GAS is a horrible thing. “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” is when you feel the urge to constantly buy cameras, lenses or other photography equipment. There’s no stopping you, it’s like a crazy drug taking over your body. With this article, we’ll look at curing this awful disease.
I’ve had GAS really bad. During my Nikon days, going back well over a decade, I just wouldn’t stopped buying. It came to a point where I had two Nikon bodies, a couple of film camera, seven lenses, numerous filters and endless other gear. I would replace lens after lens in the attempt to get better and better gear. My camera bag getting heavier and heavier.
I moved to Fujifilm just over two years ago in an attempt to combat the size and weight of my kit, and immediately started accumulating lenses… after a few months I sold off the ones I really didn’t need and started my “one camera one lens” ideology. I’d read of people taking just one lens with them, especially a prime lens, and wanted to try it out. It meant I could just carry the camera with a lens attached, and little much else. No more thinking about changing lenses, no more heavy bags, just me and the camera.
Over the year or more of following this approach, it has really switched my mind off the problem of gear acquisition syndrome. I pick up my camera before a shoot, judge what I will need and that’s it. Occasionally, if it’s somewhere I haven’t been before and I don’t know what to expect, I may also take a longer lens, a wider lens or my fisheye lens, but this is very rarely now.
When it comes to lenses, I have just five right now, which I’m thinking of shrinking down to four.
I have my Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 which serves me as my standard walk around lens, it’s an incredible lens, pin sharp and super fast auto focus. It’s F/1.4 aperture means it gives incredible bokeh if needed, and it sucks up light so I can keep taking photographs long after the light has vanished.
My Fujifilm XC15-45mm F/3.5-5.6 although classed as a kit lens and almost always sold by other photographers as soon as they can, is actually perfect. It’s small, light, has great auto focus and most importantly is a nice wide 15mm!!! It has the most annoying power zoom, but I rarely use it on anything but 15mm or 45mm and its great image quality means I have no reason to sell it or get the XF18-55 which so many trade it in for.
The XC50-230mm F/4.5-6.7 is probably the greatest Fujifilm lens that camera snobs avoid because of its price. It’s an extremely versatile lens, very light and when used in good light or with higher ISO values, it produces phenomenal results. A perfect lens for wildlife, landscapes and so much more, it’s a lens I would recommend over any longer reach XF lens.
My Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 is on the cusp of being sold. It’s not a bad lens by any means. It gives fantastic results, renders images beautifully and it’s great in low light. It’s just not a lens that I’ve used as much as I thought I would. Perfect for portraits, and other uses, and very sharp, just not for me.
Finally I have my Meike 6.5mm F/2 circular fisheye lens. A very specific lens, and one I love to use whenever I get the opportunity. It’s a very different lens, giving circular, distorted images, but there’s something about I adore.
So, as you can see, I don’t have many lenses compared to most, and all have a specific use. As mentioned, I’ll probably be selling the 85mm, meaning just four lenses. I have no inclination to buy any more lenses at all, everything is covered, all the lenses are sharp, all the lenses perform well for what I use them for and most importantly they’re all nice and small, meaning they take up little space.
My camera is the Fujifilm X-T3, a powerhouse of a camera, with amazing performance, and a pure workhorse. It can compete with the best of the rest in everything from low light and ISO performance, to frames per second and auto focus ability. I love it, and it should serve me well for many years to come.
Gear acquisition syndrome is a mindset that you get yourself into. You tell yourself you need a new lens, a new camera, a new filter, a new bag, but in all honesty, you probably don’t need it unless it’s damaged or not up to the job.
If you’ve bought a camera in the last few years, it’s up to the job. If you’ve bought a lens in the same period, it’s more than sharp enough. I’ve learned to see if I can use what I’ve already got to accomplish the things I need to do, and with my tiny collection I can. In reality, the circular fisheye lens is just for fun, and I could easily happily live with just the two zooms and the 23mm F/1.4.
So, to get over GAS, change your mindset. Before you go out with your camera, just choose one lens, and stick to it. It’ll take a lot of extra thinking off your shoulders, and it will let you explore other skills such as learning composition by limiting your choices.
Take away choices, use what you have got and realise, you don’t need anything else! Or of course, ignore and just buy buy buy!!!