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The search for the magic bullet - thoughts on gear obsession

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Radiohead, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. The recent introduction of the 5D II and the associated musings, assumptions and general flim-flam surrounding it got me thinking about our obsession with kit.

    I’ll declare an interest here – I’m as guilty of being a gear-head as anyone here. I get excited about seeing new technology and marvel at what we shoot with now. Personally I’m lucky to own some fabulous kit and it’s at the level where if I miss a shot it’s down to me and not the camera. This then, is the tipping point. Sometimes I have to catch myself and recall the feeling I get when I get a great shot – the buzz of a new camera is nothing by comparison.

    We search for the magic combination of camera and lens, as if that’s the key alone. Sometimes it is and of course we have to have the right (and often best) choice for a given situation. My kit is for weddings and people and would be of little use for a sports tog at a rugby match. But beyond that I’ve come to realise that it was the love of photography and not photographic gear that pulled me in to this world, and it’s that love that pulls me in to this day. Our search should be for the magic combination of the moment, the right light, the emotion, the people and things that matter to us. It should be about documenting the world around us, what we see, what we love.

    So, whether you shoot Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony. I don’t care. Is one model slightly better than another in a certain area? I don’t care. It’s THAT we photograph that matters, not WHAT we photograph with. I’ll still watch each new announcement with interest but really, it’s not important to worry about the minutiae.

    We have a great community here, full of people spending hours helping each other out. Long may that continue.
  2. wgilles


    Apr 25, 2008
    I couldn't agree with you more. I think it's like anything else, you see a new gadget and "you have to have it!" It's like the Apple iPhone, the bigger one came out, everyone got rid of their old one and got the new one, the 3G came out and the same thing happened. I think us Americans have been conditioned to have the newest and best. I have this theory that companies who make anything Americans buy, make it so that it breaks eventually. But when they make stuff for other countries that aren't as spending happy as us, they make it better because they know it might be the only one of that thing they buy!

    Just my 2 cents
  3. adaml


    Feb 21, 2006
    I think that it's more than just rationalization that the reason that I'm such a photography gearhead is because I'm always trying to find a way to make that last image I took even better.

    In the last year it's been low-light indoor photography where neither flash nor tripods are allowed. For years I was frustrated about the quality of my museum and event shoots when all I had was noisy high ISO and some VR help. Now with the D3 I'm going to those same venues and capturing real quality images at high ISO's.

    That's where I get my thrill; not from the D3 as such but what the D3 can do for my photography.
  4. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    The need for having "the latest and the greatest" is from the very beginning of digital photography when newer models were significant upgrades from previous ones.
    Going from 320x200 to VGA (640x480) to 1MP (1024x-gasp!-768) and beyond - every generation provided major improvements.

    Clearly we don't need that anymore and we already see plenty of shooters who'll say "I will skip a generation - the one that replaces the next model might be worth it".
    For me the D200 shoots fine enough. The D300 is a much better camera, but for me not $1000 better. The D400 or D300x or whatever might be, though.
  5. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I don't know many hobbies where the accumulation of "something" better isn't part of the deal. Stamp collectors or bird watchers want something more rare. We want something with low noise, faster frame rates, etc.

    In the end, so what? If you have the means, get it. If it's a professional need, it'll pay for itself. If it's a personal need, then it's a wonderful sensation of satisfaction. Ultimately, isn't that why any of us chooses to do what we do?

    A couple of nights ago, I went to the B&H site just to figure out what my next obsession would cost me. $7175 would do it. That's what it would take to move from my D200 to a D700 and purchase comparable FX lenses to replace some of my gear. I suppose the cost of the 24-70 to replace my 28-70 isn't necessary because of a DX/FX issue, but I tossed it in just because...well, because I want it.

    That kit would really make me happy. At least, until I decided that I wanted to go on a wildlife safari and realized that my 70-200mm VR doesn't go quite far enough. So then I'd need more glass. Expensive glass. I could rent it for a single trip, but I'd want it if this turned out to be something I enjoyed.

    That's what I like about life. You almost never reach the peak. There's always something just out of reach. So why lament it? Use what you have until you can reach for something else.
  6. You can call off the search. I have one and it works great for all of my slicing, dicing and mixing needs. I'll sell it for $800 OBO.

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  7. LOL!!
  8. mood


    Jun 27, 2007
    So Fla
    well said Guy
    I look back at some of my photos from days gone by

    some of my old OM-1, N80, XG-7 and Coolpix shots are my favorite moments
    some aren't that "technically" great, but full of emotion and mood :) wink:) 

    Galen Rowell almost never took the "pro" or expensive glass on his treks, yet his pictures inspire many
    I can't imagine all of the old Paris masters' pictures would have the same impact if they had to be pixel peeping sharp

    that being said, sometimes you need the right tools for the job
    and the right tools make the job easier
  9. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    I'm quite satisfied. Don't think I'll ever go full frame, will just replace my D200 when it dies. My time, efforts, and money are going to fund trips for imaging.....life is too short to worry about each camera "upgrade"....

    Did the same thing in astonomy, bought a kit that worked for me at the level I wanted and plan on using it for another 10 years:) 

    I thought a couple of months ago I'd lost my interest (being doing this since 68'), and saw just the other day that a lot of folks on the Nikon forum at FM are stopping. I took my own and some advice given here and have been focusing on the areas of my real interest - images - viewing, taking, and printing. I almost let the manufacturers replacement cycles get to me....not any more, I back doing what I want. Also not visiting the hardware forums....for Me (and this may differ for you) my joy is in the images not the equipment.

    Keep imaging and viewing is my new code:) 
  10. Just realized that my father, who was a good photographer, had bought a camera [Voigtlander - 620 format folder] in 1933 and used it till the 620 format was discontinued in 1953 or so. Do the math. I bought 2 Asahi Pentax [SV & S1] in 1964 , which I used regularly thru 2004. In both instances the equipment was sufficient for our needs.

    In 2004 I added digital to my photography and obviously with it a "perceived need for constant change" : D70, D2X, D300. [ & the whole gamut of lenses]. At first I was quite happy with the D70, but then the less that stellar viewfinder stated bugging me, so iso of a D200, I got the D2X, which is still my favorite camera. My rationale for buying the D300 was that a lot of the new D3 technology was found in that camera and it costs a significant amount of $$ less... and would serve as a nice replacement for the D70.

    In thinking about it now, I am not so sure. I usually grab the D2X and the D300 gets far less use than I had planned.
  11. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    nothing like TRICK light and a willing model...;-)

    but i still NEED a d700 ..lol
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