Some basic advantages of a multiple camera setup…
If you don’t already shoot with a spare camera body to hand, you should; at some point or another a camera’s shutter will give. If you’re using certain cameras exclusively for commissioned work (as is my case), then this is 99% certain to happen in the middle of an assignment… Given there’s no “quick fix” for a broken shutter, unless you’ve a spare camera to hand, you will end up with a jeopardized assignment and most likely a very unhappy client!
Even before acquiring a second full frame camera, I always made sure to have at least a crop sensor (APS-C) body spare in my bag; should the unexpected occur, any spare DSLR is better than no spare DSLR. As soon as I purchased a second full-format camera, I was in a position to shoot with two cameras, but it was a while before I decided to promote it from a being a spare body tucked away in my camera bag to being a dedicated co-main shooting device for photographing corporate events. My main concern of wearing two cameras was the reduced mobility I’d have due to carrying twice the bulk and twice the weight. Whilst this is very true, bear in mind that
for event photography, it is completely normal (and recommended) to switch between a 1 and 2 camera setup - your not bound by one or the other.
the advantages of shooting with using two cameras to shoot events FAR outweigh any disadvantages :
DOUBLE YOUR ZOOM RANGE TO NEVER MISS A PHOTOGRAPH
The most common two-camera setup is the 24-70mm + 70-200mm. That gives you a (pretty much) a complete zoom range. When you’ve this at your disposal, you’ll also find you “spot” many more photo opportunities as you’re not just trying to spot moments within the limitations of one lens.
OPTIONS: NOT JUST A BIG ZOOM
I mention the above point as it is indeed the most common advantage, but the fact is, in small corporate locations (e.g. a cocktail party with 50 guests), often a larger zoom range isn’t really necessary. Perhaps my favourite 2 camera setup is a zoom lens with on-camera flash + a prime lens without flash; there you have a perfect combination for varied low-light photography, having the two best flash and ambient options to hand.
So, sure, carrying up to 9 kilos certainly takes it’s toll if you’re moving constantly and changing levels, but for those moments in an event when your standing stationary, having a balanced weight on both sides is actually more comfortable.
Unless I ever carried a camera for each lens (40 kilos...?!), changing lenses will always be necessary. However, with two cameras, you’ll at least half the amount of time spent changing lenses. With that, in the long term, you’re also reducing the amount of wear-and tear on both the lens glass and your camera sensor - the more these are exposed, the more likely you’ll get debris floating in, and no one likes paying for professional cleaning...
In all the years I’ve been a professional photographer in Paris, I have never experienced this and I truly hope, touch wood, I never do. However, as numerous stories will tell (just flick through the 1-star reviews for and SD cards and Compact Flash cards on amazon...), losing data or card corruption is never impossible. If you’re shooting with two cameras, you’ve a good chance to capture the same content (subjects, key moments etc) on both, hence in the highly unlikely event that a card fails and that certain photos get corrupted, they’ll be a decent chance that those lost moments can be found on the 2nd camera.
Should your batteries die at an important moment in an event (e.g. a key speech, a corporate toast) and you’ve not the time to replace it, you’ll have another camera at the ready so as not to miss the moment.
Hardly a deal-breaker this one, but I have to admit, with an ever increasing amount of corporate guests bringing their own DSLRs along, you carrying two cameras certainly make it clear to all attendees who is taking the photos :)
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