Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When You Have Too Much Gear

I remember when I got my 3.1 MP Canon G1 back in 2001, I took it everywhere and made a lot of pictures.  I debated for months before spending the $20USD on a LensMate adapter, so that I can use filters and close up lenses on the G1, and I did use it quite a bit.

I had the same passion with my Canon 300D from 2003. Used it a lot and whenever I got a piece of new gear/lens for it, I was excited and spent weeks checking it out, and comparing it to others.  I really enjoyed both taking pictures and acquiring photo gears.

After the 300D, I got more cameras and lenses, and more often.  Still like to take pictures, but the passion to tryout new stuff is gradually waning.  Today, I can hardly get excited about new cameras, especially Canon cameras that show no real innovation, but going backwards in image quality with more pixels, in their consumer/pro-sumer grade of cameras.  But, I think it's just me, because Canon still sells more DSLRs than other manufacturers, and people are buying them like there is no tomorrow.

For the last two months, I seem to have developed resistance to photography, gears or otherwise. There interest doesn't seem to be there any more, or perhaps, as they say, the flame has extinguished.  I think it's partly due to the number of lenses I have built up.  Frankly I am very tired of having so many lenses that actually distracts me from taking pictures.  A decision needs to be made, and that is to get rid of the majority of my manual focus lenses and buy a full frame camera that I can use for the next five years, with a set of auto focus lenses, and a set of manual focus lenses of most common focal lengths. Yes, this shall be my new resolution of next year -- less gear, more pictures with substance.  We will see how it goes.  

Gardiner Express Way - 1D IIn & EF 100mm f2.8L IS.  Click on picture to see bigger.


  1. I've been reading your blog for a while after starting to use manual focus lenses on Canon EOS mount myself. I think you're absolutely right - it can be far worse to have too many options than too few.

    Out of curiosity, how many lenses do you have right now? What are you looking at for your next system (camera + lenses)?

  2. Bill,

    I have more than a 100 manual focus lenses. Admittedly, most of them are not great.

    Ideally, I would like to keep my 1D IIn, and then a 5D II/1Ds III, and a Sony NEX-5 for other obscure lenses like FD, Konica, Minolta MD mounts.
    Still too much gear, but I probably won't have to think about cameras for a few years.

  3. I think a fresh start sounds like a good idea here. I can relate to your story however I'm not nearly as far as you and am still more towards the beginning stages. You have many lenses that are on my list of things to get/try and would love to know where and how you will be selling them so that I might be able to help with some purchases :)

  4. oh come on ... you just don't have enough storage space ;-)

  5. ohh ... pardon me:

    "A decision needs to be made, and that is to get rid of the majority of my manual focus lenses"

    ok... but then

    " and buy a full frame camera that I can use for the next five years, with a set of auto focus lenses, and a set of manual focus lenses of most common focal lengths. "

    which may put you back to square one?

    If not for the outstanding success of my G1 every time I shoot birds (last blog post related to this is http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2010/11/dads-back-yard.html) I would seriously consider:

    two bodies:
    5D Mk1 - for full frame
    20D - cheaper than a good 1.4x teleconverter and allows a 300f4 USM to be really hot

    these lenses:
    Olympus 21mm f3.5 (already own)
    Canon EF 50 1.8 (already own)
    Canon EF 24 f2.8 (already own)
    Olympus 100mm f2.8 (already own)
    Canon EF 300 USM f4 (need to buy)

    keep the G1 as a snapshot camera, but I'd sort of prefer a GF-1 to get video

  6. @obakesan, my problem is having too many lenses with same focal lengths. I have roughly 20 lenses in the 40-58mm focal lengths! I will likely keep all my EF lenses, except the Sigma 50/1.4 and EF 100mm f2, as I already have the Canon 50/1.2 and 100mm f2.8 IS. Then may be one or two sets of manual focus lenses with unique focal lengths :)

  7. This si pretty much what I did last summer, altough my problem was always film bodies rather than lenses. At some point simply figuring out what camera/lens to take becomes too much of a hassle.

    Now the answer is simple, grab the Maxxum 7 and a couple rolls of Tri-X.

    You will likely find that a simple system will restore your interest in shooting.

  8. @Mawz, I have tried many times to get rid of lenses, but it proved to be difficult. I seem to be very attached to lenses I have, even though I may not be using them must. But this time, I will get rid of most of them.

  9. Hello, I often come across comments of people who sold part of their objectives collection just to regret later, I think that a collectors and interested picture taker (which most of the time don't overlap)solution to a oversized accumulation is to let go the ones and only those lenses which we do not really like for any reason, as collectors or as photographers.Lenses are our loving objects, technically and/or cosmetically and part of our identity. We love them, is embedded.

  10. @uyalbert: I am really not a collector of lenses. When I buy a lens, I really want to use it to make pictures. I happen to like most of the lenses I have, and that's a problem since it's hard to get rid of stuff you like. At some point, I will have to consolidate and thin out the equipment I have. Already started to get rid of my Takumars.