When I talk to people about gear, what they think they need, want or have, I find that it consistently changes from person to person. Most peoples dream camera changes from year to year. So how do you get over Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S) and find your Zen camera?
It is an expensive exercise to follow your G.A.S and buy and try every camera you desire. Try them all and if you find yourself craving something else then you haven’t found your Zen camera. I did the same thing, I tried a large number of cameras, ranging from Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Rolleiflex, Polaroid, Voigtlander, Ricoh, Leica, Contax, Toyo, Hasselblad the list goes on. With every camera, I purchased, tried or borrowed I found something that just wasn’t right with whatever camera I was using. But like they say you have to kiss a lot of toads before you can find a prince. The same goes for cameras, you have to use and try as many as you can before you find the one.
A lot of people will be saying they can’t afford to do that. This might be true, and I am fortunate enough to have tried many cameras. I can’t speak for you and your situation, but from my experience, I think of it like religion. Once you find your belief or place in the world, everything else just works and feels right. You find peace and yourself once you find that perfect fit. This happened once I found my Zen camera, my G.A.S faded away. I could stop worrying about gear and finally focus on what I was photographing, my subject matter, my style, my ideas, thoughts and curiosity.
Through the wonders of finding a Zen camera, you will get the opportunity to focus on your style, your aesthetic, your voice, your vision. When this happens you can move onto another path, finding the stories you want to tell. All because you no longer need to obsess on what tools to use.
It’s easy to say and very hard to do, and it takes a long time to try and test all the cameras you desire. I urge you to try film cameras first, 35mm, medium format, large format, rangefinder, SLR. From there, you would have eliminated a large majority of camera purely from picking medium format over 35mm or whatever you choose. Then dive into automatic, manual, point and shoot etc, and so on and so forth. Once you find your perfect camera format, then jump into digital because let’s be honest, it’s cheaper that way.
Again go out and embrace your G.A.S, try, play, have fun. Enjoy the experience of trying your dream camera or what you thought might be. Then move onto something else that tickles and entices your curiosity. And one day you might stumble upon your true calling with your Zen camera in hand.
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