Thoughts on owning spare cameras.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by TheGreatGasMaskMan, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Decapod. Either Lehigh Valley or AT&SF. Could be Russian Decapod as well. Easy.
     
  2. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Philosophically, why does one need more than one camera?

    Ethically, which one do you choose to use more?

    :smile:
     
  3. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    Among all of the photographers I knew in the 60s, both creative and journalistic, those who exhibited and were published and those who didn’t, I cannot recall a single one who owned only one camera. Not speaking about cheap cameras, but professional gear. The same held true for the 70s. I really don’t understand the resentment against owning more than one, two or three cameras at a time when repair work must be sent vast distances and almost all purchases must be over the internet. As users of film, we now live in different times.
     
  4. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    I'm more into photography than cameras. However, I did recently buy a duplicate Pentax ME Super, assuming its mate would eventually fail. I have a half dozen other various cameras (4X5, 2/3), as well as a phone...

    Stuck on a desert island without a camera I'd be more interested in my girlfriend than photos...to each his own :smile:
     
  5. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    I don't need any cameras. It's a flippin' hobby for me. That hasn't stopped me from owning and film cameras ranging from a 110 to a 4x5" (including APS) and three digital cameras. On a recent trip in the Baltic's, I ended up using my "spare" Nikon V1. My "main" camera didn't break down -- I did. I hurt my ankle and decided to lighten my load.

    Never let a sense of ethics stop you from doing what's right.
     
  6. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Where have I talked of resentment? I have three 35mm SLR camera systems, two rangefinders systems and numerous other cameras. I'm stating the simple fact that before digital photography the serious photographers I knew generally used one camera, and mostly a lens of a single focal length. Multiple cameras were the preserve of hobbyists, people who carried a number of bodies and composed their shots with different lenses, aping professional photojournalistic practice.

    My first three 35mm cameras were used for 3, 4 and 13 years respectively, and I never carried a second body. None of them ever failed in action. This was completely unremarkable.
     
  7. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    To use a U.K. expression: bollocks. In more technical terms, you are relying on the logical fallacy of defective induction aka faulty generalization aka making stuff up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    My Rule-of-Three is:

    One for use, one for immediate back-up, one to salvage for parts.
     
  9. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I completely agree. I use Rollei B35's, and I'll probably end up with five or six and a repair manual......
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    It's more than thirty years since My Canon F1's were manufactured and there are no spare parts available, have 2 F1n's and 2 New F1's and a none - working spare parts body for each model that bought cheaply on eBay in case of breakdown, so I can let Stuart the man who does my camera repairs canibalize to keep the other ones going which up to now hasn't been necessary F1's are generally very reliable.
     
  11. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    #90 on the Strasburg Railroad here in Pennsylvania is a decapod from Baldwin, built for the Great Western RR, circa 1924. It is actually operable! (I've ridden behind it somewhere along the way ... ) And I may have even taken along a spare camera! :angel:
     
  12. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    I'm a kid of the Space Age. I learned early on NASA had double redundancy on any critical component. i.e. two back ups to the prime system, Thus my hoard
     
  13. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    We obviously knew different photographers. While some of my friends may have favored a particular camera/Leica lens combination (for example, for the most part I used an M4 with 50mm Summicron...and still do), they all owned several cameras and lenses. Many of my friends were exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, ICP, Witken Gallery, etc or worked for LA Times, Asahi, Kyodo, etc. Well, in late 50s and early 60s a friend of my wife did limit himself to a Hasselblad, but that is the only person I can think of.
    Also, as I remember, many news photographers didn’t use their own cameras on the job, but took what they needed from the AP camera bank.
     
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  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have many cameras and some are of the same model but I don't have a spare. If my camera break I can stop taking pictures for a while. There is no rush for me to must have a camera at certain time.
     
  16. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I'm making a first hand observation, a testimony to use a legal term. Most amateurs had one camera, and I'm utterly confident of that assertion. As I said earlier, I'd be surprised if more than 10% of SLR owners had a second SLR body, and the figure is likely to be less than half that number. Because of the number of cameras sold that doesn't make multiple camera ownership rare, it does make it the exception. Using slurs and pejoratives to back up a counter claim doesn't make it more true.
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Ditto. Although I have two Nikon F2As, it's luck that I do, one I patiently looked for, an extremely clean early chrome (late '71 with later DP11, I'll get the plain prism eventually) with slotted screws, the second was brought by the camera fairy, a rather neglected black very late (Dec. '79). Having spares in the same mount is sufficient redundancy, so five Nikons, four 42mm screwmounts, two Rollei 6x6 (one prewar, one post) and so on. I've never had a camera break down on me, but with what top grade cameras are going for I can't help accumulating them. For instance, a really clean SP-1000 55/2, well used but good SP-F 55/1.8, and an average good H1a body came separately but totaled $19. I don't see any point in backing up the LF stuff.
     
  18. Bill Burk

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    I don't think it's unusual for noteworthy artistic photographers to have used "one camera". It's certainly good advice to try to stick to just one.

    Versatile, professional photographers (I'm thinking of folks like Andreas Feininger) would have a variety of different cameras on hand, and would pick the right one for each job.

    I used to always try to have a backup camera. This might have been a spare body, like an OM-1 to backup an OM-4. Or it might have been a smaller camera, like a Rollei 35.

    I've only recently gotten to the point where I can "let go" of my insecurities and go on a trip with "one camera".

    Of course that introduces its own set of special problems. One time I got to the airport and after passing TSA, sat down to load film and found a broken mainspring... had to do a field repair using a fingernail clipper.
     
  19. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I agree. When film was the only photographic medium, plenty of artistic photographers (to use your term) were associated with one camera. Their oeuvre depended on a particular perspective, largely if not exclusively, and memorable images came from that approach. There were clearly exceptions, but the kind of coverage photojournalists adopted, with bodies containing black and white and colour film, and lenses in a range of focal lengths was not the norm among those with aspirations to artistry over commercial potential (emphasis to avoid projection on to my point).

    Today multiple film camera ownership is useful because cameras die, spares aren't always available, and repair costs frequently exceed the value of the camera, none of which was the case in the last millennium. That doesn't change the fact that walking round with one camera and lens is as efficient a way of creating a personal vision as it ever was.
     
  20. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Agreed with some exceptions. I bought and sold a cosmetically shabby but full working order F2AS for less than £70 a few years back. However if you want a clean black plain prism F or F2 you'll need deeper pockets. As a rule I've found semi-pro mechanical cameras to have been more reliable than their professional brethren, price for price secondhand, the former getting the kid gloves treatment from a loving owner, the latter being used as a work horse.

    Unless a camera is bought broken or faulty, they generally live on in the condition they were acquired for some years. Long enough not to carry another at least.
     
  21. blockend

    blockend Member

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    If I went on a expensive ten day photography retreat, I'd carry an extra body. It probably cost as much as any number of film camera bodies, so it would be perverse not to. Whether it's worth doing the same in ones usual habitat when carrying a known and trusted camera, is a different question.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

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    Resentment? Where the heck did not come from? No one has expressed resentment because someone chose to get more than one camera. No one has expressed resentment because someone chose to have one camera. Just get over yourself!
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Does having a 35mm camera for color negative and a 35mm for black & white classified as spare cameras or utilization of resources?
     
  24. Bill Burk

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    I don’t remember exactly when I started thinking a spare body was important. I know I bought a Pentax SV3 (similar to Spotmatic with no meter) to backup my ES-II. I think I may have worried about physical damage. For example dropping. It wasn’t to shoot color and B&W at the same time but it enabled that.

    My cameras survived all their drops, with battle scars. Batteries often died but most of the time fresh batteries revived. Had waves hit me hard once with that ES-II. Tucked it inside my jacket and held tight. Once I fell into a creek with my OM-4. Thrust my hands into the air and tossed it onto the bank... Never really needed those spares.
     
  25. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I always had trouble afterwards
    with continuity so rarely shot both the same time.
     
  26. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Apparently, it depends on who you ask, and what their life experiences have been.
     
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