Welcome! It is

Your GAS is going to cost you

A few cameras

In photography circles, people mention GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

Most amateur photographers love their cameras. We like to look at them. We like talking about them. And we like dreaming about buying something else. The one thing that is better than the above is buying a new piece of camera equipment.

There is something very intoxicating about buying a new camera. Maybe that's just the hoarder in me speaking. Maybe not, because there seem to be a lot of people who L-O-V-E buying a new camera - even if it's a used camera. The term that we liked to use is "new to me."

There are downsides to this, and it's a slippery slope from collecting to hoarding. If you find one model that looks and works great, then maybe you should own two of them. Why stop at two, you ask yourself, when three or four would be better? Fairly soon your goal becomes to own all of the models on the planet. Well, that's a recipe for disaster.

Before you know it, your modest camera collection has outgrown your bag and then your closet and in short order your home. Maybe your marriage, too.

I spend several years, maybe about a decade buying the cameras that I wanted. I occasionally sold off extras, but I ended up buying more than I sold. See this photo.

When I moved, I realized that I had boxes and boxes of unused cameras. As I go through them slowly, I come across boxes that contain cameras - cameras that I don't remember buying.

That's a bad sign.

The Internet is the hoarder's best friend. It's just what a hoarder needs and the last thing that a hoarder needs.

My suggestion to you is to lust after cameras but only buy those that you know that you will use.

Think before you bid or "buy it now."

Collecting? Yes! But collect with caution.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.