Gear Matters! --- Gear Matters?

Sony A7 III
Image courtesy of Sony Corporation of America

As I was sitting here today, I found myself pursuing the merits of the Sony A7 III.  In fact, I would say I was drooling a bit for the camera.  After all, what is there not to like?  I mean a great sensor, animal eye tracking, 399 phase detect auto-focus points, 10fps and 2x better AF over the last generation.  All that for a price just under $2,000 US.  
The questions that run through my head are endless, but there is one question that stops me cold.  That is, what is wrong with my current gear?  I mean, when it comes right down to it, what does the $2,000 get me, and is it worth losing the money that could go toward trips to photograph wildlife and scenics?  That is where everything falls apart.   Am I doing all this so I can get the next greatest piece of gear, or do I do this to create and attempt to master and make the next great photograph.

Well, for those that follow my blog, podcast and YouTube channel, you probably know what I am about to say.  GEAR IS ONLY HALF THE EQUATION!  Therein lies the issue though, doesn't it?  It really is about half the equation and that is why wildlife photographers, in particular, are heavy into their gear.  That is why we are willing to spend the money to get one more feature that increases our AF percentage, or gets us more megapixels for cropping.  Perhaps no other genre, with the exception of sports, is so gear centric.

I know there are some already, mostly landscape and portrait photogs, who are already saying my thoughts are ridiculous.  To them, I say, so be it.  I have seen gear make the difference time and time again in difficult scenarios.  It doesn't replace our abilities, but enhances them and make us realize our potential.  Look at it this way, if gear really didn't matter, we would all still be shooting film, right?  But, we don't because digital is efficient, gives us more creative choices, and is cost effective.  

So fine, where is the line then?  I mean, we have to have a line somewhere.  We just can't keep buying new gear and making excuses!  Those who follow me also know I am big on saving money and finding the best deals on gear for your budget.  So, I have this constant dichotomy going on in my brain. 

Honestly, I don't have the answers today.  I mean, I really don't.  I know my 7D Mark II makes great images and I can really push that camera past what many can. I know, that I could take that 2K and use it toward a trip to Yellowstone or Alaska.  Isn't that a better use of the money?  In the end, I would have to say YES, but it still leaves me, and I think us all, wondering, "what if?"  

In the end, there is simply no silver bullet, but only choices.  There isn't one answer, and I think that is the real crux of the problem.  We want it to be black and white and instead it is completely gray for many of us.  We find ourselves being our best salesmen on buying new gear.  We can talk ourselves into gear better than the best used car salesman can talk someone into buying that old clunker.  

So we all have a choice.  Choose wisely.


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