What was your biggest-ever waste of money in photography?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by justinweiss, May 15, 2009.

  1. What was your biggest-ever waste of money related to photography? It could be gear you never use, clunky software, worthless workshops... anything.
    I'll start off: About 5 years ago, I bought an underwater case (maybe around $150) for a specific model of Canon point-and-shoot. It sat proudly on my shelf for years while I never ever went anywhere it would be useful, and the camera it fits is now long-obsolete.
  2. every flash I ever bought....present count is 5 of the things. Yeah, all better than the last one. And when I actually use them, they are the only way to do that particular picture. Trouble is, I only do that particular type of photography about once a year. Give me a ridiculously high ISO, and a really fast prime lens....and I'm in my glory. so, the other 364 days and 23 hours a year, the flashes all sit on the shelf.
  3. When my Pentax K1000 was playing up, I bough a Pentax MZ30 to be getting on with. I didn't like the plastic lens, the AF or any of the other automated settings. I repaired the K1000 and went back to using that. When I sold the K1000 after going digital, I threw in the MZ-30 for free.
    I wish I still had that old K1000.
  4. Nikon D100.
  5. I bought a Holga and used it once. The quality was too high. Seriously.
  6. Camera bags! Always searching for the perfect one. This madness has slowed down in the last year or so because now it's the perfect photo vest. I suppose in a couple of years I'll have a few hanging in the closet while only useing the latest 'this is the one'.
  7. Peter, forget the K1000. Get a Spotmatic II or a Spotmatic F, have it CLA'ed and keep on the lookout for 2 or 3 of your favorite focal lengths in screwmount Super Taks. Yeah, I know, stopdown metering but you'll have one of the finest kits to ever come out of Japan and you can check DOF visually as you meter. As much as I like Pentax the lack of DOF preview on the K1000 always bugged me.
  8. A cannon 20D. Lasted one day before I took it back, felt like something you get free with a Christmas cracker!
  9. A laserjet printer, together with the never ending supply of cartridges that it consumes. I've long since stopped feeding the monster and now send my files to an online company for prints.
  10. Biggest waste was a Kodak film scanner I bought several years ago. Scan quality wasn't that great, and the software was so full of bugs, I was lucky if I could complete two scans without it locking up my computer. After about a year and a half, they finally released drivers and software that would allow me to get through three or fours shots without a total lock up. By far, the worst bit of equipment I've ever bought.
  11. Bronica SQ-A... not a bad camera at all, but I wanted to be able to change the lenses and have 2 backs, as a result, since I shoot black and white only the extra back wasn't useful, the whole thing was too heavy and cumbersome, I didn't use it much. I sold it for a cheap price, I really spent too much on it. Now I'm happy with my Yashicamat 124G. Better know what you need before you spend.
  12. A 500mm mirror lens. I forget the brand. It made donuts and I think I used it no more than twice. I think I bought it at a camera show. Also a camera with screw mount lenses and I can't remember the brand now. I never used it. There are more but they are also emminently unmemorable. Sometime ask what are the best things I have bought. There are a lot of those.
  13. Mamiya RZ67 with several backs and lenses, about 9-10 years ago. I wanted to improve the results I got with my Hasselblad. I shoot B&W. The results were worse and the camera was even more annoying to use. I swapped it for a Deardorff, instantly losing around $1500.
  14. Three different Epson inkjet printers. They were ink hogs, constantly plugged up on Epson original inks, banded and needed repeated cleaning, and eventually each one went majenta when the printheads went out. They all ended up in our landfill. I've learned to enjoy my photos on the monitor and only send out for printing the few that hang on our wall or go to State Fair.
  15. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Large wooden contact print frames. I intended to try platinum prints from 8x10 negatives but never did. They sat for years in my closet. Happy ending though, I had bought them for $12 and sold them on eBay for $70 each.
  16. Norman 200B flash units. I bought two of them for wedding work and they were very expensive. They would break down (both) at the same time and often. If I recall right, I bought them after attending a seminar and the wedding guru at that time used them and recommended them. To say the least (after that), I didn't trust anyone who recommended products at their semimars.
  17. Ink cartridges for printers. The cost of these are so ridiculous that it just sucks value out of the digital camera. If you hold the DSLR up to your ear when the wind blows, you can hear money falling out of your pockets. These little wonders are partly to blame. Ink cartridges for printers.
  18. Don't own enough gear yet to have made a mistake, so this thread is good for me :)
  19. Ink cartridges for printers.​
    This reminds me of my old Epson.. when I went to buy more ink, the ink was more than the printer cost! The other thing that bugs me about inkjets is that the cartridges dry up if you aren't using the printer alot. Seems like a waste to me. However, I'm sure the larger, professional Epsons are great.

    I have since picked up a HP color laserjet that is excellent for the printing I need to do. It doesn't work for any serious prints but it does a great job if you need proofs or color flyers. I've printed thousands of sheets over the last couple of years and still haven't replaced a single cartridge, although the black is getting close.

    For prints/photos I just go to the lab. Much more economical for me.

    The only peice of photography equipment I really haven't been happy with was the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 EX Macro I bought. It wasn't sharp wide open at all, and even stopped down it wasn't sharp at the wide or long ends. I put it on my F100 once and couldn't beleive how small of an image circle it cast, seemed like it could barely cover a DX sensor. Surprisingly when I went to sell it, I got about 85% of what I paid for it. So all-in-all I guess it was like a Honda Civic, not an amazing car but it held its value!
  20. Both ink jet printers I bought, and the EXPENSIVE photo paper to go with it.
    There's nothing like the frustration of throwing out page after page of expensive paper on premature printing because the ink is so expensive you don't want to waste it by printing proofs on cheap paper!
    I haven't printed a photo myself in years now. Digital C-prints look SO GOOD and are SO CHEAP... I don't understand why anyone bothers printing their own.
  21. A Tamron 70-300 macro lens. It didn't go into "macro" until you had it set to at least 180mm. And of course at anything between 180 & 300 mm the lens was so soft it was worthless. It wasn't very good as a regular telephoto zoom, either.
  22. stp


    Nikon D70. I gave it away.
  23. A $400 ADB Mac connection Wacom tablet I never used when I first got into digital imaging. I didn't even have a camera at the time. I was teaching myself all the technical aspects of computer hardware and software in how it affects screen to print matching on a consistent basis.
    With that world of confusion time and money just slipped away while the Wacom tablet sat in the closet. Ten years later and two computers and OS upgrades the tablet was slow, incompatible and obsolete. I gave it away to a Goodwill type organization for senior citizens.
    And oh, I forgot. I also have a $600 Epson 1270 I only used to test prints on. It's up in the closet replaced by a $75 Epson "Three in one" scanner, copier and printer. I'm not going down that road anymore.
  24. The Canon EF 28-200 lens. WTF was I thinking?
  25. A Bronica SQ from the 60s. The prism viewfinder is always dark and the shutter sometimes just doesn't fire at all. I took it to the repair shop and the two guys there told me all about the lousy cheap screws the company used at the time and how they could have lost the store if they guarateed work on those Bronicas past 90 days... Now it's a paperweight, and I feel too guilty to try to sell it to anyone.
  26. The Nikon 55-200 non-VR. I bought it before the VR version was available, but I only missed by like a month. Then my wife got hers, and I always find myself using hers instead of mine. Not bad I guess. Not like it was $2000.
  27. G4 Powerbook. I bought it within a few months of Apple's move to digital.
  28. I made a foray into 35mm rangefinders for a few years. Sold them all and bought a Mamiya 7 II and a large format camera. I still use a 35mm SLR in low light, but it just can't compare to the quality I get from medium and large format.
  29. Nikon Super-Coolscan LS-4500
  30. Nothing I have ever bought for photography is a waste of money. I have accumulated a nice Mamiya RB67 outfit and never use it. But I enjoy fondling it now and again, when I eventually see sense and sell it I will get something back! So who cares!
  31. Film.
    Okay, I say this in retrospect, but all those dud shots that I paid to have developed only to find I had one or two keepers.
    In the early days of consumer digital cameras, I poo-poo'ed the idea of having one. Then I went to a digital P&S, just for fun and see what the fuss was all about. I've since bought 4 more digital cameras, upping the ante each time. This includes 2 DSLR's.
  32. I had to think about this one. I don't spend a lot of money on my photography, so I'm pretty careful when I do buy something. But several years ago, I bought a 77mm circular poloarizer for my Canon 100-400 L. For whatever reason, the CP made the images soft - more than soft, actually, really fuzzy. So the CP sat in my camera bag for years, completely unused. But I recently aquired a 17-40 L, and I've used the CP on it without problems. The CP has been reincarnated!
  33. Camera collecting. Was fascinated with them, started collecting about '91, at one time had nearly forty, all in good condition and all were users. 4X5, many 120's, R/F's, SLR's and a couple of digitals. Exercising shutters, cleaning and keeping organized, storing etc became a real drag. Gave away most, donated a few to museums that were interested, SLR's went to high schools with photo classes. Number is now 11, looking to move a few more to new homes where they will be used and kept in good shape.
    Fun at the start, I'm the only one in the family that is active with the hobby of photography, so in reality I can only use so many of them. Shear numbers in collection is counterproductive, then the cost of maintaining them properly becomes a foolish waste. Better to use just a few, and spend more time enjoying photo's that I now have the time to take. We get by just fine with one house, one car and one truck, two bicycles and one lawn mower, why clutter up our lives with a few dozen camera's? Must be a guy thing, the wife thought it was nuts right away.
  34. I bought a Noritsu minilab on ebay for $5000. Why? Let's just say the purpose was not as well thought out as it should have been, and the intended purpose did not work out as hoped.
    I sold it a few years later for about $800.
    I imagine few can top that monumental blunder.
  35. A $300.00 digital camera. Hardly got to use it before it broke.
  36. my recently purchased Nikkor 24-120 VR Lens. The worst lens Nikon has ever made
  37. A Fujifilm Finepix Z5, the first camara and P&S I have ever owned. I don't think I took a single good picture with that pink pice of doodoo. All my photos came out soft, out of focus, blured and just plain bad.
    I got my first DSLR the other day(D90), much better pictures.
  38. radiopoppers, they do work, but I never use them. And to think that i bought a Canon ST-E2 to be able to use them. $500.00+ that I don't use. So now I went and bought a set of the new pocket wizards that do all the RadioPopper/ST-E2 combo will do but better, with more range, less bulk, nearly half the price AND I can use them as standard pocketwizards to fire strobe and speedlights set to manual. The RadioPopper only gives you TTL function.
    But I will hand it to Kevin King (Inventer of the RadioPopper) he developed a tool that would do a job that no one else in the industry was doing, despite the obvious need for it.
    For those of you who don't know what Radiopoppers are or what the generation of Pocketwizards do, they give you full TTL metering and function of your dedicated speedlites wirelessly useing RF. No more need for Infared line of site BS.
  39. BTW, any one want a good deal on a set of radiopoppers and ST-E2 transmitter? :eek:)
  40. How about the best money you ever spent....for me it would have to be my first "real" piece of glass. EF 24-105 f4L IS. By far not the best zoom lens ever made (24-70f2.8L is better) but sooooo much better than the crap I was useing before.
  41. I'm tempted to say everything that I've purchased since my first real camera, an AE-1 w/ a 50 1.8 lens. That was probably $20,000 ago, and some of the best shots on my walls came from it and a Nikon 6006 w/ a plastic 35 80 zoom. Go figure.
  42. The Epson 5500 printer, a $3K boat anchor. Never could get a decent profile made, bad color shifts of the ink, constant clogs.
  43. Jason,
    Best money I ever spent(?)... probably the used $90 Exakta VX iia outfit with 58mm f/2 Auto Biotar and preset 90mm f/3.5 Tele Xenar. That was in the spring of 1969 at a camera store in Daytona Beach, Florida.
    It's the best money I ever spent because it was the first high quality camera I ever owned, and I learned much of what little I know about photography using it.
    Now I own too many cameras to count, but still have a soft spot in my heart for that old long-gone Exakta.
  44. The best money I ever spent would be for the 5D and 70-200/2.8 IS combination.
  45. A flimsy tripod - complete waste of money. Next to that was a 60-300mm zoom - too heavy and cumbersome to use.
  46. 5D and 70-200f2.8L IS combo....yes I have that combo as well. Hard to beat for portraits. That along with a selection of primes.
  47. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I'm rather surprised I don't see any fish-eye lenses mentioned.
  48. My first camera was a N55 Kit from Nikon. It cost $250. I bought it new. In retrospect, a used F100 would have been a wiser entrance to 35mm photography and probably just as cheap.
    I also once bought a lot of 10 lens cases from KEH, hoping that one of them would would fit my tele-zoom. They cost $3 but i didnt realize they would also add $20 to the shipping. Not one of the ten has been any use, and they take up way too much space.
  49. a canon digital elph. the lack of manual control drove me nuts! Second waste behind that was buying a Speed Graphic...
    however worst overall decision was to sell my EOS 1n... that was a big mistake.
  50. I'll second the Epson inkjet. Pieces of s***, the lot of them. Had such a horrible experience with them that I absolutely refuse to buy any inkjet technology ever again.
    Print heads were constantly clogging up. The paper cost an arm and a leg. Print head cleaning never worked--I would use up half the ink tank trying to clean them and it still wouldn't work. Ink cost more than its weight in gold--LITERALLY. Calculate it out, you'll see. Print quality was mediocre.
    Now, if I ever want to print something I let someone else do it. The technology is crap. I'd rather pay more per print up front to have it professionally done, rather than throw money out the window with inconsistent results. I'm more than happy to put the responsibility to get it right and keep the equipment in working order on someone else.
  51. James,
    I wouldn't consider the purchase of my fish eye lens a blunder. Quite the opposite- I have a lot of fun with it, distortion and all. With judicious placement of the horizon, heavy distortion becomes secondary to the overall view.
  52. "G4 Powerbook. I bought it within a few months of Apple's move to digital."
    Yeah, all those old analog Apples suck. I still use a Powerbook G4 when traveling - the thing burns through a quart of oil per week!
    Much better to use the digital computers they have now.
  53. I don't have any real duds, but my Nikkor 400/5.6 gets used too little in relation to what I paid for it. LF gear gets used rarely now, but OTOH I've made some good pics using it and it doesn't go obsolete.
  54. All the film camera and darkroom equipment and accessories that I snatched up (at what I thought was a deal at the time) as everyone else was switching to digital. I was determined to stick with film, and thought folks were nuts. Eventually I reluctantly bought my first DSLR, and promptly fell in love with digital and kicked film to the curb. In the meantime the value of the film camera gear dropped to 25% what I paid for it, and the darkroom gear dropped to $0 value.
  55. "and the darkroom gear dropped to $0 value."
    Feel free to unload it on me! :eek:)
    I am building a dark and am in need of some gear. 4x5 enlarger anyone?
  56. I don't know why I buy all this stuff and even more importantly why I keep it. Lenses from old broken digital cameras, maybe it'll screw onto something some day, have a use. A General Electric light meter probably out of the 50's, still works though. Flashes of varying descriptions. Don't know if they work or not. Six camera bags of varying descriptions, gave up on all of them and bought a laptop bag at Ross for $15.00. Works great.
    I wonder what I did with the new KEH Catalog?
  57. Some Fuji slide film
  58. 3rd party 2x teleconverter, enough said I think.
  59. Canon EOS 50mm f1.4 USM was the biggest money sucker I ever purchased. It kept on breaking with use that I would not consider rough.
    I have since switched over to a EOS 50mm F1.8 1st version with the metal mount. I've been shooting with that for about 5 trouble-free years. The 1st version is FAR superior to the subsequent plastic mount versions. The loss of USM and the 1/2 stop loss is not an issue IMO.
  60. I have regreted all non-L Canon zooms that I had purchased over the years...especially the 28-135 IS, which was really bad.

    I have regretted all Tamron and most Sigma lens purchases. However the Sigma 30mm F1.4 is very good.

    I regret bying the Canon 50L F1.2....it is not reliable even after two calibrations by the factory. It is perhaps the only junk L lens made today.
  61. A tamron 70-200mm lens I bought it because it was cheap. Come to find out so was the quality of the images. I think I used it maybe ten times and then bought a canon L lens. When it comes to lenses its sooo true that you get what you pay for.
    Ted Tahquechi
    Signature URL removed. Not allowed on photo.net.
  62. Worst: A Nikon 300 f4.5. Great lens, but it just gathers dust.
    Best: D70 or Epson R800. Great prints fron the combination, and truly WYSIWYG.
  63. I once bought a Lentar 400mm 5.6 pre-set tele for $50. I overpaid by $49. A true coke-bottle of a lens. Threaded T-mount was garbage, too.
  64. A Canon 1Ds Mk3 - Not that the camera does not do everything that it was designed to do, but I do mainly studio and architectural work and needed the IQ to allow me to use this instead of my BetterLight Scan Back for jobs not needing the resolution of the scanback.
    This purchased only a few months prior to the release of the 5D Mk2 which would have been a much better camera for my use ( Same IQ plus better LCD for Live View critical focus ) and for the price I paid for the 1Ds Mk3 I could have had the 5D Mk2 + 17mm PC Lens + 24mm PC Lens + money left over!
  65. Thomas Sullivan [​IMG] , May 15, 2009; 06:16 a.m.
    every flash I ever bought....present count is 5 of the things.
    Yeah, all better than the last one.
    And when I actually use them, they are the only way to do that particular picture.
    Trouble is, I only do that particular type of photography about once a year.
    Give me a ridiculously high ISO, and a really fast prime lens....and I'm in my glory.
    So, the other 364 days and 23 hours a year, the flashes all sit on the shelf.​
    Thanks Thomas, I thought I was the only one who bought flash units only to have them languish in a cabinet.
    The only one I ever really used was back in the 1970's, and it was a high-end Vivitar which had a tilting head for bounce flash.
    I even went so far as to buy one unit before acquiring an new camera, only never to buy that brand at all.
    No big loss tho, they all can be used with slaves to really light up an area. :)
    BTW, worst move I ever made was trading-in my Bronica S2A with its compliment of Nikon lenses.
    They were the absolutely sharpest I've ever owned.
  66. Hi-speed internet connection to quickly post images that no one ever views.
  67. Second place : Nikon D200 ... might as well stick with Neopan 1600 for anything over ISO 200.
  68. Unicolor E-6 processing kit. At the time I didn't shoot enough E-6 film to use the chemistry before it went bad.
  69. Oddly enough, my biggest waste of money was, and still is, my all time favorite camera, my Nikon F100.
    I say a waste only because, looking back on it now, I really did not need to switch from the Minolta Maxxum system I was enjoying using over to Nikon. I guess that is what happens sometimes when there is extra money floating around. Sadly, since buying new gear is always fun, I don't see the extra money situation cycling back any time soon.
  70. Mamiya 528TL. I think it performed better with the lens cap on.

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