Can you own too much gear?

3 months ago 5
Posted in: blog


It depends, but yes and no! If you love cameras, lenses, and accessories and you can afford them without making your family do without their needs, then no!  If you love all that stuff but it’s not in your houdehold budget, then yes!  Now that is the moral agument about gear, but how about photographically?


Let me play out a scenario; you have a very large camera bag and it contains 3 camera bodies and 12 lenses, including a 105 mm Macro, 105mm portrait and a 100 mm f 1.4 lens, and you miss the shot trying to decide which 105 to use,  yes you have too much gear!  The point is that the fewer choices you have the faster and more decisively you can decide what gear to pull out of the bag and use!  Many years ago I had a Lowepro Super Trekker bag, completly loaded it weighed over 70 lbs.  Not only was it a burden to carry, it provided way too many choices!


I’ve been doing this for almost 52 years and this is what I’ve learned about camera gear:


1. If you have so much gear that it hurts to carry it, it’s too much gear, and if you leave it at home, what is the use of owning it!


     2.  Any specialty lenses or gear that you almost never use, falls into the too much gear catagory!


      3.  Any specialty lenses or gear that use when you need it, and you can afford it, it’s not too much gear.


      4.  The smaller you can make your everyday lens carry package and still meet your needs, the better!


       5.  The best gear is the lenses and accessories that you find meet the most of your needs the most of the time.


       6.  If your work does not require large maximum aperture lenses (f 1.0, f 1.2 or f 1.4)  you can live without them.


        7.  It’s always better to save up and buy the best quality gear that will last longer and give better service.


        8.  Just remember, cameras and lenses are tools and the more effectively you use them, the better your work will be, and after all, is that not the point to doing this!?


I have been giving it lot of thought and I believe that I could do 95% of my field photography with only two lenses, the 16-80 and the new 70-300.  That’s a range of 24mm to 450 mm.  If I really wanted to carry more I could add a wide angle zoom of a single wider lens like the 14mm f 2.8 and I think that would cover it.  I do not own the 70-300, but that can be fixed!!!!




the pilgrim

5 Responses

  1. Jerry Reece says:

    Bill, you trained me well. I am on a jaunt (car trip) from Texas to Nevada and what did I pack!! 16-80, 10-24, 70-300 and hiding in the corner of the bag my 8mm fisheye. If I wander away from the car, I take the 16-80 and 70-300 each on an X-T4 – OR – just the 16-80 on one of the X-T4’s.

    Hope that I can get in one more workshop with you before I permanently move to Reno, Nevada at the end of this year. Your photographic guidance and philosophy has meant so much to me.

    Jerry Reece

  2. Dick Ginkowski says:

    I could say something like, “Physician, heal thyself first!” But moving right along…

    Spot on observations. After a nasty fall and broken ribs in Alaska I had a spell where all I could carry was one body and lens on a carbon fiber tripod. I shot some wonderful shots with that. Now as a Fuji shooter I have my stable of lenses and bodies but the hard truth is that the 18-135 is my “go to” lens that I just keep on the X-T30 at all times (with a spare at home). The 70-300 opened many other doors and I sometimes carry it and my old XT-2 body. I have other lenses and bodies but these two bodies and lenses carry the ball to the point that I haven’t carried a camera bag in years. I recall shooting in Zion and seeing a guy standing on wet rocks in the Virgin River with B&H on his back. Really? If a big buck came trotting out chances are he wouldn’t be able to get set up in time. (In Yellowstone and the Tetons I will carry my 100-400 and 1.4x.)

    I put a lot of money into Fuji gear since some guy named Fortney liked the X-E2. It was a good move (wish they had a 500 f/4!). But I only carry what I am likely to use on a particular trip.

  3. Patrick O'Connor says:

    Like everything in life, to each, their own. Your philosophy is probably good for most folks, most of the time, but everyone has different goals, needs and desires.
    BTW, years ago, I lived in Jellico, TN and also Newcomb, TN. I may have driven past your house once or twice! 🙂

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