Before You Buy That Camera Gear Think About What Else You Can Afford

Before You Buy That Camera Gear Think About What Else You Can Afford

You may recall when a few months back I posted an article comparing the monetary cost of photography gear to, well, not so common things. The intent was to provide a bit of respite from the day to day thought process common amongst photographers. You know, the one that often has us busting our butts for equipment we most likely don't really need to begin with. It's time for part two.

Since I'm currently facing my mid-2015 Macbook Pro, I might as well take a second to consider what else I could have done with the money I invested in this machine. We all need a powerful computer and frankly, this is one thing I can justify spending an arm and a leg on. After all, what would us digital photographers be without an efficient machine to help process our massive image files?


Mid 2015 Macbook Pro

Price: $2,449.00USD


  • 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 (Crystalwell)
  • 16GB of Onboard 1600 MHz DDR3L RAM
  • 512GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage
  • Integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics
  • 15.4" LED-Backlit IPS Retina Display
  • 2880 x 1800 Native Resolution
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.0, HDMI
  • Force Touch Trackpad
  • Mac OS X El Capitan or macOS Sierra


Wheels and Tires For Your Ride

So what does the rest of the world (aka: regular people) do with all that cash they save from buying a lesser machine or simply doing without? How about a nice set of wheels and tires for your ride? Four Method Race Wheels wrapped in some proper off-road rubber will run you between $2000-$2500 USD. That price may shock some, but so would a $2500 laptop.


HoldFast Gear Roamographer Camera Bag (Brown, Small)

Price: $560.00 USD


  • Holds DSLR, 4 Lenses, 2 Flash
  • Accommodates iPad mini or Tablet
  • Extra Strap Secures Mirrorless Camera
  • Removable Camera Insert
  • Clamp-Top Snap & Buckle Closure
  • American Bison Leather
  • Adjustable Carrier Straps Hold Tripod
  • Detachable Shoulder Strap
  • Dual Top Handles


It’s a rather handsome camera bag if you ask me. While the Holdfast Gear Roamographer may not be for me (I’m a hard case kinda guy), it is rather appealing to the more fashion conscious photographers out there.


28,000 Brown Paper Bags

That same $560.00 could get you nearly 28,000 brown paper sandwich bags. While they won’t hold your camera gear, they will hold your lunch, and that’s pretty important too. 



Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 17" Professional Photographic Inkjet Printer

Price: $1299.99

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is a pretty impressive printer. I should have one of these bad boys sitting on a desk at home soon, but what else could I have purchased with the $1300 used to purchase this printer?


  • Max Resolution: 2400 x 1200 dpi
  • Max Print Size: 17 x 22" (Sheet Media)
  • Print Speed: 17 x 22" in 4 Min 10 Sec
  • Borderless Printing at up to 17" Wide
  • FINE Printing Technology
  • L-COA PRO Image Processing Engine
  • 12 LUCIA PRO Pigment-Based Inks
  • Grayscale Photo Printing; 3.0" Color LCD
  • Canon PRINT App, PIXMA Cloud Link
  • USB 2.0, Ethernet, & Wi-Fi Connectivity



2017 Giant Fathom Mountain Bike

Had I used the above mentioned $1300 differently, I could have been peddling my way through the many mountain bike trails in Arizona. Oh well, maybe next time.


Leica S Summicron 100 Edition Medium Format DSLR Camera with 100mm Lens Kit

Price: $30,900.00USD


  • 37.5 MP 45 x 30mm CCD Sensor
  • No Optical Low-Pass Filter
  • 3.0" 920k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Pentaprism 0.86x Mag. Viewfinder
  • DNG File Format, 16-Bit Color Depth
  • ISO 1600, Up to 1.5 fps Shooting
  • Summicron-S 100mm f/2 ASPH. Lens
  • Aluminum Rimowa Cabin Trolley Case
  • Components Bear Linsenchnitt Engraving
  • Limited Edition of 100


Holy cow!  I’m not sure I could ever justify purchasing a $30,000 medium format camera, and that’s likely because I’d rather cruise around in a used Dodge Viper RT/10. The American super-car can now be purchased for nearly the same price as the Leica S Summicron 100 kit.


Used Dodge Viper RT/10​


Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K Handheld Camcorder with Four Thirds Sensor and Integrated Zoom Lens

Price: $4195.00


  • Single 4/3 MOS Sensor with 12 Stops DR
  • DCI 4K 24P, UHD 4K Up to 60p
  • Variable Frame Rate Up to 120 FPS in FHD
  • MP4 / MOV Recording in 4K
  • Integrated Leica 13x f/2.8 - f/4.5 Lens
  • 3 x Individual Lens Control Rings
  • 2 x SD Cards Slots (U3 Compatible)
  • HDMI 2.0, 3G-SDI Output


I’m not much of a videographer, but this thing just looks professional and I’m sure I if I was a video guy, I’d think I needed it. Since I’m not, I can apply the $4195 to something else.



Human Bowling Ball

For right around four grand, you can call yourself a human bowling ball and knock down all the pins your heart desires. If you’re slightly more mature and prefer to actually bowl at real bowling lanes, on average, you could play about 800 games at five bucks per game. 


Gitzo Series 5 Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod (Giant)

Price: $1,567.00 USD

Gitzo makes some of the world's best tripods, so it should come as no surprise that they carry a hefty price tag. This particular model will run you $1,567.00 USD.


Super Adorable French Bulldog

For nearly the same price, you can purchase a four legged support system. 

A French Bulldog puppy will run you between $1200-$1800 in most parts of the U.S. I guarantee you that your tripod wont be as cuddly as one of these fur balls. 


While most of us are content with our decisions to invest our hard-earned cash into our photography businesses, it's beneficial to look at the mountain of gear that we've acquired over the years as other things from time to time. "That's not a camera, it's a trip to the Bahamas that I put off until later." 

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Dusty Wooddell is a professional photographer based in the Southwestern United States. Self-proclaimed thinker, opportunity seeker, picky eater, observer of things.

Log in or register to post comments

I'd way rather have the mountain bike :D

Both would be ideal ;) I really do need a new mountain bike though!

Definately it puts things in perspective, a few weeks ago i was at the motocross track training and took my camera to shoot some photos between motos and a friend was talking with me about my camara and gear and how much was it. its amazing to think that my back pack is worth more money than our motorcycles!!

Whenever we are spending a chunk of money we ask ourselves what else we could get with it. We frequently come across deals for things and in the moment emotions can run high. But it's worth it to sit back and ask - will I get more out of that lens or X. I think we have kept getting better lighting because of this question. Should I get X deal item or should I just get some more better lighting. For a lot of areas it has helped us bulk up on things we need. We keep a running wish list and refer to it before a big spend.

Don't buy dogs, just adopt

I would way rather have a carbon fiber tripod over a french bulldog any day.

Or, you could look at it the other way:

This: Harley-Davidson Heritage Softtail Classic: STARTING AT$17,549

That: Used 50MP Hasselblad medium format camera with 80mm lens. And > a grand left over for another lens.

I always do this before I buy anything: transform the pricetag in something else...

350$ lense ---> 3-4 nights in a hostel in the south of france... Hostel it is!

I visualize better what is more important to me right there in the moment and I realize that this purchase is a kneejerk reaction and not really something I need.

Good article; light-hearted but also a gentle reminder about buying gear and what is important. Life's all about compromise! The bike means you can possibly pedal to work, saving money on fuel, insurance and all sorts of stuff. Might even be able to knock back those gym fees too on account of getting fit and healthy riding to work every day. I love 2nd hand stuff personally; get what you want and save some dollars! Let someone else take the depreciation hit. I recently bought the shutter count app for $4 that saved me thousands because my shutter count was literally half what I thought it was going to be. No upgraded body this year!! Blowing that sort of cash on a Dodge Viper and keeping the old crop sensor body though sounds like fun...

Viper = life goal.

Everything against puppies, kittens, rabbits.... Puppies, kittens and rabbits win hands down!

I'd definetly go for the puppy