Gear Lust: Want vs. Need

Chase Jarvis with the Lego Camera

Speculating on the performance of cameras based on what it can do in the hands of reviewers, other users or just based on specs is foolish in most cases. The hand wringing and analysis is mind blowing. Something I watched put a lot of this in context for me….

DigitalRev produced a short video series in which they take well known professional photographers and ask them to shoot with an unknown camera for the day, “Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera” (video inline below). My favorite is when they handed Chase Jarvis a Lego camera…yes, a camera with Legos on it! They even built a Lego shutter to cover the lens when needed…quite clever. Then Chase set out to shoot skateboarders doing what they do – action! All this with a basic p&s Lego camera and some external lighting sources.

Sure, we all love new gear and have gear lust at one time or another. But often times it’s not the gear that holds us back. What I ask is that we all keep in mind that we are currently living in a time when the gear available to us is, quite frankly, astounding!Sports photographers used to have no choice but to manually focus to capture action. Color film looked horrid above ISO 400 and maybe 800. B&W film was great at higher speeds, but even then, you were looking at Tri-X 1600. I never dared 3200. Now people get upset if you can’t shoot cleanly at ISO 1600 and nicely at 3200-6400 or if the AF isn’t instant.

Just keep those things in mind when evaluating new gear. The next version will almost always better than the last. I understand that some things are deal breakers for some of us and we just don’t want to compromise. For me, it’s usually the OVF or EVF, I want one. The X100 is the best IMO in this area with the hybrid (you can buy one here!). I love primes and prefer fast lenses…again, the X100’s 35mm f/2.0 is fantastic! So, it’s a good camera for me but maybe not the guy who requires blazing AF of 10 FPS for what he does. That person just needs to find something else to use, simple as that.

Go watch that DigitalRev stuff on pro photographers and bad cameras. Then relate that to what you do and they gear you NEED vs. the gear you WANT vs. the gear you wish the manufacturer would design just for you.  Remember, the camera you have right now performs (unless damaged) just the way it did you when you first purchased it and you were probably thrilled with it!  Keep that in mind as you ponder another camera purchase, is the cash you will need to spend REALLY worth it? If you are a pro and this is your livelihood, this is a different story – that’s a business return on investment.  However, if you are not a working professional, think again.  What can you do with that extra money?  You could even dedicate it to improving your photography AND life experience at the same time…travel!


2 responses to “Gear Lust: Want vs. Need

  1. Pingback: Digital Rev’s Pro Photographer – Cheap Camera Challenge – Zach Arias | Ken W. Andrews

  2. Pingback: Digital Rev’s Pro Photographer – Cheap Camera Challenge – Zach Arias | Ken W. Andrews Photography

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