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Thread: What is a professional camera?

  1. #1

    Default What is a professional camera?

    I came across this interesting discussion on 'what is a professional camera'?

    It was said that a professional camera is one which is used by professionals (lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc). Those in the profession uses "amateur" cameras that can do the job because a dollar saved is a dollar in the pocket.

    I asked a camera salesman what that means and he said that for example, leica is more used by the serious amateur than those who make their living through photography (they go for canon). I did a comparison and found that a leica with 2 lens costs around $20,000. That figure can get a canon 1ds mark iii with 3 solid lens.

    Either way it seems to me that a serious amateur setup costs as much as a professional setup.

    That brings me to my question: do professional photographers, in practice, use a canon 50d?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    professional photographers can use anything that caters to their purposes

    for example, i don't know which magnum photographers use p&s, but i'd wager that some of them do. ditto for war photographers.

    you can use anything, so long as you deliver the goods to whoever's demanding them and has the say on your job. simple as that.

    anyways, there are hobbyists who have nikon d3 with shining gear........ it doesn't make them a better photographer, or a pro one; nor would they necessarily be able to make a living if they chose to do so.

    it is as simple as that, don't think too much. if you think canon mark d iii is expensive, think about medium format, digital style, that is far worse.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    as night86mare has spoken,

    the so-called pro cams may mean that they are better in build quality, noise control and weather-sealed blah blah

    they may also be the cameras that are more advanced in technology then the other cams in the range

    the leica now is used more for serious amateurs due to the price

    about 40 years ago the leica M3 was the staple for photojournalist

    but now with digital

    they no longer use it

    due to the high cost of film as compared to digital and the impracticality and incovenience

    and you would ask why would they use it last time?

    well thats because it was their only option then.
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  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by beautifulworld View Post
    ...........................

    That brings me to my question: do professional photographers, in practice, use a canon 50d?
    it depends...

    in business practice, you should use the least investment/cost to generate the maximum profit.

    as a skillful craftsman, you should the right tool to do the job right,

    as professional, you should uphold a professional image.

    for your customer, many of them just care you will give them the images they want, don't really hack care what you use.
    Last edited by catchlights; 18th May 2009 at 11:04 PM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    That's quite a figure with the Leica, I think in the end the only thing that matters is that you find a good quality camera, be it a commercial digital camera or upgraded to a nikon or canon dslr. Good photographer's whether they are serious amateurs or all the way to pro can get great shots for far less than 20,000 in equipment.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    A pro camera generally refers to a camera that is designed for heavy usage and meets various photographic situations within scope of what it is designed for. For example, in the 90's professional SLRs had removable prisms, backs and other additional accessories designed for it that most amateurs would never need.

    The F series of Nikon cameras all had removable prisms (until F6) so you could shoot from low angle or use a magnifier for macro. Likewise all Hassels have that same feature.

    The QC for such products are also more stringent hence less units rolled off the assembly lines. These products are often (used to) backed by professional service where a replacement is offered often at no costs to allow a shoot to proceed while the unit is repaired.

    However that does not mean pros only use Pro cameras. Many photographers supplement their gear with medium range equipment to meet certain needs.

    Hope that provides some insight.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Pros want speed and processing..... For Canon it's the 1D but now 5D MKII is also used for it's low light capabilities and it's FF.. value for money too. And "L" lenses is an unwritten "must" rule. For Nikon at least a D300 (and now D700) or D3......
    Last edited by sabrecruz; 19th May 2009 at 12:31 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by sabrecruz View Post
    Pros want speed and processing..... For Canon it's the 1D but now 5D MKII is also used for it's low light capabilities and it's FF.. value for money too. And "L" lenses is an unwritten "must" rule. For Nikon at least a D300 (and now D700) or D3......
    Pros dun need processing speed. Cause most shots are done in Raw. It's computer processing that's needed.

    L lenses wise not so. Some of Canon's best lenses are NOT L lenses. The 85/1.8 for example is sharper than any L zoom lens. L lenses in general only apply to zoom lenses for Canon.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jnet6's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Pro camera means pro price too with latest advance features.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    I came across this question from this article: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/pro-camera.htm

    He said:

    Professional photographers photograph to make money.

    They use whatever cameras make them the most money. The less expensive the camera, the better.

    Today, with digital cameras effectively being disposable as the technology advances, I see loads of professional photographers using D70s and D50s to shoot paying jobs.



    His point about digital cameras losing their value as technology increases appears valid. Buying the latest is more of a hobby than a business decision.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    A camera with the most advanced features may be a professional camera, but it doesn't mean it'll be a professional's camera. As many have mentioned, a professional photographer is mostly defined as someone who makes a living via photography. It really doesn't matter what equipment he uses. As night86mare mentioned, as long as the paid photographer delivers his images, who cares about his camera?

    We have to remember that in the end, every camera is merely a tool to help us get the image we have preconceived, or of memories that we want to keep in print.

    Actually, I have wondered about the money spent on equipment between a professional photographer and an enthusiast, and I feel that many times, an enthusiast will more likely spend much more than a professional, because a professional only needs what gets the job done, whereas an enthusiast will want to explore every possibility he can justify to afford. =P
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  12. #12

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    But a pro can use the purchase on equipement as tax write off whereas an enthusiast won't?

  13. #13

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Thank you everyone for your invaluable comments.

    The definition of a professional camera appears to be - that camera which gets the job done.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2evans View Post
    But a pro can use the purchase on equipement as tax write off whereas an enthusiast won't?
    I came across this point and someone commented that for those pro whose business are that profitable, they are quite fortunate indeed because they can afford the best for work and play.

    Imagine leicas, hasselblads and all those gorgeous lens.

  15. #15

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    My definition of pro camera:

    "Make it a little sturdier, a little more versatility, add a few functions that no one ever use, add the word 'Professional' and price it for the top 8% of the income group within the market."

    Quote Originally Posted by beautifulworld View Post
    I came across this point and someone commented that for those pro whose business are that profitable, they are quite fortunate indeed because they can afford the best for work and play.

    Imagine leicas, hasselblads and all those gorgeous lens.
    Tum podem extulit horridulum...日出東方﹐唯我不敗。

  16. #16

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    Nikon position their camera:

    Dx -- pro
    Dxxx -- semi-pro
    Dxx -- entry

    Canon position their camera:
    xD -- pro
    xxD -- semi pro
    xxxD -- entry


  17. #17

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    I think i said this before, there is only one group of people who can determine whether the camera is professional or not- the security personnel at concerts.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    and sometime, camera is for showing not for shooting

  19. #19
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    erm, what's your point?
    Exploring! :)

  20. #20

    Default Re: What is a professional camera?

    This is not directly at anyone in particular but I feel it should be said. Relevant to this topic and I think applicable to many other topics in this forum as well.

    IMHO The distinction between "pro," "amateur," "prosumer," or "whatever" camera matters only to two groups of people: The camera manufacturers in the form of market segmentation, and consumers who like having gear rather than using it.

    A professional photographer, one who by definition makes money from taking photos, understands his/her needs for their specific field. Sports need fast tele, studios need resolution, photojournalists need robustness, weather-sealing, etc. These elements may make a camera suitable for a pro. But categorizing the pro-ness of a camera or lens based on whether it has a mag body, fast aperture, red ring, or 9fps is pretty meaningless. This nominal distinction means little to those who actually require those features.

    L lens, red ring, gold ring, blah blah blah. Go out and shoot more, no need to worry about how good your camera is compared to others.

    Last edited by kaikibbler; 19th May 2009 at 04:29 PM.
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