Getting G.A.S. Again

One of my “thinking by writing about it” posts ….

Many photographers suffer from G.A.S. I myself suffered from it for many years. G.A.S. of course stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

I cured myself of G.A.S. by not looking at gear review web sites and not reading photography magazines. But lately I’ve been thinking …. I may not need to buy a scooter (for reasons that I won’t go into) so maybe I would have the money to finally upgrade my camera.

My Nikon D800 is now 5 years old. It has served me well. But it’s big and heavy and the lenses are also big and heavy and imaging technology has moved forward by 5 years.

The Nikon upgrade to my D800 is the D810, which is almost 3 years old now. I can’t get excited by the D810, or the D750, while the D5 is well out of my price range. The Nikon Df is a beautiful camera that I think is over-priced for what it offers and is over 3 years old.

That’s sort of a problem for me since I have such a huge collection of Nikon gear. I have 10 lenses, including their 24-70mm F2.8 and 80-200mm F2.8. I’ve got a Nikon Speedlite. And I’ve got 3rd party cable release and battery pack/grip. That’s not a trivial investment by any means.

I have a friend who dumped his DSLR in favor of the Fujifilm X-Pro2; he claims to have no regrets. I have another friend who is a Canon shooter – he also has the Sony a6000 with a lens mount adapter to fit his Canon lenses and that’s the only camera he seems to use these days. I’m thinking about following a similar path. And I’m thinking about the Fujifilm X-T2.

The fact is that back in the days when I had more disposable income than I do now, at various points I’d tried Fuji, Sony and Olympus. And there was no question in my mind that I enjoyed shooting with Fuji’s X series cameras more than almost anything else.

Back then I bought the first edition of the Fujifilm X100. I loved that hybrid viewfinder. I loved the controls and the menus. But a single fixed focal length lens didn’t suit my style. I traded up to an interchangeable lens Fuji. But at the time I was only thinking of this as a second camera and I realized I wasn’t going to build up a collection of Fuji glass in addition to all of my Nikon glass. I tried a lens mount adapter but that was not a pleasant shooting experience.

Six-plus years later, Fuji has continued to advance their line-up of cameras and lenses, and the X-T2 has been receiving mostly rave reviews since it was released last year. (Review 1, Review 2,  Review 3, Review 4, Review 5, Review 6)

I’m a bit hesitant to pull the trigger. Nikon was such an iconic brand for me when I was growing up and when I was finally able to afford a Nikon camera (the D300), it was a huge deal to me. I’ve spent probably 7 years putting together this collection of gear (not to mention learning to use all of it properly).

But on the other hand it’s just things. And if the best camera is the one you have with you, I’ve only taken my Nikon out of the dehumidifier cabinet perhaps six or ten times in the past two years.

I don’t think I need a full frame camera any more. I realize that a smaller sensor means I won’t be able to get shots with this kind of clarity again:

But I don’t expect to be going up to the top of Fei Ngo Shan again any time soon. But it would be more than good enough to get shots like this:

or like this:

or like this:

or even this:

I would actually prefer to hold onto the Nikon a little bit longer but my ever-pragmatic wife insists I should sell it off to finance this purchase.  Without selling it off I could afford the body and a kit zoom lens; selling it off I could then afford to get a few lenses at once.

Here’s what I currently have:

  • D800 (shutter count 25,110)
  • 24-70 F2.8G ED
  • 70-200 F2.8GII ED VR
  • 35mm F2D
  • 50mm F1.4D
  • 50mm F1.8G
  • 85mm F1.8G
  • 105mm F2.8G ED Micro VR
  • 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR
  • 70-200mm F4-5.6
  • Nikon Speedlight SB900
  • Nissin Di622 speedlite
  • 2 Nikon EN-EL15 batteries and charger
  • Nikon DK17M magnifier
  • Phottix BG-D800 battery grip
  • Phottix GPS
  • Remote cable release (not Nikon but can’t recall the brand right now)

It’s all in really good condition (camera body and lenses always stored in a dehumidifier cabinet) but I would get docked a notch (at least in HK) for no longer having the original boxes (all tossed when we made the move to Manila).

Options:

Option 1 – Sell it all! Clear the decks and start over!

Option 2 – Sell off the lenses that I barely or never use (so probably keep the 24-70, the 70-200, one of the 50’s and the 85) – but those other lenses (with the exception of the 105) aren’t worth that much on the used market

And then, whichever of the above options I choose, I have more options:

1 – Sell the stuff in Manila. I have no idea of the value of used photography items in Manila as compared to Hong Kong. Selling each of these items off one by one will take time. And frankly selling used items here is a pain in the rear. You post “asking P10,000” and they don’t come back and say, “Would you take P8,000.” No, they say “what’s your lowest price?” And if you reply back, “Not sure, why not make me an offer?” you never hear from them again. The Philippines doesn’t seem to have a web site dedicated to the used photography gear market (at least not that I have found so far) which means posting on Facebook and general sale sites like OLX.

1A – I’ve actually had one reseller make me an offer for the entire package – and it’s not a horrible offer. Of course since he’s a reseller and needs to make a profit himself, it’s less than selling everything to individuals, but it gets it all done at once.

2 – Sell the stuff in Hong Kong. In the past, I’ve bought and sold a lot of stuff through DC Fever. I could easily do it again. Except I will only be in Hong Kong for one week (and have a lot of other things to accomplish during that week).

2A – Sell the stuff in Hong Kong to one of the used shops in Sim City. Less money than selling it off piece by piece but all done at once.

Would 2A get me more money than 1A? Possibly – except I’d need to schlep all of that to Hong Kong. It’s a matter of how much it’s worth to me to have someone meet me at or near my house to grab everything vs. having to drag all of it to Hong Kong (and I already have a lot of stuff I need to bring on this trip).

I guess it’s 99% decided that I’m going to sell the Nikon gear and go for the Fuji. My next trip to Hong Kong is in two weeks, so I’ve got two weeks to decide how to proceed.

UPDATE: Based on comments received and further thought, I’ve decided to pull the trigger and go ahead with this. I’ve struck what I feel is a decent bargain with a local reseller and expect the deal to conclude on Monday night. The money I’m getting will be enough to cover the camera body and 2 (or maybe even 3) lenses.

On Saturday, I was in a shop in Pasig that sells the X-T2 so I asked about the price. Some quick calculations told me that the price in Manila for just the camera body is equivalent to the price of the camera body plus the 18-55mm F2.8-F4 lens, so you can probably guess where I’ll be buying the camera.