Cameras: main, spare, second

The main difference between a professional and an amateur is the ability to shoot and continue taking pictures in any situation.

There is no way for a professional to say “I forgot my memory card at home”, “Low battery”, or “Something happened to the camera”. Filming must continue. Show must go on!. For this, the pros have a spare or second camera.

I want to clarify:

  • The main camera is the camera that takes the whole picture.
  • A spare camera is a camera that only serves to replace the main camera. This camera does not shoot until the main camera is out of order.
  • First, second, third, etc. camera - cameras that can complement each other or work on a par.

Main camera

This is the workhorse that must plow every day. This is exactly the camera that you should get used to working with, hone its mastery of mastery. You need to know all the tricks, all the vagaries and all the intricacies of your main camera.

Key moment - the more often you work with the main camera, the more often you process pictures from it, the more graceful all actions become, the more thoughtful and harmonious the process of shooting and processing becomes.

Spare camera

The most painful point during the failure of photographic equipment is the breakdown of the camera. A damaged lens or peripheral can be easily survived. For example, in my photo bag I always have a different lens, a different memory card, a different battery, etc. In the event of a breakdown, shooting can almost always be continued, while the quality of the filmed material may not change at all. In the case of a camera failure, the situation changes dramatically.

For me, a spare camera is one that you only get out of your wardrobe trunk a few times a year. And it's better not to get such a camera at all.

Key moment: The backup camera can be any, but of the same system and type as the main camera. For example, if I am shooting on a Fuji mirrorless system, then the Fuji system mirrorless camera should also be a backup camera. It may be the cheapest camera.... The main task of the spare camera is to bring the photo to the end.

While working as a photographer and having several systems in the camera kit (Nikon DSLR, Canon DSLR, Sony ILCE), I ran into the problem of using a spare camera of another system is very inconvenient. If the main camera of a certain system fails at the shooting, then it will be very inconvenient for me to continue shooting using a camera of another system.

If you take the specifics, then a backup camera for my main camera Nikon D700 there was a camera Nikon D200. The reason is simple: both cameras use the same batteries, memory cards, peripheral devices (flashes, etc.) and have 80% related functionality. Over time, a lot of weight Nikon D200 I’m tired and I changed it to Nikon D80. Several times I even had to continue shooting on Nikon D40, while the customer did not feel the difference in the quality of the given material.

I recommend that the main and spare cameras be as compatible as possible for the components. Ideally, the replacement camera should be the same model as the main camera. Indicate your sets of main / spare camera in the comments.

Second camera

The second camera can simultaneously be a backup camera, but not vice versa. The second camera implies that the photographer periodically uses several cameras. Usually different cameras serve different tasks.

My favorite option when using two cameras with different lenses. Everyone knows that there are no lenses that are ideal for all types of shooting. Because of this, sometimes you have to acquire a whole collection;). Using different lenses on different cameras can significantly improve the quality and variety of images. True, only a few professionals use two cameras at a time.

I like to work in tandem with my colleague more - in the end we shoot with two cameras. Shooting alone with two cameras is not easy. If I shot with two cameras all the time, it would be two full-frame cameras with lenses 85 / 1.4 and 24 / 1.4.

For obvious reasons, I do not recommend making a “second” camera from a “spare” camera. For a long time I have been using the “1 main + 1 spare” method, but in the future I plan to switch to the “two cameras” methodology.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

PS Radozhiva updating, please do not flood / flame in the comments on the new domain.

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Comments: 93, on the topic: Cameras: main, spare, second

  • anonym

    ... like this, my Nikon D70s died at an event ... of course, there was no spare ...

    If you use a bunch of two cameras (one camera - one lens), it is better to use the same ones. Example: two D810s. This will make it easier to process the photo and the result will be more stable. And it is more convenient to use - everything is the same. Well, if this is not possible, then use the second camera exclusively for backup. Example: D810 and D610. But this option is quite wasteful. The D810 will live for several years and the D610 by purchasing a replacement main camera will become obsolete. There is also an option with the old (first) camera. You can continue shooting with this camera. Again, the result will not be so hot. And skill will not help here ...

    In case you charge serious money for your work, use simple duplication. If not, keep track of the mileage, take a fresh budget DSLR in stock. She already has less noise than the old ones - the result will be better. And the relatively low price will be beaten off by the first serious photo shoot. But you will not sit in a galosh!

    • atypical Kiev

      it is so of course
      But the dough for two Nikon 810s is not among many even professionals ((

    • anonym

      Before taking a full frame, you first need to think about why it is needed besides the show off. The client will not notice the difference between the images in 98% of cases, and real FF buns are not always used, not everywhere and not all.
      junior crops are a crutch. lack of efficiency in work, eyes get tired from a small viewfinder, usually one cross-shaped focus point and a small buffer. But in the budget segment it makes no sense to take something more expensive.
      Ideal for the job - something like the Nikon D7000 or Canon 70D. Having removed a month for the first seed after putting it in the guarantee, I did not want to return to the 600D. By the way, 7D died at an event with a mileage of 12 thousand, giving a black screen with an error. After 45 days, the store recognized the marriage and returned the money. They did not have time to bring spare parts to the service on time to the out of production camera.

      • Oleg

        I wonder what exactly flew in Semen?

      • anonym

        Full frame is needed not only for show-offs:
        1. High ISO
        2. The best depth of field on high-aperture optics
        3. The lens pattern is revealed.
        4. Better, nicer, juicier picture
        5. Ergonomics
        6. Functionality, etc.

        And the fact that almost no one notices the difference is their problem!

        I recently bought a D610 and now I don’t even want to pick up the D90. We can say that he is now a spare.

        Perhaps the D7000 will be better than the budget. But not megapixels.

        It all depends on the photographer's salary and quality requirements. If clients pay very well, you can shoot in medium format. And if it's bad, you need to make round eyes and say: With such a meager payment, I'm not like a spare camera - I can't buy an extra loaf of bread!

  • Artem

    If shooting is important, such as a wedding, I use the d700 and c5pro, and I try to shoot on both cameras. Last time d700 and x-pro from fuji.

  • anonym

    Cameras: main Canon 600D, spare 550D, backup 450D
    Pyhma: 2 x Canon 430 EX-II
    Glass: EF 28 / 1.8 USM, EF 50 / 1.8 STM, EF 85 / 1.8 USM, EF-S 18-135 / 3.5-5.6 IS
    In the budget segment, this is enough for the eyes.

    • Daniel

      It would be better if one full-frame was than three similar crop.

      • anonym

        For budget services in the budget price range, it makes no sense to take an FF camera, and the picture quality is that with 550d, which is the same with 7D. And the customer doesn’t care what you’re shooting, the main thing is to give the pictures as quickly as possible.

    • Oleg

      An interesting set of fixes tossed

  • Dmitriy

    No one mentioned one important aspect: now the photographer sometimes makes more money on the video than on the photo. Therefore, the second camera should be able to shoot with the same quality as the main one. The output is more film using photos and a bunch of photos.

  • Oleg

    And didn’t the people get puzzled with backup flashes?

    • BB

      Who is like :-)
      I have Nikon Sb-900 - main and Nissin Di866 in reserve / second

      • Oleg

        :)

  • Dmitriy

    D610 + D300 + F5 + Pentacon six)))

  • Pastor

    Oh, what a theme close to me. In general, it’s extremely rare that I even go for a walk without a couple of fotiks, and for really important events for me I take 4-5 pieces at once. For me personally, it is important to have different devices for a number of reasons:
    1) as it is written in the article in case of breakdown of one camera;
    2) in order to have several glasses with him in a combat position;
    3) to receive frames of a single event that are different in color, so that later you can choose.
    In fact, I have a lot of carcasses and nothing to shoot. If the first point is so clear, then I will reveal the other two:
    - having several carcasses with you, you can immediately shoot the same event on different glasses. As an option - telephoto, standard lens and wide. I shoot the launch of balloons - in 10 seconds I have footage of the entire crowd, individual groups of people and a lonely balloon against the sky. In addition, sometimes it is important to have a longer telephoto camera with you, sometimes it is useful to take fixes. Therefore, it is difficult to get by with one glass, especially not knowing what exactly I will shoot. Therefore, most often I take different glasses so that there is always something to choose from.
    - different cameras take different photos even with the same lenses. Therefore, it is nice to have several carcasses with you at once and then see the pros and cons of each house. For example, for color have d80 / d200 / 5d / s5pro, and for iso 5dm3 / crop type d5200.
    There are also different features that distinguish one camera from another. We need a fast autofocus - 7d, and if I shoot flowers, then autofocus can be turned off altogether and there are no advantages of 7d. Sometimes it is important to be lightweight and then the starting carcasses are more useful. Sometimes you need a small grip and then you need to take ff with a light fix. In general, in my practice there were many situations when I was pleased with the presence of several cameras. I'm not sure that the pros need it, and the amateur, even more so, most likely does not need it. But I love being able to make choices on and after shooting.

  • Victor

    As crazy as it may sound: the main camera is Nikon 600, the second one for special tasks is d3s. Each has a 9th series flash. At 600k 80% of the time is 24-120 f4. Lenses change on d3s.

    Ideally, for me there would be two 810. But the crisis dictates its own rules.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Damn crisis.

    • Andrei

      I switched to SLR-free and my Nikon D600 carcass lay idle for a year. The wedding manager decided to sell it and said he was tired of having to hang around with 810 and edit huge files :) then he wrote in a week, which is very satisfied. As for me, the d600 is very cheap and it turns out a very not a bad option.

  • vetal

    Thanks for the post. Interesting.
    Write more about the lenses you use and for what kind of shooting

    • Wacom

      Fixes, for portraits, subjects and landscapes. Zuma - for all other situations. The main thing is that for both of them, the aperture should open at least 2,8.

  • Ivan

    Nikon D700 is the main one, D300 is the second, D70s is reserve, plus one film F80 or FM, but the backpack is straight ...

  • Andrei

    The main olympus is m5 mk 2 with olive 75mm 1.8 or leica 25mm 1.4 spare Sonya a7s with 16 35 f4. There was still Nikon Nikon D610 but had not used it for more than a year.

  • Alexander

    I rent Nikon D600-85 1.4 for staging, and Nikon D90-Sigma 17-50. For reporting.

  • Alexey

    Year 4 filmed with one camera .. d90 .. run 135 thousand. alerted ... Due to the limited budget and the war in my city, I found a d80-with a small run. Cameras are practically interchangeable! Very convenient because I have several. lenses - at the same time I shoot on 2 cameras with different lenses! It is convenient and looks solid! On one telephoto lens on the other, I am sorry I didn’t do this before! (especially convenient at weddings!)

    • Valery A.

      We all (I'm sure) wish peace to your city.

      • Oleg

        Sorry not all. Otherwise, there would have been peace

      • Alexey

        Thank you! Waiting for the world !!! Tired of deaths ... because of this and work is not always good ... but it's not so bad .... let's break through!

  • Wacom

    The main Canon A 520, and the spare Canon A 510. If you do not need to print large format images, then this is the best choice. Enough for almost 90% of situations.

  • Alexander

    SonyA7s and SonyA7rMark2. It is difficult to say which of them is primary and which is secondary. I bought with a difference of 2 odes. Photos are good with one or the other, but 7R wins where you need high resolution and details. 7S is more compact and convenient for video when with a lack of lighting.

  • Vyacheslav

    The main d700 (rate of fire, large pixel, easy ravki).
    I plan to take the second one - d7000 (try the video, the convenience of running with two fixes, well, in reserve if that) what do you think?

    • Pastor

      Personally, I am always in favor of the second camera :) With two fixes on two cameras, it is a pleasure to shoot. Some photographers shoot all their weddings in 35mm and 85mm. One European from one photo forum showed his photos from the wedding (namely, photographs of himself taking pictures of the wedding) - it has three ones with different fixes. Says he is so comfortable. And as d700 and d7000 to carry is not a problem at all.

      • Denis

        I remembered the "man-orchestra"

        • Pastor

          Yeah, looks like :)

        • Ivan

          Or this:

  • SashOK

    I have the main camera Nikon D7000, and a spare D70. Cheap and cheerful; (
    And if separately, I mainly use the 70th for color and fast processing of RAVok, and the 7000th for wide DD and high ISO.

  • Sergei

    On the shoot, there are always two carcasses at work, D750 and D500, both basic, well, you can complete everything on any of them, if that. Usually on the D750 it costs 24-70 / 2.8 or 35 / 1.8, and on the D500 70-200 / 2,8 or 85 / 1,4. This bundle is enough for any scenario.

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