You don't actually like photography – you just like buying camera gear

James Artaius
(Image credit: James Artaius)

If you're reading this, the chances are that you're interested in cameras. This is good! I'm interested in cameras, too. But cameras are simply a means to an end – they're the tools necessary in order to practice photography.

Now more than ever before, however, a huge proportion of photographers are getting it ass-backwards – practicing photography has become the means to the end of acquiring cameras. 

It's important that I put my hands up, here, because I am definitely guilty of stockpiling cameras. However, I'm not locked in a never-ending arms race with the rest of the world to upgrade my gear all the time in a ridiculous effort to own all the latest kit. 

For better or worse, a lot of new photographers see cameras and lenses as little more than Pokémon cards. They don't need a 100MP camera, but Fujifilm makes one and it has more megapixels than anything else on the market (without selling your kidneys to buy a Phase One, anyway), so they go and buy a Fujifilm GFX 100S.

Yes I do like buying weird cameras, but that's because I like using them (Image credit: James Artaius)

If you're a member of a camera club, you know the people I mean. They come in each time, brandishing their latest bit of gear, ready to play a glorified game of Top Trumps so they can "have the best" camera in the group. Whether they actually know what to do with it is another matter entirely.

Compulsive collection and GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) aside, I do understand somewhat. Cameras are a fusion of art and technology, and a lot of photographers are more interested in the latter – they admire cameras as pieces of boundary-pushing achievement more than as pure imaging tools. 

Obviously, this phenomenon has been around pretty much as long as cameras have. However, the advent of YouTube has taken it to a whole different level. Hyperbolic gear reviews and clickbait proclamations and the constant bigger-better-more cycle of hype… no sooner have you bought that GFX 100 than you go onto YouTube and you see people saying how crap it is, and how psyched they are for the next thing.

There's nothing wrong with having the shiniest tech, of course. Buy all the cameras and lenses you want to – I genuinely hope that they bring you a lot of pleasure. Just do me a favor and learn how to use them properly so you can actually take a decent picture occasionally.

Read more: 

Best Fujifilm cameras
Best medium format cameras
Best Canon cameras

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.