Do I need a backup body?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by cbjetboy, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. I have been doing some light portrait and wedding work on the side. My rig
    includes a Canon 20D, 28-70 f/2.8L, 70-200 f/2.8L IS, 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS,
    580EX, ST-E2, 2GB Extreme III, 1GB Ultra II, battery grip w/ 2 BP-511A,
    tripod, monopod, etc. I believe I have a very good setup for this type work.
    The only thing that worries me is a body failure. I would hate to ruin a
    wedding. Do I need a second body? I haven't read many stories of body
    failures. I get the occasional error but a quick battery shake or lens reseat
    fixes that. Is a body failure a rarity or something I should invest in
    protection against? Thanks.
  2. oops 24-70. Sorry.
  3. At least get an EOS 5 or something that won't break the bank, and take film along. Or you
    could bring a Leica in case of EMP.
  4. You should get a second body regardless. if you're shooting alone, you need a second body, and a 3rd body as backup, ofcourse, money is always a concern. But its always nice to have 2 main and 2 backups ofcourse, one using the 24-70, and 70-200 and one with 580ex with gary fongs lightsphere. In other words, to answer your question, yes.
  5. Absolutely a necessity. You are risking a lot without one.
  6. Perhaps a better question for the wedding forum?

    It worries me that you have to ask. You should have a second body for backup.

    Other things that would worry me about shooting weddings with your setup:

    Only one flash.

    Only 3GB of CF cards. Does that mean you'd only shoot .jpg?

    Nothing wider than 28mm on a crop camera.

    Only 2 batteries.

    These things are more likely to be a concern than having a second body. Well, at least
    while your only body is functioning.
  7. I don't do any type of professional work but even walking around I carry around my Canon film SLR with my Canon dSLR just in case. Never hurts even if I decide to leave the film SLR in the car while I walk around.

    Also, I like to have a 2 cameras with 2 lenses already attached. That way I don't have to sit there and switch out lenses when something interesting pops up and I need a different lens to get the best possible pic. I recently dropped a lens while in a rush to switch out lenses. When I do see pros taking pictures @ a wedding they usually have two cameras on them, one a strap on the shoulder and one in hand. Plus an assistant with another 1-2 cameras and/or lenses.

    You probably can rent a backup camera, 20D or better, from a local shop.
  8. For weddings you absolutely need everything essential backed up - camera body, main lens and flash. Catastrophic failure is not a good enough excuse. You also need at least 10GB of memory so you can shoot in RAW. Then you need an efficient program for converting all those RAW images. And I agree with Grant, you also need a wider lens for shooting weddings with a 20D.

    As has been mentioned, you can use a good, but older, film camera as back up, but it is far better to be able to use your back up as a second camera, so getting another digital body would be a good idea.
  9. Do I need a second body? I haven't read many stories of body failures.

    Hi Chad, you may not NEED one or use a backup body, but things often happens that you can`t control, back in film days during an event I had a strap come apart on a T90 the whole rig landing on concrete, lens was bent cam cease to proceed and Metz45 iffy, as I had another T90 rigged with the same setup lens and flash, just tossed one aside and kept going, I also had a T70 as 2nd backup. I used 3 lenses the same 28 85f4`s, and 3 metzz 45`s all got used still got em,

    In more recent times during a reception last year on a hot day, a drop of water from an air con duct hit a 20d + 550 flash, the rig just stopped dead, I had to put it aside for the backup and continused with the same CF card. I reckon it pays to keep bodied the same if possible. Film bodies are fine but when you take the NPH or Portra out of the fridge , it really needs to be used. Ideally a 20d or a 30d would be most usable with a different lens on each, also just a 430EX for backup and slave work, and definately look at a 17 55f2.8 for a wider alternative in case a lens falters, one good reason I like a large overlap in focal lennthand as Jim said more memory I use several 1gig cards.

    HTH good luck
  10. You should have a second body and a second flash. Non-specific body failures may be rare, but you'll be in a pretty bad place if it does happen. On the other hand, it's probably more likely that you'll drop it in a fountain or under a truck. Also, with the 24-70L on one body and 70-200L IS on the other, you'll be ready for those rare moments that pass while you're changing lenses.
  11. Even without worrying about body failure, you may want to have two bodies (one with wide lens and one with long) ready to shoot at any time for weddings. Also 24 seems not wide enough on 20D. Just my $0.02.
  12. Hi Chad,

    I started out like you did, light portrait work and low-key weddings. I started with the Rebel XT and used my film camera as back-up (for weddings). I hated carrying extra equipment around but I was to nervous not to have it. I recently purchased the 30D and now use my Rebel as a "back-up". I usually have my 24-70 on the 30D and my 70-200 IS on the Rebel. If outside, I use the rebel without flash and let the lens do the work. Long story short of it, yes, you should have a back up camera, if for nothing else to hold another lens so you don't have to switch as often. As for the wide angle debate... I have a sigma 10-20mm, which I rarely use. Usually the 24mm is wide enough. I've used it a couple times and hope to use it more but I would say a back-up camera is more important. I will also have to second the back-up flash. I had a flash overheat during a reception once and I'm certainly glad I had another. I have the 580ex and the 420ex. So my recommendation, get the Rebel (good camera and fairly cheap these days) and see if you can find a used 420ex or 430ex. Good luck!


    PS - Check out the wedding forum if you have not already. A wealth of information is there!
  13. Bodies fail and fail completely and abruptly - I learned to my cost. A big positive of digital is that you can check to see that pictures are being taken - but you must have back up if you are being paid. I had to retreat to (gorgeous!) B&W film last summer: the quality was great but the change in workflow quite a shock after only two years of digital. In your case colour print film might be fine.
  14. If you are shooting for free then you do not need a second body.

    If people, paying customers DEPEND upon your shots then with absolute certainty you need a second/backup body. sometimes a 3rd (perhaps a cheap film SLR like an EOS 3 as emergency body).
  15. Have back-up equipment for everything that you use. Just ask your self this question: "What would I do, in the middle of a wedding or photo session, if my camera stopped working?

    It's a heck of alot less expensive to buy back-up equipment than it will be to hire an attorney and/or have to pay refunds, or worse. Cover yourself, always.
  16. Based on suggestions from this forum, I bought a 2nd d200 as a backup. Last month, I shot a wedding where all of a sudden, my pictures starting coming out too bright. I immediatly went and grabbed my 2nd setup (complete with flash) and continued shooting. Whe I had a break, I checked the camera and found that the problem was just a loose connection on my flash (I had somehow unlocked the flash connector and it had partially slipped out of the hot shoe.)

    I was glad I listened to the advise here, and suggest you do the same. Imagine starting a wedding and having your camera fail...
  17. I would. I do (5 be exact).
  18. If you will always know that a local store is open and that the store has the camera body in stock when you have a problem, then you probably can live without a back-up camera body. But think of the timing needed to stop a wedding, for example, while you journey to the local camera store to get a back-up camera may not be a good point for the current customer to pass on to a future customer.
  19. "" I would hate to ruin a wedding.""

    Even suggesting this as an option is pretty scary. It sounds like "you don't know, what you don't know"? Most wedding photographers would never consider going to a wedding, without two or more cameras, and two or more of each other item in your bag. Batteries die, plugs and cords fail, lenses can freeze up, flashes can erupt in flames.

    When I shoot church "processionals", I have a 2nd "rig" 2 pews up the aisle behind me. Why? The time "last" I didn't(c 1990), and my main camera's flash didn't fire.
  20. It takes one failure to ruin your the answer is YES!
  21. For anyone ever thinking they don't need back up equipment for paid work, have a look here.

    While this wasn't a wedding and could have been rescheduled, having backup gear meant I didn't have to return to the scene of the accident. The client didn't even realize I'd lost two flashes in a matter of seconds. And yes....there was a back up camera body in my bag.
  22. Good question to ask!Lemme put some thoughts in your head...

    Just think about explaining to the bride and groom why you don't have any pictures of their wedding.

    Picture the affect on your professional reputation.

    Picture yourself explaining to a judge in a lawsuit why you didn't have backup (yes, your contract may - note the word may - protect you, but you can still be sued).

    If you're putting yourself out as professional, you need to be professionally prepared. That means a 'Plan B' for everything. I have spare batteries, spare lenses, spare bodies, spare flashes (3 to be exact), everything but a spare me. I figure if I'm dead, then everything else is a wash, but I'm responsible for anything beyond that.

    Oh, and insurance on your equipment and liability if something bad happens (like no pictures or somebody trips on your lightstand) is a good idea.

    Portrait work - no big deal. Weddings - no second chances. I have a full second right (body, camera, flash) about 3 seconds away from grabbing during the critical moments.

    If you're doing it as a hobby/favor, I might feel different (well, let's just say I shot a bunch of weddings that way myself), but I can't stand the idea of losing the most critical moment in people's lives when they rely on me. And, that's beyond any legal or other considerations....

    Hope this helps.

  23. No question, you need one. Last weekend my main camera body malfunctioned as I was
    shooting the girls right before the ceremony. I quickly grabbed my back-up and they had no
    idea what had happened. Half an hour later that camera body had an error, and once again
    grabbed the back-up to the back-up, with no one having any idea what was happening. Not
    only would I say you need one back-up, but probably even two. Of course this was just very
    bad luck, but I have never had a camera failure before. I could have easily thought it would
    never happen to me, or it was unlikely, if so I would have had to just go home with no
    pictures of the rest of the day. "sorry, I ran out of working equipment" wouldn't be the best
    line to a bride on her wedding right before the ceremony.
  24. I had two film cameras go down during a wedding. The 3rd one got me thru. After that, I now have 4 120 cameras at each wedding. 3 flash units, two battery packs. I sleep well at night.
  25. Chad - heck yes, you need a backup body! it probably won't happen for a while, but what if your shutter stops and needs to be sent to canon for repair in the middle of your formals? can you afford to have your wedding party wait 2 weeks for a repair or 2 hours for you to run to the nearest high end camera shop? heck no.

    on that note, I recommend not thinking of your backup as a backup body, but as a SECOND body of the same type. I shoot with 2 20D bodies, and while I thought about getting a rebel XT, I realized that if I'm going to invest in another body, I might as well use it.

    consider this:

    1) two bodies of the same type means "EASIER": you only need to learn the quirks of one body

    2) two bodies of the same type means "VARIETY": that you can shoot one with a wide angle, high ISO, and the other, a telephoto low iso with flash. you grab better shots faster b/c of less lens switching - more moments captured.

    3) two bodies of the same type means "SMART INVESTMENT": instead of paying big $$ and having a rebel XT sitting in a bag, you get a second 20D and use it just like your first body. who says that backup bodies should just be for backup, and otherwise depreciating in your camera bag?

    I would also recommend the 17-40 L lens as a wide (unless you don't shoot wide?) your long end is just fine :)

    cheers - conrad Conrad Erb Photography

Share This Page