Unfortunately, it doesn't look like a single body will be able to fulfill all the types of photography I see myself interested in.

As I said in a previous question my main interests for now are:

  • Portraits;
  • Landscape/Nature
  • Pictures at parties and other environments in low light condition.

For these kinds of pictures, a full-frame body such as a 5D Mark II excels.

But those main interests don't rule out other types of pictures such as sports for which a 7D would be more appropriate.

I've seen that some of you guys have a second body or a spare body.

Do you have different bodies for different kinds of photos? Or do have (or plan to have) a second body that identical to the first one only for backup purposes?

  • Can you give us a sense of your budget?
    – Reid
    Oct 10 '10 at 15:14
  • Fow now I'm keeping my XSi as a spare after buying a 5D2 or a 7D (not decided yet). If I buy a 7D first, I'll be willing to buy a 5D2 (or its successor) in a year from that point. If I buy a 5D2 first, I'll only buy a 7D if I find myself missing its burst mode or some other feature it performs better than the 5D2. So the budget would be something between 1.600 and 2.500 USD for the body this year. This budget does not include the budget I've set apart for lenses. Oct 10 '10 at 15:56
  • What are you unhappy about with your XSi and kit lens? See my answer here: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/3857/…
    – eruditass
    Oct 10 '10 at 16:55
  • I've updated my question over there photo.stackexchange.com/questions/3857/… Oct 10 '10 at 17:25

Well, depending on what you want to do, a spare makes a lot of sense. For myself, the approach I'm taking is when I upgrade, I'll keep my previous camera as the spare (probably this January). Primarily, since I too like nature shooting, to keep different lenses easily in play. On one I'll have a nice telephoto lens, the other will have wider angles. To me, that's a big upside, swapping cameras is a lot faster than swapping lenses.

I noticed that you're a Canon shooter (lucky guess, huh?) so if you're doing a 5DmkII and looking to get a 7D, that too makes a lot of sense. The strength of the 5DmkII is in landscape, studio, low light, and similar where you don't need to machine gun shoot and can compose and take advantage of the great sensor with low noise. However, in fast action shooting, such as sports or wildlife, the 7D is going to be a serious workhorse, giving you an opportunity to capture some things you might miss because the 5DmkII frame rate can't keep up.

Anyways, those are the considerations I gave to my decision that I'm going to hold onto my current camera on upgrade rather than cut the cost a little with a trade-in.

  • yeah I imagine most people will either keep their previous main body as a spare when upgrading, or get a spare with different 'abilities' that could still perform the main camera's job in a pinch. I can't see any reason for buying two of the same body in general!
    – Matt Grum
    Oct 10 '10 at 13:59
  • @Matt except maybe a commercial shooter who may want the same body in case one goes down. I have no idea how common that is though as most people I know with two follow the same model I'm planning on.
    – Joanne C
    Oct 10 '10 at 14:07

I have two primary camera bodies; they're identical. My reasons for choosing the same body for my second camera were:

  • the model I had was functioning to help me create the shots I needed
  • I'm a pro who needed to always have a second body on jobs
  • other than the redundancy function, the other reason for a second body was so that I could have two different lenses mounted and wouldn't need to swap lenses to change focal lengths

I have both cameras configured the same, same custom functions, etc.


When I upgraded to 5D MkII I kept my previous body (30D) as a spare, simply because having two bodies is better then money I could get for a used old DSLR.

For me the 8Mpix resolution is still significantly better than nothing in case 5D fails (which has already happened) and one thing you don't want when shooting a wedding is to have no working camera.

I also you 30D as a second body when I don't want to swap lenses.

For me the second body is mostly a backup, and keeping an old camera for that purpose makes more sense to me than buying something I don't want to use that often.

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