Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Make sure you buy the right kit that’s going to benefit you and your photography

There’s no question that when a new piece of camera equipment is announced, be it a camera or lens, many of us think that said new item will transform our photography. That until now we’ve been holding back all these years with the kit we’ve got and this new item’s going to change everything.

Our desire though to have the latest and greatest camera kit can lead us into a trap quite quickly, as it’s all too easy to end up buying a stack of exotic equipment that would embarrass some professionals, and then not know how to take advantage of all that technology at your fingertips. As the saying goes, all the gear, no idea.

Master what you’ve got

Instead, master what you have got first and remember why you had to have it in the first place. Get to know your camera inside and out, every menu and submenu, every button and control, so you’re confident you’re getting everything possible out of your camera when you shoot. Only then, when you know you’re maximising its capabilities and it’s falling short in some areas is it time to think about upgrading. Be clear though to yourself what these elements are, but just as importantly, be honest with yourself and question whether it’s the camera that’s holding you back from the shots you want to capture, or your own technique. 

They’ll be other times though when the advantages to upgrading are clear. Take the Nikon D500 for example. With an array of new features, a much better sensor and a huge boost in performance over the D300S it replaces, it’s a significant upgrade and one that easily justifies an upgrade if you’ve been soldiering on with your old kit.


It’s just as easy to end up with a stack of lenses you don’t need either, buying the likes of a standard zoom, followed by a wide-angle and telephoto zoom to cover a range of subjects because that’s what everyone else has. But really think about what you like to shoot, and look which focal length or lens you tend to shoot with the most – the likes of Lightroom will be able to distil this information for you. You might be surprised at what lens gets the most use, and if it’s a lens that’s showing its age, you might want to think about upgrading to one with quieter and faster focusing, or with built-in image stabilisation. Or you decide to look at the focal lengths you use the most and opt for a fast prime, allowing you to shoot in lower light levels or at a wider aperture than you have been able to before to broaden your photography.



Perhaps though some of the biggest changes and improvements you can make to your photography are with accessories. From filters to flashguns, this plethora of accessories can transform your images more so than any camera or lens can, not forgetting that they can be considerably more affordable options as well.

The main thing to remember is when buying new camera equipment is the ability to separate the ‘I want' from the ‘I need’. Look at where your photography’s going and what will help you take the shots you want to create. That way you’ll end with a camera bag full of gear you use all the time, rather than a camera bag simply full of underused kit. 

  • By Andi Thomas
  • 11 May 2016

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