I think too much time is spent on equipment. Many of the old Soviet Bloc nations were so "choice poor" that equipment issues never really came up. You bought XXXXXX camera and used XXXXX film.

Meanwhile in the west, everyone is getting bombarded with ads and opinions. Ads are the worst since they tend to center around themes like "Only a REAL photographer would use our gear" or "We SWEAR this camera will improve ALL your pictures".

And we fall for it.

Being on a tight budget, I quickly learned myself that gear is less important than what you do with it. Perhaps I have a "Prague Mentality". I hope I do! I buy most of my stuff used and several years out of date. Instead of spending a fortune on the latest Zeiss glass, I buy older MC lenses for my Bronica. Do I need a Leica? No, my old FT2 does me just fine.