All the Things You Can Buy Instead of Photography Gear

All the Things You Can Buy Instead of Photography Gear

New camera gear is really cool. But you know what else is cool? Sitting in your new hot tub while your miniature horse grazes nearby. It's time to look at the things you can spend your money on instead of new camera gear.

$6,500: Canon 1D X Mark III

The 1D X Mark III is one astoundingly good camera. It features 5.5K 12-bit internal raw video, a crazy 20 fps continuous rate (with mechanical or electronic shutter), triple the autofocus points (now with Deep Learning Technology), smart controller built into the AF-On button, illuminated buttons, and much more. It's pretty hard to miss a shot with this thing. 

Also $6,500: The Ultimate Luxury Toilet

Who actually has a bathroom like this?

The Numi by Kohler (ever notice how all the most luxurious products are "[product] by [manufacturer]" instead of "[manufacturer] [product]"?) is one heck of a toilet. It offers an elongated bowl for extra comfort, adjustable height, motion-activated hands-free cover and seat, and dual-flush levels (0.6 gallons or 1.28 gallons) for being more environmentally friendly. And those are just the basics, so let's get into the true luxury.

There's an advanced bidet with self-cleaning, precision air dryer, and deodorizer, heated seat and foot warmer, ambient lighting, emergency flushing to allow up to 100 flushes in case of a power outage, touchscreen remote with magnetic wall mount, a built-in speaker with Bluetooth, and Alexa. That's right. This toilet has Alexa. Need I say more? 

$1,100: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art was easily one of the most anticipated lenses in modern memory, and it delivered. Featuring two low dispersion elements and one aspherical element, Super Multi-Layer coating, a Hyper Sonic AF motor, and a rounded nine-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh, it delivers sharp and contrasty images with super-shallow depth of field at a price that significantly undercuts first party options. 

Also $1,100: A Miniature Horse

Sure, all that bokeh is cool, but you know what is even cooler? A freaking miniature horse. Are you single? Imagine all the people you'll meet when you take Li'l Sebastian for a walk and they wonder what kind of dog you have. Science has shown that owning a dog makes a person more attractive, so I'm pretty sure owning a miniature horse makes you basically irresistible. Also, who doesn't want to snuggle a miniature horse while they're watching TV? Think of all the things you can do with your tiny valiant steed. Start an Instagram account for Li'l Sebastian. Become a miniature horse influencer. Make bank. Retire early. You're welcome.

$750: Sony RX100 III

I love Sony's RX100 line. They have a great, relatively large sensor for a point and shoot, they're super compact, and they're loaded with features. The RX100 III comes with an unusually bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, 20.1-megapixel 1-inch sensor, 10 fps burst, a pop-up OLED viewfinder, and lots more. It's a fantastic pocket camera for enthusiasts.

Also $750: An Inflatable Hot Tub

When I was a kid, my aunt had a hot tub at her house, and I was always super jealous. Alas, our family home just wasn't set up to accommodate a hot tub. I wish I had known about this inflatable hot tub back then. I could have plopped this thing down in the yard or even the living room and played my Nintendo 64 while enjoying the therapeutic effects. You can still benefit, though! Imagine you are going to a friend's party and they ask you to bring something, and instead of a bottle of wine, you bring an entire hot tub. You'll be the star of every get-together. Need to make those boring office meetings more enjoyable? Bring your hot tub to work and have the meetings in it. Tired of sitting in those uncomfortable lecture hall chairs for your three-hour chemistry class? Hot tub. Have a soak with your miniature horse! The possibilities are endless.

$1,700: Profoto B10

Lots of professionals use Profoto equipment, and the Profoto B10 is a fantastic option with lots of on-location power without the need for an AC connection or battery pack. This tiny monolight offers 250 Ws of power over a 10-stop range, recycle times of 0.05 to 2.2 seconds, a freeze mode with a duration of 1/50,000 second, 400 full-power flashes per battery charge, TTL capabilities, wireless control via the Air Remote or phone app, High-Speed Sync, and a variable color temperature and dimmable LED modeling light, plus access to Profoto's line of modifiers. Quite the light.

Also $1,700: Hire a Line Stander for 100 Hours

Image by Bundesarchiv, B, Creative Commons.

You are an important person with important things to do. You do not have time to stand in line to wait for things. What can you do? Hire a line stander. That's right, you can pay people to stand in line for you. Forgot to make a reservation and the restaurant said there's an hour wait? Line stander. Renewing your license at the DMV? Line stander. New iPhone coming out in two days? Grab a tent and get to work, line stander. Think of all the extra time you'll have to hang out in your hot tub with your tiny equine! 

$70,000: Hasselblad H6D-400c MS Medium Format Camera and Lenses

Need the ultimate camera? I've got your winner right here. With a 100-megapixel full-size medium format sensor offering 15 stops of dynamic range and 16-bit color along with 400-megapixel multi-shot mode, you will cry when you see the files the Hasselblad H6D-400c MS produces. You'll need lenses too, of course, and this price includes the HC Macro 120mm f/4 IIHC 100mm f/2.2HCD 28mm f/4, and Hasselblad HC 50-110mm f/3.5-4.5 for all your needs! 

Also $70,000: Your Own Tropical Island

There's no better way to flex on your classmates at your 20-year high school reunion than by literally owning your own tropical island. At 0.25 acres, Bone Fish Caye has plenty of room for a nice house with a garden and a yard for your miniature horse to play in. Don't forget that Belize climate, which is basically about 85 degrees year-round. Lots of native and migratory birds fly over the island, plus there is plenty of fishing and kayaking to be done in the lagoon. Hasselblads aren't pretty darn cool, but are they private tropical island cool!?

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Should I ever change careers and become a rapper — and it's not something I'd ever rule out — I would like to use the name Lil Sebastian, please.

I once knew a drag queen called Lily Sebastian!

Yeah, that little horse. If you have some kids their pleasure would know no bounds.

You should have written this before Christmas.

I think the long term costs of the little horse vs. the lens might tip the expenses toward the Canon 1D X Mark III over time.

Not if the miniature horse replaces the need to hire a neighborhood kid to cut your grass! :-)

As a horse owner, let me just say over time, it's more like tipping toward the Hassy.

Hah. This is a fun game.

On the plus side, I can't imagine I'd have focusing issues with a miniature horse but I'd rather have one I could ride.

With the $1099 you spend on an iphone pro max you could buy an Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens and still have $400 for other stuff.

but you cannot make a phone call or text or show you directions with a sigma

But you can use it to find a real camera and lens.

not a cent am I wasting on anything till this pandemic is over. numbers of infected are higher than first wave and swine flu peeping around the corner. its now time to save for the critical situation. you can try and tempt people to buy since the market is so weak, but for emergency reserve funds that will be needed, not a cent for these items that give me no benefit.

$1700 for a line stander is the ripoff of the century.

Caught him at the wrong time maybe ......

Hang in there, super steel. Stay healthy and manage your resources well.

See you on the other side of this. Better times are ahead for us all.

The first wave hasn't ended.

This is absolutely brilliant! Laughed my ass off. Thank you Alex, you made my day.

It was OK, Alex, just OK.

I did not laugh my ass off and it most definitely did not make my day.

But it was fine. So keep up the good work.

Canon 1D X Mark III vs The Ultimate Luxury Toilet eh? Canon users are going to troll you forever :P

If I had all the money I've spent on photography, I would spend it on photography.

DJing is my main pastime so spending on DJ gear (ive just bought an analogue rotary mixer thats stunning) is what i do with money i dont spend on camera kit.

As for the hot tub, human soup, no thanks.

Between a Sony and a miniature horse? A horse of course.

I can't find the horse on B&H. Can you send a link? :)

You got it all wrong. You need to compare photography equipment with one that also shoots.
$6500 - Barrett 95 bolt action 50BMG
$1100 - Ruger redhawk 44 Magnum
$750 - Colt 1911C 45ACP
$1700 -Sig Sauer MPX 9mm
$70,000 Gatling replica machine gun


I'm anti gun for those who would brandish them.

I'd like to slot in the new Colt Python at a reasonable $1,500.

Pretty much what I think of any time I buy photography gear.

I loved it Alex! I realized that I am not laughing as much as I used to these days, I startled myself laughing out loud while reading and I learned some things too. Thanks to those that commented too, I enjoyed the perspectives and the humor as well.

It makes me happy that I made someone else happy! 😊