Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/07/07

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Second body (NOT back-up)
From: Ted Grant <>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 21:10:11 -0700

>>Does a second body significantly increase the number of good pictures?>>>>

This is an interesting question in regard to having a second body for
whatever purpose, back-up or using two bodies at the same time. In my case
more than one body has pretty well been the norm. Not always, but more than
likely a minimum of two bodies 99% of the time.

I guess during the major part of my career I have always used as many
bodies as I felt comfortable with during the assignment, allowing me to
work quickly without changing film and certainly not having to change
lenses. Quite often three M camera's dangling from my neck, a couple R
cameras (motor driven) on the left shoulder and one on the right or in my
hands.  (One isn't quite invisible, particularly when they are all Leica's
of some version.)  :):)

Each body with a different lens as not to miss any action or my motivation
by things happening in the scene. I realize this may seem strange, plus a
lot of work and weight to those who use one body and one or two lenses.
However, I hate missing things that catch my eye and or I'm motivated by.

By the same token, some assignments call for one camera and lens only,
particularly where discretion dictates one must be discreet with the least
amount of distraction. Even then, I'd have another body under my jacket
with a 35 Summilux for those ....... just in case situations that may
occur. (camera crash!)  If it isn't absoloutely required it stays out of

Do all these cameras or two at the same time <<<significantly increase the
number of good pictures?>>>>>

Some times yes, some times no. It depends on the subject, how close I can
get, how wide I might need or many other aspects I might not be aware of
before the shoot starts. What they do though, is add "significantly" to the
opportunity of variation in images, without the distraction and time
consumming effort of changing lenses or film.  In some cases things only
happen once or twice and to stop shooting to change a lens is beyond
comprehension, particularly if you miss the once only moment!

Don't forget, those of us who make our living from shooting can't afford to
say, "Oops, sorry I missed it!"

Usually you find there is one camera and lens that gets the bulk of use,
this again depends on the assignment. In some cases I might do a major part
with the 280 2.8,  portrait type, overalls, macro all simply because it's
the lens making the most significant difference to what I'm seeing in the

In relation to an earlier topic of "one lens, one body?"

I'd take an M6 and Noctilux for black and white or the R8 with 35-70 2.8
for colour. I've found I shoot far better colour with R camera's than M,
other than when I'm working in the rarified look of low light..... then you
can't beat a Noctilux for images other photographers would kill for! :)

I don't think this answers the question of does a second body
"significantly increase the number of good pictures" or not, but maybe it
explains some advantage of using more than one body and lens at a time.


Ted Grant
This is Our Work. The Legacy of Sir William Osler.