How I Got Rid of Gear Acquisition Syndrome and Learned to be Happy Taking Photos

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials the Location Shooter (10 of 10)ISO 2001-80 sec

I have a confession to make: I wanted all the gear years ago. My entry point was the Canon 5D Mk II many, many moons ago. I wanted loads of L glass and I wanted to qualify for Canon Professional Services. Back then, you needed two pro level cameras, at least three of the lenses on their recommended list, and had to prove that you’re a working professional. It was going to be awesome. So I went on a quest. I started with a Canon 50mm f1.8–the nifty 50 that everyone gets first. After this I scored the 24-105mm f4 L. Next was the old 80-200mm f2.8 L. Then moved onto a 50mm f1.4. Then the 7D. Then a 35mm f1.4 L. Then an 85mm f1.8. Then flashes came into play. And triggers. And light modifiers. Before I knew it, my camera bag was getting really full and I needed another one.

But then other companies started to develop some amazing technology and I wanted a smaller camera. The Olympus EP2 became my next purchase after getting and using a bunch of Canon L glass and primes. It was small, could take great photos in the right situations, and felt great in the hands. But then the EP3 came out–and it was perhaps the fastest focusing camera in the world. And a spiral happened.

Chris Gampat the phoblographer ep3 review (1 of 7)

From there the Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) turned into getting lenses for my Micro Four Thirds system. Though I couldn’t always afford the autofocus ones, I went on a hunt for weird vintage glass that would then be adapted. It was awesome, and it was fun. But overall, it was expensive. At the time I was running the Phoblographer and freelance writing, and I was the Social Media Content Developer at B&H Photo. It was nice to have three sources of income.

But after a certain point, I looked at all my gear and said to myself “Do I really need all of this stuff? It’s going to be outdated soon.” And that’s where it started to die down.

Before I left B&H though, I made sure to buy a bunch of cameras: an X Pro 1, a Sony NEX 6, an Olympus OMD EM5, lenses, etc. Why? Because even though I didn’t need all this stuff for personal reasons, I started to embark on a journey that required me to have this many cameras and lenses.

When I quit B&H Photo, I decided to make the Phoblographer my full time gig and make it into something larger. And so purchasing cameras, lenses, and lights became business purchases that were required for testing products. Let me put it this way to spell it out for you (and here’s some background into the crazy world we have.) Let’s say that Sigma comes out with a new Micro Four Thirds lens. We need to call that lens in for review. But what are we going to test it out on? Then we’d need to call a camera in for review. By eliminating that need, it’s much better for us as a business to get the camera ourselves than have to wait for a review unit to become available.

Then there are really fashionable accessories that need to be paired with beautiful cameras. Then there are semi-benchmark tests and comparisons. See where I’m going here?

Much of this gear belongs to the company that Gevon, Julius and I founded years ago. After you have so many cameras and each of them pumps out images that need to go through post processing, you being to train yourself to be able to use anything that’s put in your hands. And with that, my GAS ended.

The only gear that I actually own is my 5D Mk II, flashes, Sigma lenses, and a couple of film cameras. Indeed, all my personal work is done on film and I need different cameras for different techniques and purposes. And while it’s nice to have so many cameras and lenses and lights around, in the end it’s still all about our vision and how we execute it.