A lot of my fellow shooters will probably identify with this subject – Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I definitely have a moderate to severe form of this devastating affliction; the most recent outbreak manifesting itself with the purchase of the Bronica bellows. Now I’m not buying all this stuff because I believe that great gear makes great photos. If I believed that then I’d be off at the front of the queue for the latest DSLRs instead of being perfectly happy with my five year old 20D and a medium format tank of a camera that’s older than I am.
What it’s really about is that I love cameras – especially mechanical cameras – and lenses. If I had the space and funds I could quite happily amass a proper collection of cameras but, things as they are, I try and stick to working cameras that I will actually use. However, as I use the cameras more I tend to find there are things that I want to do that they can’t. For example, the focusing helicoid on the S2A doesn’t allow very close focusing at all especially with the longer lenses, and so I was looking at extension tubes and ended up with the more flexible bellows. I still want a set of extension tubes though.
So I’m always running searches on e-Bay, looking for different things. Mostly it’s idle browsing through the Bronica items for sale, hoping something interesting will turn up at a time when I’m in a position to snap it up, but sometimes I’ll drift off into the realms of fantasy and hunt down a Canon 7s, or a 24mm Olympus shift lens. I can’t help myself.
Now pretty much most of my purchases are on e-Bay. I check out the used equipment at the local camera shop every time I get a chance, but they obviously have a much smaller sample. Now e-bay is far from perfect as a way to buy stuff, but so far I’ve been reasonably happy with how things have gone any time I’ve bought something. For me the key is to maintain reasonable expectations of what you’re actually going to receive, and bid accordingly. Any proper bit of gear has to have good quality photos to verify what it is and, in the case of a lens in particular, shots where I can see through the lens are a big plus. I’ve only had one real disappointment, and even then it wasn’t enough to complain about given the description and the bargain price I’d paid. More of an inconvenience than a disappointment.
The big advantage of e-Bay is that eventually almost anything you might want will turn up there. The bellows I bought is not a particularly common, but they crop up every few months. Of course the rarer something is the pricier it often is as supply and demand holds true, but if the timing is right that can work out. So now all I need is the right timing on a Zenzanon 40mm, and maybe some extension tubes. Oh and a quick focus lever. And…