Even though modern day cameras are extremely reliable, and seldom break down (famous last words) there is always the possibility your camera could break or fail during a shoot, which is not good news. Because of this, however small the probability of it happening, every professional photographer I know carries multiple cameras, which also serve as backup cameras.
In the world of professional photography, where exposures and image quality have to be consistent a professional photographer’s backup camera will be the same make and model as their primary camera.
If you shoot a top end camera having two (or even more) is not going to be cheap, but given a professional photographer relies on taking pictures to earn a living and put food on the table spending out on a second expensive camera is worthwhile. Besides the cost all is all tax deductible, right.
If you want to make sure you can keep shooting when you are out and about you need to make sure you have a backup camera with you at all times. Whilst it is nice to have another model of your primary camera it is not essential when the photos you are taking are for stock or personal use. If there are no specific paying customers/clients for your photos to keep happy it doesn’t matter if the image quality, the colors, the exposures etc. you get with a backup camera are different to those taken with your primary camera. As long as you are happy that is all that matters.
There are a couple amateur photographers at the local photography club who insisted on buying backup cameras identical to their primary camera, even though the general consensus at the club was not to bother. The couple used top end professional spec dslr cameras (that were very expensive and far more than they need) so buying a second camera to have “just in case” was a big expense. Despite being told by several members to buy cheaper backup cameras (such as the entry level dslr cameras) they went against the advice and shelled out other top end cameras! Some people….. I don’t know why they bothered asking if they were going to ignore the advice.
If I were in the same situation as those members I would have bought an entry level dslr (obviously the same brand as my primary camera so I didn’t have to invest in any more lenses, speed lights etc.) and used the money I saved on buying something else that would have been more useful, such as speed lights, another lens or something significant like that. The money they would have saved they bought the entry level dslr would have been more than pocket change.
My backup camera
Over the years I have invested in my photography equipment and built up all the stuff I am ever going to need, and some. I started off with an entry level Canon 450d (long discontinued) as my first dslr camera. When I outgrew the 450d I jumped in and bought a canon 7d. Many people sell their entry level dslr cameras when they upgrade to a new model, however I decided to keep mine as a backup. Prior to owning the 450d and the 7d I didn’t have a backup camera, and if the 450d ever let me down (glad to say it never did – that’s Canon quality for you), I would have just gone without.
I was very happy with the 7d (and I still am) however after borrowing a full frame camera I got bit by the “full frame bug” and invested in a Canon 6d. I now shoot a Canon 7d for sports, motorsports, wildlife and anything that requires me using a high burst rate and needing fast autofocus as well as a bit of extra reach, and I shoot a Canon 6d for landscapes, portraits, macro and anything else that doesn’t move too fast.
I still own the 450d and am reluctant to get rid of it because it is the camera I learned my craft on and it has a lot of sentimental value. Even if I needed to sell the 450d because I needed the space or money it is such old technology no-one would want it unless I was giving it away.
Even though I have a Canon 6d, Canon 7d and Canon 450d I also have a Canon G1X. I bought the G1X for a vacation to Italy. Prior to going to Italy I did some research to see what lenses and other equipment I would need however I soon found out that Italy, and especially the cities I was visiting (Rome, Venice, Milan and Verona) are well known hot-spots for pickpockets, muggers, thieves and general lowlife scum only too willing to relieve tourists of their expensive photography equipment.
Needless to say I was a bit concerned so rather than taking my dslr and L series lenses I thought I would buy a compact camera that doesn’t attract any unwanted attention and looks like a standard digital camera. Long story short I decided to buy the Canon G1X, and I have to say I am very impressed with it.
The image quality of the Canon G1X is superb and its small size means it fits in my jeans pocket. Okay, it is a bit bulky in my jeans pocket but it fits in there nonetheless. The G1X fits a treat in a jacket pocket, so I have no problems in the cooler weather, or when I need a raincoat (which is a lot of the time in the UK).
The Canon G1X has become my backup camera of choice and whilst I have never had to use it as a backup I have used it for walkabout photography and shooting stock, and made some money from some of the photos I have taken with it. The G1X is my first point and shoot camera for many years, and they have come a long way. The G1X is so good, and I am so impressed with it, that I think a top end point and shoot camera (like the Canon G1X) is something all photographers should own.
Canon G1X and compact camera articles that may be of interest:-
Even though the G1X has since been replaced by the G1X mark II the mark I is still the better buy, as explored in “6 Reasons why the G1X mark I is better than the G1X mark II”
“Why you need a professional point and shoot camera” is an article reiterating why all photographers should have, make that need to have, a top end point and shoot camera.
“Fish eye photography with a point and shoot camera” is an article demonstrating how to take fish eye shots with a top end point and shoot camera.
“Long exposure using a compact camera” is an article demonstrating that long exposure photography is easily achievable using a top end point and shoot camera.
“Landscape photography using a compact camera” is an article demonstrating how to capture stunning landscape photos using a top end point and shoot camera.
“Macro photography using a point and shoot camera” is an article demonstrating how to capture macro and extreme close up shots with a top end point and shoot camera.
“Action photography using a point and shoot camera” is an article exploring the possibilities of action photography using a top end point and shoot camera
“Wide angle photography using a point and shoot camera” is an article demonstrating it is possible to capture cool wide angle shots with a top end point and shoot camera.
If you only have one camera you really should consider getting a second camera as a backup. If I were in the position where I only had one dslr camera, and needed a backup camera I would go straight for the Canon G1X, without a doubt. The Canon G1X is tough, durable, small and pocketable (easily transportable), is easy to use, offers aperture priority mode/shutter priority mode and full manual mode, and the image quality is superb. I would go far as to say the image quality exceeds that of my Canon 450d, which surprised me somewhat.
If you are going to upgrade to a new dslr in the near future I would recommend not trading in your entry level dslr, or selling it to fund your new purchase and instead keep it as a backup camera. Whilst there is a market for used and second hand photography equipment, you won’t get much for your old photography gear and it will be more cost effective to keep your old dlsr camera rather than trading it in against your new camera and buying another camera as a backup.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
More photography related videos at "Photography Tips & Tricks TV"