Wearing Two Cameras at Events - Question

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by r._nelson, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Perhaps not the most common question, but here goes...
    I am gradually working my way into some event work. Live shows, fundraisers, and moving toward wedding work. I currently shoot a Nikon D90 with an SB-600 flash, and either a Tamron 18-55 f2.8, Nikor 24-120, or a 50mm prime. I realize the need to have backup equipment in the field, and I have read about and witnessed pros who wear two camera bodies in the field mounted with different lenses. Maybe one with a longer lens, and the other with a wide or prime, which would be my config, at least for now. My "2nd." body would probably hold my 50mm 1.0 or the Tamron f2.8, without a flash head, so I should be OK with body no.2.
    When I wear my D90 with my flash, and attempt to let the camera hang from my neck, it simply tips forward so that the flash is pointing straight out, so that it is in the way. I am also likely going to get a flash bracket too, which when hanging will likely make things even worse.
    Should I get a battery grip for the 90 in order to weight in down? (not that I want more weight)! Should I rethink this plan altogether? I realize I can just change lenses in the field, but I do see the advantage of having a B/U body right at the ready.
    I'd love to hear from some experienced two camera shooters out there. Maybe I am making too much of this?
  2. I am not quite sure what to suggest you search for here, but I know that this topic has been discussed and I even remembering participating in some of the discussions.
    I shoot with 2 cameras routinely. I do this in part because, if you have a camera failure during the wedding ceremony, having a backup in the trunk of your car isn't very helpful. You need to have the backup WITHIN REACH. But I also use 2 bodies so I can use 2 different lenses. I shoot the ceremony mainly with primes and like to have a wide-to-medium prime on one body and a medium-tele prime on the other. Primes are usually shorter lenses, and having shorter lenses certainly helps when I'm carrying two cameras.
    When I started, I just had the normal camera straps that came with the cameras. I hung one around my neck, and the other around my left shoulder, and put them at slightly different lengths to minimize banging. Not very satisfactory. For one thing, I had to worry constantly about the camera that was hanging around my shoulder, lest it slip off. Hanging both cameras around my neck was "safer" for the cameras more likely to cause ME to get a sore neck. Plus the camera straps constantly got tangled.
    Nowadays if I'm doing a formal shoot—typically, a portrait—I generally just have the cameras handy, setting down one and picking up the other as I wish. But if I'm shooting a wedding or graduation or similar event, I use a Camera Slingers harness ("double camera strap"as they call it) to allow the 2 cameras to hang nicely at my sides.
    There are many other similar harnesses, from Black Rapids and other companies.
    You are right: a bracket will make things worse. I tried using a bracket some years ago and gave up on it. If I were shooting with a bracket, I don't know what I'd do. I do occasionally have a hot shoe-mounted flash on my camera bodies, and I will let that hang from the Camera Slingers strap, although I try not to work like that for long, as I worry about banging the camera or flash against something in that case.
    Final note. One I'm done with the wedding ceremony and go to the reception, I generally put one of the cameras away, and shoot with just 1 body. It would be very awkward for a camera to fail in the reception, too, but much less awkward than during the ceremony. And I have more often used a zoom lens during the reception than during the ceremony. A zoom lens reduces the need for two cameras.
  3. Hi Randy,
    I regularly use 2 cameras at fashion shows for the pre-show/post-show shots. I also hate neck straps. I use two sun sniper straps, not ideal since one strap has to sit over the other crossing at my chest (they go from opposing shoulder to opposing hip), but they are strong - I carry 2 Nikon D3s's, one with the big 70-200 and one with an old and heavy 28-70, and each with a flash bracket (one a low profile and the other a massive rotatable affair!). I find I can just let go of whichever camera I don't want to use and push it behind me out of my way on the sliding clip.
    I think they actually make a multiple camera strap, but my local stockist did not have it.
    My colleague uses a black rapid double strap with a similar set-up.
  4. Wonderful reply, Will. Thank you.
    I agree with everything you said. Seems that I need to carefully plan what is going to work best "for me," and your reply certainly gets me moving in the right direction. My thoughts exactly regarding ceremony vs. reception urgency, btw.
    I will check out the link to camera slingers when I have a bit more time, later today. I suppose I could even customize a rig that works for my needs, too. I'll bet someone here has done that at least once on this forum!
    Other thoughts welcome...
  5. Thanks, Rob. Looks like there are some options for me to examine and think about out there. I can also see the need for 'rugged' camera gear if I ever get more fully into event work!
  6. What is a neck strap? I have been using this double sling shoulder strap for 6 months and it rocks.
  7. So far you have received two suggestions, the BlackRapid and the Cameraslinger; I will throw in a third, the OpTech dual harness:
    I have used the BlackRapid and comparatively between the three, I wouldn't choose the BlackRapid. I haven't used the Cameraslinger so I don't know anything about that one. When I used the BR strap, the balance was always off, when you are holding one camera the other hangs funny. I don't have that issue with the OpTech strap. I did try the two independent straps crisscrossing once and wasn't a fan of than either. Each strap might slip and it was a constant battle to keep them where I wanted them. Overall, using a dual strap system is just less awkward. The BR and Cameraslinger straps share a design function in that they attach to cameras tripod mount. My wife loves this. I don't. When I moved to the OpTech strap, I was very happy to get my tripod socket back (I shoot with an Arca Swiss type mount). Other benefits of the OpTech strap: it is the least expensive of the three! It works with all the other OpTech strap systems. I have loops on all our cameras, I can just grab any camera and use either a single strap or the dual harness system without a fuss. I can also use just a single camera on the dual harness system. I did get the Uni Adaptor Loop(s) and that is what I attached to the cameras, the small strap so that I didn't have the large dangling strap. This also gives me the advantage of having even more length adjustments to my straps as wanted (I don't have to use the extra length).
  8. John,
    You are right that the Camera Slingers harness uses a connector that screws into the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera. This does not seem to be 100% secure. I find myself checking the connection while I'm working to make sure it stays snug, but even so, I did once have a camera simply work its way loose and fall. Fortunately it didn't hit the ground, because I had taken the precaution of looping the camera's should strap through the harness, so there was a sort of "safety rope". But this looping is a pain in its own way. Basically, it's a sort of slip knot, and it makes disconnecting the camera awkward: I have to figure out how to untie the camera. At the last wedding I just couldn't do it under pressure and ended up throwing one camera into the trunk of the car while it was still attached to the harness.
    The Op-Tech system does look good and very flexible. One of the things that attracted me to the Camera Slingers harness in the first place was the lack of a sternum strap. I didn't like the idea of having this strap showing across my chest under my suit jacket. I see that with the Op-Tech, this strap is optional.
    On the other hand, I have also started to think that the strap might be worth using, in spite of the way it looks. I do a fair bit of backpacking and I know that my chest strap helps when I have a heavy pack on my back. Well, I think it might help more evenly distribute the weight of the cameras, as well. Using the Camera Slingers harness for a graduation at a Catholic school with a Mass, where the event may last for over two hours, I've been pretty uncomfortable by the end of the event. Not as uncomfortable as I would have been without the Camera Slingers harness, but I think I might be able to do better.
    Just thought I'd add my observations, for what their worth. I'm not unhappy with the Camera Slingers. Like everything else, though, it's probably a matter of personal preference. Given the low price, I may order the Op-Tech and give it a try.
  9. I use a camera on my home made strap (http://www.photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/0093Mb) and a camera with a bracket on a strap around my neck. When it hangs from my neck I have my bracket flipped so it doesn't hang face down. My strap has evolved over the years and I also use the UniLoop system John D. describes on it.
    The thing I don't like about double camera straps is that the cameras swing when you move, particularly when you bend over. My side strap is fitted quite high and I have my accompanying belt set up so the camera, when hanging, nestles into a space between pouches. Also, with double camera straps, those camera are on you all the time.
    The things is, you have to consider your own preferences and body type, etc. I am short and I don't have a lot of body 'real estate' for large cameras, etc. And the only way to know is try stuff, which can get costly.
    You can also do some research on the use of two cameras on these forums by using the search function. There have been several threads before about the topic.
    Another currently popular alternative is a Spider Holster and others like it.
  10. I use the BlackRapid and love it.
  11. Very interesting. Thanks for the continued suggestions. Lots to reiew and consider here. It's clear to see that this is a very personal issue.
  12. Last time I shot two cameras at an event I had both of them on 'UpStraps.' My main camera body slung over my left shoulder, and hanging down on my left side, my secondary camera slung bandolier-style also over my left shoulder, but it was hanging down on my right. I actually found this a rather comfortable way of working, and neither camera got in the way of the other -- even at the reception when I had flashes mounted to both.
  13. Like John, I use the OpTech dual harness and like it, but, like Nadine, I find it a bit annoying when one, or both cameras start swinging around. I think, when I get around to it, I'll throw a little cash at the Spider holster, and see how that works.
  14. I'll give you yet another suggestion: Use a camera/flash set-up in your hand and leave the other one nearby where you can get to it within a few moments. I routinely use a bracket with my primary setup. At the ceremony, my spare set will be in the back row of the church (it's also the camera that goes on the tripod when I use one). At the reception it will be with my bag and other equipment at the backdrop if I bring one or just next to my bag if I don't have a backdrop area. For me, I think that camera straps look amateurish and somewhat "tacky" especially when I'm wearing a tux to a formal wedding. I've witnessed some assistants that looked more like a bandito with their two cameras strapped across their bods in a big X pattern. Course YMMV.
  15. David Schilling writes:
    For me, I think that camera straps look amateurish and somewhat "tacky" especially when I'm wearing a tux to a formal wedding. I've witnessed some assistants that looked more like a bandito with their two cameras strapped across their bods in a big X pattern. Course YMMV.​
    Having the second camera in the back of the church won't do me much good personally as I actually USE both cameras, for the different lenses that they have mounted.
    I only wear my harness during the ceremony, and during the ceremony virtually nobody is looking at me, and besides the strap is under my suit jacket and more or less invisible. As I said, one of the benefits of the Camera Slingers harness is that it doesn't have a visible chest strap. So I'm pretty sure hardly anybody ever notices the harness. If I am told to take a particular position in the church and stay (as has happened a couple of times) then I don't use the harness at all.
    And, on a less serious note, when I start wearing tuxes to weddings — a day I look forward to! — I will hire a young boy, a squire, if you will, to carry my second camera and follow me around. No, forget that. A beautiful young (over 18) woman would be a better choice. Yeah, that's the ticket.
  16. The BlackRapid dual-camera strap is my best friend. I've literally worn 2 cameras with pretty heavy lenses for 12 hours (a 25 minute dinner break) and although I was tired and a little sore the next day, I could not have done it with neck straps. Having 2 cameras at hand at all times gives me the confidence that I'm ready for anything and rather than thinking about gear I have the freedom to think about shooting ... and that's what I love to do!
    Having the pressure off my neck is a blessing! I'll never use a neck strap again.
  17. I've been using the Black Rapid Dual Strap for a while. It's very comfortable and I keep it on even when I switch to one camera for the reception... much easier on the shoulders than any other strap I have tried, including the regular Black Rapid.
    Having said that, I've recently stopped carrying two cameras and started hot swapping lens instead. I use a Boda Bag with it's built in belt to hold my lens and it's very comfortable. But I still have my dual straps and I am waiting a while before I sell them in case I decide to go back.
  18. Wow, terrific forum. Not only have I received great suggestions regarding dual-camera setups, I've gleaned other info about shooting weddings/events in general.
    I am new to this forum. In addition to searching through older threads, you'll see me posting a few other basic questions regarding event work.
    The OpTech system is certainly affordable enough to try w/o too much regret if I don't like it. I wonder about durability. Worse case, I can string it with my binocs for a nice hiking rig!
  19. I have an upstrap on one body, which is great but can get in the way, but it never falls off.
    The other strap is a blackrapid rs-5? the one without the cellphone pocket and I LOVE IT.
    I don't use the BR attached to my flash brackets, but this system has served me well if I don't have a table setup with my gear within reach.
  20. During any wedding or quinceañera, I always have 2 cameras, 1 Nikon D300 and Canon 30D. I also bring lot of memory cards too but limit the number of shots to ease uploading. I set my Nikon with SB600 and 18-135 Nikkor lens and Canon with 430 EX flash and 28-135mm Canon lens. I use alternate shot just in case one fails, I still have back up. It is really tiring but it is worth having all the good moments taken. I rarely use my Tamron 70-200 2.8 during these events.
  21. Camera One - Spider Pro Holster with handstrap. I use the Lowepro Street & Field set to carry lenses/flash.
    Camera Two - Blackrapid. Though both cameras are situated on my RHS ideally one of the cameras will be in my hand at any given time.
  22. I use the BlackRapid dual and love it.
  23. I am currently using the OpTech dual harness, which imho works better than the Black Rapid, which I found a little too risky to hold my camera, with its single point of failure. There was one occasion where the tripod screw on the BR came slightly loose, even after I made sure it was tightly secured. I frequently shoot with a D3s with 70-200mm mounted with an SB900, and a D700 on the other strap mounted with a 14-24mm. Even with this heavy gear, the dual harness doesn't give me a lot of strain.
  24. Sorry for you SLR guys. I carry three leica's all the time: two MPs with different length neck straps, and an M8 at my pocket! No dangling, no neck pains :)

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