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Tuesday, 17 August 2021


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What have you bought? And, what have/haven't you parted with?

The Fujifilm 200m f/2 lens for the X system is on "sale" right now for a $2000 discount. That makes a $6K lens almost affordable at $4K, even less with my EDU discount.

I do not need a 200mm f/2 lens. but man o man do I covet one. (On the X system it would be basically a 300mm f/2, and it comes with a matched 1.4x teleconverter making a 420mm f/2.8. Covet is exactly the right word.) Three stops faster than the telephoto zooms at 200mm and 2 stops faster at 400mm.

And so do I have a Prized Possession that I could sell that would cover this cost? Why yes, yes I do. My Leica Q2 would easily cover the cost of the new lens, and I have been waffling for a couple of years now on whether to keep the Q2 or not. It's a lovely camera but my overly complete Fuji system can easily replace everything about it except the Red Dot. OK, and the lovely user interface.

My spouse tells me to just get what I want and we'll figure it out. (I know, right?)

But Mike, I just cannot pull the trigger on this. Even knowing that I could promise to sell the Q2 and never do so, and have both.

So I am simply ignoring the whole thing, and in four short days the rebate period ends and I am safe. (This is actually unusual for me - in the past I would be sweating bullets and place the order at the last minute.)

Back in my film days, I regretted selling anything. Many times, I repurchased the same thing at a loss (sold a pristine Nikon F2 with pointy non-metering prism, and chased that configuration for a decade only to never find as good a sample as what I stupidly sold to get my then new F3). And don't get me started on the Leicas that I sold in Japan when the Yen was strong... missed them all long after the money was spent.

Today, I simply calculate how much film and processing that I'd have spent in a film camera when buying a new digital body. These things are basically free. You'd be stupid not to buy a new camera if you shoot with it.

Over and over and over.

My wife is a saint!

I think you've left out the step where you succeed in selling P . . . then buy it back, realizing that you can make the case for owning both P and N.

I'm resisting going through this process with the new Fuji 18 f/1.4. I bought it to replace my 16 f/1.4, 18 f/2, and 23 f/1.4. The new 18 is tremendous, and I don't yearn for the wider and longer lenses—but I do find myself missing the small size of the 18 f/2. And it's not very expensive used, on eBay....

In my dotage I’ve found waiting 24 hours helps the madness subside. Never been good at selling, (And, a lot of my camera stuff is fun cheap stuff, not worth much.) This 24 hour rule is true even though it may need to be applied three or four times for the same object of desire. Does not hold true for anything less than $X as long $X is within monthly hobby budget. But, spending $X can be applied only once per month.
That said, recently extreme frustration caused me to exceed budget for a new light meter from B&H without following 24 hour rule. The missus said it was worth it just to shut up my complaining.

This piece made me very pleased with myself. Three years ago, I sold off a pile of "accumulated" low-end gear, most of which I hadn't used for many years. The funds went into a very targeted purchase: A Voigtländer 28/2.0 VM and a Leica D-Lux 6 - both of which are now clearly among my most-used equipment. And I don't miss any of the stuff that I sold.

That pleased feeling only lasted until it then dawned on me that after upgrading my amplifier a year ago (to a QUAD Vena), I completely forgot to sell of the Linn which was supposed to finance it. Argh.

I just think that's a brilliant piece of writing Mike. We have all been there and will be there again and it sums up why AI will never be able to mimic a human!

Is funny. You can calculate how much film, chemistry and paper (OK, chemistry is free I think) would correspond to a new digital camera, and use that number to justify its purchase. Or, you can calculate how much film, chemistry and paper would correspond to a new digital camera and use that number to explain to yourself why you should not buy it: 100 rolls of ektachrome shot with a camera which is free is, fir some, a hugely preferable way of spending those zorkmids.

Personal addendum: Accumulate many instances of P in a drawer. Berate oneself when realizing value of digital P's has fallen. Congratulate oneself when realizing value of film-based P's has skyrocketed.

On rare occasion good fortune strikes even the irresponsible and it goes like this:

Let months or years go by. Only then actually get around to selling P for MORE than what you could get for it months or years ago.

Case in point: I recently sold a Fujfilm 645 film camera for $450 more than I paid for it used a few years ago. Some of those old film cameras are actually going up in value.

Now, imagine that I had been 'responsible' and sold it a couple of years ago when I originally intended. I'd be $450 dollars poorer! OK. I'm poorer anyway because of course that $450 isn't sitting in my bank account anymore.

Your post is just a coincidence to my last camera purchase….uhhh and the one before that , and the other one before that, also the turntable, speakers and media I purchased. I will be selling off the old gear any day now.
Fortunately, I’m done with any more purchases…………for now.

Decide whether you need it or you want it. If you need it, just buy.

For wants, set a "Cooling Off" period. Mine is typically about a week. I have found that most times after a week, my heart is not so keen after all. Problem solved.

If I still want it, I might still ask myself if it is a 100% decision? If not, drag feet another week. When it reaches 100%, go ahead and buy.

Some people living around Finger Lakes don't have that problem with "the one who must be obeyed".

For much of my life there were always vastly more cameras & lenses to wish for than I could afford. I restricted my purchases to those that I actually used . . . and since i shot semi-pro in the early 70s with access to a newspaper's locker I kind of knew that. In practice that meant (for almost 20 years) a Nikon FM and 35/f2, 105/f2.5 and 200/f4 AIS lenses. Somewhere along the way i afforded a real luxury: 24/f2.8 AIS. There was no gear lust really, just feeding my 3/roll per month habit and printing costs.

Now i'm retired and the kids are off the payroll; honestly i suppose i could have any gear i wish within reason. But Lawdy-Lou i hate learning new cameras and, for the life of me, cannot see why i'd want to go beyond what my six-year-old D810 and set of Tamron f2.8 zooms give me in terms of delivered prints.

Note that both my 40 year-old FM body/AIS lens purchases and my current portfolio were by no means cheap to buy but they seem sufficient and i've learned to optimize the use of these tools. When buying them i do not recall lusting after them (ah, selective memory?) so much as spending some months struggling past hundreds of reviews (initially in print) to find the right configuration.

The bodies in particular have gotten so complex with all their various modes -- much of which I use -- that a new purchase would be a burden to be avoided unless there would be a major benefit.

-- gary ray

PS I cannot bring myself to sell my AIS lenses with the lovely brass helicoids; the 105/f2.5 in particular holds many fond memories, followed by the 35/f2.


Ah, know the feeling. Just went through it and have a Voigtlander 21/4 (the widest lens I've ever bought) coming used from one place and a 21 finder coming from another place.

I started thinking I needed a portrait lens and was looking at a 75/2.5 but instead I wound up at the other end of things ;)

What an excellent and timely article. I just rationalized some filter purchases and of course used your link to B&H

You could save all of the anxiety and just sell P.

And then not buy N.

All this sounds familiar. I often yearn for some new item (usually a lens) but, of course it's not available... anywhere. Then, mirabile dictu, it's available at Amazon or Adorama, or wherever. I debate and debate and feel guilty for not just waiting until my local store, which I do want to support, has it. After a while, I decide it's just not worth it and give up. Just this week, I've saved $5K in this fashion :-). I've neither bought nor sold anything. At this rate, I'll be rich soon.

I do miss having local, physical camera dealers where I could just trade in gear or sell on consignment without the whole internet thing. Yes, I lost commission or equivalent on the deal but it was worth it for the time saving plus zero payment risk, and I avoided your - um - process of rationalisation. There are still some dealers in here in Melbourne but it's all very inconvenient at the moment.

Mike, please don't sell your Boat.

[I don't actually have a boat. But then, I don't have a spouse either. :-( --Mike]

I have a Canon 70-300mm and a 28-135mm I don't use, and an eye on a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8. I might have to use this rationalization.

Musta been a :mind meld".....
I just bought a new Nikon Z fc (via TOP of course.)
The thought process behind the decision was long and convoluted, like this:

Back in early 2020, I decided to try film again by buying a used Nikon FM which I owned and loved for about 15 years. I went to eBay (stupidly, instead of waiting for KEH to have a nice one), bought one from Japan that was "like new." New what was unspecified. The camera was OK but the 50mm lens was so gummed up it took pounds of force to focus. Bought a 35mm, that was nice. Took pictures on Trips-X, sent film to the Darkroom for development and scanning. Took 2 weeks to see photos. Photos were nice. Shot second roll, got back, also nice, but I realized how expensive film really was and how frustrating waiting for developed film.
Decided experiment was fun, but a failure. Sold equipment on eBay. (eBay experience was a real bummer, quit eBay when I heard they wanted access to my bank account.)

Decided to buy an older digital SLR and set up for B&W. Bought Oly E-M10 and 2 lenses from KEH. Had lots of fun with that. Success.

But missed the look and feel of the Nikon FM. Then Nikon introduced the Z fc that looked and mostly worked like an FM but was digital. Instant gear lust. Waited for more than a month to see if there was any bad news on new camera. Nope.

Meanwhile I downloaded the manual to see how the Z fc worked. Figured how to make it mimic a manual FM with Tri-X but easily switch to automation. Not too hard.

Agonized over the cost. Rationalized that it cost about the same as a new iPhone 12 Pro. (Gulp)

I've been playing with it for a week now. Did setup as planned so it emulates Tri-X or with one button state of the art digital color. Turned monitor backwards so I don't use it at all - just viewfinder - no chomping, just look at pictures on computer after downloading. Let me say that being able to control the camera with dials and without delving into menus is WONDERFUL.

Rationalization can lead to happiness.

And the leftover Oly M-10 will probably be given to a photo student who needs it.

Ok this is scary I am caught in exactly this right now to let go of gear.

"NP-complete" problem: any of a class of computational problems for which no efficient solution algorithm has been found.

Sound familiar?

I'm having a dejá vu, all over again.

Cognitive dissonance is your friend, embrace it when you need new camera gear. :-)

All true. After all, it's not THAT much money ...

My logic is different. At my age (59) I think a lot about retirement. I came up with the concept where I decide whether something is worth the extra time it will take to retire. So the 2,400 I just spent on a new bicycle (after accessories and taxes) will result in a few extra months before I can retire. That was easy to justify the purchase in those terms.

I didn't even consider selling my perfectly good bike I already had. I get the style handlebars I prefer, and I now have a backup bike. I also hate having a single point of failure in case a bike is broken or stolen and I had a trip planned with friends. The purchase results in extra peace of mind.

Oh, this is also how I justified two similar but different DSLR cameras and now own two good enough lenses covering the same focal range. Might be time to buy a new phone, and/or laptop... Just in case, of course. After all, it's only a few months added to my retirement date. That's basically free.

ditto new car...... (he says, eying a bunch of excellent cameras and lenses awaiting sale)

I fully understand the process at play. Thankfully, I don't have enough money to be able to buy N without selling P first. And strangely, as a result, I covet less (and still use an X-Pro-1 as a result).

One of my quaint little books on book collecting has a hilarious short chapter devoted to smuggling a new used 'n rare book acquisition into the house without your spouse noticing it. Depending on the size, the author recommended slipping it into a coat pocket (while avoiding a hug from your wife that might reveal it), or inside a briefcase...
The final advice was to shelve the new book with others the same size and color.
He also recommended having a backup plan involving flowers and abject apologies.

I'm going through this right now over the Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR S. I want to be covered in case I decide to become a Paparazzi.

"So convenient a thing to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do."

-Benjamin Franklin

Having recently sold many Ps except one an omd 1 mkii converted to IR along with a load of pro lenses and an a7 rii and an a7ii i was able t buy a few n . the relief at letting go was wonderful. did buy a new px2 a7riv + rx100 vii.

happy for a while at least. and a good cash balance outcome as well. less clutter and a happy life (wife).

to add to my previous post my wife a quilter and fiber artist and i have an understanding that we get the material and stuff we need within reason to follow our interests although no birthday presents or xmas presents .

I know you don't have a boat....... ;-))

My hobby is bicycles, the riding, maintenance and puttering around thereof. I'm too lazy to sell parts, though it's fine, and I have a couple of frames lying around. So I need part x, (which itself needs part y), to put on frame n-1, to sell it as a complete bike. To do mount part x, I need tools T1 and T2, to swap out part z with part alpha-omega, because otherwise part x won't fit properly.

I love my wife and she is very understanding. "It's your hobby, so it's OK, as long as you actually go riding, and especially before we go on a trip, because then you don't get grumpy."

Well what a timely article.I had Pentax cameras for decades but eventually gave up and moved ... but here's the thing I got stuck between the Fuji system and m43 ... and now have a huge amalgam of m43 lenses .... and o Panasonic G85 ... because although I loved the look of the Olympus I love that big grip for one handed use.

I have a Fuji X100F which I love but have lonely Fuji lenses since I sold my XT1 ... but ( and egis is true) I bought the XT4 with 16-80 lens today at a very good price and 5 good m43 lenses that I realise I like but rarely use have gone up on eBay and they should just about cover the new purchase. NEVER managed to do that before ...

I have kept the G85 and a couple of lenses for light days but it has a kind of cleansing feel to it all. Cant actually believe I managed to do it!
I haven't quite managed to be logical ... but it feels I got a little along that road.
Fuji XT4 with zoom of primes for primarily photo days. X100F for light photo days and the G85 for snapping away.

I just did that, but for real. My wife is a quilter and wanted a Bernina long arm machine which all in is in excess of $30k. I had a beautiful but no longer used Rolex Deep Sea and she had a Rolex also. Sold them both to a local jewelry store for 20k and were well on our way to the long arm which will be set up this Saturday, all 12’ of it with computer console.

This is exactly how I got my D700, back when. Sold my 58/1.2 NOCT for close to exactly what the D700 cost.

Although—that may have been the best, or at least the second best, photo equipment buying decision I ever made in my life. The D700 was an amazing platform, and I'm still not sure I was right to commit to mirrorless when I did. (I continue to maintain that the D700 had all the valuable features of the D3 plus at least two additional ones (sensor cleaning and CLS flash controller), for half the price.)

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