Your experience with 2 bodies?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by raymondc, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. I got my D70 before Xmas where I went on a trip. I don't shoot much, since I do travel and landscapes which is when I go away. I also do a monthly topic with my local photography club where I try to get 6 images where we just have a social chat with 8 people, a SIG I belong to.
    I am wanting to know if others have found my experience. I have tended not to use the 2nd body, most times I have left it at home. Even day hikes, I rather not carry it and change lenses more often. Walk and about again, like in the city. I rarely do street, but we had a night parade the past on a weekend and I found two bodies helpful althou it was so busy that I was behind 4 people so basically I gave up photog.
    I can see that if I did proper streets, portraiture, events and sports 2 bodies would be useful. Other than that I found it more awkward. I also prefer hip / shoulder bags, backpack in the city is too awkward again. If I was on travel I would just use a normal day pack, so I could shove in other stuff as well and the bag is lighter.
  2. When I used a backup body, I would make sure that it was just handy in the event of a problem. If traveling I might have left it in my hotel, but If hiking or a long way I would lug it. Most of the time now, just having it in the car serves the purpose. But the last time that I carried a backup was with a film camera, and even then I never used it for a second lens, most of the time it was for a different speed film, or B + W.
  3. In a perfect world I'd have 3 digital bodies with 12-24, 17-55 and 70/80-200 lenses permanently attached. Of course, adjust that for FX.
    The problem there is that I'd need to have 3 up-to-date matching bodies. For instance, it'd be hard to be carrying a D100 and a D300, knowing that the inherent quality of the files are so different. I own a D2x and D40, but never really carry them together.
    And, I have to add, for that reason alone I still shoot slide film a lot. One body & switch lenses all I want with no dust worries.
  4. I've used two bodies since I started photography around 1970. Then it was F2 Photomics, and after 30+ years I traded them in for D70s bodies. One has a Nikkor AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4 D Macro, the other has an AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G VR. I also carry a Tokina ATX-Pro 12-24mm f/4. I shoot product, concerts, portraits, macros, sports, interiors, landscapes and always have the cameras in holsters criss-crossed around me.
    I'm looking forward to moving up to D300 bodies, and have even contemplated three, but money is an object. I recently bought the Nikkor 18-135 because I realized I wanted to have a single versatile set up to use for snap shots when visiting relatives and not be encumbered.
  5. I was running around with the D300 backed up by the D200 for a while. Now I go out with the D300 & the D700 one day one is the main - the next the other.
  6. I don't carry a second body, unless I don't really need the pictures (and I cannot afford the failure of the main one) or I need slide and B&W shots. Usually when I go on vacation I simply bring a P&S camera, which I use for candids but could be a backup, just in case...
  7. I only had a problem once after dropping my then bridge cam into the water. My wife's P&S was my backup for the rest of this trip. Lessons learned:
    Backup cam is no fun if it is not the same one than the main body.
    And: It's my wife who needs a backup at the end of the day, not me ;-))
    I rather spend the money for lenses than for a 2nd body (first body now is a D700, no way to have two of them anyhow).
  8. I agree, considering the obsolescence rate of digital stuff, buying a 2nd body as a backup could mean scrapping it without using. If I'd shoot digital, I'd just keep my yesteryear camera as a backup rather than investing in a new 2nd body. Like in the film days, when people was using a Nikon FM as backup of a Nikon F3/F4/F5 professional body.
  9. I find that the use of one or more camera bodies depends on the situation, subject or topic being photographed.
    For example, when I am out and about photographing trains I will use 3 cameras, each with motor drives and a prime lens attached, usually 180/2.8ED, 135/2 and 85/1.4.
    For ground to air photographs I usually use at least 2 cameras with motor drives (300/2.8ED and 35-85/2.8. On one occasion I used 5 cameras, each with their own motor drive and lens attached. This was simply because there was not time to change lenses. It was easier to put down one camera/lens combination and pick up another. I was fortunate on that occasion that I was "airside" with a Press pass.
    For travel, I prefer just one camera body with maybe up to 3 small (volume) sized lenses. The same applies to architecture - usually one camera with one or maybe two PC lenses.
    For weddings, I always had a back-up camera and back-up flash with twice the number of batteries as would normally be necessary. Because if anything can go wrong, it will do so, at the worst possible moment. And this has happened to me.
    A back-up camera is a thankful blessing when the primary camera fails for whatever reason. At least you can still carry on.
  10. "I don't shoot much, since I do travel and landscapes which is when I go away."
    Like you, I don't shoot much and therefore haven't considered buying a second DSLR. But I did buy 2 film bodies last year (Eos 33 and FM2) and have found that I tend to use both quite regularly (B&W in one, colour neg or slide film in the other).
  11. To each according to his or her needs.
    (I think I'm quoting some dead quotable notable but I can't remember whom. )
  12. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Karl Marx.
    (The main tenet of communism.)
  13. The title of this post kind of makes it sound like and out-of-body experience thread; which would also be very interesting.
    This weekend at a family thing my girlfriend and I had a nice two body set up: My D300 with the 50 1.8 was ready for the ambient light shots at higher ISO while her D300 had the 24-70 2.8 with my SB-900 ready for anything. The bulk of the images were shot stopped down a bit with the 24-70 but a suprising number of keepers came from the nifty fifty (NOT wide open, though). Both cameras sat next to each other ready to use in a pinch. It worked well.
  14. For event shooting, the way to go is a first body with a wide to normal zoom, and an identical second body with a tele-zoom. Carry the first body around your neck and the second body slung over your shoulder, prism toward the hip. You're good to go for whatever comes your way. For more static shooting, the spare body can stay in the bag unitl needed, and it's less important that it be identical to your primary body.
    That's my opinion, but,, your views may vary.
  15. A second digital body can be useful on an hike if it is inconvenient to change lenses. That's also true for fast-moving events. If my gear adds up to more than 20 pounds, I use a backpack, which makes gear less accessible. Most of the time, the extra weight is not worth the effort, nor the added risk of damaging your gear (bodies banging together or getting dropped).
    A second body as a "spare" is not a major consideration for a field trip. Even on vacation, my spare(s) stay in the hotel or car.
    Film is another matter. Slow, fine-grained film is best for landscapes and details, but too slow for people pictures, interiors or fill flash. If you like to use Velvia or Reala, you really need something with ISO 400 (or faster) film if you can't always use a tripod.
  16. i don't carry 2 bodies very often. i believe the last time i did, someone called the police.
    in theory it sounds good: 24-70/2.8 on the D700, long zoom on the D300. in practice, however, having two big cameras hanging around one's neck is awkward and cumbersome. and then there's also a bag in the mix to deal with...
    i'm sure there are solutions to the problem of feeling like the camera strap is going to strangle the photographer -- and if it was that important i'd try harder to find out what they are.
    for now, i consider carrying 2 cameras needlessly extravagant.
  17. I seldom carry more than one body for personal photo sessions. When I do it's usually different formats, maybe a dSLR and a medium format camera with b&w film. I don't enjoy lugging a bunch of equipment since I usually wind up using only a few pieces.
    I virtually always carry two or more cameras for important stuff, even casual events where I'm not being paid but have offered to donate photos. I only have one dSLR, a D2H, so my backup varies between an Olympus P&S and one or more of several film cameras (F3HP, FM2N, N6006, some medium format stuff). Occasionally I do weddings as gifts for family and friends and usually take three bodies, one loaded with b&w film.
  18. One camera, one lens, and a second lens in my pocket. Any more weight slows me down.
  19. If I was doing street photography and wanted to travel light I would simply take on camera and a small bag like the LowePro Sideline shooter which is large enough to hold a 70-200 or 3 smaller lenses.
    I take a 14-24mm and a Sigma 50-150mm and a D300 and a SB800 and I am pretty well covered.If I want to travel really light I take a 16mm fisheye instead of the 14-24mm zoom.
    Where 2 cameras help is with sports, wildlife, and wedding photography where you need to have wide to normal lens on one camera and a telephoto or super telephoto on the other camera. In these cases there is no time to be wasted changing lens and the photographer is continually switching back and forth. There is also a need for better image quality and speed than a zoom with a very long focal range, like a 18-200mm lens, can provide.
  20. The only time I've actually used two bodies is shooting graduation pictures at the high school where I teach. I set up in the back of the gym with my 300f/4 IS on the spot where the student get their diplomas and the 70-200 f/2.8 IS on the front of the stage where they have to exit. Two wired remotes. One click as they get the diploma and two as they leave the stairs. I actually tape a sign on the stage that says: STOP LOOK UP! and I get some great shots.
    Last year it was an XT and a 30D. This year it will be a 30D and a 50D. The 300mm is on a tripod and the 70-200 is on a three way head Superclamped to a steel post overhead and focus locked on the top of the stairs. Both cameras Cybersync'ed to a Alienbees monolight.
    Hardest part is keeping track of which camera is actuated by which remote. It's an evening ceremony and I have a local Rite-Aid pharmacy print the pictures as they came from the cameras immeadiately after the ceremony. I then give them way at the Project Graduation party.
  21. Oops! I didn't notice this was a Nikon thread! I clicked through the "most active threads" section of the home page. I hope I haven't offended any one with my Canon reference in my post.
  22. I used to carry the N75 as backup to my F4. Its a POS, but very light and it honestly takes the same quality photos as the F4.
    Now i have a D1h and the F4 but they are both heavy and it wears me out to carry them both, ill probably get the D700 and the F100 in a few years when I have more money, thats a more suitable combo, although i will have to sacrifice the vertical grip i love a lot.
  23. For weddings a back-up body is a must, in case of failure. I make the most of it and carry it with me. One body with a 17-50mm, another with a 55-200mm.
    For film, I used to use an F100 with a full manual backup (FM2n or K1000 with identical focal lengths). Never used that rig for weddings, though.
  24. I haven't actually carried a second body in years. The only time I did was on a big trip where I was trying to use two primes vs. a cheap zoom I had. This was with lighter Pentax SuperProgram bodies (which are incredibly small already).
    Nowadays the only reason to have two bodies, IMHO is as a backup in case your mains goes down. Zoom lens quality is so good nowadays that you typically can get away without using two primes. As some posters mentioned you could use a second body for a different film speed/type (B&W, chrome, colour neg), but with digital you can do all of that with post processing. Unless you need some very extravagant ranges (i.e., a 24-70mm and a long 300mm or such), second body can remain "in the car".
    I'm with David: I'm a Canon/Pentax/Mamiya user (no Nikon gear here!), I hope I didn't offend anyone. :)
  25. Any job I'm getting paid for I carry at least two bodies, sometimes three. Equipement failure is never an excuse to not get the job done. When doing outdoors stuff it depends on the situation. If I'm going to be either set up in a blind or other static location (which are sometimes paid assignments) I'll bring two bodies and if I'm going to be away from civilation for awhile I'll bring two bodies. But for everyday, around the town, a walk in the park, personal stuff. Nah...
  26. When I am working I always carry two or more cameras. I can't afford not to get the shot. For personal use I sometimes carry one or just slip a point and shoot into my pocket.
    The D3 and D300 are, more or less, state of the art. But if all I had for a backup is my old D100 I would carry that. It still takes wonderful pictures. There are few, if any, photographers here or anywhere else that could not save an assignment with it. Given that one has appropriate lenses for it and the expertise to adapt it would be unlikely that anyone could tell the difference under any but the most extreme circumstances.
    I have a friend and fellow professional photographer who is still shooting weddings with a D2H and D70. Most would say that one is obsolete and one unsuitable to the task. His pictures are magnificent and he commands top dollar.
    Some of the hardest working professional photographers I know are PRCA rodeo photographers. Last weekend I worked a rodeo with two of them. One carried a Canon 50D and the other a Nikon D200. Their work was exemplary and they shot literally thousands of pictures over the 9 days. They thought my gear was excessive. (D2Hs and D300). I thought thier photographs were wonderful. I was too ashamed to bring the D3. They would have taken away my boots and hat.
  27. When you get older even one body gets heavy. I used to carry a Leica and a Hasselblad SWC everywhere I went. Now nothing, sometimes a Leica.
  28. Am I the only one who insists almost always in carrying two bodies?
    It is seldom anyone sees me without two bodies with two totally different lenses attached.
    That's one reason I can be such a prolific shooter.
    I never use a lens cap; while you're removing your lens cap or changing your lens or even removing it from that camera bag, the subject went away, the lighting changed, or there was a slight movement that ruined the capture I saw. I got it, but you won't.
    I took the photo in 1 to 3 seconds (sometimes), and while you with your one camera might have got it, if you were lucky enough to have preset that camera and have preset your lens (and have the proper lens on the camera -- preferably a zoom with a very large aperture.) But there's a very big chance you missed it. I didn't.
    I always (or almost always) walk, ride or move with two late model digital cameras, usually the D300s, with such lenses as the 17~55 f 2.8 and the 70~200 f 2.8.
    You bet my sore aching neck.
    But I have a payoff in captures that is equalled by few, for those unexpected moments; while other photographers are trying to get in close with their Leicas, I already have shot a whole series with my 70~200 f 2.8, and nobody even knew I SAW the circumstance.
    But if I'm close I still can shoot the 17~55 f 2.8, and if that sounds like it is a lot of weight, it certainly is, and literally back and neck-breaking, but the reward in good captures is the payoff.
    And, get this.
    If it sounds like all that equipment is a put-off to prospective subjects, it occasionally is, but more often it is not -- many see it as a sign of professionalism (I'm not), and are flattered that they are the subject of someone whom they believe has equipment that betrays professional skills and training (before I ever speak to them, they have formed this conclusion based on my equipment, and sometimes when we do talk, I joke that 'I could just be a rich doctor, who went on a shopping trip to the camera store and a complete fake . . . . and my photos could be all complete crap.
    I did meet one doctor who had beautiful equipment, and lots of it, who took the worst photos ever. But his equipment sparkled and he LOOKED like a pro (except his equipment sparkled).
    Cartier-Bresson was described to his biographer Assouline, as once going into some remote part of Asia and being seen with FOUR Leicas. And, contrary to popular belief, any person examining his captures can easily determine that he just didn't use a 50 mm lens. That's poppycock, of the sort he liked to promote as he had a somewhat impish (and mercurial) sense of humor.
    He used wide to moderate tele on his Leicas, and sometimes he also cropped -- just look at the aspect ratio of some of his photos: they're not all 2:3 as they would be if they were all pure uncropped photos.
    He shot lots of his landscapes with a moderate tele; a look will reveal that, if you're an experienced shooter and know how subjects look -- legends and myths aside.
    (Cartier-Bresson was full of all sorts of foolishness, even about his status as a legend . . . and took a sort of peevish delight in being an enigma . . . and not correcting the record . . . )
    That aside, the rule of Elliott Erwitt was 'madame, f8 and be there'. And my equipment allows me to 'be there' whether I'm stopped in traffic at a light, in a bus, or bus stop on a long distance bus ride in Ukraine or Russia, or in some remote country anywhere.
    If a wide angle shot is not appropriate or unavailable or too fleeting for me to get to in time, I'll shoot tele. If I'm in the midst of things, I'll eschew the tele and shoot wide to moderate.
    It all depends and I might switch off from one to the other, alternately.
    The problem with all this is arising from chairs with two cameras and heavy lenses around the neck, or traveling on planes (if they fall from an overhead bin, well, that's that, when someone pulls out an overcoat and pulls your cameras out too and they fall to the floor of the aircraft or bean someone, so the floor's the aircraft floor's the thing or the vacant seat next to you, if possible, or better, the vacant airplane floor next to you.
    The car seat next to me is reserved for my cameras, and if there's an occupant, they have my cameras in their lap, and automatic roll-down auto door windows are a must.
    Zooms are a must, and of course, they're heavier, as they require more glass, just as does wider aperture glass. It all translates in to more backbreaking weight, and I'm already disabled and it hurts horribly sometimes, but the payoff is in the photos, and in the sheer numbers of photos that are not attainable with only one camera.
    The other drawback beside the physical debility of carrying so much weight, is the problem of moving about rapicly (or at all) with two big, heavy lenses/bodies and the inevitable problem that they're going to hit each other.
    I really am not a heavy shooter by pro standards. I mght put 10,000 and a max of 15,000 or maybe even 20,000 frames on a camera shutter before moving on -- all in one body's lifetime with me. That's not heavy mechanical use at all.
    But my cameras look like they've had 200,000 frames, though they're practically new inside; same for my lenses, with perfect glass but dented/bruised/abraided barrels. Nikon keeps everything working perfectly (I saw them two days ago for a quick fix, and they're wonderful to me in El Segundo. (I think most of the repair staff snuck a chance to come out to the counter to look at my draft book, too, which surprised and gladdened me).
    If you're going to shoot two cameras, be forewarned, it's a thing that requires dedication, but the payoff is in wonderful opportunities fulfilled. Almost no shot will go uncaptured if you have a good eye and quick reflex, as well as the ability to preset cameras (iso, focus points, etc., as you move about, in and out of light and shadow, in and out of buildings, and as you spy potential subjects.
    It's an art, but not entirely difficullt to master.
    A person has to be part mule, I'm afraid, and be totally dedicated to the capture to carry such equipment (often in the dead of night in far-off countries where streets might not seem so safe).
    I have three places i will never go with such equipment 1. Mexico near the bordrer (and now most anyplace; 2. Brazil in its entirety, because i value my life -- and encountered once a resident of the 'City of God'; and 3. Oakland's south parts while walking.
    [I haven't been to Africa and surely mght demand a Leica or two rather than risk my life over an easily spotted large digital Nikon, in certain countries there.)
    So, I'm a two-camera shooter, and sometimes more, if i need to use more lenses.
    One thing, you can't keep a lookout for your personal safety while changing lenses either; you're very vulnerable at that moment, and it can be a long moment that you're very exposed, thinking of a fleeting subject, wrapped up in equipment and a target for a thief or a personal attack. If you carry two cameras, your head need never go down, and you can always be on the lookout.
    While you're changing lense, I've got my capture and am moving on to something else.
    I've never lost my lookout for a new capture of my pesonal safety.
    That's my view -- even if it's a minority of one.
    John (Crosley)
    (c) 2009, John Crosley, all rights reserved
  29. I have D90 and D700, with 80-200 AF-s used primarily on D90 when extra reach is needed and 17-35mm AF-s on D700. Also use 17-35 on D90 as a walk around lens.
    Don't normally take both out, will leave one on the car just in case - depends upon what I'm going to shoot.
    I do like the flexibility of having the longer reach of the D90 and wider reach of the D700 when circumstances dictate.
  30. When I'm travelling, I always carry two bodies - sometimes three. My D200, my D70s, and if I anticipate shooting any film, my N80. That said, I rarely actually carry more than one into the field, but I need to know I have backups in case of failure (moot point so far - I've never had a Nikon fail on me in the field yet). The backups usually stay in the hotel or the car.
  31. I used to carry a MF 645 and a F4s as a backup. Do to teh nature of teh desert, the F4s got used quite a bit, wow man was that built like a tank. 100% dust proof.
    When your at a place on someone elses dime, having to cameras and 2 formats was really handy.
  32. Some body/lens combinations just feel right work great for me such as a D200 with 12-24, D700 with 24-70, and D300 with 200-400. So that's what I usually haul around in my backpack/roller bag.

Share This Page