sometimes I find myself obsessively researching lenses, wireless triggers, light stands etc. I end up losing sight of the fact that I am trying to practice an art form.
I'm embarrassed to admit the number of times a Jewish holiday has saved me me from whipping out my credit card on something I don't need!
April 21, 2012 01:18 am
This site is part of the problem! I do use my camera all the time -- I take it everywhere, but it doesn't have removable lenses and it's not sophisticated enough to zoom in on something and blur the background. Enter Digital Photography School. Now my lust is for that Panasonic Lumix you reviewed a few weeks ago. (http://digital-photography-school.com/panasonic-lumix-dmc-gx1-review) It's like a bad crush I can't get out of my head!
April 21, 2012 01:18 am
What a great post! I just recently went through this kind of thing, and although sometimes I still feel like I could make good use of a better camera, I'm not going to give up on the one I have. You really can get better photos out of practice for sure!
Thanks for the challenge!
April 21, 2012 01:03 am
I love this. Recently one of my friend bought a camera, he was doing good.
until he read a "camera review article".
He stopped using his camera, little frustrated.
I have a mobile with a decent camera, i take pictures of it.
April 21, 2012 01:02 am
a friend of mine, startet with photography 1 year ago. now she is buying a new lens for 500 €! and she still uses the full automatic mode, she has no idea how aperture, iso and shutter affect the picture. this sooooo daffy... or not? what do you mean?
April 21, 2012 01:01 am
I shot with my d40 for a long time. Every time I wanted to upgrade I'd say "what does this get me?"... I found that hard to answer. 6MP was fine. I just upgraded to a d700 and will probably use that for 5+ years as well.
People are too concentrated on specs and gear. How many of us see photos and think to ourselves "If only the lens were sharper and there were more MP in this image, it would be better"? Probably very few... yet that's what one sector of the photography community focuses on.
Part of the problem is improvements are now incremental. 36MP better than 12MP? Maybe, in some situations, but not all. If it's only going to improve 2% of your photos is it worth it? Probably not... doesn't stop us from wanting all that is new and shiny.
April 21, 2012 12:57 am
I entirely agree with you. I have only minimal camera gear ( 3 lens to go with Canon D550) but some of my cell phone pictures also make it to micro stock photography sites.
That makes me cautious in buying more gear. And anyway some of it is so costly I would rather use my current gear to take better pictures.
April 21, 2012 12:57 am
I know what you mean, but in my case it is checking out review sites and procrastinating on which camera to buy. I thought I had made up my mind to go for the Nikon D5100, but now there's the new D3200 which could mean the D5200 is just around the corner.... arghhhh :o)
I just need to stop sitting on the fence reading all the latest reviews and just do it, but one and like you say, get out there use it, understand it and learn how to take better photos
April 21, 2012 12:54 am
Oh, how I love this post! I struggled with camera lust too. I was at a point where I actually started looking for 12-step programs for it. (Not quite, but you get the idea.) I turned that addiction into an addiction for photo books. A bit less expensive and it actually gives me the urge to grab my camera and shoot instead of spending too much time on B&H's website. The last book I bought was The Passionate Photographer by Steve Simon - I love it! Can't help myself from shooting after I spend 10 minutes reading it!
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