GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome, a horrible disease that plagues us all.

Let me be the first to say that I am afflicted with GAS. I’m never satisfied with my gear or my tools. I always feel like something is lacking.

My last laptop spending spree, I literally went through 5 MacBook laptops before “settling” on a laptop, and I was still dissatisfied.

With digital cameras, I’ve owned many. Even after my digital Leica, I wasn’t satisfied.

With money, I’m never satisfied. Cindy and I have more than 150 racks saved up in the bank, yet, I still don’t feel “financially secure.”

I (with the help of Cindy) currently earn over $200,000 USD a year from photography, yet it isn’t enough. I want to make $400,000 USD a year, then 1 million, then 2 million, 4 million, 8 million, 16 million, 32 million, 64 million, 100 million, 200 million, 400 million, then hopefully 1 billion a year. Then maybe die with 100 billion in the bank.

Who is at fault?

Of course it is my fault. I am dissatisfied with my material and worldly goods. I can change my attitude. Or can I?

Some thoughts:

  1. I’m highly susceptible to advertising. Psychologists call this “priming”– if I see lots of images of Lamborghini cars, I will be more greedy and less empathetic to the sufferings of others. Read the book, “Thinking fast, thinking slow” for more insight.
  2. Because I’m highly susceptible to advertising, I will often have “false desires” that I didn’t know I had. For example, I might desire a new iPhone, a new digital camera, or gadget… merely because it showed up in one of my social media streams (Google Advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, billboards, or my friends owning it, etc).
  3. Therefore, to have fewer cravings for shit I don’t need, I need to BLOCK ADVERTISING. That means no Facebook for me (they have even started adding advertising into Facebook Messenger). That means no “free” products (like Instagram) because these are just platforms and channels for more advertising.
  4. Pay more for subscription services. If I use TIDAL to watch music videos or listen to music, I am less likely to see advertisements on YouTube or getting distracted by random videos.
  5. All photography bloggers (myself included) write camera gear reviews, because it drives more site traffic. More traffic means more page views, which means more clicks on advertising. Therefore, don’t trust any camera review site that relies on advertising, or even “affiliate links”. Only trust camera review sites that require a paid subscription, to avoid any hidden bias.
  6. Don’t trust or follow “sponsored photographers” or “ambassadors” that get free gear. This includes ERIC KIM. Why? Assuming the photographer makes good photos, I will subconsciously desire that camera, thinking that if I bought the camera and equipment that they use, I will become a better photographer, and shoot photos like them.
  7. When I was given free camera gear, I felt like I needed to say good things about it. I didn’t express my discontent to the fullest extent. Why not? Because I am addicted to free camera equipment. I don’t wanna say anything bad.


The purpose of a camera company is to maximize profits.

If a camera company couldn’t sell more, new cameras… what purpose would it have?

No camera company wants to sell you a camera that will make you satisfied for the rest of your life.

This is one good thing about buying second hand, used, old film cameras. You become addicted to buying film, but certainly not buying new cameras. Japan Camera Hunter, my friend Bellamy Hunt, got me a used Leica MP film camera. I feel no desire to “upgrade” it. However with any digital camera, I always want to upgrade it every 6 months or so.

So how do camera companies subtly affect our desires for new camera gear and shit we might not need?

  1. Over-exaggerating the NEW and “different” features, while ignoring the SIMILARITIES of the new vs old version of the camera.
  2. Paying influential photographers to be “brand ambassadors” via free equipment, via money, free travel, or free hotels.
  3. Paying for advertisements on Google Adsense (banner advertising), via advertising in social media streams (Facebook and Instagram) or sponsoring events

Now, it is totally ethically fine that camera companies advertise. Of course, it is in their best interest to sell more cameras. I do the same, I advertise myself all the time.

But the question is,

Is it in your best interest to be advertised to?

Ok, this depends.

Having a certain camera can indeed help you make better photos. There are some digital cameras which are worth the upgrade.

But my suggestion:

Always have a skeptical eye.

Also, realize… you are getting advertised to.


Even though we are aware we are being advertised to, it still subtly affects our perception and behavior.

Therefore what does ERIC KIM do?

This is what I do:

  1. Don’t accept free equipment or camera gear anymore. To reduce bias.
  2. Don’t use “free social media” platforms. Because I’ll eventually be advertised to.
  3. Use advertisement blockers when browsing the internet (I have the “Purify” advertisement blocker on my iPad for Safari) and I use “Adblock ultimate” on my laptop.
  4. Don’t read magazines with advertisements (which is all of them)
  5. Using fewer Google Products (gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Android) because I know eventually…Google will have more personal information of mine to deliver even more effective advertisements to me, which I will not be strong enough to resist.

To once again clarify, I’m not telling you to never buy another camera or digital tool ever again.

It is good to upgrade your camera. It is good to buy digital tools which helps empower you.

But my suggestion:

Never buy a new camera, because you feel dissatisfied. Buying a new camera should be a rational, calculated, and emotionless experience. I think.

My lesson for myself: whenever I buy a new digital camera or piece of equipment, and I’m a little too excited– that means I’m being a sucker to the advertising and hype.



GAS: (Gear Acquisition Syndrome): wanting to buy new cameras, because you feel like your photos aren’t good enough, because your camera isn’t good enough:

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