#674 Monday Post (04 Dec. 2017) Why are we so emotionally attached to our gear ?

By philberphoto | Monday Post

Dec 04


As you know, Sony have just released the A7RIII, with deliveries starting on November 30th in the US. Following a Sony thread on a forum these days is like viewing the photo version of the Wailing Wall. Why did Amazon bump me off the list of the Happy And Special Ones who get cameras from the First Lot? Why did UPS confirm delivery on this date at this time, and then fail to show up? How will I face a week-end without camera when I just sold my “old” A7RII and my “new” A7RIII hasn’t shown up yet? Why do I think the world deserves to watch the unboxing video of my new camera? The the First Charge of the battery? How much dirt and insult can I heap on whoever dares to challenge the compelling, irresistible logic behind my buying this new camera? How much dirt and insult can I heap on whoever dares to challenge the compelling, irresistible logic behind my not buying this new camera? Why do I have to trash whoever disagrees with me?



In short, why are we behaving like petulant, immature, irrational children in a sandbox over what is only, really….. one piece of gear?



Is it simply that we are these children, and that the Internet “lets us let it all out” at the expense of rationality, public image, decency? After all, the vast majority of Internet personas are hiding their owner behind nicknames… in short, do we behave like this just because we can?



Is it an almost therapeutic outlet? That would mean photography (or pretty much any other hobby of that ilk, then) is a relief valve for the overpressures of our lives?



Is it because we are emotionally attached to our gear in the same way as others are to their pets? Is my camera a sort of dog, or is it a cat?



Is it because our photography is a form of identity, and because challenging “the way we do it” challenges our identity and our sense of security?



Is it because we get a profound feeling of achievement/satisfaction/enjoyment/pride when we produce a really good picture, and thus anyone challenging that challenges our right to this satisfaction?



Is it because photography is a form of artistic creation, and negating my right to create as I please/feel brings out the irate nature of many artists when faced with an outside world that doesn’t understand them/approve of them/appreciate them?



Lest this post becomes so long and convoluted as to compel readers to undertake a full Freudian analysis, thus robbing us of any funds for further gear purchases, I will just say this. You all think that Philippe (that is me), who presents himself as this rational, structured, composed, mature human being (there is a dose of the oxymoron right there) will claim to have overcome these factors. Right?



Wrong! I fess up. To each of these motives. And maybe even more. AND DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME THAT I AM WRONG! It is for a reason that a bully pulpit is called that.



Please let me know if you have other reasons in mind that explain why we behave like this. And, no, I did not say that all who love Leica are pompous idiots, and that Sony are only good for making walkmans, and that DSLRs are getting so old so fast, and that smaller sensors are for people with small you-know-whats (I meant small gear pouches, of course)…



I didn’t say it, because you all know it already, so you don’t need me for that. But as someone we all know would say: “don’t believe the media. It’s all true!”



Email: subscribed: 4
  • Steve says:

    Buddhists call it craving and it’s the cause of all suffering! Moving on, some lovely images Philippe, I particularly like the fuchsia and the park bench scene. Of course they’d be much better if you had the latest Hokey Cokey 3000….

  • Fabrizio Giudici says:

    There are many reasons, including some you hinted at, about personality and the damage that Internet does to it. Also on the average we have too many potentials (of things to do and to buy) and too few concrete ideas to use them. So we’re filling the gap in some way.

    Pardon me the explicit comparison: once I read an article by a psychiatrist who talked about why, allegedly, so many people assisted in a mental hospital frequently masturbate. He said: it’s not because there’s an high impact of sexual mental diseases; it’s just that they have plenty of time and don’t know how to fill it; and the genitals are always available.

    So, in the end I’m saying that it’s a mental masturbation. That’s why I’ve largely reduced the number of sites talking about gear in photography. I prefer sites where people talk about how they take photos.

    And yes, I think videos about people who unpack gear are really useless.

  • Adrian says:

    Amateur photography often seems to be a largely male pursuit, and men have the “male collector gene” – they have to have every DVD in a set, every CD by an artist, every watch of a marque. They love “top trumps” comparisons of specification and performance, that has nothing to do with artistry or even ability, but allows them to make definitive statements that “x is better than y”. However, the conviction is often very think skinned, and the merest prick will burst it, because ultimately cameras and lenses (or other high value collectibles) are little more than trinkets to massage the status and ego of the owner. It’s also why users of the “big two” camera brands have started to become so defensive when other brands start to garner good reviews, user praise and internet column inches – they don’t like the change to their status quo that allowed them security that because they had Canon (or Nikon) it was obviously “the best” – merely because it was the most popular.

    You have accidentally had a great idea – a “battery first charging video”. It would be good revenge for the socially challenged who feel the need to share with us all the “joy” of opening a box (because really it is another expression of how special, exclusive, lucky, rich and popular they are that everyone wants to see them opening their new trinket). Since Amazon allows you to share your latest order on social media, a friend and I laughed at the idea that we order some paperclips or suppositories to share on social media (the equivalent of attention seeking screams about the exciting thing you will soon be acquiring).

    Remember that there is a well documented psychological link between consumerism and the associated gratification as a short term fix for our ultimate dissatisfaction and emptiness.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    ROTFLMHAO (that’s OK – if you’re nicely brought up, you won’t know what it means!)

    Philippe, I love the shots of the pelargonium (AKA geranium) and the fuchsia, but I am troubled by your apparent obsession with bicycles. And I cannot help with your agony – it’s a bit like Hamlet saying, “to be, or not to be – that is the question”, and going off to kill Ofelia’s mother. (At least I think that’s what happened – I’m not very interested in Shakespeare I’m afraid, so I don’t really know what happened – I think it is like cricket, I always fall asleep when I’m watching it).

    For what it’s worth, I spent all the money I could afford to spend on gear for the moment, buying the two Otus lenses – Zeiss won that round, and I’m afraid Nikon will have to eat cake instead.

    Would I have upgraded from the D810 to the D850 anyway? I doubt it. The extra HDR isn’t that much extra, the extra pixels aren’t really going to change things very much, the video side of it is of no interest whatsoever, and the other changes are scarcely going to revolutionise my photography. I can’t comment as an owner of a Sony A7RII, about the jump up to an A7RIII.

    I can say this – at least this discussion has allayed any fears I might have had about going into a mental hospital. I once read a book entitled “Is Sex Necessary?” The book never really answered the question – there was an excursion into a parallel universe at one point, with a chapter entitled “Substitutes for sex – 6 day bicycle races”, but the main issue remained unresolved when I finished and closed the book. I have however found solace in the fact that whether it’s necessary or not, it’s vastly more entertaining than Shakespeare or cricket. Perhaps if you give it further thought, you might find an answer to the question of what to do about the A7RIII somewhere in that – after all, it would seem to be much more interesting than watching the paint dry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • philberphoto says:

    Steve, are you a prophet? A mentalist? A seer? How on earth could you know I was/am on the verge of ordering a Hokey Cokey 3000? I thought no-one but I had ever hard of it…

  • philberphoto says:

    Fabrizio, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that we should give patients in mental institutions cameras, because, that way, they would cut down on their masturbation. Mais bien sรปr! How could I not think about it? And it would help relieve the slump in the market, too.

  • John W says:

    Analogically, I think its “digital road rage”. The Buddhists have another word “shenpa” which has to do with ego and getting caught up in the constant noise going on in your head (aka – thinking). Its an interesting and enlightening approach to the problem. Somewhere in there there’s probably also a bit of our insatiable need to prove we’re better than the rest.

    About that Hokey Corkey 3000. REALLY???? Sooooo passe! I’m upgrading to the 3001G, so take that you philistine. I’ll send you the video of the unboxing.

  • Mel says:

    For a long time, Philippe, I believe your images have suffered from uncertain eye-lock, lagging frames-per-second sharpness, and striated micro-textures within planes of focus. Thank goodness we now have the A7RIII. Howl!!! until you receive yours. Then SNAP and a new world will be revealed! Actually, if I were a Sony shooter (and could sell a kidney), I’d get one too. Bonne chance.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    SORRY GUYS – just found this, so my apologies for bursting into song – again!

    Outdoor Photographer just sent me a post about a sale of gear by Fuji. Apparently it’s been going on since September, and will continue until 6 January 2018. Here’s the URL to the Fuji posting:

    Fuji make some pretty good gear, too – t’ain’t just Canikon, Sony & Sigma (oops – and Leica). And some of the savings are quite big.

    I often wonder if we wouldn’t all be better off staying a step behind the cutting edge, and picking up all our gear at the run off sales these companies have when they want to introduce a new model. I guess it’s wagering dollars on the one hand against what has become rather marginal improvements in performance – and the balancing factor for all of us is our own skill set. Can we take a better photo, because we’re all so good at it, without the wiggley LED screen on the back of the cam, or higher ISO or pixel count, or whatever? When a pro took off with a Kodak Box Brownie and did just that, to prove to a photographic group that you CAN take top quality photos without a big spend on gear, the people I see contributing to DS ought to fly it in, with the gear they have.

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    I think there is one more thing to consider, the perpetual search for the camera that solves ALL your photographic problems.

    Only, it doesn’t exist.
    It just does not.

    When I switched from my always-with-me SuperIkonta III (collapsible range finder 6x6cm) w. Tessar 75mm/3.5 to an SLR for easier close-ups, I lost the ability to print large from crops and so had to carry more lenses.

    No, the does-it-all will never be. And if one doesn’t limit oneself there is the danger of ending up not being able to choose which camera to bring along – or even worse, still hoping for a future do-it-all camera.

    ( Like the recently announced Hokey Corkey…)
    – – –
    Btw., ALL camera bags are the wrong size!
    – – –

    Nice photos!
    ( Especially those without bicycles, ๐Ÿ˜‰ .)

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Sigh – over the years I had two Super Ikontas, Kristian – lovely cameras!

      ( I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed all those bicycles. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  • philberphoto says:

    Are you people suggesting that it is because we have photographic problems (copyright Kristian Wannebo) that we get emotionally attached to whatever camera does not solve them???
    Or are you suggesting that the depth of this emotional attachment has something to do with the fetishism for bicycle pics???
    Or that we have to take pictures without thinking to stop the digital road rage?
    And if one has to sell a kidney to get the Sony A7RIII, what happens when the A7RIV comes out, let alone the inevitable A7RV? That is, assuming you still have both kidneys left, which, at this stage of the development of the Sony A7x line, may be oversimplifying…
    Thanks, guys, really. I came to you for help, and now I have more questions and problems than I knew existed…

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      I’ll scout around to see if I can find you some more bicycles, Philippe.
      And a word of advice – if you want to keep the other kidney, I believe bone marrow transplants are all the rage.
      You shoot with Sony – I shoot with Nik – we both face this one, you with the A7RIII and me with the D850. While this discussion has been going on, I’ve seen a lot more stuff on the D850. Yes it is better than the D810 – no I’m not going to buy one (at least, not at this stage – and by the time I feel like changing my mind, I’ve no doubt there’ll be yet another “greatest ever camera” instead, in Nikon’s arsenal). There’s nothing wrong with the prints I’m producing from the D7200 and the Canon PowerShot, let alone the prints from the D810 and one of the Otus lenses. So there’s no point in upgrading. There! I’m all done! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Adrian says:

      Why do people keep commenting that the Sony A7R3 is expensive?
      The Nikon D850 is more expensive and in some ways is less fully featured, and the Canon EOS 5Ds is about the same price, but with much less performance and flexibility. Why doesn’t everyone complain about the price of those too?
      Sony make several other very good E mount cameras, including a couple of the least expensive full frame cameras you can buy.

      • John W says:

        Weeeeellll … let’s be fair here. CanNikon been the equivalent of photographic piniada(?) low these many years. Now Sony is doing their best to eat everyone’s lunch. So welcome, welcome, welcome … new target in town. And BTW, if I wasn’t firmly planted in the Fuji camp, I’d be shooting with Sony. Fuji’s turn on the dartboard will come.

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Aah Philippe,
    You opened a can of worms…
    …and we just stirred it for you.
    Not a very nice behaviour, shame on us!

    1) I’ve been emotionally attached to very few of my cameras – it has been those few who have grown into extensions of my hands and eyes, e.g. my Superikonta III and my pocketable Vitessa w. Ultron 50mm/2.

    2) Another reason for emotional attachment might be as a defence against the inner rational realization that buying that expensive camera wasn’t the great decision one talked oneself into now that one begins to see it’s limits – an unwillingness to admit that one didn’t do the absolutely best choice, plus, perhaps, the hope of perfection in the next model of that camera.

    3) For some time the back of my mind HAS been busy ruminating the possibilities of the next, although rather expensive, Hokey Cokey…
    ( In this case the Light L16.)
    …wondering if – or, rather, when – the camera software would really be all up to the task.

    And – SIGH! – it seems not yet, and probably not anytime soon:

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