By Bob Krist
The Boy Scouts definitely have the right idea. When a camera or a vital piece of equipment goes down in the middle of a trip, it can be an inconvenience or a downright tragedy — depending on whether or not you have a spare. The best spare is a second body, identical to your mainstay machine, but even if it’s just a point and shoot zoom camera, it’s better than nothing!
The further you are from home, the more important spares become. For instance, I do 90% of my work with three zoom lenses, a 20–35mm, a 28–70mm, and an 80–200mm, all f/2.8’s. Zooms are a great convenience on the road, but if you drop or break one, you lose an entire range of coverage. I bring two lighter, slower, and cheaper zooms — a 24–50mm and a 70–210mm — as backups. If that’s a little excessive, and a point and shoot zoom isn’t enough, consider one of the compact 28–200mm zooms as a one-lens backup system.
How important are backups? I’m writing this article on the plane home from an assignment in Belize, where I dropped a camera in three feet of salt water on the first day of the shoot. Fortunately, I had two more bodies and a spare lens to complete the job.
Copyright 2006–2011 Bob Krist. Reproduced with permission. No Internet reproduction or other usage permitted. For more information send an email. Bob’s next book will be PhotoSecrets Travel Photography.