November 9, 2009 @ 2:05 am
Recently, I trotted over to my local camera show. Admittedly it’s not so much a show as it is a flea market — but there sure is a lot there to show. In recent years, the frequency of these kind of camera meets vigorously bloomed — and then as suddenly they collapsed. These markets follow the natural ebb of camera gear that is disposed of during times of great change. This time it was the great exodus of film into digital technology — circa 2004–2007. Now at a low watermark, there is but one such local meet held each month. Naturally, it brings together all manner of mensch and merchandise. Mingled between the reputable are the wretched. On show days, these meets becomes a hive of activity. A place where heroes and villains battle for the minty, the scarce, and the scum. One person’s garbage magically transforms itself into another person’s treasure. In the midst of such grandiose showmanship, the stealthy make out to hoard bargains while the distracted ogle the crown jewels and other untouchables. Just like any specialized market — these are places to sniff out awe and value.
Along with the usual “jambalaya” of hard to find adaptor rings, eyepieces, discussion pieces, Nikon manual focus options, and throw-always — this time the Nikon news hound made a significant impulsive purchase. Up until this anomaly — and aside from the usual adapters, experimental optics, and eyepiece accessories — the only novelty item the hound had managed to hoard was a 106 page Cokin creative filter catalog. You know, the resin filter system from France? THis minature publication is shown above. While marketing speak is not normally on the list of collectables — what was intriguing about this was that it’s approximately the size of a business card and the body text was set to 3 or 4pts. Mostly unreadable to the naked eye — a 4x loupe would later verify this. Yes, I’m somewhat red-cheeked to admit that this is the kind of jambalya that excites the Nikon News Hound. But if not for me it would go to someone else.
Just prior to leaving with this booty — the Nikon News Hound rebelled against instinct and acquiesced to the siren call of an extremely pretty Nikon F3 HP. Not only was it totally out of character to buy this on impulse, it was purchased despite owning several other Nikon manual focus film cameras that barely see more than a few rolls of film trickle through them every year. Yet this camera is not what THIS STORY is about. NO! What this story is about is the impulse that led me to buy another product I do not need.
The photo community has an idiom to describe such a phenomenon. It’s called G*A*S which is short for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. The syntax for this acronym can be further splintered into sub-genomes. For instance, in the Nikon community this act of GAS is also known as NAS. Leicaphiles are known as LASsies. LASsies are particularly dangerous when they’re on the scent of a collectable. It is said they can be as feisty as a dog that roils in heat. This suggests Sony advocates — previously (Minolta) MASsies — are affectionately known as SASsies. Pentax receives a PAS. KAS could stand for Konica or Kodak — but serious GAS braggers usually don’t prize these as much as other brands. The other top brand which receives a lot of attention is Canon. As “Canon Acquisition Syndrome That Rules All The white lens Experts” is an acronym for CASTRATE — the hound will not take you there.
GAS is most commonly encountered where great bargains are perceived and/or lusted after. Or it could appear at anytime scarce or untouchable collectables are dangled before us. GAS is a form of flatulence. And like other flatulences, it ranges from “subtle-yet-distinct” to “noisy-but-mostly-benign”. If you scan the online camera forums it’s not long before these symptoms become self-evident. GAS is common enough that most everyone suffers it to some degree. Some people are hoarders, some collect until they gag — then purge. Others are tepid to the practice and pretend not to have GAS, but then proceed to flatulate anyway. I suspect the latter category explains my particular acquisition of an F3 HP.
Some gear is just meant to be admired. It’s either a work of art — or so desirable that it clouds our senses and blinds us with lust. This syndrome usually runs in cycles which are lowest when our desires are satiated, but move forward when empty. The best way to deal with GAS is to purge as needed. Small quantities are less conspicuous than engorging ourselves to the point of hedomism. In this instance, the Nikon News Hound caved in to temptation.
I guess to GAS is normal, but to purge is divine. If the subject of GAS bags interest you, further scandal and entertainment is published in the number one tabloid tattler for Gasbags — the photopoo.
*The market to which I referred to earlier, can be found on the Rosebowl parade route in Pasadena, California. The GAS is so popular for this market that it attracts vendors as far away as Japan, Africa, Canada — as well as buyers of secondhand merchandise across America. More information and a schedule of events is published here.