‘Letting Go of the Camera’: Olivier Duong concludes look at gear addiction


Photo: Olivier Duong

Florida-based photographer and blogger Olivier Duong has concluded his examination of so-called ‘gear acquisition syndrome’ with an article that explains the steps he took to break free from his addiction. Starting with the mantra ‘there is more to photography than gear’, Duong describes how he make a conscious effort to appreciate the equipment he already owns, and to concentrate on using it to improve his photography.

Duong outlines several ‘action steps’ in his own recovering from gear acquisition syndrome, among which are those already mentioned above, but also – importantly – ‘accountability’. Duong suggests ‘tell your partner that you won’t buy a new piece of gear and hopefully your sense of pride won’t let you because if you do, you would fail in front of someone else.’ 

The final step is what Duong calls ‘marrying photography’. This consists of ‘creating something tangible’ with your work, like a blog, a photo project or a portfolio. Ultimately, Duong says, ‘I was a gear addict, now I am a photography addict’. And hopefully we can all agree that’s much healthier.

Click here to read Olivier Duong’s article ‘Letting go of the camera: The action steps I took to break free from gear addiction‘ and don’t forget you can share thoughts and photos in our forums, and you can also create your own articles, and submit them for consideration by our editors. 



When I taught photography, I used to say to my students find 3 famous photographs you like. Now decide whether you are influenced with the sharpness and quality or by the content.
My favourite has always been the Bert Hardy photo of the 2 girls on the sea front taken with a box brownie.

That said, I don’t see any great harm in enjoying camera equipment, there are worse vices.


3 thoughts

1)Give Eric Clapton a cheap guitar and he will still sound great. Give me a $15K Martin guitar and I will still sound like crap.Gear does help, but only so much. Understand ISO,f-stop and shutter speed and ….composition and you can make beautiful images with almost any camera.

2)Camera companies need to sell gear to exist and make a profit. The same goes for this site. Which is fair enough.We all have to make a living. Be wise to this.

3)There is nothing wrong with loving photo gear for its beauty- and not for talking pictures.For example- fast lenses are a work of art- form and function, amazing engineering and beautiful to look at and hold.


i have witnessed someone taking amazing pics with a bridge camera because somehow he owns a great perception of angle, moment and light (or maybe what he sees from his specific viewfinder inspires him) – but he was lacking a sense of color balance. I personally being decades more than him in photography will struggle to catch, notice, the moments and angles he so easily spots. And then again, i also saw that when i got my hands on seriously upgraded equipment many of my questions “how they do that” were solved as the equipment alone provided me 80% of that great result i wanted and i couldn’t get before because of equipment limitations. I dont think there are many people that are so naive and immature to think latest equipment will make great photography for them. Its also a matter of subject. You can do great artistic photogrpahy with any cheap camera, but if you want or need to do sports for example you need to sacrifice serious money, its a specialized field.


You can be whoever you want to be. Why filter how you feel. If owning something even if you dont use it makes you smile then keep own it. Just as that. If you need the money, sell it. Even if you don’t take photographs but you fancy having these fine pieces of machinery, that some inspired creative and scientific people called artists, designers, and engineers, have put together, then be it? Whos to tell whats healthier and what not. You have the right to not feel creative if you don’t feel. And if you do then you pick up any toy from your collection to explore what you can do with it. And if you choose to concentrate on a single item and make the most of it and make it do what you have in mind you want to do then be it too !! Just enjoy 😀


Seems like many on this site will pay thousands to buy the latest gear to photograph their dog/cat/children (in that order). Within months they’re pleading with the manufacturer to release the next better version.

Once the megapixel count became sufficient and higher iso became clean enough I really stopped looking to buy (I use a 1DsII and a 5D) and really started to use the gear I had. The best value for money gear I’ve bought is a pair of really good walking boots and waterproof clothing, this allows me to get out there and take images when most are aiming at the dog.


Hello, my name is Frank, and I’m a GASaholic…I really, think this thread has hit way too close to home. I just haven’t been able to get the strength to sell some of my gear. I know what I have to do and every time I look at my gear to shoot and place on ebay, I have withdrawals. Hopefully, I can come back and gather the will to post my gear to sell.


Also don’t hang around dpreview, amazon and flickr which are enablers. The less influences you have, the less likely you will be drawn into buying something. If you never heard of the sigma 35mm 1.4 chances are you won’t buy it.


The only way is rehab…no cameras…


Back when, during the film days you took pride in your beat up looking camera. It showed you use it. Today the frist thing they want to know on ebay is if you have the box! When the Nikon F3 introducted, I went to look at. I told the guy from Nikon I liked my F2s better. He told that’s want everyone was saying. The only real new lens was my 105 F2.5. I had wore out the old one. The photographic object that we all went for them olden days was the new films that came out. But again sometimes the old stuff is best. There is no Kodachrome any more. You used what you had. It was you, not the camera that took the picture. One of my best photos was take by “The worst camera ever made”.

white shadow

Its about time someone points out the futility of acquiring new cameras and lenses in the believe that having the latest gear will improve their photography. It won’t.

One must acquire the skill of a photographer first. For a novice, that will require both theory and practice for at least 6 months of training. Most important is acquiring the “art of seeing”. It is not something that is easily thought or learned. Some just don’t have it. Its like teaching a person to draw or paint.

In the days of film cameras, one usually use the same camera for years with an occasional purchase of a new lens. Further, one has to always think before they shoot as film (and processing) is not cheap. Thus, novice has to learn how to see and get right as far as possible.

Materialism is definitely not a good way to train a craftman.


For a semi-professional and a professional, the latest cameras and lenses are very important: new functionalities, better ISO quality,…

white shadow

Can’t disagree with you. Sometimes it matters if the new product really can make a difference to ones photography. Very often, it does not. There are many people who are just addicted to buy new gear. That’s exactly what marketing companies want them to do. I am saying this as I have been a marketing man for 30 years. Our job is to create the desire to sell more stuff.


How about we find 5 other photographers. On the first of each month we trade our gear around. This will be six months of new equipment without a cent spent and no GAS pain.


Good, sound advice. I have found a financially responsible way to enjoy GAS without spending money – buy used/sell used – it’s a bit time consuming and it doesn’t let you play with the newest camera gear but it does satisfy the urge to try different equipment. I’m actually a bit on the plu$ side after dozens of Ebay buys and sells.

Joe Talks Photo Gear

good article but should have given attribution to Henry Ford for the, “…if you think you can…” comment.

My name is Joe and I am a camera addict.

mathew crow

But when new gear is announced my old gear instantaneously turns into a steaming pile of poo that I could never use to take an actual photo with. What’s a guy to do? 😉


Poverty is a sure cure for GAS.


How I grew out of my GAS was by learning to “see the big picture.” Don’t look at individual components like resolution, sharpness, dynamic range, color, etc,; but look at the picture in whole. If the whole is good, then the resolution/etc is secondary.

Create Dont Imitate

One of greatest photo exibits I’ve ever seen was shot in the Yucatan… shot by a professional photographer… 20×24 inch prints… using a Diana camera… plastic lens [not glass]… cost of camera $15.

Professional photographers know that talent… creativity… determination… is what is important. Everyone else has been sidetracked into gear acquisition… and into thinking that buying new equipment will somehow will make them better photographers… it wont.

Source Article from http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/07/16/olivier-duong-concludes-his-look-at-gear-acquisition-syndrome