Almost all of us have set our sights on new gear. The number of lenses and cameras available across systems is substantial, and the ones we want aren’t necessarily the ones we need. If you’re not careful, you run the risk of burning through more cash than you have, and while the new gear may be nice, you might find that you don’t have as much use for it as you originally thought. Gear Acquisition Syndrome is a thing, and here are some tips to avoid succumbing to it.
Consider Your Photography
What style of photography do you practice: portraiture, street, wildlife, sports, etc.? There’s a chance the piece of gear you want – be it a lens, a camera, a tripod, a filter – might not be related to your photography at all. A street photographer won’t have much need for a 70-200mm. A portrait photographer won’t have much need for a fisheye lens. And so on. If you absolutely need a new piece of gear, then save for it, and make sure you’re buying it for all the right reasons.
Consider Your Wallet
How much money do you actually have to work with? Say you’ve got your eye on the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM. That’s a $2,299 lens, and that’s pretax. In New York City, that lens with tax will cost you just over $2,500. How can you best use that amount of money? For many people, that’s a month’s rent, among other things.
Consider Your Gear
You’ve already got a camera and a lens or two. Perhaps you’ve got a fairly robust kit. What is it that’s causing you to look beyond what you already have? Is it just that it’s new and shiny or do you find that something’s missing in your photography? The former might inspire buyer’s remorse. The latter provides a good moment for reflection. New gear won’t necessarily give you new direction. Some creative inspiration would do you some good, and if that’s the case, head out to a gallery or pick up a photo book. Or go to a new place. Think of new applications for your gear. You might find that what you have is more versatile than you think.