Canon - backup body recommendations?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by -hh, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    Back in 2006, we went on a Tanzania photo safari. I carried my Canon 20D dSLR and also carried a 35mm film EOS Elan IIe as my backup body. To minimize sensor dust and for general convenience, I ended up using the 20D for telephoto and the 35mm for WA.

    Its been a busy year and we've gotten behind the power curve in vacation planning, so we've been trying to figure out what we want to do (must be before the end of 2008), and the possibility of going back to Tanzania came up.

    My general thoughts are to not carry film as my backup body, but to go for a second dSLR body. Obviously, since my primary is Canon, the backup has to be Canon too.

    So I'm wondering if I can pick up a second 20D body or something equivalent (or better) at a fairly cheap price...ballpark the budget at $500.

    I see that B&H has some used Rebel bodies at this ballpark, but I'm not familiar with the Rebel family to know what features differ, significance, etc.

    Comments, suggestions invited.

    I do figure on probably getting a 5D MkII, but with B&H saying 'ETA December' (and there's probably already a fairly long waiting list), schedules don't align.

  2. ogee macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2006
  3. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I am actually in the same boat as yourself with my current 40D. I am now doing what I consider regular action photo shoots for 2 magazine clients I have, and for a few websites.

    I am actually leaning on the side of making my 40D a backup camera, and considering a 5D MarkII. I like the idea of the 5D for my Automotive show images, and feel that I will more utilize the 40D for the Motocross / Supercross pictures I take (faster Burst mode). Having the 5D as a backup on the Motocross shoots (despite the slower burst) would allow me to keep wider lenses on that camera, while I keep the 7-200 f2.8 on the 40D. I don't like the idea of changing lenses (especially quickly) in extremely dusty / dirty locations like a track side.

    I personally would recommend looking into a 20 or 30D as opposed to a rebel body. I do like the rebel cameras, however you will be lacking some of the controls you may be used to (the large dial on the back), and the durability of the Rebel will not match your 20D, and I have found that if the two cameras swing into each other (by accident) that the rebel will likely get damaged by the X0D camera! :eek: .

    It is up to you, however the prices of the 20 and 30D have come down quite a bit, and I would strongly consider one of those over a Rebel.

  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    How many pics do you take on the second body? I don't know if I would trust a new to me, but old body as my backup. I'd want to shoot a bunch with it first so I knew that it wasn't going to have any surprises. I would think that taking one more trip with a film backup and saving some money for the 5D would make sense, but it really comes down to how many pics you take with it. Consider that you may need to invest in more batteries for the second body too. I have seen Rebels take great pictures, but I personally would want another body with the same control system as the first to make switching seamless.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I think there are only two options:

    • Buy an identical camera body so that you will know it well. The time to learn a new body is NOT while on an asignment or vacation. It takes weeks to remember where all the buttons and menu options are without thinking or
    • Upgrade the body and then use the camera body you have as the backup.

    Both of these let you use a famiar body as the backup without having to learn something new on the spot. I would NOT buy a "downgrade" body. You likely never use it.
  6. -hh thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    Good points here; thanks. BTW, after I posted my question, I checked out KEH Camera Brokers and found their used 20D bodies to be substantially cheaper than at B&H.

    Another good point here - - I had pretty much assumed (blindly) that a used body (Rebel or 20D) would be in as good of condition as my existing one and that the reason why its first owner had gotten rid of it was simply due to upgrade desires, instead of a worn out shutter, bad pixels or other reliability issues.

    Also, a side benefit of staying with film is that I'd have respectable wide angle with my existing glass, saving me the cost of a 10-22mm EF-S lens that wouldn't then be compatible with the 5Dmk2.

    I am admittedly tempted some to consider a 40D (or 50D, if they're shipping), but with my plans to also digitize my underwater photography, I'm really leaning to the 5Dmk2 for that. I do like crop bodies for the gain on telephoto, but if I'm going to be buying a 5Dmk2 in 2009, that pretty much means that to spread out the budget, I'll probably need to wait until 2010 to replace the 20D crop body...which by then will probably be the 60D or 70D.

    Naturally, hitting the lottery would make a lot of these decisions easier, as I could then not blink at picking up the 400mm DO IS f/4L at the same time :D

  7. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    KEH rates things well, and I'd expect that you could turn around and ebay anything you got upon your return for almost no net loss. I'd probably take the chance if I were in your shoes.

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