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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 12 Mar 2017 (Sunday) 19:15
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Have You Ever Needed Your Backup?

176 posts
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Joined Mar 2015
Location: Tucson, AZ
Mar 12, 2017 19:15 |  #1

Have you ever had a camera fail and actually needed your backup? I don't particularly mean through catastrophe (Fall, Water damage etc.) but has your camera just failed to work and you had to revert to your backup. I'm considering selling my backup to fund one of the two lenses I'm after. I have a very low shutter count 5D3 and a 1D3 as my backup and the 2 lenses in my want list right now are a 35 f2 IS and a 300F4. I realize for professionals a backup is sort of a must have. I kind of have a paid gig, I trade tuition at my Jiu-Jitsu school for photographing events, seminars, and some classes.

Just trying to be better than I was yesterday.

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Reader's Digest Condensed version of War and Peace [POTN Vol 1]
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Mar 12, 2017 19:19 |  #2

Yes, in the middle of using the camera, all of a sudden it shut down and would not turn on again. I had to finish with the second body. It happens.

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K ­ Soze
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Mar 12, 2017 19:37 |  #3

Twice. My 5d MKiii had a massive failure on the mother board and died. The other time was my 1dX MKii focus screen popped out while shooting. Had to use my back up both times.

If you do not do a lot of paid shoots, or sports where you need to do a lot of fast lens changes, a second body may not be worth it to you.

I try to make art by pushing buttons

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Joined Jan 2015
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
Mar 12, 2017 19:38 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #4

Yes as well............had a garbage truck crossover center line to hit me head on. I acme out of it with some nasty bruises but my 5d2 had to be repaired. Canon did a great job but I was without 2 1/2 mos. You can't plan for this...............kee​p the backup and take it out every so often to play with.

Don't even begin to think I'm criticizing your images.
Just a natural curiosity.

Cream of the Crop
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Joined Apr 2003
Location: British Columbia
Mar 12, 2017 19:48 as a reply to  @ photosbytw's post |  #5

My 5D2 stopped working while shooting waterfalls on a photo trip to the Gorge. Lucky I had my 7D as a backup and allowed me to continue shooting that day. The 5D2 came back to life later when I let it dry out on the hotel radiator.

I always bring a backup body to places I might never return to. It's like insurance...the day you decide not to have it is the day you regret.

"I am still in my underwear."
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Mar 12, 2017 20:39 |  #6

Yeah, once at the mall a few Christmas seasons ago. I wasn't paying attention to the world around me when two unsavory gentlemen appeared right in front of me. Since I had my coat zipped up, I couldn't get to my FLETCH w/.45 ACP. Luckily I had my trusty Kel-tech .32 (Cor-Bon 71g FMJ) in my coat pocket. Whew! That was close.


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Mar 12, 2017 21:21 as a reply to  @ Bassat's post |  #7


Don't even begin to think I'm criticizing your images.
Just a natural curiosity.

Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
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Mar 13, 2017 00:36 |  #8


NateD wrote in post #18299243 (external link)
Have you ever had a camera fail and actually needed your backup?

No, never. And I shoot a lot and take my cameras to all kinds of rugged places and don't take particularly good care of them. I don't normally keep my cameras or lenses in bags or cases - they just sit out loose, whether they be in my car or in my home or out in the field with me. Yet, after years and years and years of shooting, I have never, ever had a camera or a lens fail to work, and I have never needed a backup.

Coincidentally, since I've started digital photography, I have never had a computer fail, either...........and so even though I back up my better photos, I have never needed to access any of my backup files.

Come to think of it, I have never had a memory card or a card reader or a battery charger or a battery fail, either. All of these things just seem to continually work, no matter how much use and abuse and misuse one puts them through.


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Cream of the Crop
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Mar 13, 2017 05:06 |  #9

Yes once when my 300D was my only body, when it got wet. I was lucky the rain started at the very end of the airshow, so I did not actually miss any shots of the aircraft.

Then after I got my 20D I was at another airshow where I let my daughter use the 300D. I had bought a brand new 8GB CF card for it, as I was in need of more storage anyway. My daughter took quite a lot of shots of the aircraft in the museum, but decided not to shoot the flying display. So I figured I would use the rest of the space on that card in my 20D, and so shot accordingly. On filling up the rest of my cards I swap the card from the 300D to the new to me 20D, to find that the card would not write. On putting it back in the 300D it seemed fine, so I switched my rented 100-400L to the 300D and had to finish up shooting the show with that camera. This was a bit of a pain, since the AF in the 300D had failed, so I had to shoot it manual focus. Still I did get one of my all time favorite photos with it. Needless to say the card was the problem, and I returned it, but it did force me to use the "backup".

So yes I would really want to have a backup or reserve camera if at all possible, especially for situations where you might get the chance to take unrepeatable photographs.


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Mar 13, 2017 10:38 |  #10

Well, offhand, I'd say "Hey, that's the reason for having a backup!!!" :)

In practice, though, I've not been in the habit of bringing a backup DSLR body to an active shoot, it would just be a bit too much to manage...

However, on occasions when something has gone bad in action, well, sure, that would be a challenge. I have, though, made use of the backup gear that I've had but that is kept at my home location, so, I just haven't been in the habit of packing it with me. Oh Well! I can always bring along a compact/ pocket camera with me if needed, I also have had the habit of packing spare batteries and memory cards, believe me, those are things that if you don't have spares, you will regret it!!!

Having spare lenses is something I would tend to "pack " (as in in an actual pack!

Two Canon cameras (5DC, 30D), three Canon lenses (24-105, 100-400, 100mm macro)
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Joined Mar 2012
Location: PEI, Canada
Mar 13, 2017 13:13 |  #11

"No", but "Kind of".

I don't hold with the idea of having a 'backup' camera, but rather I actively shoot with duplicate bodies on a regular basis. I have a pair of 7Ds that are kept with the same general settings, and if I'm out somewhere shooting (and it is something important that I'm going to care about getting shots for, rather than say, a casual walk with a single lens) then they will both be readily on hand with different lenses, often on a dual camera harness if suitable.

So far the only problems I've had with either camera have been things like a battery running flat on me. (I haven't been actively using my digital gear as much lately for example, and was completely surprised when I pulled one out of the bag the other day and it didn't power on. - Second body to the rescue after only a moment's confusion.) Have also had issues with cards from time to time, once a random fault that was later cleared by popping and reseating the card, and other times being surprised by filling up a card while at a tournament.

Some of my friends have relied on keeping their old camera that had been their primary around as a 'backup', but then it is left in the gear bag, forgotten, and they've rushed to pull it out after something went wrong with their newer one only to find that the battery was long since dead, or that the images they made were terrible because of how out of practice with the older gear they were.

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Mar 13, 2017 20:30 |  #12

I'm currently going through this situation right now where I'm finally getting more paid jobs, and I'm always concerned that something might happen to my Canon 6D while on location. I've been browsing around Craigslist looking for a cheap alternative, and I'm thinking of picking up a Canon 60D. While it is not full frame, I think the thought of at least having SOMETHING in the case my camera fails is better than none.

Johnny La
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Mar 13, 2017 22:46 |  #13

For paid jobs or when I get to go to unique things I usually take two cameras but have never had one fail.

Bob Palermini
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Mar 13, 2017 22:53 |  #14

Yes. Everyone that I know that shoots professionally has had to use their backup at some point. If you're shooting for money and only taking one body with you, you are playing with fire. The only time that I feel like I have to have both on me (instead of in the bag, in the corner) is during the ceremony, first dance, etc. but it's always close by, just in case.

Crazy stuff happens too, like this past summer I had the camera in my hand run out of card space (crazy long ceremony and I wasn't paying attention) right in the middle of the recession. It wasn't a big deal... just dropped that one and picked up the other without missing a beat.

It WILL happen at some point. Get a second body if you're getting paid.

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Playing with fire
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Location: Estonia
Mar 14, 2017 04:50 |  #15

Yep. In the middle of the shoot - bam! - the mirror assembly went belly up. It would have been a mess if I didn't have a second camera.

And, shooting racing, I always use two cameras, since I don't have time to change lenses when the action is happening. That's why I have two of the same camera - I know where the buttons are without looking at which one I'm using.

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Have You Ever Needed Your Backup?
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