Gear Acquisition Syndrome: Olympus Air A01 

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) is a very real threat to one’s sanity, as it can rob you of focus on photography while appearing (at least to oneself) to do the opposite: the time one spends focussing on more or better photographic apparatuses is time not spent on improving one’s photographic technique through practical application. 

For the past few years I have indulged in more GAS and subsequent research than I care to admit – to be honest, it’s one of my escape mechanisms when I don’t want to get sucked into the whirlpool of over-thinking a problem (it’s an out of the frying pan into the fire type of result!).

A couple of months ago I found myself clicking Buy it Now on a used Olympus Air lens-style camera eBay, downloaded the app that you need to use with it, and waited excitedly for it to arrive. When it did, I leaped through a couple more technological hoops to get it to work, and spent a very brief time that night shooting with it, then repacked it and put it on the shelf with some other unloved gear, similarly acquired. 

Why didn’t I persevere? Because in the intervening years since I briefly had a Sony lens-style camera (the 1″ sensor type), I had forgotten that I didn’t enjoy the experience of a user, despite liking the end result. It also turns out that I really like having an electronic viewfinder and a conventional camera body to hold. Fortunately, I sold it quickly and for what I paid for it, so there was nothing lost by the purchase, and the buyer had a different plan for it as a drone camera.

This photo is the only one I took that I kept from that experiment – naturally, it was taken using the in-camera grainy monochrome mode I’ve always loved in Olympus cameras.

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Bottle, Cicadas, Lake: getting something right 

As a passionate amateur photographer, I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about photography, and less time doing it. After a few years with the micro four thirds system, I have tried a number of cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, and am still trying to get the right kit together. I have a couple of nice prime lenses now – all second hand, as my cameras also are – but I still slosh about in my practise like an unconfident landlubber in a dinghy. 

Yesterday I put my 20mm pancake lens on to take photos at a social event at dusk – wide aperture for low-light capability, small lens for discretion, and an effective focal length near to ‘normal’; I thought it would go well, but I forgot that I am not comfortable being that close to the action in a social setting. Consequently, I got no photos of said action, and went home feeling sad about my own shortcomings.

At least I got a couple of photos of non-human subjects, which is much more my style anyway.

Olympus Pen E-PL5 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens. Straight out of camera.