GAS -- harmless compulsion or touch of mental instability?
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?
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?
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.
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 . . .')
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...
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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.
That's a small case of GAS. Wait untill you dream about large format :o
It's not a case of mental illness, just looking for better every time.
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?
Originally Posted by JBrunner
What do you mean, a "touch" of mental instability??? Most of us are completely nuts, and rather proud of it.