All opinions are my own. This article does not contain financial or medical advice, it is for entertainment purposes only.
The latest gear acquisition syndrome is a problem I have had for too many years. It can be a silent issue that can cost you hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
I want to talk about my experience and how I am combating it, and some ideas for you to consider to keep your GAS in check.
What GAS feel Like?
You’ve got the latest camera or lense or whatever tech is popular right now, and you feel great. Then the manufacturer announces your tech is getting an upgrade, the next version is coming out.
How do you feel? It’s not like a punch to the gut, but it does feel like a little kick.
Now there’s a new, better version out there, and the manufacturer wouldn’t release a new model if there wasn’t something that could be improved from the previous iteration.
Suddenly you don’t feel as keen to use that new lens, because it’s a bit inferior now.
Except that you’ve not used that lens once since you bought it four years ago!
Does that sound like you? That was me, and still a little bit me, but I’m working on it.
Why do you have GAS
Now I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you why I have GAS, and maybe that will resonate with you if you can see the similarities.
Emulating Your Peers
You have in mind what you want to achieve. A career goal. It might be to be a wedding photographer or YouTube creator, or another artistic medium.
The next thing you do is you figure out what equipment you need, but the problem is you might be looking to the peers in your field who are using the best gear available.
And you think to yourself, “well I need to use what they’re using to create their quality level of work”.
This is a large part of the issue. You see what others are creating and you want to emulate that. And the best way to emulate another creator’s work is to buy the same gear.
But you are you and how you create work will never be the same as another creator. What works for you will be different to everyone else.
These creators started off with gear that was less expensive, less glamorous. What they really worked on improving was their skills, their craft.
Another issue I have is that I will see something I want my work to include. Maybe it’s a new technique, for example hyperlapses.
But it’s a want, not a need. Yet I will convince myself that it is a future need, so I need to have the gear that will make this possible for when that future need is realised.
I almost never need it. You will never need it. It remains always a want.
For me in this example, I bought the DJI Ronin S. It was a bit of gear that ticked all the boxes.
It was also a time when on YouTube hyperlapses and timelapses were a relatively novel concept which every creator was employing in their arsenal of camera tricks.
I was also already making timelapses, so I wanted to take that to the next level, and that included hyperlapses and camera motion tricks.
The gear was from DJI, a reputable brand, which meant it was going to be good gear that would not let me down.
The Ronin S also has other great options for camera movement, like panning, rotating, controlling the Ronin remotely through the App.
There were lots of great options and I thought I was bound to use at least one or two, if I didn’t use it all.
Except that I have not used it ever in a working environment, except once to test it.
The Ronin has now been replaced by the Ronin 2, which is far far superior, making the Ronin 1 feel less attractive to use.
How to Deal With GAS
As a disclaimer I am not an authority in the medical field, so I can only relate my own experience and how I deal with it so do not take this information as advice. This is not medical advice, it’s just my experience.
The first camera I got was the 5D Mark II. It was a hugely expensive purchase.
But I put it to use straight away. I photographed all my weddings, engagements and parties with that camera.
The 5D mark II, with my old Canon 24-100mm and my speedlite was everything I needed to do my job.
The thing to understand is the ‘need’ part of that last sentence. You buy what you need.
If the next job has a part of it that you cannot complete without a certain piece of gear, that bit of gear becomes a need. You need that gear or you can’t do your job.
There’s a simple checklist to follow that helps me:
- Am I unable to complete my next paid job without it?
- Do I have a future confirmed job where I need it?
- Can I afford it?
If I can answer yes to all three, that gives me the green light to purchase that piece of gear.
If I answer no to any of the three, even one, then hold back your purchase. Wait till you can answer yes to all three.
If you only answer only no to number three then you need to work out the financials of whether there are other finance options available to invest in that gear.
But only if that investment will pay itself back straight away.
So what if you’re not a working professional and you’re still honing your craft?
Then it’s a lot lot harder. Because you can go and justify any purchase by arguing that it will improve your craft enough to get you a paid job.
But I have the solution.
Rent New Gear
This is a great way to refine all your gear. You rent out the piece of gear you think you need. Use it in your workflow and then analyse how it went.
You ask yourself some important questions, like how did it fit into your workflow.
Were you able to speed up your work? Did it increase the quality of your work? Did you actually use it enough?
If you find you will need to rent it again, then do so, to really confirm your need. After you return it, if you still need to rent it a third time, then it might be time to consider a purchase.
I really think this is the best way to figure out what gear will actually make sense in your workflow.
The thing about me and the latest gear acquisition syndrome is that I think about the value in terms of now and the future.
But I just needed to realise I don’t need to get that bit of gear right now.
Even there is a Black Friday or Amazon sale or some time limited discount, if there’s no immediate need then hold off.
Get the gear when you need it.
I do hope this article helps. Let me know about your experience with GAS in the comments below.
Artist / Photographer / Writer