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Thread: Backup Camera Strategies

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Backup Camera Strategies

    What strategies are you using for backup cameras? Duplicate cameras is the usual strategy, but expensive for MF.

    I'm shooting an H3D 39 - I'll be upgrading to a H4D 60 once it is available. On the recent GetDPI workshop it was suggested that the main item to backup is the camera body - that the back is sufficiently reliable that it's ok to travel without a backup. I can buy a backup body (say an H2) quite cheaply, so this has some appeal, but is it wishful thinking?

    One could always backup with a different system (Canon, Nikon or Leica for example) but than means redundant lenses, batteries, chargers, etc. and it would be nice to save weight.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    Rarely do the backs go down, bodies are a different story though just like anything else . I would have a backup body and for me I always carry the little GF1 just in case something really weird happens.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    IMO, the back-up for at least some protection is a 3 year hot-swap warranty ... which I ordered with my H4D/60 (yet to arrive).

    If you get a H4D/60 you won't be able to use another body ... the back is matched to the body. I do not know if Hasselblad will sell separate H4D bodies ... and you'd have to send in the back and new body to have it matched up if they did.

    The back-up strategy for the H3D/39 is the same. However, the digital magazine can be backed up with film backs ... your H3D is the last "D" body able to take film backs.

    My back-up for the main H camera is a H2F body, prism and three H film backs. I'm waiting to find a super cheap CF or CFH back for it.

    Don't really need a back-up for what I do. In studio I can resort to the Sony A900 and have the H replacement the next day ... and if traveling, the M9 which is usually with me anyway.

    I've never had a MF body go down on me film or digital ... but I've had two digital backs stop me ... a Leaf Aptus that wouldn't release from the camera ... and the ill fated H2D/22 experiment with direct DNG capture (which Hassey speedily replaced with a regular H2D).

    Marc

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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I've never had a MF body go down on me film or digital ... but I've had two digital backs stop me ... a Leaf Aptus that wouldn't release from the camera ... and the ill fated H2D/22 experiment with direct DNG capture (which Hassey speedily replaced with a regular H2D).
    Very unusual in my experience with a large number of customers. At least with the Phase One backs that we have the longest history with (and therefore the most real world experience) the number of non-physical-damage related number of failures is truely miniscule.

    Body failures are also pretty rare, but compared to the miniscule rate of back failure are very high.

    Lens failure (outside of physical damage) is nearly impossible on a focal plane lens like the Phase One D lenses. Lens failure for leaf shutter lenses such as the Schneider leaf shutter lenses or the Hasselblad H lenses are fairly rare (I'd put the rate below bodies but above backs). On a Phase One DF body the focal plane shutter can be used if, god forbid, the leaf shutter in the lens fails.

    That's one of the reasons I like Phase's open body/back system so much. A backup AFD1 body is literally around $700 and any back and body can be used together; they are not locked to factory "pairs".

    The overnight swap out warranty available from both Phase One and Hasselblad is excellent for a working pro, but for a landscaper who is backpacking for several days in the wilderness it won't do much good. You still should have a backup body* and at least two lenses. Alternatively I think an Leica M camera or Mamiya 7 body with film makes a great high quality very compact backup system.

    *Except with those shooting tech cameras where there is essentially no chance of non-physical damage failure - they only need two lenses.

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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    If I had continued with the Hasselblad digital systems like the H3D and the H4D, I would have purchased a used H3D-39 as a backup. They can be found for less than $10,000 today. A "hot swap" warranty is great in theory, but not always in practice. I was in Southern Utah for a week last fall and my H3D-39 died on a Saturday. A loaner could not be delivered until Tuesday, and I was leaving on Wednesday.
    I now have a P65 and two H2 bodies. When I travel, I take the second H2 body as a backup and a Canon 5DII with a couple of lenses as a second backup. I don't fully trust the H2 bodies in harsh conditions in the field. So far, I trust the P65, but time will tell.

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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    This is a tough one Woody. For you and what you shoot, I'd say you may already have it in your M9 just by shooting a few stitches? For me, I am almost comfortable enough with the GF1's. Clearly not ideal, clearly not the same caliber as MF digital capture, but at the end of the day, images can be made.

    Of course if we're in our cars, then a spare (older version) MF body that uses our existing lenses is a pretty easy answer...
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    My across the board back strategy is as follows.

    One is none.
    Two is one.
    Three is two.

    I learned this twice!

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    I just got an old 645 AF body + film back + 80 mm + 45 mm + various bits and pieces for less than 1K euro, and that is not only a great backup but will allow me to keep shooting film even when finally in the DF realm...

    1 extra body & film back is not that heavy to lug around for the safety it provides. When I go around with the Silvestri, then as Doug said the need for backup is basically non existant - I always bring a film camera or two anyway, so I am safe against the only thing that can go wrong, the sudden death of the back...
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    My favorite back-up strategy is to go shooting with a good friend, Kevin Raber, who is a VP of Phase One....he always has all sorts of redundant equipment with him!!

    In truth though, I've had an AFD, AFD II and AFD III before the DF and none of them ever let me down. Nor did the P45, 45+ and - so far - the 65+.

    Otherwise I have my a900 along.

    Bill

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    That's cheating Bill. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Rarely do the backs go down, bodies are a different story though just like anything else . I would have a backup body and for me I always carry the little GF1 just in case something really weird happens.
    Sort of same with me ... except I don't carry the backup body, just the GF1 system. I've had problems with lenses, but even bodies are pretty reliable.

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    Thanks to everyone for their help on this.

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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    Iím now carrying a Leica M9 along with my P45+ however not so much as a back-up rather than a companion camera.

    Bill - I agree w/Guy thatís cheating! Or maybe itís just jealousy Iím feeling.

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    Re: Backup Camera Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Iím now carrying a Leica M9 along with my P45+ however not so much as a back-up rather than a companion camera.

    Bill - I agree w/Guy thatís cheating! Or maybe itís just jealousy Iím feeling.

    Don
    Of course it's cheating! But think of the advantages -
    (a) I don't have to schlepp the extra gear around
    (b) Excess airline baggage charges are Kevin's, not mine
    (c) If I break one of his bodies, well, he works for P1 so why worry?

    Actually, he's the real winner because it was he who lent me his MFDB gear a number of years ago when I was shooting DSLR. Since then he and P1 have parted me from a lot of cash. I'm sure he now carries "my" back up gear in the hope of finding another DSLR shooter he can convert!

    Best to all,
    Bill

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