As you know, I used to have more cameras than items of clothing, and a significant factor in reaching that point was how buying a new camera made me feel.
After months without even looking at eBay, in the last six weeks or so I seem to have bought five new cameras.
So that I’m better prepared when that camera lust strikes once more, here are the prevalent feelings that drive me to buy, along with additional thoughts that have come from the wisdom of not wanting to be an serial victim of decision fatigue.
When I buy a new camera I feel… Excited, at the possibility that this camera will finally be the perfect one and with virtually no faffing on my part will create masterful images.
The downside… I want and enjoy having a conscious creative input into the images any camera makes. This comes from shooting enough photographs to know what you want, then choosing one or two cameras you can can set up just how you want them to reach this end.
When I buy a new camera I feel… Curious, about what the previous owners have made with it (I’ve only bought one brand new camera in my life), what the camera’s eye has already seen, and how my images will compare.
The downside… While this is an interesting story to ponder, you don’t need to buy a camera to wonder what its past might have been. You can browse in an antique shop or charity shop or online and do the same. It’s not a great reason to keep buying old cameras.
When I buy a new camera I feel… Victorious, if I’ve won it on eBay, that my auction experience has enabled me to snatch a bargain from under someone else’s nose.
The downside… However much of a bargain it was, it’s still a spend I didn’t need to make, for a camera I don’t need to own. It’s like those sale ads that claim because the item is now £200 not £250, they are doing you a favour and saving you £50. Guess what, if you don’t buy it all, you save £200!
When I buy a new camera I feel… Remorseful that once again I’ve succumbed to the addiction, the same root habit that used to make me swipe to refresh my email/Instagram/WordPress every two minutes just in case something incredibly exciting and unmissable has just arrived.
The downside… As with the chacking (checking and chasing) habit for social media, once we build up our resistance and only check these things a couple of times a day (or ditch them completely), we wonder why we needed to do it so much before. With camera buying it’s even easier because there’s no need to keep chacking on eBay. Just don’t use it – remove the temptation entirely from your radar. This has worked for me for months at a time in the past. I just need to stay away for the ‘bay!
When I buy a new camera I feel… Powerful, that I have the means and connections to do so. It’s a reminder of the very priveleged life I have, and whilst in Western terms I’m far from a millionaire, I’m in the top 2.5% richest people in the world.
The downside… Spending is a lame exercise in appreciating your life and wealth. Much better to not spend it on something you don’t need, or feel even better by donating it to a person or cause in much greater need than yourself.
When I buy a new camera I feel… Invigorated at the opportunity to explore a new set of controls, body, lens and so on. Even if the new camera can’t do anything any other camera you have can do, there is an appeal and challenge in trying something different.
The downside… Unless you’re trying radically different cameras, it’s not likely that the appeal will last very long, and you’ll realise this is 95% similar to other cameras you have or have had, and ultimately prefer. The time you spend trying to learn everything about a new camera could have been invested in getting out and taking even better photographs with the camera you already know and love. Or modifying it to improve it further still.
I accept that buying a new (old!) camera does still have its allure, mostly for me this is around it offering excitement and newness.
Anyone creative needs some kind of fresh stimulus, but look at the greats of the past in any artistic medium, and very few bought new tools every week or month. They simply bought (begged, stole or borrowed) what they needed, then got down to the work. This is far more the approach I want to take from here on in.
How about you, how do you feel when you buy a new camera?
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Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.