GAS Reduction Exercise

This article shares a very simple gear acquisition syndrome (i.e. GAS) reduction exercise that folks can do either in-store or online. Those of you who are familiar with Stoicism and the use of self-deprivation exercises will recognize this GAS reduction exercise as an adapted technique.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. Photographs have been added as visual breaks.

Comparison of 4 M.Zuiko lenses. From left to right: 14-150 mm f/4-5.6, 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7, PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS, and PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8

If you’re like me you likely have more than enough camera gear. Without question when I look at the extensive assortment of Olympus M4/3 equipment and our wide selection of Nikon 1 gear… my wife and I have more camera equipment than we will actually need for many years to come.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-200

As photographers many of us have learned that just because we may have a lot of good, perfectly operational camera gear doesn’t mean that we are free from the temptation that new or different gear represents. Any one of us can chase after things that we really don’t need.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 51mm, efov 138mm, f/5, 1/20, ISO-3200, 16mm Deluxe Vello Extension Tube for Nikon 1

Buying new camera equipment can become a zombie-like behaviour that isn’t grounded in logic. If something appears new and exciting… we can be tempted open our wallets. And, once our emotions get aroused, the logic of a particular purchase often disappears.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom @ 24mm, efov 64.8mm f/9, 1/500, ISO-160

My typical approach to GAS reduction is to simply avoid reading reviews of cameras and lenses. I don’t need to learn anything about the ‘latest and greatest’ camera gear since I am already very well served by what I own. Separating myself from this information has the added benefit of freeing up time that I can use for creative endeavors.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom @ 13mm, efov 35mm f/4.5, 1/800, ISO-160

On occasion I do use self-deprivation exercises to aid in GAS reduction. I find the use of these exercises can be far more powerful than simply forcing myself to avoid information about new camera gear. This is because they help to increase my level of thankfulness for what I already own.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-1600

The GAS reduction exercise I use most frequently… about once every quarter… is to purposely go on the website and look at every camera and every lens that OMDS has available for purchase. I take time to read many of the specifications and even look at some of the sample images that were captured with various pieces of camera gear. Then, I close the website without buying anything.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-30 f/3.5-5.6 non-PD, @ 26mm, efov 70mm, f/5.3, 1/100, ISO-3200

The most important part of this GAS reduction exercise is to calmly recognize the reality that I didn’t see anything… beyond what I already own… that I truly need.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/800, ISO-160

Once or twice a year I use an expanded version of this GAS reduction exercise. For this one I go on the B&H website and look through a really wide selection of camera gear. This would include M4/3, APS-C, full frame, and medium format equipment. This can also be done by visiting camera stores or by going to a camera trade show.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm @ 6.7mm, f/8, ISO-1600, 1/20

After spending a few hours reviewing all kinds of camera gear, I adapt an approach from Socrates. I close down the B&H website… having not bought anything… then tell myself, “Wow! I had no idea there was so much camera equipment available that I don’t need.”

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-160

Reminding ourselves of everything that is out there that we don’t need, helps to increase our appreciation of what we already have.  Practising Stoics use self-deprivation exercises such as occasionally taking cold showers or fasting, to increase their levels of thankfulness for what they do have. Things like instantly available hot water or food. Self-deprivation exercises have nothing to do with suffering… they help lead us to deeper levels of thankfulness in our lives.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO-160

Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,037th article published on this website since its original inception.

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7 thoughts on “GAS Reduction Exercise”

  1. Following a minimal approach will most likely hasten the end for a brand and format in terminal decline.
    Shame because zuiko lenses and to a degree cameras are top class.

  2. Hi Tom,

    I agree that GAS strikes us every now and then. But having rediscovered minimalism, I’m more aware of what I do have that serves my needs and what does not. The pandemic is also offered an opportunity for learning that in times of extreme need, not having that newfangled thing or stuff is okay, and is not deprivation on our part. Of course, marketers and internet trolls will have you think otherwise 😀


    1. Ho Oggie,

      Many of us have more than enough stuff in our lives. Like you I have been rediscovering minimalism and being more discerning and critical about what I actually need.


  3. It seems that most photographers experience G.A.S. at least once. After the first financial burn, many will rethink an impulsive buy and settle down to realities.

  4. Thanks for the reminder Tom. Periodically I buy stuff that I really don’t need and then to resolve the guilt, I end up selling it or getting rid of some other stuff. Obviously that is not the most efficient way to deal with GAS.

    Thanks for helping me get the best out of my Nikon 1 system.

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