Switch from camera to camera. Brand to brand. Is it a disgusting curse or just a treat from technology? Let's find out how to choose video equipment.
If you've been following this blog for a long time, you may have noticed a common theme regarding equipment and camera parts. I often write from the perspective of "an owner of this camera" or "as someone who owns this lens". This spans several brands and different models over the past decade. Some may ask, "How many cameras does this guy need?" Realistically, I may have to admit that I have a mild case of gear acquisition syndrome. Perhaps.
Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.)
Gear Acquisition Syndrome is the playful internet term for people who are constantly buying the latest gear instead of sticking to their system and mastering it. There's a somewhat derogatory association with the term. It is also used to describe individuals who continuously improve their equipment in rapid succession in the hopes that this will improve their skills as well. However, can you use G.A.S. simply because you like cameras and explore what the next one can and cannot do? I think so. And as a self-defense, I must state that switching from the $ 3,500 Sony A7R IV to the $ 1,000 Fuji X-T3 is the opposite of system upgrades in hopes of enhancing capabilities as well.
Let's go over what I've owned over the past decade.
- 2010: Canon 550d
- 2011: Canon 5D Mk II
- 2012: Canon 5D Mk II, Red ONE MX, Nikon FM2 (35mm film)
- 2013: RED ONE MX, Nikon FM2
- 2014: RED ONE MX, Nikon FM2
- 2015: Lumix GH4
- 2016: Lumix GH4
- 2017: Lumix GH5, Ursa Mini 4.6k
- 2018: URSA Mini 4.6k, Fuji X100F
- 2019: Fuji X100F, BMPCC4k, Canon EOS 3 (35mm film), Sony A7 III, Sony A7RIV
- 2020: Sony A7RIV (now sold), Fuji X-T3, Lumix S1H
So we can see that for the most part, it wasn't necessarily an in-place upgrade or a case of gear acquisition syndrome. I'm sure many would not consider selling a RED ONE MX cinema camera for the 8-bit GH4 a viable upgrade. Still, I was fascinated by this little camera and the RED ONE got too cumbersome.
There are two main things to consider. Through most of this list, I've never been financially able to purchase a camera without selling it. For this reason, a model usually fails in the year after acquisition. Second, I want to have a special video and a separate photo camera. My main source of income is creating and writing films and videos. If I were to use the hybrid for a casual photography walk and break the camera, I would be in trouble. In addition, there are filmmaking features that I would like to have that are normally not found on hybrid cameras.
Let's break down some of the elements of why I went through so much gear.
The benefits of cycling through the equipment
The first question that might come to mind is, why not just rent the equipment? It's a valid question. After a short time, however, it quickly costs a lot more if you rent or sell. I bought the Sony A7 III for $ 2,000 in May 2019. When I decided to buy the Sony A7R IV, I parted ways with the A7 III for $ 1,700 in mid-November. A loss of $ 300 or, from another angle, a rent of $ 1.38 per day for 217 days. For comparison, renting the A7 III for six weeks (I can no longer rent it) from a top UK camera rental company is $ 734.
Additionally, living with a camera is inherently different from renting a camera for a week or two. I often find that if you only have a new camera for a short period of time you are never completely satisfied with the (new) system and the pain is still growing. Only after a couple of months of solid shooting does it become like having an extra attachment.
A secondary benefit of riding through equipment is knowing exactly the strengths and weaknesses of each manufacturer. As someone who writes reviews, I can say that reading a review or watching a YouTube breakdown is never quite like using the camera yourself for a few months. A weakness on paper seems like a common problem, but in hand it's not that big of a deal.
For example, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has terrible battery life. In my test, I found that a single battery would last around 40-50 minutes. Realistically, that's not ideal. At all. But after using this camera for almost two years, it wasn't a problem as I have so many LP-E6's in my drawer. At the other end of this scale, the stated power of the camera may not always be ideal for your workflow. The A7R IV's 61-megapixel sensor creates huge files (around 120MB per RAW photo), and trying to work with those photos in Lightroom was a headache after months of use.
Of course, it must be taken into account that while you may save money after selling equipment, you will end up with a net loss after each sale. And I think I have to say that while I enjoy getting the latest technology, it is not enough to save money. I would also like to keep a camera in my possession for at least two years. Ultimately, it comes down to finding the camera that feels like an extra link.
My favorite camera (still camera) that I owned / used was the Fuji X100F. The images were rendered exactly how I wanted them to be, the functionality was amazing, and the camera was compact and elegant. The only reason I sold it was to make room for the Fuji X100V, but then COVID-19 became a global problem. I felt like buying a compact camera for lazy days on the coast was exactly the wrong thing to buy in March. Then when the manufacturing world stalled and travel restrictions were put in place, I thought it advisable to sell the Sony A7R IV setup to purchase a safety net before it was needed quickly. Now, however, I was without a still camera and with my love of the Fuji system I decided to combine the interchangeability of the A7R IV with the X100F sensor of the X-T3. And I'll probably stick with the X-T series for a while.
The best way to ride through the gear
As mentioned earlier, going through equipment isn't a successful endeavor, especially if you're switching to a brand new manufacturer and want to move lenses rather than using a lens adapter. However, if the next camera can inherently bring you more work, the investment is overall a worthwhile endeavor, even though the cost of selling the camera is in the red.
The aftermarket is hostile territory. You can buy a brand new camera from a retail store, take two photos, and the camera has officially lost its full MSRP. This is even more true for cameras valued at $ 2,000 to $ 3,000. There are several ways to keep your after-sale price high, such as: B. to keep the box, manuals and plastic sleeves in the best possible condition. It sounds like a small thing, but I've found that the closer the buyer is to opening a new camera, the more you can sell your camera.
A camera is a tool, and a tool is meant to be used. With continuous use, signs of wear will eventually appear. While the wear and tear on a painter's easel or poet's notepad indicates that it has been used extensively, if you feel like you are going to sell your camera later, minimize the wear and tear.
I usually keep my cameras in a leather case and place a screen protector on top of the LCD to minimize bumps and scratches.
Sell like stocks
The camera market can be compared to the stock market to some extent. With the announcement of a new model, the existing model immediately loses some of its aftermarket value. And on the new model's release date and every day after that, when the aftermarket is inundated with the previous model by sellers who have upgraded, the price drops even further.
Depending on the model you're looking to sell, you shouldn't wait for a new model to be announced in order to maximize your sales. Regularly check blogs (like ours) that report camera rumors. While this is rare, sometimes you can sell your camera for a profit – when supply is low and demand is high. The BMPCC 4K sold for nearly $ 500 more than MSRP up to nearly six months after its release. Judging by the latest eBay listings, the Lumix S5 will follow suit.
Selling for market price or peace of mind?
Despite the numerous scams that have plagued camera sellers, I still find eBay a good host in every way to put my camera equipment up for sale – here in the UK at least. However, the pessimist in me still sometimes feels uncomfortable listing really valuable items. This is why I started using MPB.com for extremely expensive cameras. MPB is an online photo specialty store that also buys used equipment. It works in a similar way to trading in a game in Gamespot. However, the rating of MPB is also based on the condition of the camera equipment. Just like trading a game in Gamespot, you will of course get a hit on actual market value as the retailer intends to make a profit. However, if I am selling a $ 3,500 camera and there is a chance something goes astray on the eBay sale, I personally prefer to take the hit and have peace of mind by selling to a photo retailer.
As a counter-argument to this, I sold several cameras on eBay and specifically stated "no new buyers" in my description. The first sign of fraud. And now a camera or lens has been bought three times by a buyer with a new account and no feedback. Somewhat irrationally, I shipped the camera in the hope that eBay's seller protection would protect me if something goes wrong, and every sale was fine. I think somebody will have to create a new account at some point.
Sometimes less is more
At the beginning of the article, I stated that my favorite camera was the Fuji X100F, but it was sold to make room for the newer model. However, the purchase has been suspended due to COVID-19.
Sometimes I find that the subject of photography and filmmaking can get too clinical with the more boisterous cameras that have amazing features and unique technologies. This is a potentially overwhelming component that you don't have to fall victim to if you continually purchase equipment dedicated to only the latest technology.
The A7R IV is close enough to an artificial medium format camera with its sensor size, and I wanted to take full advantage of this sensor to capture landscapes. As such, I quickly found myself burdened with the external elements I needed to get a satisfactory photo in correlation with the price paid for it. This included various grade ND filters, the filter holder, a polarizing filter, a filter housing and the list goes on.
With the X100F, taking pictures was an organic process. I might even argue close to 35mm film. Pull the camera out of your pocket, point, and click.
This is one of my favorite photos I took with the X100F while driving home from a fantastic day at the beach. In terms of the technical elements of the photo, the highlights around the sun are slightly cut off and the shutter speed was slower than the speed of the car, resulting in a blurry foreground. But that day was captured in a single picture. Cemented in pixels forever.
If you are constantly on the lookout for the latest equipment due to the increase in technological performance, keep in mind that this does not always equate to preferred images.
This form of gear procurement is neither ideal nor practicable in the long term. It should be noted that as a tech writer, I can be in a better position than others; The more camera technology I use, the more content I can cover. However, there are a number of professionals (as stated). It can be cheaper than renting a camera for several weeks and you really get to know what to expect from a camera and from which manufacturer to find it. Conversely, you will never regain the initial expenses and the selling process can feel nauseous when parting with quality goods.
Unless you're constantly buying cameras in hopes that the next model will improve your skills, I don't think there's inherently wrong cycling through camera gear to see what works for you.
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