Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Journey Part 3 (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

In my previous posts, I talked about how I went from cellphone camera to bridge camera then to DSLR/high end compact/underwater compact.  I read a lot of websites devoted to camera gear (DPReview, Canon/Nikon/Photo Rumors, etc.).  It’s no surprise that right now I have gear acquisition syndrome or GAS.

I guess I should’ve known.

It started reasonably enough.  The cellphone camera (before) doesn’t produce good enough pictures.  My Samsung point-and-shoot seemed to have had a problem focusing (after a year or so of use).  The bridge camera doesn’t focus quickly enough.

With my Fuji S4000 in Tarak Ridge (shot by Felix).

Then came the DSLR.  It’s good (very good actually).  But the 18-135mm doesn’t do macro (hence, the 100mm macro).  It wasn’t very wide (hence, the 10-22mm).  It’s not good for low-light and wasn’t sharp enough (hence, the 50mm f1.4).  After a while, my first DSLR (60D) got wet so I had to buy a new camera (a Fuji X10).  I had four lenses and nothing to use it on so I had to buy a replacement DSLR (my 7D).  When I saw an underwater camera, I just had to buy one (my Panasonic TS3).

With my Fuji X10 in Mt. Talamitam jumpoff (left) and with my 7D and 100mm macro (right) (both shot by Ni Hao).

And now after all these cameras and spending a lot (and I mean a lot), I want more.  First of all, I want something smaller but with interchangeable lens and with good image quality.  I think this is justified since whenever I climb mountains, the camera takes a lot of space in my bag (about 1/4 to 1/3).  Along with my tent, cookset, stove, clothes, etc. it makes for a very big and heavy bag.

Me with a very big bag in Mt. Pulag Akiki Trail (never used the 85 liter bag again after that – forgot who shot this picture).

Of course I can just use my Fuji X10 for climbs but the image quality would not be the same, it wouldn’t do for wide or long shots (rationalizations).  I’ve been looking at Fuji X-Pro1 but it is still (and will probably remain) very expensive.  There’s also the Olympus OM-D EM5 (seriously considering) but I’m not a big fan of the 4/3 format (well, I guess I can live with it since it’s the format of my TS3 and X10).  I’m not a big fan of the faux-pentaprism hump (why? of why?).  There’s also the NEX7 but the lenses are very limited.  I’ll probably just wait for the Canon mirrorless.

My underwater picture shot with my Panasonic TS3.

Of course I want a full-frame camera.  Who wouldn’t?  It makes for better image quality.  Finding a normal lens is easier and 16-40 is wide angle (though telephoto lenses will have shorter reach).  There’s the good 5D Mark III (very expensive) and the excellent Nikon D800/E (still more expensive considering that I’ll have to buy new lenses for the Nikon mount).  I’ll just probably wait for the “entry-level” Canon full-frame camera.

For some reason, I also want to have a smaller DSLR (7D is large).  There’s the Canon 1100D (with a sensor of 2 generations ago), 600D (hmmm) and Nikon D3200 (new generation DX sensor but again, there’s the issue with changing system and lenses).

I want to shoot Nikon.  Based on what I read, Nikon produces cleaner shadows when pushed (my Canon pictures have noisy shadows), a result of higher dynamic range.

I want to trim my DSLR kit whenever I travel.  Right now, for major trips, I carry my 18-135mm for general shooting, 100mm macro for closeups and 10-22 for wide landscapes.  Sometimes I also bring my 50mm f1.4 for portraits.  I want to have the Canon 15-85mm (wide enough for landscapes, covers general zoom focal range) and a 60mm Tamron macro (with an f2.0 aperture, it can substitute for the 100mm macro and 50mm).

Lenses, lenses, lenses:

  • 65mm 1x-5x macro – wanted this eversince I got a DSLR
  • 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM – a fast general zoom
  • 70-200mm f2.8 IS II USM – legendary lens, want to see what the fuss is all about
  • TS-E 17mm – for better depth of field control on landscape pictures (of course I’d have to have to full-frame camera first).
  • a fisheye lens – a different perspective.

I also want a macro focusing rail (will probably be getting one).

There’s the RX100 which seems a very good high-end compact.  There’s also the Olympus TG1 underwater cam with a fast lens.

So many things I want, not enough money.  Until then, I’ll have to be content with what I have and make the most of it.

* * * * *

UPDATE:  I recently read that Canon’s cheaper full frame will be priced around $2,000.  Much more affordable than the 5d Mk III.  It will also have 19 AF points (sounds like the 7D AF).  Fujifilm will also announce new cameras for their X-series interchangeable cameras.  A lower level camera (good!) and a higher end camera (as if the X-Pro1 isn’t expensive enough).

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