Upload & Sell: Off
| p.1 #11 · Keeping up with the Jonses vs BEING the Jonses |
I spent the better part of a decade feeling compelled to buy new camera bodies and new lenses as fast as Canon could introduce them. While there is no question that there was something nice about using the "new and improved equipment", in the last few years, I have come to realize that all of those tens of thousands of dollars spent were not contributing much, if anything, to the improvement in the pictures I was taking. In reality, the new equipment was, in many ways, contributing to causing my skills as a photographer to become static because I was relying on the new equipment to produce better pictures, and I was ignoring the idea of putting effort into other things that could have had real positive impact on my photography. I came to realize that what I was doing was merely taking the same pictures that I had taken in previous years, but I was taking them with newer equipment.
Perhaps, the greatest free marketing tool that Canon, Nikon, and the others have is the existence of internet forums. When we go to those forums, we read posts from those who have just spent thousands of dollars on new equipment, and the level of cognitive dissonance that comes with having spent thousands of dollars on something leads them to post over-the-top praise for their new equipment. They are likely to describe their new camera or new lens with terms like "blows away" their previously owned equipment, or they say that they would never go back to that older equipment. The reality, however, is that, in most cases, the improvements are marginal, and so is, at best, the improvement in the quality of the images that they produce. Yet, when we see those posts from people who have bought the new equipment, we feel like we are missing something and that we also need to go out and buy that new equipment. (I'm sure that someone could do a fantastic Ph.D. thesis on how internet forums cause us to make irrational purchase decisions.)
A couple of years ago, I gained, for the first time, a better ability to evaluate new equipment and to determine whether the improvements in that new equipment were actually going do something that my shooting requires and that my present equipment doesn't do for me. When I read on the internet forums the praise that people give to their new 1DX or even their new 5D Mark III, I immediately have the urge to go out and buy one of each. Then, I go out and shoot with one of my 3 year old bodies and see what they are capable of doing, and I realize that, with regard to detail produced, AF ability, ISO capability, etc., there is nothing about those bodies that is holding back the quality of my images in any way and that, for my shooting, there are things about those bodies that would actually make it more difficult for me to get the pictures that I want to get. The result is that I have not bought a new camera body or a new lens in over 3 years. Yet, as I've focused on other things that can improve my photography, my skills as a photographer have moved off of a plateau for the first time in a good number of years.
I'm quite confident that there will be a time in the next few years when I will buy a new camera body, but I hope that I am able to resist the urge to do so until Canon produces a camera body which I can objectively evaluate with a conclusion that there is something about that camera body that will actually do something for my shooting that the equipment I'm using now cannot do.