17 Responses to “Break the Photography Gear Addiction”


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  1. Pooja

    I had never looked at photography this way before, but now that I think about it, you are so right! I just recently took up photography as a hobby, bought books to learn about the different camera functions, and also bought a camera. It is a mid range camera (I did need to buy it because I had no camera to begin with).

    It is so easy to forget when reading the books and examining my new camera that it really comes down to the eye and brain as you said! I am definitely going to try the exercise that you recommend of setting up a photography everyday. Thanks for sharing!

  2. steve

    Thanks! – really pleased that this resonates, especially with people just starting out. Photographers tend towards the conservative so I don’t hold out any great hopes of making lots of converts!

    I think that, initially, instruction books have their place and would certainly recommend learning as much of the theory as is comfortable. Camera specific ones definitely do although I find that an hour in the field is worth four in the armchair.

    I am not anti expensive equipment, just unnecessary expensive equipment.

  3. Mark

    Great concept. Simple, and concise. I too have been smitten with a serious case of what you describe as, “Shiny Object
    syndrome, and that has led me too the dreaded “back-up” malady. Can’t just have one of anything. Searching this topic of camera addiction led me to your post, and some much needed relief and clarity.

    • Steve

      Thanks – pleased that it made sense. Believe me it does come from many years of buying stuff in my case. I used to buy photography books although I knew that there would be nothing in them that I hadn’t seen a hundred times before!

  4. It’s good to find another article with similar thinking to my own, I also wrote an article on the same subject – http://peterahrens.com.au/2010/minimalism/equipment-improve-photography/.

    People seem to be of the belief that the camera is what makes the photograph. Manufacturers certainly don’t help to correct this belief either. They rely on people thinking that updating their camera every 12 months will make them a better photographer.

    The only difference between two cameras is how good the technical quality of the final image is. In reality, DSLR’s from 5 years ago are enough for what most people need. You can make great photographs from any camera, it all depends on the final use. If you’re making large prints a better camera might be necessary.

    Something I personally don’t like about modern cameras is the button and feature clutter. Beyond aperture, shutter, ISO and focus everything else isn’t really necessary. The closest I’ve seen to a well designed digital camera is in the Leica X1, S2 and M8/M9. However going for any of these cameras is extremely expensive.

    It’s this feature clutter that keeps the camera companies making mega profits. They have no incentive to make better, more enjoyable cameras when people purchase so readily based on a couple new (pointless) features.

    I think if people want to spend money on something, going to the [Affiliate link removed - Edited by Steve]would be a much better place to spend it. This information will improve your photography far more than any new equipment ever could.

    • steve

      Just read your article and thoroughly enjoyed it – much more in depth and better put together than mine. I am finding out, through other venues as well as here that we are not alone in our thinking re equipment.

      Re the Leica- I certainly wouldn’t turn down that camera if it appeared in my Christmas stocking.

      • Thanks for the compliment. I enjoyed your article too :)

        It’s good to hear you’re finding more people with the same values in equipment. I certainly don’t expect these views and ideas to take off and be adopted by many. People just love their shiny objects too much. With Christmas coming I’m sure this would be the worst time of the year for it too.

        I wouldn’t turn down a Leica either, but until it’s more affordable, I think the Sony A850 might be the best choice.

  5. Paul

    Excellent points, however, My artist Mom would say: “do not go cheap on brushes and paint you will regret it”. A minimal amount of high quality gear is just easier to use and more likely to achieve consistent results.

    • steve

      I am certainly not arguing against owning expensive gear but only if it is needed and to be honest, only if the photographer knows enough to use it to its limit. No point in someone who only takes a few holiday snaps a couple of times a year owning the latest full sensor Nikon professional dSLR or even a 3/4 model aimed at the consumer. A $200 point and shoot would serve this user much better.

  6. Absolutely right! This is the very core of my talks on sustainable business strategies for photographers. Ownership is limiting and debilitating, what we need is access to the right tools for the job at the time we need them, and the experience to use them.

    So I promote the view that you should invest energy, time and money in these three things:

    1) inspiration – travel, read, meditate, find what makes you you and how to express it how only you can; then you have no ‘competition’.
    2) Knowledge – the best ideas are not much good if you can’t convert them into images. Learn and explore all that an infinite number of tools can do for your ideas, but don’t be lead by them!
    3) Promotion – best ideas and lots of know-how don’t get you jobs. Get you and your work out there!

    Here is a wonderful tool that facilitates peer to peer rental. This means you can rent the stuff you’ve got to others to recover your investment, and also that you can rent the gear you need to learn and for work, for much less than buying it, and from the community. Check it out http://www.studioshare.org and get a free membership by using the code ‘friendofalex’ which I use at my seminars. This is the future of photography.


  1. [...] in October 2010 I wrote, Break the Photography Gear Addiction which took a shot at the gear obsessed focus of many [...]

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