POST 007




September 28 2021

I’ve written as if I really had only two cameras in my past posts. The Nikon FG and Nikon F3, but if you read the image captions, you’d know I do in fact own a few others. One of the plagues of a gear intensive hobby like photography is an obsession with new equipment. Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) happens when you can’t stop buying new gear either for the improvement of new tech or the excitement of using something different. There’s really no end to gear acquisition syndrome, and with decades worth of secondhand analogue bodies it’s a very dangerous thing to acquire. Right around the time of my trips to Escalante I was sowing signs of GAS, I had four 35mm bodies and a digital camera, an arsenol of Nikon F moun lenses and I was beginning to check eBay and KSL on a regular basis.

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Kodak Royal Gold 200

The analog cameras that I had were the Nikon FG, Nikon FA, Nikon FM2 and Nikon F3. My digital camera was the Fuji X100T and my lenses were a Nikkor 50mm, Nikkor 35mm, Series E 28mm, and Series E 100mm. At the time that I purchased all those things I thought that I had a specific need for it: I wasn’t satisfied with the consumer functionality of the FG, so I felt like I needed to upgrade to an F3, since I was departing the cheap FG I need a cheaper backup body for the F3 so I got the FA, and realizing that both my F3 and FA were dependent on batteries I bought the FM2. And for lenses I felt like I needed to cover the main focal lengths (28,35,50) and then I had to get a telephoto in case I wanted to do portraits.

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Seattle FilmWorks 400

In reality I definitely did not need any of that gear. The FG and a standard 50mm was plenty to start exploring film photography. But, GAS caught hold of me quickly and hasn’t really let me go since.

I’ll break down my current cameras in the future and what I call my ‘primary’ cameras since my objective for purchasing gear has changed. But back when I was first getting into film, I just wanted to buy enough things to establish myself as a competent film photographer. I saw the FG as a measly entry level camera that I could not be taken seriously with. That is why I got the F3, and once I had the F3 I needed the backup and selection of lenses just like any 1980’s pro would have.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on Fuji Superia 400

That was my first frame from the FM2. I took it while I was testing the camera since I found it being sold locally. The FM2 is a perfect example of me buying before I needed to in order to emulate the pros. When I bought the FM2 I had a perfectly functional FG, FA and F3 but I read that pros would often keep FM2’s in their bags in case the F3 ate it. Obviously, this was a redundancy that I needed. If my F3 died on me while taking pictures of a house or something I would be screwed, it’s not like I always have my phone on me too. Either way, justified or not, I bought the FM2 because it would get me closer to the visions of 20th century analog photographers and I would scrape together $200 in cash for a chance at that.

I think there is a lot of discussion around GAS, I could probably argue that it isn’t a bad thing since every time I get a new camera I’m inspired to shoot with it. But at the same time it would probably be more valuable to master the camera that I own rather than constantly reaching for new gear. Focusing on technique and composition will definitely have long term benefits, but isn’t there some value in finding inspiration, even if it comes in the form of a new lens or body? I really want to dive into this topic since I was and am now heavily intertwined in purchasing new gear. I think it’s best to save for another post though. It’s a big topic for me so I would like to dedicate more time to it.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on Fuji Superia 400

This will be a pretty short post since I really just wanted to use it as a confession that I am obsessed with camera gear. Also, this post serves as a good heads up incase any new cameras show up in my future posts. I plan on writing about every camera that I’ve owned since that could be helpful if you are shopping for camera’s or just interested in gear like I am.

But the main takeaway from the post is that if a new camera shows up in an image caption, GAS is the explanation.

Voigtlander Bessa R4m with Voigtlander 40mm Nokton on Kodak Portra 400

Thanks for reading! Next week I’ll talk about black and white film and stop obsessing over gear!