Are you an addict? Photographer blogs about ‘Gear Acquisition Syndrome’


Florida-based Olivier Duong has been blogging about a common addiction among enthusiast and professional photographers  – G.A.S., or ‘Gear Acquisition Syndrome’. Among its symptoms are ‘hoarding gear that you don’t really need and getting stuff for the sake of getting it’. Does this sound painfully familiar? In his blog post, entitled ‘How buying cameras and lenses made me miserable and lose thousands’, self-confessed former ‘gear addict’ Duong explains how his gear acquisition got out of control.

Are you a gear addict? What he calls Gear Acquisition Syndrome cost Olivier Duong thousands of dollars.

Photo: Olivier Duong

Among the ‘confessions’ listed in his article, Duong claims that his addiction to gear acquisition actually got him started in photography, when ‘I had a friend that had a cool looking professional camera and one day realized that I could afford it’. Once he had his hands on his own DSLR, Duong went about collecting more, and more, and more…

Admitting that ‘I can’t really remember how many cameras I owned’, Duong claims that ‘a sure way to know you have G.A.S is that you start not only buy cameras but also everything else like bags, gadgets and other gizmos.’ He goes on to detail how his own addiction wasn’t limited to just cameras, but also included smartphones, PDAs and watches – a collection which ultimately cost him thousands of dollars. 

Describing gear acquisition syndrome as ‘a sort of idolatry’, Duong explains ‘normally idolatry is anything you put in front of God (yourself, money, etc), but G.A.S is a form of idolatry in the sense that you put gear in front of photography. The main goal [becomes] not photography but the acquisition of shiny new toys.’

Does this sound like you? (Some of us here in the dpreview office are shifting nervously in our seats). You’ll be pleased to know that Duong did overcome his addiction. How? Well, he’s teasing that for the next installment of his blog. We can’t wait to find out. 



All of us who actually like photography should be silently thankful for those folks which run and buy the latest and most gadget-ridden model on the very day it emerges. This secures the continuation for the manufacturers, which is a good thing.
The more cameras one has, the more cameras remain home and gather dust.
With time, knowlege replaces the gear, and one uses just one or mostly two systems for one’s own kind of photography.
With time and knowlege (whatever appeared first), many excellent photogs can be seen carrying something small, practical and simple, not necessarily from the top-price range. But curiously, if there is no metadata to be seen, no-one will bash the resulting images.
Perhaps someone still remembers the ancient Minox ad: “The Camera That Never Stays Home”…? That’s what it boils down to.


GAS is just one of many kinds of gear addictions, i.e. audio gear, cars & car gear, golf gear, boating gear, fishing gear, etc. It’s a long list.

Gear acquisition is not the same as gear addiction. Gear acquisition can simply be an outgrowth of one’s hobby. There’s really nothing wrong with collecting camera bodies & lenses so long as you can afford the purchase, even if the purchase just sits on a shelf for most of its life.

The writer of the article about GAS has regrets not because he acquired gear but because of the money involved and that the gear brought only a moment or two of satisfaction. When that moment or two was over, he needed his next “fix.” That’s when he knew he was addicted in a self-destructive way.

Just because you might have a lot of gear, don’t think you might have GAS. If the gear brings pleasure and enjoyment, I’d say you’re ok. Besides, digital will have you acquiring new gear whether you want to or not simply because the technology is advancing so rapidly.

Bobby Handal

Yep, I am guilty. But if you already own your home, put your children through college, have a very decent income – why not? whats the point of being the richest man in the cemetery?.

Are you saving money so that when you pass away, your wife’s new husband enjoys it ?

I am going to enjoy my life. I am going to buy whatever I can afford , not more.

I love waiting for that recently announced camera, I love reading rumors, sheesh I even sit down and design on paper what would be the perfect camera for me.

The main problem for me? is what equipment to take oin a photo shoot !!! I love it. yep, I am guilty.


Could not sad it better. +10


The funny part is to see folks haggle, pixel peep and complain then you see their work and it’s obvious that the latest and greatest camera really wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway – what they need to go is get out there and practice.

It’s like the folks I golf with that buy the latest and greatest clubs every year thinking their game will be so much better but all they do is hit the ball further into the woods.


There should be a Gear Analysis Syndrome too. People analyze gear based on what they think/hear/read and make conclusions without actually owning/touching/using/experiencing it. Some of them probably don’t even own a camera or turn on AUTO once a camera is in their hands……don’t need to prove I am false becasue you know there is plenty of this kind out there and you might know one or two.


I can see that this is the perfect site for people who suffer from GAS.


…this isn’t the type of thing DPR really ought to bring up. Unless you’re hoping we can address our addictions only to accept and embrace them?


Duong … I thank you for your bravely to open up this topic for G.A.S. confession .. it is indeed a hot-topic! I was such an idiot myself especially in the late 90s … I got myself a full range of Canon “L” and Zeiss lens, and later went into Medium Format thinking that the sharpest images only come from such gears! It is only when I had spent tens of thousands and not really getting what I want to achieve that lead me to do a reality check on myself! At the end, I figure out a big part of photography is all about our vision, techniques, creativity and more importantly … digital darkroom technique that make one’s photos look like a Pro.

At the end, we paid to learn our lessons … and discover how not to get suck-in into the world of marketing .. and the best might not always be the most expensive!!!


I dont’ have money, so the problem doesn’t exist for me.

But if i were rich, surely i would be an addicted.

Craig from Nevada

“The truth is we don’t need much gear, only the minimum for what we do.”


Everyone needs more gear.


Just one more lens, and I will stop… Promise! 🙂


Ohhh yess I recognise this but justify it on the grounds that I am a perfectionist – got t’ get it right – right? So only the latest/best will do.

I don’t have it bad – only 2 cameras and 3 lenses but the desire for ‘better’ is real and always drawing me.

I actually use my cameras too so perhaps I’m ok. Really, I am.

Ok I just bought a right angled viewer eyepiece for my Nikon so that I can get those superb low down shots without wrecking my knees. As long as I can find a reason/justifiaction then that’s ok isn’t it?

Ohhh perhaps I am not as ok as I thought…. Worst place for me – Amazon – so easy to buy too.

But hey I enjoy my hobby so it’s got to be good for me and worth every penny.

Ok I lied. I have another 2 cameras hidden away that my wife uses and just a couple of compacts too but I don’t mention those. So that’s ok as long as no one knows – right?

Oh and studio lights, and … Ohhhh dear

Thankfully I found a bit of a cure in software. No danger there….


This articles HAS to be removed!
How dare you to suggest this!


Creepy, sounds strangely familiar to me.
Never thought that I would be a “G.A.S.”.
However, I think that I am in a very early stage: not near the (severe) level of “M.U.A.”(Make-up addiction) that my wife suffers. LOL!
I am still using my compact Nikon P300, the two DSLR – Nikon D90 (with several lenses: 35 1.8, 50 1.8, 85 1.8, 10-20, 17-50 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 70-300VR, flashes SB400 and Nissin DI 622, Tripod, monopod, bags and rucksacks) and the Nikon D50 (with permanently attached Sigma AF 105 2.8 Macro).
I would like to buy the new D7100, but besides the high price it’s difficult to put the D50 aside: it is still working like new! However the “prosumer” Olympus C8080WZ is on the bookshelf for some years, almost since I bought the D50…
I bought the first Smartphone (Huawey X5) two years ago, never got back to the normal “cell phone” and this month already bought a better, more improved, bigger screen Smartphone…a “Samsung Galaxy Express”. Is that normal?
Am I a “G.A.S.”?


Anyone who reads this and doesn’t squirm a bit isn’t being honest with themselves. I suffered from GAS, though I’m largely cured.

Firstly, I no longer purchase on the basis of “if I had one of those…” though I did, as my Elinchrom kit will testify. I just realised it was too much effort to keep discovering I was only average at things.

Secondly, I have had a 10 year battle with QC. I have grown weary of faults, some major some minor, which can’t be successfully or permanently fixed under warranty.

When the pleasure of acquisition is replaced by anxiety, when you find yourself testing each camera or lens for 3 weeks instead of using it, you are half way there. If your gear spends more time with Nikon or Canon than in your bag, you are almost cured.

Buy stuff you know you will use and make sure it works, then keep it till you wear it out. Any merely “good” lens or camera that works is better that one that’s “excellent” but doesn’t, and way better than one you never use.


Not surprising. Today Popular Photography has about 15-20 pages of adverting from Camera stores. In the pre internet era there would have been 30-40 pages. Always something to lust over, buy and put in a drawer.

I have to laugh when I see gear with the oval gold Japan quality stickers still on after a decade or twol

There has always been a acquisition syndrome, on the whole the digital era is worse – technology changing faster and more planned obsolesce. Remember how long Nikon retained backwards compatibility to its lenses. Try using a manual lens today and the reduced functionary is not appealing.

It goes without saying that everyone wants a big, long lens in their pocket 🙂


There is this same syndrome for guitars 🙂

I’m aways asking myself:
Do I need this new camera ?
Will I make better pictures and finally win prizes ?


i have an underwater housing and i cant swim!


Now that’s funny!

NZ Scott

Good on ya, mate!

Daryl Cheshire

After I realised I had two of everything, eg
Canon 5D mkII and mkIII
two iphones 3GS & 4
two ipads 2 & 3
and a few more examples, I apply a ‘hit the wall’ rule. I ask myself if I have hit the wall or have I reached a limitation of the equipment I have.
It helps me pause and think.
The turning point was realising there was very little difference between the iphones and I won’t do minor or incremental upgrades.


I used to be, but I got over it!
I started with a Nikon D600, loved it.. but the oil spots.. grrrr sold it along with my Nikon 12-24 Lens.. loved it to.. but I don’t do landscapes so it was a GAS purchase and I just wasn’t using it enough to justify the $2k price sticker.

Upgraded to Nikon D800.. loved it.. sensor was nice and clean.. but it was just overkill.. so I sold that and downgraded to :

Nikon D7100 with 18-55 and the 55-200 and still had $1200 left over to spend on other things.. I couldn’t be happier! great camera.. it reminds me a lot of the D600 DX frame.. that is all I need for now..


It’s hard to tell whether I’m an addict. I like buying gear, but I like photographing even more. Plus I’m not rich; lenses like the Zuiko 12mm-f/2 and even the Panaleica 25mm-f/1.4 are out of my budget, so I had to find a compromise. Having a camera that works extremely well with legacy lenses (Olympus E-P1), I got myself two OM primes. They work so fine that one of them – a humble 28mm-f/3.5 – has become my favourite lens for street photography.
Having these lenses and being less than impressed by the E-P1’s tendency to blow highlights, the next step was to buy an Olympus OM-2. This camera never fails to bring a smile to my face whenever I use it. Less than one month later I bought a 135mm-f/2.8 prime lens. Secondhand gear is quite inexpensive and, if you’re careful and wise, great deals are there to be found.
This is how I can satisfy my lust for gear without having to file for insolvency. But now I need some autofocus lenses for the E-P1. Oh well…


SCARY!!!! 🙂


quote: ” I had a Nikon D80, then it was too big, I got a Samsung NX, then I wanted a retro camera, got the Olympus PEN, then missed viewfinder, got a Pentax K20D “

simple answer is : FF mirrorless 😀


Never had such a problem – but my friends do.
I am very satisfied with my GX20 (Samsung 18-35 mm, Pentax 35mm/f2, Sigma 70-300 mm, Pentax 50mm/f2 MF) + Panasonic FZ28. I must admit that I follow the development of photo-technology & sometimes I think that new Pentax 5 II would be a nice choise. BUT at the end counts only a photography & do not think that my photos would be much better because of new camera.


Both yes and no. I got the cheap Samyang 650-1300 just for fun, but managed to resist the urge to get their TS lens since I realized I do not actually need it. Maybe I justify every needless purchase I do with the needless purchases I did not do 🙂

NZ Scott

Hmm. I’ve bought 8 lenses for my E-P3 in less than two years … I think I’ve got a touch of GAS. On the other hand, I bought 7 of those lenses for specific reasons.

I’ve found that one way to fight against GAS is to buy the best stuff right at the start – then you don’t have to keep upgrading all the time. B+W multicoated filters, the best/most expensive lens out of three possible options, the nicest/most expensive camera bag, the carbon-fibre tripod option … et cetera.

It’s expensive at the start, but at least it helps to curb “upgrade-itis”.

Kudos for Duong for being honest about his GAS. Some people hate to admit these kinds of failings.


Very good advice, NZ Scott, will help me. Sometimes you notice during use that there is still much room left. And it is hard to make the right decision up front by just reading reviews. Mostly, I get the feedback by personal usage and sharing with friends. Anyway, I got the experience that buying cheap (not necessarily by price), then you mostly buy twice. And this really becomes expensive.

And I also found that big brand names and high prices will not protect you. I have got a good dealer who takes back after extensive trial with a 10% restocking fee. So, this protected me of investing in a Nikon “Pro” lens made in Thailand which was mediocre; the Sigma was better, just a case.

NZ Scott

Thomas, like I said in my first post, I try to buy the best stuff I can afford. There have been a couple of times I’ve tried to save money, and both times it ended up costing me money. The first time was when I bought a cheap aluminium tripod (Velbon CX888). Of course, it broke. My second tripod was an expensive carbon-fibre model (Sirui T1204x) and it looks like it will last for years. The second time was when I bought cheap Cokin filters and had problems with colour-cast. I’ve upgraded to expensive Hitech filters – and the Cokins are sitting in a drawer.


pffft…he got off


I have been in the past but no longer because I’m at the stage where I see cameras as tools. Things changed for me when I printed out a very large landsape photo taken with a Canon G10 compact and realised that it was fantastic. I have two cameras now and hardly any gear to go with them.


I keep telling myself that I’m not spending regular income, just what I bring in from photo gigs. I should sell some of the lenses – the zooms! But I really love the 70-200…. Four bodies? Two for work, one for fun and one for my purse. That’s normal, right?

Paul Storm

look lady, the first thing you have do is to admit to yourself that you have a problem. and you have a big one. you are clearly still in denial.

gearaholics annonymous


I like quality stuff.


Remember you buy tools NOT toys


I wish I could afford to be an addict……


Acquisition, not addiction. And yes, I’ve had my phases.

Craig Atkinson

I only ever have one camera, but buy and sell them too much – grd4, em5, x100, rx100, x100s, gr…then go back and forth amongst them.

photo perzon

Those quiet guys at the Leica forum with 20 lenses at $ 7000 each smile…


Do the dpreview editors actually read these blog posts before publicizing on this site? Duong’s writing is terrible. Choosing quality material is what an editor is supposed to do.


Actually, form is perhaps not the best (can’t say with my pidgin english) but content of Duong’s articles is often extremely interesting and original.


Please be tolerant. English is not the mother tongue of everyone on Earth…
Did you notice his first name is Olivier (not Oliver) and he is Haitian – French – Vietnamese ?
Is your french as good as Olivier’s english ?


Grammarnazi obsession. The person is trilingual. How many languages do YOU whine in ? Me in 2, BTW.

Desert Rose

I’m a grammar Nazi too. I expect near-perfection from those who are paid to write and speak. And some of the BS you hear from the general public these days is intolerable: using “which” as a conjunction, using “that” instead of “where” or “in which”‘ and the latest, not using “an” before words starting with a vowel sound. But please, take it easy on those for whom English a second (or more) language. Their English is, in ways, better than that of many Americans (not hard to do if you ask a Brit). :-). Hats off to them for trying, and for giving our language the deference they do.


The A stands for “acquisition.”


I think I have DPRAS – DPR Adddiction Syndrome; come to site waaaay more often than necessary.


This post is for G.A.S. Anonymous, everybody can now confess.

My G.A.S. is seasonal, and only buy what I need, and before buying I think long and hard before deciding. I think I’m well below the average of those who actually suffer from G.A.S.

Craig Atkinson

haha yea, 3 bottles a day isn’t as many as 4.


full stops just get in the way of true GAS… get it right 😉


True GAS sufferers “buy what they need” in advance !

I think I might quote myself on that one.


i had a bad case of G.A.S back in college.. things are better now though


I went from a D40 with about 6 lenses to a C3 with the stock zoom lens. Being honest in yourself and building ability rather than hiding behind equipment is always satisfying. G.A.S. is far from something limited to photography- I would almost say it’s integral to Western culture.


I have the ‘need to try everything disorder’. Since the two years ago i started with photography i owned a SONY A100, PENTAX K5, NIKON D7000, SONY A77, NIKON D800 and SONY RX-100.

=/ I hope i can stick with the latter two for many years to come…

Vikas M Gore

I realzied a few weeks ago that I was becoming an addict and and not enjoying it! I have started eBaying some of the stuff I don’t need and avoiding buying more.

new boyz

I am an addict.


When I first started out in digital DSLR I bought a heap of lenses etc. Old Minolta ones mostly.
When I drifted back to Terra Firma, I sold most of them and now prefer to only have 2 or 3 G lenses for everything I do. Well, not always. The lure of a cute new lens, might just be too tempting to me. Just don’t tempt me please.

M Lammerse

I was absolutely an addict, but my wife cured me. Now I’m just only addicted to women and liquor.

I’m only allowed to buy new equipment when it is absolutely needed for my work .


Work is never enough IMO. If you want to be a good or great artist (or merely give yourself a chance) there has to be room for fun… ..creative fun that is.. PLAY! A bit of self indulgence goes a long way sometimes.

M Lammerse


Room for fun has no relation to the addiction of equipment. My passed addiction for equipment had nothing to do with any artistic values (I think for most of us (ex)-addicts). However I sometimes misused my artistic values as an excuse to buy new equipment.

I live in lala land when it comes to camera equipment and people who are addicted to it, there are more camera stores here than anywhere in the world, for many sometimes a hard time to live in 🙂


I was replying to the last line of your post..

M Lammerse

My photographic work leaves little room for artistic behavior and new equipment.
However i’m a bit lucky that I so now and then can try out new equipment before it is officially on sale (I’m only allowed to play and write about it, not keep it)

John Summers

Konica Lens. How do I love thee?
Let me count the your numbers carefully packed away.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee my Konica Lens to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use in darkness and bright sunlight.
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seem never to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Oh how glorious you all are so carefully packed away.
Awaiting your turn to be again mated to your favorite Auto T3.


Women have their SAS – Shoes addiction syndrome. HBAS – Handbags addiction syndrome.


I thought the saying, “The man who dies with the most toys, wins” was true. 😀


I don’t hoard. I only have 2 cameras at the moment for myself. Soon to be 3, but that’s unusual for me. Normally just 2, and fairly current models. I’m ‘guilty’ of upgrading…but I see nothing wrong with keeping up with current technology. I never let my camera get more than 3 years old before I sell it and upgrade to a newer/better model. Let’s face it, in 3 years things like high ISO quality improves quite a bit. Nothing wrong with staying current if you use your gear a lot.


The variant I’m familiar with is LBA — Lens Buying Addiction. It’s exceptionally common among us NEX owners, because the NEX models work very well with a huge range of non-native lenses (and there are not all that many native lenses).

The catch is that many very good old lenses can be had for less than $30 each, including shipping, so LBA can be a very sustainable hobby rather than a truly destructive addiction….

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