The Camera Circle of Life: What Women Want or How to Justify New Gear

So you need to buy new gear. Or rather: want new gear. Best is to make it look like that’s what your woman wants: “Honey, these new presets and filters, that sensor, the glass! You’ll look amazing, you’ll love what I must have…” It’s not that easy, isn’t it.

It's as old as technology, the yielding to gear temptation | Paul Mayne/Flickr
A woman has generally no clue as to why a man has real technology needs. Not the woman who might be reading this. She’s the exception that proves the rule. But how to convince the average, kind-hearted woman that it’s the man’s nature-given birthright to have nice, good gear — not least for the sake of domestic harmony and a bright common future.

If my wife would feel the same love for my gear that she feels for her handbags and shoes, we’d be the happiest couple on earth. She’d beg me on her knees to buy that Leica M9 with lenses of my and also her choice. Because what looks better on a lady than great gear? She’s not thinking that way.

Your Woman Thinks Differently

Well, she loves photography, but differently. And thinks differently. Key to her thinking is she loves shots with family and friends. She loves babies and cute kids.

With the right gear every kid photography is child’s play, you have to tell her. It goes without saying that you’re buying that new camera for exactly the very purpose of, kind of, kid photography — et voilà, together you enter camera heaven.

Or is your poor bastard’s choice either domestic war or peace?

Be a man. Overcome angst and emotion.

Tell her you’ll produce the most beautiful memories. Say you’re old gear is really old (that a year is like a millennium in technology-terms), and so would the memories soon be. Let her touch the bit small lens with not enough zoom. Show her comparison shots, downloaded from Magnum.

Tell her that she doesn’t even have to worry about specs; that — for the sake of memories — you’ll bite the bullet and go to make that new gear your own so that you two can live happily ever after while enjoying those memories stored on a hard drive and a back-up hard drive. Or do you want the memories to be lost due to some hardware failure? Thinking of it, you may need a third drive.

If she’s stubborn and rightly asks why not settle for a compact camera that can make almost every shot, then you tell your woman, “They’re too slow and you’ll miss half the memories.”

Maternal Instinct Goes Photography

So own looks, memories and kids are key. Oops, you ave no kids? Well then you’re out of luck. Because your woman will keep you on your toes making sure that this new gear better brings out the best in her. Again and again. She wants to review each and every shot. So simply say you want to have kids.

Now you’re ready for your brilliant moves.

Now play your trump card, women’s great weakness: they love shopping. Just not the right stuff. But once convinced your woman might even do her own camera research and proudly find the best price for you. Or she just trusts you, because without your gear you’re only half the lover.

But then again, why would you even think that new gear improves your love life, a.k.a., photography. In today’s digital world post-processing can even make a point-and-shoot camera’s bokeh look like a Summilux’s child.

Get Real

I spend more on gear than anything, creating lust for even more gear. Not because I expect an improvement of my photography. I love the feel of the new toy, the discovering of and experimenting with new features. This comes at a price.

I can quickly grow tired of a new baby. A friend recently said he knows no one selling better quality gear at these prices… Well a man has to do what a man has to do.

Even if the “investment” looks absolutely ridiculous, talking temptations that cost an arm and a leg. But some people love gambling. Others spend heavily on entertainment, dining out. My treat’s my gear.

And do the math. Say you spend $2k on a kit. So for two years you put aside some $80 each month. Or your wish list’s a 5k. That’s $210/month. Not too bad.

Problem starts when you accelerate the cycle of renewal — and think an upgrade will improve your photography. The only thing this improves is the camera maker’s balance sheet.

Of Rent, Investment & Waste

Buying gear is not about happy-go-lucky. In the end every “investment” depreciates — well maybe not Leica lenses. Just see the price you pay for gear as a rent you pay. You have to make an initial investment. And tomorrow’s technology is always getting better and cheaper. So when it comes time to upgrade you won’t be looking at reinvesting that same amount.

Still, if you absolutely have to spend more money on unnecessary gear, then do not think of it as the latest piece of shiny technology but something that helps you have fun or — even better — make money.

Try to sell your photos — which might be an incentive to improve your photography.

Approach your local newspaper or stock agencies. Work hard, work even harder and give it your best shot.

And yes, old gear can refinance new gear. As a rule of thumb you’d need to cover about a third or half of the cost of the camera if you sold your old one, depending on the age and condition of it.

An even better way to help you save money big time is to wait for newly announced gear and then jump on the “old” predecessor. A Canon 5D Mark II with an absolutely amazing output can be had for $2,199 these days — not to mention the plenty Mark IIs and Nikon D700s in the used market.

The Camera Doesn’t Matter, Stupid

Leading to the rather nihilist aspect of upgrading: does your camera really matter?

Or does a newer camera ensure that you don’t the same results you always have?

Wrong exposure? Fuzzy background?

Right, blame the camera…

Or you still want that “one more lens”?

What’s the better wider angle lens?

Take a step backward.

A great violinist does not need a Stradivari to shine.

If you can shoot well, all you need is a cell phone to create nice work. If you have no talent, it doesn’t matter how much you spend. Your work will still be uninspired.

It may sound like an oxymoron to some but in the right hands a 5MP camera phone takes better pictures than the latest 20 something megapixel DSLR.

The best camera can get the worst pictures.

Get over it.

You make the photo. Not the camera.

It’s as simple as that.