Sunday, April 1, 2018

Dealing with GAS

I’m not sure what emotions trigger Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) among photographers, maybe we feel it will improve our images by having better equipment, or if it is a false desire to possess something we couldn’t afford in our younger days, or may be an even older desire to be the part of an elite group of “look what I have” snobs. Whatever instigates these desires I too suffer from GAS.

A longstanding desire of mine was to own a Leica camera, which is a well-known and respected 35mm brand in the Photography world. My Father encouraged me to buy one and said that he too always wanted a Leica and that he would split the cost with me.  The look of shock on his face when I told him that his share would be $3,000 dollars made me reassure him that I had no intention of spending that much money on a camera. After all it is only a camera, a tool, one piece in a process and that making images comes from the person behind the camera and not the tool.

However, while browsing eBay I found a Leica in Excellent Condition for $35. Was this too good to be true? Of course it was, the Leica AF-C1 is actually a rebranded Minolta “Dual” Point-N-Shoot 35mm camera. Suddenly I felt the onset of GAS and my finger quickly and decisively clicked on the “Buy It Now” button. A week later the Leica arrived and after unboxing it, installing fresh batteries and a couple test frames, I set out to put the camera through some tests.

Leica AF-C1


Bellagio at 40mm


Bellagio Botanical Garden: Year of the Dog II


LeicaAFC1UFX100008

LeicaAFC1UFX100022


As with most Point-N-Shoot 35mm cameras, the image quality and ease of use are predictable. What I like about this camera is the dual lenses, one for wider compositions (40mm) and another for Close-up compositions (80mm).

The next camera I purchased was from Polaroid Originals, formerly known as The Impossible Project, who released their One Step 2 instant camera that was based on the Polaroid One Step camera. The design and technology put into this camera was very commendable, but the images leave a lot to be desired as you can see by the scanned images.
Polaroid OneStep2

PolaroidIType002

PolaroidIType003
With the release of their new Instant Camera, Polaroid Originals also released two new pack films, Color and Black and White, labelled i-Type.  In low light, without the flash, the Color i-Type film has a heavy pink tint and even in broad daylight the pink tint is noticeable.  I know image sharpness is not why you buy an Instant Film camera, but even Lomography's Automat Glass Lens Instant Camera using Fujifilm's Instax Mini film has superior image quality on a smaller print. I have yet to shoot Polaroid Originals' Black and White Instant Pack Film, but I won't get my hopes up. I'll probably keep the camera, but won't purchase anymore film for it. As you can see below, the square format instant film is the new I-Type, which is substandard compared to Fuji Instax and has an overpowering pink color cast.


Today’s Instant film shoot. Fujifilm’s FP100-C, Polaroid Originals I-type Color, Fujifilm’s Instax and Instax Wide.



My most recent acquisition was the Mamiya 7ii, which is a Rangefinder camera, that shoots medium format film providing a 6 x 7 negative.  I've been wanting this camera for the past 7 years due to it's large negative, lightweight and portability, and the electronic shutter built into each lenses.  Several have come up on eBay, but the prices were usually on the high end, $2,500 to $3,000, and were located in Japan. Then in early December a student posted one with three lenses (50mm, 80mm, and 150mm) in very good condition.  The asking price was more than half of what I've seen listed and with a quick click on the "Buy It Now" button the camera was mine. I have to admit, this is my favorite film camera, although it does get some getting used to the "rangefinder" aspect, but the quality of the images rival those of today 25+ megapixel dSLRs and Digital Medium Format cameras.

My Mamiya 7ii with the 150mm at Smitten Cafe

When the camera arrived, I tested all the lenses and the camera.  It worked flawlessly!!! This camera is suitable for Landscape, Street, and Portraiture photography. 

Chairs

Fox Theater Horz

Backroads

Dune

Corner

Red Rock Scooter Tour Scenic Stop

Vegas at Night II

Parking Lot with a View

Bellagio Garden: Year of the Dog

Since the purchase of my Mamiya 7ii, my GAS has subsided and there aren't any film cameras I need, or honestly want. Well except for the Kickstarter project for a new acrylic 4x5 view camera which I helped fund, but that's definitely another post.


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