I Have G.A.S. – Gear Acquisition Syndrome

I have G.A.S. Catchy title right? Zack Arias, I believe, coined the phrase G.A.S. which stands for gear acquisition syndrome. As photographers we all have some sort of gear acquisition syndrome, some have more severe cases than others.

Perhaps somewhere in our photographer DNA lies the molecular structure for gear acquisition syndrome. It’s that urge when the latest camera comes out or some new cool gadgets pops up on the market our G.A.S. kicks in. We have to have it. We yearn for the latest and the best equipment.

We all have some degree of G.A.S. Hell I have Pinterest page dedicated to my G.A.S. not to mention my wishlist on Amazon and on B&H Photo. My gear acquisition syndrome ranges from the Nikon D4 to octoboxes and strip banks for my Alienbees B800. As much as I would love to have it all, I know realistically that is impossible. I can still dream though.

I got my first severe case of G.A.S. when I bought my Nikon D70s with 18-70mm. I got that itch and I couldn’t wait to scratch it. I bought the 70-300mm and when that wasn’t long enough, I bought the Sigma 50-500mm. I didn’t stop there. No I got the 50mm f/1.8, the 85mm f/1.8 and the SB-600. And when the Nikon D300 came out, guess who got it? Yup, I did right along with the battery grip. A trip to B&H Photo one day while I was in NYC yielded me the 70-200mm f/2.8 and the newly released SB-900. A week later I had major G.A.S. pains for the 24-70mm f/2.8 and I got that as well.

My gear acquisition syndrome had me getting tripods and bags galore. Then the light shined on me. Well my credit cards bills were the ones that were shining on me. Racking up debt to satisfy my G.A.S. was not the way to go. Gear acquisition syndrome is a slippery slope and if you’re not careful it can cause some major damage. I took stock of my inventory and decided it was time to sell a lot of it. I now have one camera body and 3 lenses plus one flash. I simplified my gear.

If you have gear acquisition syndrome I strongly advise you to see what you truly need and sell the rest. If you’re strictly a landscape developer, you don’t need the 85mm f/1.4 lens. Sure it’s amazing but do you really need it? If you need a lens for a special occasion you can rent it from a place like BorrowLenses.com. I recommend renting gear before buying to make sure what you want is truly what you need. Another thing I’ve been doing is saving up for gear. No longer will anything go on a credit card. If I don’t have the cash then I don’t make the purchase.

I knew buying all that gear wasn’t going to make me better. I just wanted it to say I had it. Gear doesn’t make you a better photographer. Sure it helps a little, but if you don’t know how to use then what is the point of having it? There is no point in spending money on AlienBees lighting if you don’t know the Inverse Square Law from the rule of thirds. Master the gear you have now and then gradually add on if you truly need it and can pay for it without using a credit card.

I’ve learned to control my gear acquisition syndrome. It wasn’t easy, but I learned valuable lessons along the way. You don’t need all the new and fancy gear; you just need to master what you have now and rent other gear until you can afford it.

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