Thursday, January 15, 2015

Still considering downsizing

I won't repeat the old story but for reasons best left in the past I ended up with an overabundance of camera gear - more than I could ever possibly use, to be honest. I've listened to many arguments and many opinions, ranging from the sublime to the ludicrous.

I'm downsizing generally with the aim of being able to live full time in a motorhome that I am currently building. I had been keeping hold of my overabundance of camera gear because I felt trapped by it. The individual that finagled me into buying it and then criticized me for buying it before mocking me for not being able to turn photography into a cornucopia then threatening to take my camera gear away while at the same time deliberately driving potential clients away ended up causing issues. Let's address those. Threatening to take away my cameras made me more possessive about them - to the point I now I should sell stuff I don't use but feel pain about getting rid of it. Mocking me for not making photography make money (I really cannot fathom how anybody can make money from something nobody buys) made me hang on desperately to a doomed photography "business" that I'd never wanted in the first place. I hung onto that to the tune of a few thousand in advertising then felt a sudden relief when I finally decided that having the shadow of South Carolina Department of Revenue hanging over me every month sending threatening letters if I failed to file a zero income each month was too much and closed the business. Criticizing me for buying the gear made me more possessive about it. Having been finagled into buying the stuff, I feel obligated to keep it - especially since the money spent was donated by a deceased blood relative and even more so since the value has dropped from about $8k to about $2K. Much of the equipment has never been used yet has plummeted in value anyway. There's a lot of pain there for somebody brought up never to waste money and to be cautious about spending.

Initially, before my purchase decision was subverted, my plan had been to get a single digital SLR with maybe two or three lenses and possibly a flash. This was based on what I originally had as my 35mm kit. That in itself was largely based on advice from friends with whom I took photographs and on books and articles I'd read.

I really like the idea of wiping the slate clean - selling everything and starting again with a minimalist amount of gear, based around the things I like to do. The thinks I like - the lengths I enjoy seem to be mainly in the 17 to 100mm range (27 - 160). I have used longer lengths up to 300mm but that tends to be zoo-based photography rather than anything else.

I like photographing landscapes - old ruins etc. I like to photograph the places I visit. I dislike bulky cameras. Indeed, I found my XT and 17-35 Tamron were both bulky, unwieldy and heavy when I was in Key West in 2012. Since then my interests in photography have expanded to include astrophotography - particularly wide-field views.

I want to like my huge tripod but it really is very big, very heavy and very bulky. That with the head was a $200 purchase that I'd probably only get about $35 back on. Basically, that photography lark was the biggest most ridiculous money-pit I have ever encountered. The idea of making money from photography is just plain stupid when even the cheapest phone now has an excellent camera. The sole reason to pay for photography is in case you want to be in the photo.

Thus, I'm looking at a horrible loss of money. I'm wondering whether selling it will finally put the nightmare behind me. Then, after a brief interval I can re-equip with a smaller and more suitable kit. I like the idea of a wide, fast prime for landscapes and sky photos. I like the idea of the new high-iso cameras. I have taken some really excellent images with super color saturation with my existing kit which makes me wonder if something new will be as good.

All the time I have been fence-sitting as I have for the past 3 years at least, the value has dropped inexorably. I sold one item and didn't get its value at all via eBay and sold another and didn't get its value via Amazon. It just seems that what with underpriced shipping calculations and overcharging for money handling, Amazon and eBay get the seller significantly less than just sending the whole lot to a dealer. I've been on the verge of selling the whole lot to a dealer before but haven't because I didn't have the packaging materials for the quantity I wanted to sell. I keep meaning to attend to that but haven't managed it yet. I rather suspect that when it's gone I will feel huge remorse but will feel huge relief and will be more able to move on with my life photographically.

What will my new kit be like? I really do quite like the Nikon1 series. I hear people bitching and raving about the image quality so I don't really know the answer. There are probably things I won't be able to do as well as new things I can do. The size attracts me and the weight.

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