GAS -- harmless compulsion or touch of mental instability?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by rosey, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. rosey

    rosey Member

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    I posted some of this in another thread about latest 35mm purchases, but it got me to thinking that the key elements of this post are probably worth discussing separately. It has become a serious, but reasonably harmless, issue for me.

    I occasionally find myself unable to resist an acquisition for my collection, even though I know full well I don't need it and may not, in fact, ever use it.

    This problem is exacerbated by the fact that many 35mm items are now very affordable, when not too many years ago they would have been out of my reach financially when I most coveted them.

    Sites like eBay, photo.net and now APUG make it ridiculously easy to expand a collection.

    In previous years, the best bet was the occasional camera swap meet where an impulse purchase could be made. Or you went shopping with a specific item in mind. Those swap meet/camera shows never had the same attraction as modern online browsing, where you can peruse a never-ending stream of new and used merchandise day or night at your leisure, stumbling upon countless intriguing items at incredible prices.

    It's almost impossible for me to turn my back on, say, an absolutely mint N90s for less than $130. Or a like-new Canon A1 for $85, including a like-new 50mm 1.4 FD lens. Or a mint Gossen Luna Pro for $35. Naturally, I didn't turn away from these, and these three are just a few recent examples. I could go on for several pages.

    My latest purchase was an absolutely mint MF-21 multi-function back for one of my three N8008s Nikons. I nailed this one on eBay for about $25, and it certainly looks like new. Works perfectly, too. I paid more than $125 for one of these backs not too many years ago when the N8008s was all the rage.

    Now the sad part: I have three N8008s cameras and wanted an MF-21 for each of them. However, I already HAD three of the MF-21 backs, all working as new.

    It's pretty darned sad when you stumble upon something you want so badly, then buy it at a very good price, and find that you already own it.

    Maybe if I used some of my favorite photo gear more often, I might actually remember just what I already own. That's a very tall order in my case.

    That's one of the problems with having so many cameras, lenses, hoods, flashes, cases, filters, drives, winders, cables, straps, meters, Magic Lantern guides, rolls of film in the freezer, remote doohickeys, etc. And that involves hundreds of OEM items for Minolta MD, Canon FD, Nikon manual-focus and AF, Leica rangefinder, and Pentax K-mount and screwthread.

    In some cases, I have two or three of the same item ON PURPOSE, simply because they were so cheap to buy. I always wanted a Nikon FE2 in mint shape. Now I own two of them. Same with the Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N70, Nikon N8008s, Nikon FG, Nikon EM, Canon A1, Minolta XE-5, Minolta X-700, Minolta XD5, Pentax MX, Pentax Super Program.

    I have now sworn a solemnn oath on my boxes of equipment manuals that the next time I bid or plan to buy something, I will check my cabinets, shelves, bags, desks, boxes, drawers, etc., to make sure I don't already own it.

    Need, of course, has nothing to do with it.

    However, I sometimes find myself questioning my sanity in these matters. I know my hobby could be a lot worse, and some folks collect Hummel figurines, or artwork, or various things to look at and admire, while I tell myself I can actually USE my collectibles, as well as handle and admire them.

    Anybody else ever have this happen to him/her?

    I rationalize that I can always sell this stuff, but I never seem to get around to it. And, if what I have noticed as a trend lately is for real, I find some of the prices on this classic 35mm stuff are actually going up, especially on the manual-focus gear.

    And how do you control your Gear Acquisition Syndrome? Do you have to start by admitting that you have it?

    While this may seem funny to some of us it is, I suspect, a genuine concern to others. Certainly to me.

    Maybe we need a chapter of Acquisitions Anonymous?

    :confused:
     
  2. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I have a lot of cameras - more than I need.

    But I also have a "golden rule" that I never buy a camera that I don't use.

    Oh, and I have sold cameras because I wasn't using, and was unlikely to ever use, them.

    I'd further "slim down" my gear except what's the use when a Nikon F goes for $75 on eBay nowadays?
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have brought my GAS under control by following one simple rule.

    Each new camera must be able to fit the preceding camera inside of it.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I keep mine under control. This is how. I lock myself in a room whenever I see myself selecting eBay from my favorite links and repeat ad nauseum, mantra-like in a trance, 'Tax Time. Earned Income Credit. I love my children. They must eat for now.' I releives the urge to buy photo gear and I usually wind up bidding on a Barry Manilow signature series quilt or a Kenny G cookbook or sonething else. Anything to take my mind off my gadget bag. (Oh crap, here we go again! SLAM!! 'tax time . . . earned . . .')
     
  5. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Man, I feel your pain. I've got a similar problem when the gear is just so damn cheap! Mostly I end up getting odds and ends things that are interesting, and sadly, I too have too many of some things to use. I don't spend enough to get in trouble (mostly) so I don't worry about it that much, but I do sometimes wonder why I collected all this stuff.

    Much of what I have I use, but I don't see anything wrong with collecting some stuff just because it's interesting. As others have stated already, I have sold off cameras and related gear that I didn't ever intend to use, but generaly speaking, most of the GAS problem I have is just getting more and more small things like filters, adapters, flash bulbs, etc. - small ticket stuff really rather than lenses and cameras.

    Just the same, it is really hard to pass up on some of this stuff that really is like new that was so far out of reach when it was new that I never even bother to dream about it...

    - Randy
     
  6. bart Nadeau

    bart Nadeau Member

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    Gosh, but you dont have an Nikon F or an F3 and each of those has a number of great finders for them. Heck, you haven't even started yet. Wait 'til you discover big SLR's, like Graflex.
     
  7. argus

    argus Member

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    That's a small case of GAS. Wait untill you dream about large format :surprised:

    It's not a case of mental illness, just looking for better every time.

    G
     
  8. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I am sorry to say there is no cure for GAS, only occassional periods of remission followed by spectacular relapses. I get around the issue by steadfastly refusing to accept that GAS is a bad thing. How can preserving items of our photographic heritage be anything other than a selfless act worthy or praise?

    Tom
     
  9. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Too funny! :D
     
  10. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    What do you mean, a "touch" of mental instability??? Most of us are completely nuts, and rather proud of it.
     
  11. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Unless you or your family are in want because of your habit I wouldn't worry. I look on the present availability of camera equipment as an opportunity to buy those things that I have always wanted and couldn't afford. I have replaced several cameras that I was forced to sell during my college years in order to eat. There are far worse compulsions.
     
  12. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Think about the $$$$$ spent in the USA and other places for the sole purpose of endorphin release. What could be more fun than getting home from work and seeing the UPS man has left yet another box!! At least at the end of the day, whether we're crazy or not, we ended up with something of value that can be re-sold by our survivors, and we used what we bought to undertake some of the most healthy brainwork possible to humans. It beats the hell out of beer and a bigger TV set.
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Thankfully, I don't need an automobile.
     
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  15. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    My Hero!

    - R
     
  16. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Agreed. In the field of addiction counseling, your "how I get around it" is known as denial. Denial is a solid clinical indication of an active addiction process, as the root causes of the addiction are ingnored, and then rationalized. This rationalization is evidenced by your last sentence. Admit you are powerless over photo equipment, and seek help...

    But wait! One must want help. First there is the "gateway" 35mm addiction, that leads to heavier cameras. Next it is MF, or straight to the heavy stuff, LF. Some go all the way to the heaviest form of the addiction, ULF. Each one needs its own unique paraphernalia to give us the photo buzz. We are doomed....
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I have finally learned to check what I already have.
    I was ready to click the button to buy an extra set of rollers for my JOBO CPE2, when I remembered the big box of JOBO spares. Right. Six rollers, four "legs" and a carrier. And a complete lift, or is that one-and-a-half lifts?

    Then there was the 16cm f:9 WA Aristostigmat I bid on but didn't win. I admit I was irritated - until I remembered I had used one only last week. It's still on the 13x18cm plate camera...
     
  18. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Sadly, my UPS guy knows me on a first name basis. I have come to terms with my addiction. I just purchased the last camera for my collection, a brand new F100. I will not buy any more camera related stuff again. Oh oh. I just noticed that my new F100 did not come with a strap.

    Ok. I will have to order a new strap for my F100. I don't need the strap, IT needs the strap. Will it balance well with the strap, or will I have to get the battery pack for it just to have a perfect balance?

    Ok. I will have to order the camera strap and the battery pack. Nothing else. Just a small order. Speaking of small, my F100 does not seem to fit quite right in any of my 7 camera bags. I don't need the new bag, IT needs the bag.

    Ok. I will have to order a new strap, battery pack, and medium sized camera bag. Nothing else. This is a prime example of how I spend way too much money on cameras and camera related stuff. Speaking of prime, I wonder if KEH has any 24mm AF primes in stock? :wink:
     
  19. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Rosey, and for that matter, Ole and others, there's nothing much wrong with you but you ARE confused about what your hobby is. It isn't photography, it is accumulating photographic equipment. Actually using the stuff is incidental.

    Thinking of which, how can you go a-shootin' with 35 mm cameras in more than one mount system? Back-breaking, isn't it?

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  20. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Amen to that. And if I needed to, I could probably mount some wheels on the 8x20 . . .

    As for the original question:

    [A] You need an FM. Maybe two.

    35mm is what we call Stage 1 GAS. Medium Format is Stage 2. Large Format, Stage 3. ULF is Terminal or End Stage. Cirkut cameras are usually enjoyed and employed while moving towards the bright, bright light . . .

    [C] You could save yourself now, or, like the rest of us, let the cold waters just take you down.

    As the Irish say, "AA is for quitters." The same applies to GASA. Save yourself the other eleven steps, admit you have a problem and just hit the "Buy It Now" button.
     
  21. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I'm not addicted! I can quit anytime ...
     
  22. Terence

    Terence Member

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    If I hike with LF I also take along a Rolleicord for shots of fleeting subjects/light where the LF is too slow. I also take an Olympus XA for color "I was there" snapshots, and to justify buying a like-new XA with flash when I already had a couple of point-and-shoots. But I agree, taking more than one mount of 35mm is silly. That's why I think he needs to acquire more formats. To cut down on silliness . . .
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know, I've never tried. :smile:

    Either I go a-shooting with Leica thread mount, or I go a-shooting something a lot bigger and just happen to have an old folding 35mm camera in my pocket. Or maybe a folding MF camera. And a spare LF system in the car. And most of the big suitcase full of lenses stays there too - I only bring six or seven with me in the "field pack"...
     
  24. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    Having read all this, I've got to say I feel much better for knowing there are folks who have this much worse than I do. OK, I'll concede I may have bought something I'd forgotten I already had, but it was probably a bargain anyway. :smile:

    Now I just need someone to tell me they have more than one fridge for film ................ :confused:
     
  25. Terence

    Terence Member

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    . . . if only I had the room . . .
     
  26. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I have a fridge and a deep freezer.