Search for a Perfect Camera or GAS?

Some people dream about Unicorns while others spend day and night in trying to find life on other planets or unlocking the secrets that lie deep in our oceans. Then there are people who are obsessed in finding the “perfect camera”. They spend countless hours reading review, debating on forums and buying/selling different camera gear.

So is there such a thing called “perfect camera”? For me, that’s a difficult question to answer because if there is such a thing, I have not found it yet. Though every time I buy a camera or switch systems I tell myself that this is the “one” but with the amount of time I spend on photography forums it doesn’t take too long for me to start longing for something else.

Now the question is that, whether this is search for perfect camera or am I just a victim of G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)? Some people even equate it to OCD but I call it A.N.T or Addiction to New Things. There is something profoundly addicting and exciting about anxiously waiting for the postman to bring the package, opening it up and handling the item for the first time. This sense of excitement sometime is more satisfying than the actual use of the item and because of that it becomes a cycle where you are constantly buying and selling in order to feed the addiction.

For me this search or addiction is a recent phenomenon. Back in the days when I started taking interest in photography I had a lonely 5mpx P&S camera (Panasonic FZ5) that was permanently stuck on “P” mode (Professional mode? J) and I used that camera for years and was completely satisfied with the pictures I took until one day I camera across an article regarding the “mirrorless” cameras and that peaked my interest towards Micro Four Third cameras. Eventually, I ended up buying Panasonic GH1 with the 14-140 kit lens.

I loved that camera and that was the first camera where I found enough courage to move the dial from “P” mode to “A” (Amateur or Aperture?) mode and started spending time hanging out on forums and learning that taking photos is more than just pointing the camera at a subject and taking snapshots. There are things like “good” composition, exposure triangle, exposure compensation and flash mode. With this new found knowledge photography became even more exciting but that also increased the urge to buy more. Eventually, GH1 led to GH2 and then GH3. By that time I had also collected several lenses as well and eventually the lonely 14-140 lens was surrounded by primes and “pro” F2.8 lenses causing it to lose its status of “always on the camera” to “always on the shelf”.

After Panasonic GH3, I tiptoed into Olympus camp and after owning several Olympus cameras including E-M5, E-PM2 and E-M1 I finally said farewell to Micro Four Thirds in favor of Sony A99 in search of better low light performance as that was something that I was never happy with when I had m4/3 cameras. But this new found happiness did not last long once the reality of heavy camera and lenses hit me. Especially coming from m4/3 it felt like that after driving a speedy mini Cooper for years and now I’m in the driving seat of a dump truck. Though it served its purpose, I questioned whether I need all that bulk and weight for my “hobby”.

Now that I had an excuse, I started my search for mirrorless camera again and that lead me to Fuji X-E1 and then to X-E2 followed by X-T1 with whole assortment of lenses. At that point I was sure that I had the “perfect” camera and system and I will stick with it for the foreseeable future but as fate would have it, I went out to for couple of hunting trips where I constantly felt let down by Fuji X-T1 not only because of the AF but also because of the lack of lens with a longer focal lengths. This was the spark that was needed to reignite my addiction. I eventually ended up selling all Fuji gear and moved to the “dark side” as it had all the lenses that I could ever want.

I bought myself a used Nikon D750 along with Sigma 24-105 F4, Nikon 50 f1.8 and Sigma 50-500mm lens. My life was set because I believed that I have found my perfect camera as it provided the low light performance that I always longed for and had the lenses to cover any focal length that I could possibly want. Though once the honeymoon period was over I soon remembered the reason why I sold Sony A99 and why I never bought a DSLR before.

As much as I Ioved the camera and lenses, I couldn’t help missing the features that I loved about mirrorrless cameras namely the EVF, WYSIWYG exposure and small size and light weight.  Also, using the DSLR felt like I’ve gone back in time. Though DSLR have a lot of technology inside they still lack all the bells and whistles that current crop of mirrorless cameras offer.

With the bug of moving systems scratching my brain again, I posted an ad for trade on a forum that I frequent and within few hours I got an offer that I could not pass up. So I ended up trading my Nikon D750 and couple of lenses for Sony A7 II and lenses including Sony Zeiss 55 f1.8. I also bought LA-EA4 adapter so that I can get access to the huge a-mount lens library including the lenses with long focal length that I need for wildlife.

Even though I’m still in the early days with this system, I hope to keep this for a long haul as it provides the portability and features of the mirrorrless camera that I love and the lens selection (with the help of adapter) that can keep me happy.

So to conclude this stroll through the memory lane, I’m sure that perfect camera or system exists for people who focus on photography and not the bells and whistles that their camera offers. After all, as difficult as it is to imagine there was a time when cameras only took pictures at only one ISO and to change ISO, you had to use a different film.

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