Gear comparisons are always a contentious topic within the photography fraternity. Photographers are most commonly associated with one of four major brands; Canon, Nikon, Sony or Panasonic. Prospective camera buyers pore over spec sheets and DXOMark scores before spending their hard-earned cash on their next imaging investment.
My last camera setup was a Canon 70D paired with a battery grip and a Sigma 18–35mm lens. I’d bought it in June 2016 after shooting for about 2 years with a Canon 1200D.
Photographically, the 70D and Sigma lens combo produced some fantastic results, and the video it churned out wasn’t too bad either. But as time wore on and I used it more and more, I came to loathe the camera set-up I’d invested in.
In total, that set-up weighed about 2kgs with a massive footprint that mimicked much pricier gear. As a travel camera it was completely impractical, even without the battery grip attached.
Photography was no longer fun — it felt like more of a chore.
Even though I had spent hours obsessing over new gear, the shooting experience just didn’t match my expectations.
GAS — Gear Acquisition Syndrome
You see, I was so fixated on acquiring gear that looked professional that I had completely forgotten about the fun that went into the actual shooting experience.
Wikipedia defines Gear Acquisition Syndrome as “the all-consuming desire to expand your collection of gear.”
What drives Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or GAS? Quite simply, it’s the mistaken belief that better gear produces better results.
In December of 2016 while travelling India, I took nothing but my Canon 1200D, a 24mm pancake lens and a meagre 16gb memory card along on my travels. The result? I ended up taking some of my favourite images of all time using a light, go-anywhere camera set-up that cost a measly $500.
Prior to leaving the country I sold my Canon 70D/Sigma combo to pay for my airfare to South Korea. Truth be told, I wasn’t exactly sad to say goodbye to that camera.
I pledged to replace my camera with the funds from my first paycheque here in Korea.
Three weeks ago, I made good on that pledge and bought a Sony A6300 along with a Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens.
Could you tell the difference between the two cameras from a set of photos? Probably not. (Video though, that’s an entirely different story.)
More importantly, it’s brought the joy back to my shooting. It reminds me that photography doesn’t have to be a cumbersome, complicated affair where your camera determines your level of skill.