Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) pt. 1
Again, I know this is kind of a cliche topic. But to paraphrase a friend of mine, I think that sometimes you just need to do the cliches of whatever you’re doing so you can push them aside and grow. I apply that to my photography and I think it’s applicable here.
As a side note, I have been thinking of using this blog as a kind of framework for a YouTube channel where I might expand with images and maybe do some other photography and art related stuff.
Anyways, getting back to the topic: gear. I’m just going to list out the gear I use for photography:
Nikon FM2n (and a full suite of lenses my dad gave to me because he moved to a Canon)
Kodak Cameo Motor EX
Fujifilm X-T10 (I adapt my Nikon lenses and use a Fuji 23mm f/2)
I do have other cameras, but I don’t really use them that much right now.
(maybe I’ll do videos on these cameras if a YouTube channel is actually realistic)
As photographers, I think that gear is almost always something we care about. Many of us love talking and learning about cameras, and there are hundreds of videos and online reviews of pretty much every single camera in history. Gear is an inherent part of photography; there are cameras that are simply a box with a pinhole, but there are cameras that can do practically anything you could ever want to do with images that stretch the imagination.
So I would say that being very interested in gear is pretty normal.
However, in my experience gear is a rabbit hole that‘s all too easy to go down. In film photography, I would say that GAS can come about because there are just so many different film cameras in different formats that have all different features that make them unique; it can be from a collector’s perspective. Additionally, film cameras are typically on the cheaper side relative to the current camera industry, so piling them up is sometimes too easy. In digital photography, cameras are constantly marketed as necessary upgrades from the cameras you already have, so you’re always pressured to by the latest and the greatest in bodies and lenses.
So I want to help you avoid GAS and take a look at the gear that will really be beneficial to you as a photographer.
Let’s start with film photography!
I am no stranger to having too many film cameras. When I first started out, I bought way too many. But I didn’t know any better, and I’ve sold a lot of the cameras that I don’t have any need for. But anyway, I want to talk about what you need for film photography depending on the experience you want. First thing‘s first: with film, the film stock itself acts as a “sensor” for the image; because you can use any film stock in any film camera (as long as the film is in the right format of course), the camera body itself doesn’t actually necessarily affect image quality, as long as it’s properly made. For film photography, image quality is determined by lenses and film stock. The body doesn’t matter. So hypothetically, if you were to use the same lens and film on both cameras, a Leica 35mm SLR would make the same exact image as an SLR from Sears, Cosina, or some other obscure brand. So realistically, if you want to shoot a 35mm SLR, pick a system that you like the lenses of, and you only need to buy one body that you like the design and features of. That’s really all there is to it. If you want to try a different body, consider selling the one you have to have money for the other one you want. Otherwise, your money would honestly be better invested in lenses.
To summarize for film photography, first pick what kind of camera you want: in 35mm there are essentially two options: rangefinders and SLRs. Then, find a brand whose body design and lens suite suit your needs. If you want an SLR and you have a more comfortable budget, I would strongly suggest Nikon. Their bodies are typically more reliable with higher performance and their lenses are some of the sharpest in the world. If you’d rather spend a little less money, Canon and Minolta are just as good; just make sure to check that the bodies you’re buying have been tested because they have a higher tendency to have reliability or electronic issues.
For film cameras, remember that the only reason that you‘d ever need more than one camera is if you wanted to shoot more than one film format and/or wanted to shoot black and white alongside color at the same time.
The digital photography part ended up being super long, so I’ll publish it in a separate article.