Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Commentary: Why Two Cameras?

Why would a photographer want to have two DSLR's for a photo shoot? That is a question, which could be answer several ways. I'm going to point out why I use two cameras while I'm on a shoot.

The first reason I would use a second camera is to have a backup, in case something happens to my primary camera. The worst thing that to have happen on a shoot would be a shutter failure or an electrical problem with the primary camera body, thus the need for a second camera. Ideally the backup camera would be identical to the primary camera, but if that doesn't fit your budget, as in my case, a camera that performs similarly is a good idea. At the very least it is a good idea to have a camera with the same control layout and menu system as the primary. The reason to have similar, or identical, cameras is so that you do not have to waste time thinking about different buttons and settings, if you need to switch bodies in the middle of a shoot. This means you need to remember to setup the backup camera for the type of shooting you'll be doing, along with the primary body before any shoot. 

The second reason to use a secondary camera body is to have a different lens available in situations where changing lenses is impossible or not practical. During the tennis tournament I was shooting last month, switching lenses during a match, for different perspectives, was not practical. In addition, towards the end of the tournament I had to quickly switch cameras when going from action shooting, to group portraits.

Being able to switch lenses on the fly is not always possible, and having a backup is ideal in situations where you cannot miss the shot. Thus having a second camera body can be a good idea, for those who face those types of situations on a regular basis. Although adding a second body requires extra effort on your part, it is well worth while if you are on the job.

If you cannot afford a second body, consider renting a one for important events, if you are the primary or paid photographer. One of the easiest ways to have a second body available is to keep your old primary camera and use it as a backup, rather than selling it when you upgrade.