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Wednesday, 21 December 2022


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I don't know if this applies but when Adobe started to go to the subscription route many photographers left because they didn't want to pay on a monthly basis.

I always said, and still believe, that those same photographers spend far more than the $10 monthly fee for the photography plan on Starbucks coffee.

PS: I am now a Fujifilm X system user. I have purchased 3 X cameras and 4 lenses. The X-Pro1 is in retirement. The X-Pro2 is the backup camera. And the X-E4 is my primary camera. Also the recently purchased Sigma 30mm f1.4 now my primary lens.

So, yes, I have purchased too much, maybe. You never know.

Coffee. Yes, coffee.

How many people could buy one or possibly two houses with the money they spent on upgrading Leicas. ;-)

On the other hand, you reached another level of enthusiasm for your photography when you finally experienced a monochrome camera/workflow this year. I recently commented about my trying to encourage you five years ago to buy (or rent first) a clean, used Leica Monochrom, which at the time cost about $3k. A relatively inexpensive C-V 35mm lens could have made a good companion. I’m sure you’ve enjoyed a different path since, but seems to me that you could have jump-started your B&W digital journey, and not spent much or any more once you found your happy place. I now encourage you to spend some more on either the Canon or Epson 17 inch printer to more fully realize the digital monochrome experience. Save your money elsewhere. Just sayin’, as you say.

If I had back all the money I spent eating out, especially fast food, I'd be significantly wealthier and in far better health!

As for camera equipment, I've churned through a lot of different gear and formats over the years, but never felt like I didn't get more value from any of it than what was spent. I was just looking back at some older images earlier today, and I couldn't begin to tell you what the camera gear used to capture them cost, but the photos are priceless, and would be so whether captured with a Leica, a knock-off point-and-shoot, or anything in between.

It's pretty hard to top CDs for me, unless I look at the stacks of DVD/Bluray discs stacked vertically on the floor in front of the full massive media shelves that line the wall of an unused bedroom. If I started every morning until bedtime watching disc after disc, there are not enough years in my life to watch them all. It would depress me to get out a calculator and do the math, but I'm sure it would make my next car purchase financially easier if I had all that money back. Sadly, I'm sure upon my death, they'll are be trashed without a thought. What a waste of money.

"inkjet printer cartridges" comes to mind.

I feel less bad about spending money on cameras or lenses, or audio equipment, or things that I no longer use - because it's the ticket price for the experience.

Related problem: I learn through experience so unfortunately learning is expensive.


That’s a no-brainer fill-in for me: “cigarettes”.
I smoked a pack a day for 20+ years. It cost a small fortune. Thankfully I quit before it cost my life.

Don't many of us here have collected, used (sparingly) and spent more money than what we should have done?

Collector-Users = Non-pathological Hoarders.

While it's still not too late to sell off the surplus stuffs to recover some cash back but it is hard to part with that phase of life that represents some fond memories, no?

[Oh, yes indeed. It is very true. --Mike]

Computer software; love to have all that money back!

Or houses. That'd be the second-most money of any obvious category to get back :-) .

Or taxes; I think that's the biggest category and hence the best to get back. (Sorry, drawn by argument of the most money in one category. Taxes are actually one of the better things my money gets used for; taxes are what makes it possible for us collectively to have civilization!)

Into that blank space put:
Cars (street and race, 60+)
Computers since 1980
Audio media (starting with records, cassettes, CDs, downloads but used one set of speakers for over 30 years and amps/receivers for several decades too)
Stuff when we lived on the farm (irrigation systems, tools, trees and plants that died, erosion control projects, pickup trucks)
Clothes (once I wore Brooks Brothers suits and ties to work, then jackets, now jeans)
And finally the thousands of books I've bought, read or scanned and then given away....
You will notice the absence of cameras and lenses - I've bought very few of each - I tend to select carefully, often buy used and keep them a long time - and usually sold them at little loss or give them to schools or the kids if I did not keep them.
Much of the changes are a result of chasing technological changes, even in cars, but the changes come much slower now so the expenditures have slowed also....


I've purchased too many, didn't use most of them enough. Now I have two lenses and one camera and am feeling pretty good. But man alive...all the money spent to arrive at this point...not exactly Charles Schwab here.

CD's are second place, but I got rid of most of them and have a small collection I never listen because they have sentimental value. Spotify replaced everything.

And yet. I've purchased an alarming number of books, they fill every nook and cranny of my house, including over 600 on my Kindle, and for those I have no regrets. I will always buy books at a faster rate than I read them, where this ends I have no idea. Which probably explains the large number on my Kindle.

Home improvements and repairs. I've owned two houses, spending roughly as much paying the mortgages as I would have on rent (no harm, no foul), but owning them meant spending a fortune on maintenance, upgrades, landscaping, repairs, etc. In addition to the money, all of this meant a ton of investment of time and energy. My enjoyment of the properties was no greater than that of an apartment (and selling my second house netted me just about nil, since I was not fortunate enough to have timed my divorce to coincide with a housing price boom), but the cost in every regard was far higher. I have lived in apartments since then, and (gods willing) I will never again waste my money and life force on owning my residence.

I think the best thing I have done in recent years was buying a used Leica M 240 when I received a surprise inheritance. My budget is tiny - even then it was a stretch to get it and start on building a collection of Leica, Canon, Nikon, Minolta & Cosina-Voigtlander lenses. I still my DSLR for those things that a rangefinder is not good at, but my Leica remains the finest tool I own and the only regret I have is selling the Leica CL & IIIf that I used to own.

I think I'll go mount my Canon 50/1.4 that I find better than the Summilux :) and take some pictures of the coming storm.

I have paid more "tuition" in the school of life than any college college education. The same can be said for the school of photography subset.

Drinks. Going to bars is something I had done for several decades. I was never a heavy drinker. It was about the experience of being in a place, an atmosphere, rather than about getting drunk. One day I wondered how much, in dollars, drinking costs. Even if you go to a bar twice a week and have 2 or 3 cocktails each time, that's more than $3000 a year. That's one of the reasons why I stopped going to bars. I think most people can come up with a long list of things they would rather spent that $3000+ on instead of drinking.

Photography and cycling are two long-lasting interests I've been pursuing with above-average enthusiasm and I have no real regrets about spending money on either one. Sure, I've made some stupid purchases and choices in both but most of those were mistakes I made during the first year or two while learning the basics and I learned from those mistakes and the amount of dollars I wasted on gear that wasn't right for me don't come anywhere near what I wasted on drinks.

Two things - DVDs/BluRays and computer books.

I've got DVDs and BluRays I've never even watched! And very rarely do I want to watch a movie a second time, so why did I buy them? I've got shelves of discs that I'm "saving". For what?

Then back in the 90s, I had the idea that if I bought those big thick books on software programs, I'd become an expert. At around $75 each, I spent thousands. I had a fine collection, but like the software, they became outdated and obsolete, and they didn't make me an expert anyway. In the end, when I moved house, most of them went into the big bin. Ouch.

This post reminded me of a cartoon-like painting that I saw a few years ago on the wall of the bar in a pub in far outback Australia (look up where Tibooburra is). It showed a wizened, weather-beaten old fellow sitting at a bar with a beer in front of him and a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. The caption said “I spent most of my money on beer and women. The rest I just wasted.” Have a great Christmas Mike and your many readers.

Women, anybody?

Leica Q2 M. It's a great camera but it's also $6,000+. So every time I think about going out with it I inevitably get to "well what happens if it gets stolen." I have had a camera and lenses stolen before so it happens. I live in a rather high crime area in a large city. I finally decided to sell it. I could look at the card and get an exact count, but my guess is in the 18 months I've had the camera I've used it 3 times. Definitely a bad investment. My best investment is the X100V. Not only have I used it almost daily, but if I had to, today I could sell it for more than I paid for it thanks to that video thing Tik Tok. Apparently the X100 series is very popular on Tik Tok leading to a shortage of X100's for all the Tik Tok people who want one. Go figure.

Steve Huff, who used to write about photography, has gone down the rabbit hole of audio stuff. I'm glad I kept my 1980s speakers and Lynn turntable.

This will amaze you. I'd fill in with... 'cassette tapes'. When I was young I was so obsessed about cassete tape I spent a lot of money I didn't have buying different models of cassette tapes even though I didn't have a recorder to record anything on them!!!

For me, I spent so much money switching camera systems early in my career, looking for something externally that was clearly lacking inside me. I thought that better cameras and lenses, cough Leica, cough Contax/Zeiss, would impart upon me a certain sublime magic.

What an idiot. Hard and very expensive lessons to learn.

And, camera bags. So many camera bags...

I'm now of an age (66) to begin thinking of downsizing my possessions. Books are the most troublesome - heaviest and bulkiest but with the strongest memories - but my cameras have served their time. I treasured Pentaxes until my fifties (a flame lit by my dad's lifelong hobby), and then gradually acquired and very actively used a couple of second-hand Mamiya TLRs and complete set of accessories through the 2010s, after they had plummeted in price. But when I got a wonderful digital (a Fuji X30) my film processing and scanning quickly ended. And for the past few years, a lowly iPhone has overtaken for snaps and sapped my enthusiasm. All my film apparatus is now sadly superfluous. Like my books, stereo, and CDs, the photo hardware seems unlikely to find a home when I'm gone.

Sadly, or perhaps happily, I've done it all. I haunted Audio Consultants in Evanston, Illinois and bought Crown preamps and amps and even a 15" Crown tape recorder. Dahlquist speakers, Thorens turntables, SME arms. Then Martin Logan CLS's. That was over 35 years ago and I'm still listening though in Oregon, not Chicago!

Camera bags, good thing they're not ridiculously expensive but I've bought and still have way too many.

System switching is expensive in many ways; My first "serious" camera was a Nikkormat, bought at Schipol Airport in 1969, and I stayed with Nikon for a long time, through the D800E, but fell under the Fuji spell and for a while had Fuji XT's. Then, in 2017, I developed megapixel lust and fell in love with the Sony 42MP sensor and I've not looked back. Along the ways was a single Leica M3, 1957 vintage, which I desperately wanted though never used much. I have WAY too many lenses for Sony and struggle regularly which to bring on a given outing, especially if I'm carrying them. First world problem, like all of this.

In the past there were darkroom do-dahs, most of which would be unrecognizable to the younger photographers in the group.

I've enjoyed my photography since age 9 when a wonderful uncle taught me how to make darkroom contact prints from old 3 1/4x4 1/4 negatives. A few things intervened, school, family, children but I have no regrets. You can't take it with you!

Complete the sentence: "I wish I could have back all the money I spent on _________ over the years."

Photo magazines for me. The occasional purchase, is OK, but every week (or month) for a few years adds up to a considerable sum that would be better invested in film and paper or photography books.

Cigarettes, yes. Of course, in my life I bought too much of everything - cameras, lenses, stereo equipment, CDs, books, you name it. But to wish to have the money back? No, I do not think so. I often think that this and that I could have learned and enjoyed quicker, earlier and more deeply, with less (sometimes futile) tries of new, better equipment, but for me it is more a question of one‘s own - well, stupidity. Kind of „you should have known better, think better“. If I still had the money a bit wastingly spent - what would or should I use it for? To start over with new unnecessary „things“?

'not a single bleeding thing'
Oh sure, I've gone through my share of phases in my nearly 75 years, and there is a lot of photographic equipment in various cupboards that I will never use again (though often I think it would be pleasant to do so if I could just find the time). Lot's of books, too, though for the last decade there was a house rule to abstain from purchasing a book that was not likely to be read a second time. Now the rule (of necessity) is that no book can be added to the household shelves before one is disposed of to make room.
However I've never borrowed money to purchase anything that was not a necessity, and have never purchased a non-necessity and thereby shorted the household on food, clothing, shelter, or the means of making a living. And now I find myself living a satisfying life in a world filled with wonderful (though sometimes rueful) memories. Why spoil 'now' by worrying over things done 'then'?

Tripods and tripod heads.

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