Photographers Anonymous – Why I hate camera forums!

I just wanted to say thanks and tell you how much I hate you all. It may seem harsh, but as a member of Photographers Anonymous (PA), life isn’t easy dealing with this addiction every day…every Tuesday night we meet up, talk about our problems with photography purchases. Once in a while, a person slips up and they show up with a new body or lens, but we support them, we don’t judge, that’s what we do because we’re a family in it together.

But this isn’t about them, this is about me. This is about my problem…

I recently nearly spent a small fortune on new photography gear. This is largely as a result of the members here. Yes, I know, it’s easy to blame it on me, it’s my credit card, but it’s your fault and it’s time for you to take responsibility for your actions.

AJSH3398

All attempts to get support from the members on the local Fuji group in not buying the gear were useless. My first attempt occurred when I asked members whether I should buy the GFX, X100F or an X-T20 as a second body. Instead of responsible replies like ”don’t do it/you’ll hate yourself/think of the children/what would Michael Jackson do/that’s stupid when there is a new tax coming from the government”, I received responses of encouragement like “they’re awesome, you’ll love them! buy that! buy both! buy more! buy everything in the store!”. What I want you to ask yourself is if a friend came to you and said “Do you think I should buy cocaine or heroin”, would you really reply “They’re both awesome, get both!”?

AJSH1349

But as I was a responsible member of photographer anonymous, I contacted my PA Big Brother (he has a platinum badge because he hasn’t bought any photography gear in 2 years), I managed to gain enough emotional support to refrain from any further purchases. I did have a little slip up a couple of weeks later where I accidentally walked into a photography store thinking it was a hair salon and bought a 60mm Macro. With names of photography stores like Michael’s, B&H, Borge’s, Van Bar and Ted’s, it was an honest mistake. I walked in there expecting a new haircut and suddenly I have a whole lot of cameras and lenses in front of me. I didn’t even have time to cut up my credit card. I think these guys should be a little more honest about what they are doing instead of trying to fool customers into walking into the stores. Names like Camera Pro, “Cameras are us” or Camera Shop seem far more appropriate and less misleading. Fortunately, I had my PA big brother on speed dial as the credit card transaction was going through and he managed to talk me out of the store before any further damage was done but it was still a lens too late. At that point, I was doing well. I was headed towards a major milestone where I could proudly proclaim “Hi, I’m Athol and it’s been 1 month since my last photography purchase” but that’s the problem with life…just as you think things are going well, mother nature has a nasty habit of throwing you a curve ball.

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I was casually browsing the recent posts section on the local forum; despite the recommendations of my PA big brother; but I thought I was strong enough to control the urge at this point. Then it happened. A post about the new GFX camera. It’s just a post I thought, it’s not even available yet so I can handle this. But it was followed shortly by comments about how nice the Camera would be and before I knew it I was googling “Fuji GFX” and clicking the “pre-order”on an online shopping site. I didn’t have a 50MP camera body and if this camera was that good, it may be able to produce more winning photos for me, maybe even a Pulitzer. Yes, those evil competition wins that elude us so often were finally within reach by simply clicking that “Check Out” button. I had the talent, but not the GFX. I thought I didn’t have to worry about the GFX because it hadn’t come out, but there it was…the pre-order button. Who lets you pre-order something that isn’t actually available? That’s like selling air. Is it my fault for typing GFX into the search box on their site?

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From there it became a click frenzy. I was like a shark from Nemo with the smell of blood in the water, clicking wildly at everything that popped up on my screen. These camera places are incredibly sneaky. In the GFX pre-order screen, a popup appeared saying “people who ordered this also ordered a Fujinon GF63mmF2.8” and a whole heap of other things I didn’t have, and if they were buying those, they must be the ones winning the comps so I had to buy them. It couldn’t be an addiction if other people were doing it could it? Finally, I was at the checkout screen and things had taken a turn for the worst with mounting numbers that were getting higher and higher. I knew I needed help so I tried to phone my Photographers Anonymous Big Brother but he wasn’t answering (I later learnt he was also out pre-ordering a GFX as well). I went back to the forum for moral support hoping someone would tell me “You’re being an idiot”. Instead, the first post I saw is how was another post about how awesome the GFX was. I clicked on it searching for the answer, hoping for someone to say that the GFX had been discontinued and Fuji was no longer offering any new camera bodies for sale for the next 10 years but there was no such luck. All of the posts were positive about the GFX and the members even said I could sell my old camera because the GFX was so good I wouldn’t want it anymore. I was originally planning to keep it so in reality, they were saving me money. I was actually making a profit out of this, not losing money.

AJSH3454

Then just as I was getting ready to put in my credit card details, I realised things had gone too far. Sanity needed to prevail. I was about to do a bad thing that I would regret for at least 2 days while waiting for the goods to arrive.

I called my wife and she managed to talk me down. We talked for a while, we phoned friends for support, it took nearly an hour of negotiating, but we got there slowly. We both cried.

This is my story, hopefully you can learn from it so you don’t make the same mistakes. Maybe some of you can learn to accept that this is a real problem and you have to be careful about what you say to people on the forum. Giving photography gear advice shouldn’t be taken lightly.

And if you do make the same mistakes as me, I can highly recommend a ThinkTank bag to put the mistakes in.

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