Pro DSLRs, Pro Photographers

Nikon D4, Nikkor 35mm F1.4 AIS (exposure not recorded). Lighting: Profoto Pro-7b power pack and heads with 5-foot Octa softbox (camera right) and silver umbrella (camera left). John Lok/The Seattle Times.

The Canon EOS 1D X and Nikon D4 offer all of us tantalizing looks at the top of the technology ladder for pro cameras. Yet there's no denying that these DSLRs are developed primarily to serve the unique needs and demands of working professionals such as photojournalists. For them, features like durability, intuitive ergonomics and lightning fast performance are non-negotiable requirements that can mean the difference between getting published and being out of work.

With this in mind, we recently sat down with two Seattle Times staff photographers to get their take on what it's like to use these cameras on a daily basis. Dean Rutz, a longtime Canon shooter has been using the EOS 1D X since its launch. John Lok has shot professionally with the Nikon D3s in addition to the Canon gear issued by the Times. At our request, he agreed to spend a few weeks using the Nikon D4 for many of his daily assignments. 

Canon EOS 1D XEF 400mm F2.8L IS USM ISO 800, 1/1000 @F2.8. Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times.

In this interview, both photographers give us their take on Canon and Nikon's latest pro bodies, providing a wide-ranging and inside look at what it's like to earn a living covering breaking news in a major US city with the most expensive and highest performing DSLRs on the market.

What was your introduction to photography and photojournalism?

Dean Rutz: My father worked at the Chicago Tribune his whole life. He was an executive at the newspaper and was reading through two or three papers at the kitchen table every morning, so newspapers were something I always paid attention to. Because of that, my interest in photography was always related to photojournalism. I first got published in newspapers at 14 years old. I was shooting high school sports for the local papers. There was a huge appetite for that, so they were hiring stringers all the time at $25 for a picture of anything!

Canon EOS 1D XEF 50mm F1.4 USM ISO 2000, 1/1000 @F2.8. Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times.

I was actually a photo editor at the Seattle Times for 10 years. I was also shooting for the paper when the need arose, but in 1992 I covered the Barcelona Olympics and I became really enamored with the spectacle of sport. It was then that I committed myself almost full-time to sports photography, while still working as a photo editor. After 1998 I left the desk and went back to full-time shooting.

John Lok: I had a business undergraduate degree and was doing social work when I was younger. I only discovered photography when I was about 28. It happened when I spent a weekend up at a cousin's house in Canada. Photography was something he did as a hobby. We went to a local park and I started taking pictures with his gear, of pretty generic stuff like flowers and ducks. Later we got the pictures back from the one hour photo lab and...I can't really explain it but I just fell in love. Something about the photography process and the gear just lit a fire in me.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 35mm F1.4 AIS, ISO 1000, 1/800 @F2.
John Lok/The Seattle Times.
Nikon D3SAF-S Nikkor 60mm F2.8 Macro, ISO 200, 1/100 @F3. John Lok/The Seattle Times.

I got back home to Seattle and looked into how I could become a photographer. I looked for schools that offered programs in photojournalism and ended up quitting my job and attending Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A month before graduation I got a position as a three year resident photographer at the Seattle Times. Just a year after that I was hired on as a full time staff member. That was ten years ago.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II, EF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM ISO 250, 1/8000 @F2.8. John Lok/The Seattle Times.

As working pros, what are your top requirements for a camera?

JL: I can't have any lag in shutter response or AF performance. I need the shooting rate to be as fast as possible. I need 1080p video. I need a solidly built body that won't break if I knock it on something. And of course the body has to be part of a very extensive system of lenses and accessories. Nikon and Canon are unrivaled there.

DR: Like John, my first priority is the responsiveness of the shutter. When you press the button, it's gotta go! There was a little delay on the 1D Mark III but on the 1D X when you press the button it fires. That is a big deal in sports.

 Nikon D3S, AF-S Nikkor 600mm F4 VR, ISO 2000, 1/1600 @F4. John Lok/The Seattle Times.

Image quality is big. On the 1D X I can crop an image without a real loss in quality. That's huge in sports because I don't know anybody who can publish uncropped files all the time (laughs). Fast write speed to the cards is also important. We saw big delays in the 1D Mark III and earlier models. The 7D was a great improvement especially after the firmware update. But the 1D X, with three processors is so much faster that I shoot all raw, all the time on my sports assignments. I can underexpose a little bit and don't have to worry about weird color balance when shooting in arenas.

And two card slots let me archive JPEGs for crisis situations where I have to use my iPad or iPhone to transmit images.

Has the ability to shoot video with a DSLR changed your roles as photojournalists?

JL: Yes. Now we are being asked to come back with video clips for breaking news and even longer form stories to accompany the stills and the words. I don't have to shoot tons of video but I do it fairly frequently. 

DR: It's a little different in sports because the federations have taken control over their images. The NFL is a classic example. You can post only 45 seconds of video online. That's all you get. And that's for the first 24 hours after the game. Then you have to pull it down for like 10 hours. So its just not worth it for sports assignments.

Nikon D3S, AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G VR II + TC-14E II 1.4x teleconverter, ISO 400, 1/50 @F29. John Lok/The Seattle Times.

Click here for page 2 of our Pro DSLRs, Pro Photographers article...

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

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Comments

Total comments: 125
12
Soothsayerman
By Soothsayerman (2 months ago)

Nice piece, thanks for doing this~! Great to here their thoughts on technology and the challenges they face. Nice.

0 upvotes
K E Hoffman
By K E Hoffman (6 months ago)

Years ago I got a chance to take a class lead by Greg Gilbert and Joseph Scaylea http://www.seattlegallery.com/ both of the Seattle times way back in Film days.. ST always has great photographers..

0 upvotes
RichLI
By RichLI (6 months ago)

Maybe its just the photographers and what they shoot - but the only WOW shots are from the Canon. And I'm a Nikon shooter.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (9 months ago)

Seriously, I don't look at sports photos that much. I watch games or video summary of games, and read the articles. Photos is the last thing I care about the sports.

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (7 months ago)

and yet you are on a photography website.
I don't look at sports photography either, but I appreciate the well shot photos.

5 upvotes
Robemo
By Robemo (9 months ago)

Great article and nice pictures. But a little one-sided. It's only about sports photography. There is so much more to pro photography.
So give us more of these articles but then with another form of photography.

1 upvote
Manic Tuesday
By Manic Tuesday (9 months ago)

.
with all due respect anyone standing there with a dslr camera at his face for the duration of the game would have taken identical shots. pro means merely that they make living with it, not that its actually good. taxi drivers are also pros, arent they? yet i dont think anyone would claim that they drive better than a person who does not make a living driving a car. same thing with photography. so pls get over the defiled 'pro' abreviation.

6 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (8 months ago)

As a pro, I tend to agree with this. I work two photography jobs: school/event photography and product photography. Product photography is painstaking, long, hard work with lots of maths and modelling.

Most competitor event togs shoot exactly like I do, and to be honest, I really hate most of the results. I shoot and get paid and that's it. Anyone can do the event stuff I do if they have the same hardware, I'm quite sure. There are certain qualifications: lighting, angle, and how to use the stuff, but it just takes a bit of time to learn, that's all.

There has never ever been anything romantic about the word 'professional'.

The Oxford has this to say:

1 relating to or belonging to a profession: young professional people.
• worthy of or appropriate to a professional person; competent, skilful, or assured: his professional expertise | their music is both memorable and professional.
2 engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.

1 upvote
ewelch
By ewelch (8 months ago)

That's absolute nonsense. I've been on the sidelines of many sporting events alongside many pros, including the wire services and Sports Illustrated. And nobody gets identical results. Every photographer has their own take on things.

It's not being a pro that makes you stand out. It's the vision you have for what the photo can be. The word amateur comes from the word armor. It's a love for doing it, not for the money. Many amateurs are as good or better than many pros. I've know a lot of pros who are not very good. How do they make a living? Because there's a lot of bosses and clients who are not good judges of photography.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (7 months ago)

Well. It is the USA where "professional" evolved into definition of "quality", and when it goes about photography, certain artistism. In Russia, about 100 years ago, "professional photograper" meant that bread-and-butter guy, who just took pictures of people for money according to certain templates and was excused for bad results (Russian photography amateurs were bunch of maximalists even then, they despised "craft" in favor of the "art"), while I doubt that you can forgive poor lighting and missed focus to a guy you've just paid your bucks. "Photojournalist" and "professional photographer" meant different things till, I think, the end of WWII. It was quite normal to say "I'm bored being professional, gotta switch to newspaper". And, well... yes, all that stuff like exposure, aperture, lighting, angles is not hard to learn... but somehow people turn extraordinary dumb when you tell them "go read your camera manual, it's all there"... Damn those guys who invented "Green Auto" mode.

0 upvotes
Rick Kent
By Rick Kent (7 months ago)

By Manic Tuesday (2 months ago)
.
with all due respect anyone standing there with a dslr camera at his face for the duration of the game would have taken identical shots.
.....

you mean with all lack of respect don't you?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ferling
By Ferling (6 months ago)

1. In events, there's more than just a ball in play or a speaker at the podium. With everyone's attention fixed on the obvious, you miss things like the coaches/audience/other players reactions.

2. Even if your standing right next to another shooter, a player could run by, blocking your view to a critical shot, but the other shooter managed to hit it. There's a reason for redundancy and using numbers to increase the odds.

3. Life is about action and reaction. Consider weddings, which are the worst for timing with one shooter. Such as when the bride and groom first see each other in the processional. I take the first shot of her with a 50mm, then drop and switch to another camera with a 200mm to capture the grooms reaction in the span of 10 seconds. When I shoot a player fumbling the ball, I immediately try to get the reaction of the coach, if I can.

In one single event, there are multiple entities and opportunity to capture something different.

0 upvotes
Rbrt
By Rbrt (6 months ago)

Maybe, but a professional is paid to deliver results. There is a guarantee implicit in the quality of a reliable professional's work. If you hire a known quantity, you can be confident you will get back the result you need. Sure you can hire anybody off the street and give them a press pass and a camera, but are you 100% confident that you will get what you need to meet your deadline, no matter what the circumstances of weather, light, what have you, might be?

THAT'S why you hire a professional.

0 upvotes
Nafees A Bazmi
By Nafees A Bazmi (9 months ago)

excellent shots from excellent shooters... right gear in the right hand shows the magic... !!

2 upvotes
Pangloss
By Pangloss (9 months ago)

Very good interview! I was not so much interested in the gear-specific Q&As, but the comments they made about their work were very interesting.

1 upvote
Travelnut167
By Travelnut167 (10 months ago)

These are amazing shots. With plenty of practice and upgrading my equipment, I hope to take shots like these someday. Impressive!!! I would be even more impressed seeing shots like this taken from an I-Phone. The food, maybe...

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (8 months ago)

You could certainly get the angle with an iPhone, but the wide angle lens in combination with the slow lens (in comparison to the sensor size) prevents the low DOF you see in the food shot.

These are event photographers, not food specialists. Real food photographers are extremely specialised with a bunch of tricks up their sleeves.

Event togs are jacks of all trades.

0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (10 months ago)

Iphone, no way. But if you are in a war zone. Either your camera is fast enough and each shot is in focus and well exposed or no go. You miss the shot.
Billions of years ago I was on vaction. I had my new Nikon F4. It was a shot you just take, hoping it will turn out good, back went. I start to sell my old F2s and F3.
Auto focus and Matrix eposure. I saw the hand writting on the wall.
I use a mirroless camera and a M7 leica now, I am getting old. But for photojournalism, these cameras are it.
The photo I was taking was in side of a native america meeting structure, it was lighten by a sky light, a hole in the center to ulter in the center. My freind's family where are that center. Bright light, with pure black, they where between the light and dark. The F4 nailed it, a second latter no shot, the moment would be lost. Nikon has always been great with exposure.
No way. Good or bad photographer. These new cameras are large and have weight. But they also nail the shoot.

0 upvotes
Yiotis
By Yiotis (10 months ago)

I can take those photos anytime with an Iphone...

Who needs those bulky cameras and lenses.

0 upvotes
tomato wong
By tomato wong (9 months ago)

You don't be needing one obviously.

0 upvotes
CaseyComo
By CaseyComo (9 months ago)

Do you keep it under the bridge with you?

7 upvotes
ewelch
By ewelch (8 months ago)

Right, and give me a knife and a fork and I can do brain surgery.

4 upvotes
mailman88
By mailman88 (11 months ago)

Skill is one thing...Gear is another.
Real reason why, the pro's get easy access to sporting events. Without this...their gear and skill means nothing!

At a pro football game, I could not enter my 100-400mmIS in the stadium.
Why?? It was a pro lens and only the paid pro's on the sideline can bring this gear inside. Have you noticed the above pics....access is up-close and personal

3 upvotes
mailman88
By mailman88 (11 months ago)

I digged further and asked stadium management why not.
The stadium mgmt said....the pro's paid big bucks to access the sidelines. In return, the pro's asked mgmt to keep-out all pro gear from the fans.
They want exclusive rights to the game, and do not want to see fan pics rival their own. The want the copyrights too.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
mailman88
By mailman88 (11 months ago)

Before the ban...I took my 50D and 100-400mmIS to a Florida Marlin game. A great over-the-head catch was made in center field. It made the front page of the Miami Hearld.

I was seated closer to center field and had a better angle than the photographer. I took the photo too. You guessed it, my pic was better than the newspaper.

So there's some merit to the ban...

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
1 upvote
KStarrImages
By KStarrImages (11 months ago)

Right on ... I agree totally.. I was shooting drag racing here in Denver and the second year I was told I could not have access to the same place I once did, they were afraid of the competition.. All things are not equal !! Gear is one thing, Skill another but this type of photography requires access..

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Apr 16, 2013)

This does give some good insight as to "why" such an expensive camera... after image quality, comes speed and workflow.

But the article does focus on sports photography.

Is this the only field where these cameras are still cost-justified in this day and age? Has the difference between the summit of the pyramid and other cameras been compressed so much that this is the only type of photography left to justify the prices of this equipment?

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Franklin J Ellias
By Franklin J Ellias (Apr 13, 2013)

Great shots, by excellent photographers. It takes education and an artists eye to achieve this quality of work. Like in everything else "it's not the arrow, it's the Indian"!

1 upvote
digitalshooter
By digitalshooter (Mar 27, 2013)

Great work, great cameras!

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Mar 19, 2013)

"The D4 is extremely light"

:)
I guess everything is relative.

5 upvotes
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (Mar 15, 2013)

Bonus: these guys get paid by their employers to shoot with employer supplied gear AND, get told where to go shoot.

As opposed to all the free lancers out there, who pay for their own gear and travel expenses, hope to make money on the work they can sell, and have to figure which venue to chance going to where they might get something somebody wants to buy.

Two different worlds of photography.

9 upvotes
jkspepper
By jkspepper (5 months ago)

I guess there has to be clarification between a:

1. professional photographer (if that term even exists)
2. photojournalist (we know what this is)
3. photographer (I would say that is your mom'n'pop wedding photography shops)
4. freelance photographer (as above)
5. and "I like taking photos" i.e. us - we're not photographer

Professionals, technically, are people who work in a profession i.e. lawyers, doctors, accountants etc. should a 'professional photographer' simply be called a 'photographer'?

0 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (Mar 15, 2013)

Maybe it's just me being thick,,, but why is the 1D-X compared twice to the 1D III ,,, and even the 7D,,, what about the 1D-IV?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Apr 16, 2013)

Maybe the 5d3 was perceived as a better value or performer than the 1d4 and replaced it in market share with the pros?

0 upvotes
dbmdb
By dbmdb (Apr 18, 2013)

Better performer? Are you talking from sports experience? Probably not!

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (6 months ago)

I think the comparisons were made to equiment they owned/shot either currently or previously.

0 upvotes
mark power
By mark power (Mar 15, 2013)

This is a little off-topic but it does relate to the workflow demanded by the daily media - years ago I wanted to do a show of work by a photojournalist friend whose work I admired in the newspaper. He said it was impossible; most of what he shot every day was in the newspaper's archives and except for the few images selected by his editors for publication he had never seen 90% of what he had photographed (after the initial exposures of course) and he was too busy to take the time out for a look backwards. This was in the days of film. Imagine what it's like now.

1 upvote
Mister J
By Mister J (Apr 1, 2013)

An ex-pro friend of mine has many (maaaany) images of top media stars, but copyright issues prevent publication or use.

The company he worked for no longer exists, but the legal position is so thorny that it's safer just to leave the transparencies in storage.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
1 upvote
jtan163
By jtan163 (6 months ago)

It may actually be easier in some respects now due to better meta data - and the ability for the photographer to quickly/easily duplicate the images for their own archives.

0 upvotes
nigpd
By nigpd (Mar 14, 2013)

A couple of technical questions on Dean Rutz's view on downloading images and ethernet connnectivity
1. He says he uses Photo Mechanic to ingest the images and a plugin to go straight to Photoshop. What do you think that plugin could be?
2. Regarding ethernet connectivity, he says big problems with Ethernet connectivity from the camera is that if you set your IP address for the camera you take your device out of the IP for Internet access. What does he mean by this?

0 upvotes
amanita
By amanita (Mar 17, 2013)

I also wondered about the IP address problem. Don't you connect it to some battery or USB powered mobile router and create a private network consisting of a camera, a computer and a phone? 3G/4G linking is done by tethering your phone or separate SIM for the router.

0 upvotes
Deliverator
By Deliverator (8 months ago)

You are right, amanita. I don't think he has thought of your solution of using a portable router. Hopefully he has read your post. ;-)

0 upvotes
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (7 months ago)

No plugin. You just assign external editor in PM settings and push E on your keyboard when you need to edit single image. If you need to edit many images, just drag and drop from PM to PS (raws as well). Tag images you want to edit, select tagged (F3), select all (Ctrl+A), drag and drop. By the way, if you "lock" images in camera, they come tagged in PM.
Easy enough, right? RTFM!

0 upvotes
Lawrence33
By Lawrence33 (Mar 14, 2013)

A "Really Good Editor", doesn't pick a picture because they like it.
They pick a good picture because they need it.
A good Pro has a mind, eye, connect to a subject and a camera in hand.
Gear, yes but hard work and luck come in play fast.
A real Pro once said to me " I must take time to think, for doing gets in the way "

2 upvotes
jimkahnw
By jimkahnw (Mar 13, 2013)

Great. Today's top of the line pro cameras can crank out thousands of tack-sharp, perfectly exposed images. But, what's the percentage of keepers?

When I started as a stringer for AP in Boston, I brought in 4 rolls from the assignment. The editor flipped: "I don't want to look through 120 images to pick one," he screamed. "If you can't get it on one roll, I don't want to see it." I don't think that has changed with digital, though it's easier to see the images on a monitor than squinting at negatives on a light box.

Over-shooting doesn't guarantee the font page shot. Sports and news photography requires pre-visualizing and anticipating the moment. How else did Catrier-Bresson get those great images with a manual film advance Leica? Though I guess that could be changing with high frame rate, high resolution video capture--if you have time to go through all those pictures.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (Mar 13, 2013)

Modern editors have adapted to the times. They may not want to see a complete dump of every image, but they want choices and they've learned how to scan through images quickly. There was an article on SI's review station for Superbowl images a few years back. You feed too much junk to an editor and you're fired. If you don't feed the editor the type of choice shots that others regularly get, you're fired. It takes both skill and gear to compete.

HCB was not a news photographer - he got to choose what "decisive moment" he published. If he missed it, then no one would ever know or care Besides anyone who is noted for saying "Your first 10,000 images are your worst" does not support your argument.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (Mar 15, 2013)

Cartier-Bresson never did his own developing. What we see of his work was done by others. He said that he just forgot about the images he took as soon as he took them.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (6 months ago)

you can anticipate a situation, but as it happens yu can't know exactly what the actors are going to do.

A fast sequence lets you choose the most appealing shot.
Granted too much choice might a problem in some fields, but for a lot of people it's great.

0 upvotes
Abhijith Kannankavil
By Abhijith Kannankavil (Mar 13, 2013)

thanks for this article dpr and those two photographers.

4 upvotes
richard cohen
By richard cohen (Mar 13, 2013)

Fun read, I learned a couple of things. Not about the cameras, which are about a dead heat, but about how they think about their equipment.

2 upvotes
aarif
By aarif (Mar 13, 2013)

People are forgetting one crucial point here which is the percentage of keepers increases when using better bodies and lenses, so that does not mean they where not able to get these shots in the past or even with lesser bodies today

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

I think the point here is statistics. With faster gear and more accurate focus you get a shot that is published more frequent. And in case your published rate sinks below a certain mark, you either do not make enough money as a freelance to pay your bills, or you will be let go as staff photographer. I am estimating the cost to a magazine for a staff photographer in metropolitan US to be in excess of 15,000 USD / month. ( count in all supporting costs, such as desk space, insurance, related editor, etc ... ) So if a 15,000 USD outfit which can produce 20 % more publishable pictures you have a return of investment in just 7 months.

1 upvote
aarif
By aarif (Mar 13, 2013)

isn't that what I said :)

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

Entertaining and informative with wonderful pictures. Simply a great read. Congrats to dpreview and Dean & John. I enjoy very much dpreview's trend to offer more diverse information on photography and come back more often. Thank you! Keep it coming :-)

6 upvotes
Valterj
By Valterj (Mar 13, 2013)

Looking to these photos... I'm not impressed!

Latest gear, lots of money invested... and in a few years new bodys and lenses to buy...

Photojournalists have some privileges that other photographers don't have!

1 upvote
Guimasai
By Guimasai (Mar 13, 2013)

Please. It's not about privilege. These guys weren't born with silver cameras in their mounts. It's about doing the job every day and getting the professional opportunities that come from doing the job every day.

12 upvotes
Realeyes
By Realeyes (Mar 13, 2013)

Also bear in mind if you are a pro you either get gear from your employer or pay for it as a tax-deductible expense if you are freelance. Just like any other professional who buys equipment for their trade.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

@Valterj
They do have privileges, because they earned them by very hard work. These jobs are pretty much as hard and as competitive as it gets. Your remark sounds like because they have privileges their life is easy. Such comment is simply ignorant and disrespectful. You said you are not impressed. Please, impress me: Post a link of your body of work :-)

6 upvotes
Grevture
By Grevture (Mar 13, 2013)

Not impressed?

Feel free to suggest how they should have done better :)

6 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Mar 13, 2013)

And Formula 1 drivers have "privileges" other drivers don't have. So what? It's part of the job. Tools and all that. I mean, a captain on a cruise liner drives a ship with "lots of money invested", and you do not. Do not envy the jobs of others.

1 upvote
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (Mar 13, 2013)

Not just suggest how to do better, but you need to actually deliver better. Reliably under deadline pressure and real world conditions.

2 upvotes
hydrospanner
By hydrospanner (Mar 14, 2013)

In all fairness to the OP, these challenges to "show you can do better" are really nonsensical, and trying to tie together two issues that are totally unrelated, namely that of being impressed (a subjective emotion) with another's photos (a function of comparison to other photos that have been seen, regardless of the photographer), and personal skill level with respect to taking a photo and processing it.

There are plenty of 2nd string NFL players (and even starters) whose level of play does not impress me...but to say I have no business being unimpressed because I'm not their athletic equal is just nonsense...but for some reason, in photography, you see the same comparison taken totally seriously.

0 upvotes
luigibozi
By luigibozi (Mar 25, 2013)

hi, guys.
no offense, but in some cases valterj is right when talks about privileges.
here are some examples taken from toronto media.
1. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/15/st_patricks_day_parade_subway_improvements_to_impact_downtown_travel.html
2. http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/polopoly_fs/1.1199367!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_960/image.jpg

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (6 months ago)

If the privilege referred to is access - I think most of he time that "privilege" is more an investment o time aand money.
Do a journalism course, register with your national media organisation, and pay any fees and you're away.
Me? I'l stick to cats and flowers - the pro world sounds like hard work.

0 upvotes
Mike Walters
By Mike Walters (Mar 13, 2013)

Reading some of the recent articles on here about pro photographers using iPhones I thought they would all be ditching their pro Nikons and Canons for smart phones...come on Dean and John...get with the latest trends in photography, go mobile...go Instagram.

:-)

7 upvotes
Jake
By Jake (Mar 13, 2013)

Great read. Certainly debunks the claims you often read that the pros get the shot on the first click and don't depend on frame rate to get "the shot".

1 upvote
Ray Soares
By Ray Soares (Mar 13, 2013)

Great article and great pics! Congrats to DPR, Dean and John!

0 upvotes
Erik00
By Erik00 (Mar 13, 2013)

Great advertisement for CanNikons prof. sports cameras.

I must admire the sport photographers who 5-10-15 years ago were able to make similar excellent action photos. So after all it might still be the person behind the camera that is most important.

Just my opinion.

1 upvote
John_A_G
By John_A_G (Mar 13, 2013)

There have always been iconic images made by great photographers. But it isn't even close when you compare peak action shots of today day-in-day-out vs 10 years ago. Not to mention the image quality differences - the detail captured now for these sports images blows away what people were getting in the past. Just ask anyone who actually uses this equipment whether or not their body of work is better or the same now vs. 10 years ago.

0 upvotes
Grevture
By Grevture (Mar 13, 2013)

The images captured 10-15 years ago were, at times, as good as todays. But there were a lot fewer of them.

Skill is essential for sure, but no matter how skilled you are, if you are competing with other similarly skilled photographers, your gear really start to matter.

2 upvotes
Marvol
By Marvol (Mar 13, 2013)

Great insights. Yes, the majority of their shots would be impossible to get with anything but top-level gear. The AF needs to be fast and accurate, the fps needs to be high, and you need the widest possible aperture. And given a lot of stuff happens outdoors in any type of weather, it needs to be weather proof too.

E.g. even though I'm a Sony 'fanboy', there's no way the current Sony stuff manages that. Yes, they have some optically equivalent high-quality lenses (16-35mm, 50mm, 70-200mm 2.8) but the A99 doesn't have the autofocus to match or the high-ISO performance and none of the lenses are weather-sealed.

Not sure Sony really wants to make the effort to get their gear up to speed, it's a big effort for probably not so much return.

1 upvote
slick83
By slick83 (Mar 13, 2013)

Thank you very much DPR. This is the best feature to date I have ever read on DPR Keep up the good work. Thanks again.

4 upvotes
Realeyes
By Realeyes (Mar 13, 2013)

There are some funny, provocative, a few sensible and a few dumb comments here. The bottom line for a pro photographer and his/her equipment is: does it get the job done? Anything less than that and you are not a pro - because you won't get paid for your images.

I have some sympathy with those who believe they can achieve pro results with consumer gear. This may well be true in benign conditions, with control of the environment - food, studio, portraiture, still life, for example. But in challenging, fast action environments, if i were a pro, I would not want to take the risk. See John Lok's picture of the guy jumping off the burning boat - that's all about the fast responses of the photographer and his camera, working in perfect harmony. And he has to be able to do that time and time again. Just thinking about the shutter lag you get on most consumer cameras, never mind the AF speed, would make this near impossible.

Just my 2 cents.

1 upvote
Grevture
By Grevture (Mar 13, 2013)

Also, there is a huge, huge gap between "can get images" (as many write) and "will get images" (which is what matters to a pro).

Pro gear is a lot about enabling photographers to get solid useable images from every assignment, every day, at every hour of the day (or night), even when tired, hungry and under severe stress. Pro gear is a lot about making the gear as small a nuisance as possible, or in other words: to increase the odds for getting the money shot every time.

2 upvotes
delastro
By delastro (Mar 13, 2013)

The message is that you are a sport photographer if you have a lot of money and buy the latest equipment. This is right but it is only one part in a collection of parallel worlds.

I made sport photography with a canon 100-400 and an EOS 40D and I think you will not see the difference.

If you want to earn money today with sport photography it may be necessary to have the newest bodies and the right exif text in the shots.

If you make sport-stockphotography . I think - it is enough to use a camera like the Pana FZ200 and the worklflow after the shot.

And if you leave the sport field and the show room you need other cameras for landscape, free animals or streetphotography.

And for food photography in a hotel (not in a show room) it is often better to use a small digicam - this is my experience.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Mar 13, 2013)

Pretty dumb comment, did you even read the article?

Editors aren't looking at what type of camera, just the images, if these guys could get what they wanted without spending all the extra cash on a SLOWER camera they would.

Sports photography is an arms race, if your gear slows you down and you miss the shot someone else will get your paycheck.

7 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Mar 13, 2013)

Hugo808 is absolutely right, "extreme" or fast sports like photo's here are not possible with consumer gear, but this kind of photography is also one of many photographic area's, most however CAN be done with consumer gear.

0 upvotes
John_A_G
By John_A_G (Mar 13, 2013)

I'm sure you made sports photos with your 100-400. You didn't make sports photos of a sport like football that compare with the 400mm 2.8 photos. Sorry, you didn't. You certainly never covered Friday night high school football under the lights with that gear - and while NFL is glamor, local sports coverage really drives most newspapers. Sure, you can shoot sports with the gear your describe - but your results will be easily distinguishable from the results of a 1-series and 2.8 pro grade glass.

1 upvote
Joel Pimenta
By Joel Pimenta (Mar 13, 2013)

Once, I tired to photograph night surf, with a combo like yours: 40D + 100-400L. Right at my left side was a guy with a 7D + 70-200:2.8L IS II. Every photo was brighter, faster, sharper and better focused than mine.
While he shots at ISO 6400, I stopped at 1600 (4 times slower), 2.8 lens is different of 4.5-5.6 (2.3 to 4 times slower, too). I had longer lens, but he has more pixels (1.8 times), so a crop wasn't a problem. And 7D has a dedicated AF processor.
This is when we compare two amateurs.
Do you still want to compare yourself to a well equipped professional with a 1DX and a 400:2.8?

3 upvotes
delastro
By delastro (Mar 13, 2013)

Don´t worry, be happy! This is a place for discussion and not for fighting against enemies. We have the freedom to think and to write what we know.

@Joel Pimenta
Naturally is a 1DX with a 400:2.8 better for sport compared with my 100-400 and a D40. Especially in low light. But in daylight and sunlight, like most of the photos in the article, you can make the same photos sharp with my combination. But you can make more with the new combinations. That is right.

@Hugo808
What is "dumb"? did you read the whole comment? If we talk about "arms race" in sport photography then you need always the newest equipment. Do you need the newest equipment for show rooms? Do you need the newest equipment for food photography? For streetphotography? Sorry?! Be friendly - it is better for a good discussion.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Mar 13, 2013)

@ delastro...

I think you missed the point of the article completely.

Sure, you can take any sort of photo with any sort of camera, but shooting fast sports action shots is a highly competitive specialty that requires a lot of speed and accuracy.

These people don't use high end pro cameras to impress anyone. They use them because they are the best tools for that job. And this is how they earn a living.

This is why you don't see very many Panasonic superzoom cameras on NFL sidelines, but you will see a lot of FZ200s up in the stands.

0 upvotes
Serban Alexandru
By Serban Alexandru (Apr 8, 2013)

How about forgetting all the "dumb", "provocative" and the like in our comments? The purpose of comments is different, I think...

0 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (Mar 13, 2013)

Tough way to make a living... and expensive, if you have to supply your own equipment. And yes, you have to have the right stuff. That f/2.8 200, 300, or 400mm telephoto is going to cost you... but it means you'll be able to shoot sports at ISO 400 (or less) and get great image quality.

Also, physically tough. They have to carry a LOT of gear around. Backup cameras, lenses, cards, batteries, everything. And the effects of the stress -- even if you love the work, you're going to burn a lot of adrenalin.

Good luck and best wishes to those guys... but for me, glad I'm retired, and glad I'm an amateur!

1 upvote
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Mar 13, 2013)

Never mind the cost, it's the stress I couldn't stand!

And having to get your images edited and online at the venue and before everyone else must be heart stopping. I'll stick to landscapes!

Hope these guys are well paid.

1 upvote
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Mar 13, 2013)

@ jon404...

You are absolutely right about that. Pros can be pretty hard on their gear, and most don't tend to pamper their cameras and lenses like we amateurs do.

I remember seeing professional photographers at NBA sidelines switching lenses at lightning speed, sometimes dropping a lens on the wooden floor in their haste. They need equipment that is durable enough to take this sort of abuse.

Plus.... 10,000 shutter clicks may last an amateur a lifetime, but it might be around what a pro might use in a month. So they need gear that can stand a lot of use.

0 upvotes
Falconest174
By Falconest174 (Apr 11, 2013)

10,000 frames in a lifetime? Really? I have shot over 40K in less than 4 years, 15k in the last 10 months. As an amateur doing occasional Weddings. Mostly nature and local sports photography. Using a Nikon D3k for over 2 years and now using a D7k. I did buy the D7k specifically for the faster burst rate and greater flexibility in set-up for my shooting style. While Pro equipment may be more durable, I am not sure that is actually that much better on a day-to-day basis. As a person with small hands, most of the pro gear is simply too bulky for me to use. I think that most non-pros using full-frame gear are doing it for the 'prestige' of saying that they are using the same stuff that the guys at SI, or the NYT are using. I have gotten better shots than some local pros at the Minor league games in our stadium, but unless you are 'in' with the team or local media, forget publication, except for a local TV station that uses them, unpaid of course, but it is exposure and publicity .

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
1 upvote
aarif
By aarif (Mar 13, 2013)

Thank you

Just want to say I would really love a smaller body with full pro features as in AF fps ISO , I think there will be a market for such a camera, the AF systems that are shared in the smaller bodies even if they look exactly the same are not as fast but I'm sure they can work around that too

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Mar 13, 2013)

Thanks, i enjoyed this article very much - and even more so in Print view: one long page, and on a white background at that! It didn't look like DPR any more, but it was soothing indeed.

I liked the photography- and job-related questions much more than the camera-related questions. I wouldn't have needed the inner pluralism of putting Canon and Nikon into one story.

It was nice that you brought short bios plus pictures of the two photographers interviewed at the end. I think those bios and portraits would be even better at the beginning of the article, so that we can imagine a face together with the name tag.

And as i am just a hobbyist, i am not ashamed to confess: I'd like to read the interviewees' year of birth in the bios.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

Print View? Soothing black on white? Please be so kind and tell me how to do!

0 upvotes
prairiewinters
By prairiewinters (Mar 13, 2013)

not sure what you are using in the way of a computer but here is how I do it on a MacBook Pro, maybe it is similar. I hit print, uncheck the box that says print background, then instead of printing the entire article, I save as pdf to my desktop. I can read it as a normal looking black ink on white page setup.

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Mar 15, 2013)

@prairiewinters

A quicker way on the Mac is just to hit the "Reader" blue button at the end of the URL.

If you want to read it offline, just add it to your reading list (the reading glasses icon on bookmarks bar).

0 upvotes
Daniel Gasienica
By Daniel Gasienica (Apr 19, 2013)

You can get the print version by appending `/print` to the URL as follows: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/4220647313/pro-dslrs-pro-photographers/print

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (Mar 13, 2013)

Most of the pictures shown in this article do not really support their claim that you can make 'professional' pictures with low end gear.

For all those action sports pictures that are shown you'll need a fast and large telelens (400mm - 600mm) and a camera that has fast AF that can follow the subject while they move to take those pictures as they are in the article. You'll never be able to do that with your Canon 40D or Nikon D3100 due to the fact that either AF speed will be too slow to get these tag sharp images or your lenses fall short.

So they are only partially right if you claim you can take professional pictures with amateur gear. For most of those subject that do not move or move really slowely they may be right, but for most part your gear does matter and thats the reason why 'pro' photographers prefer higher end camera's that have the capabilities they need to make the shot they need. Which is just not possible with lower end gear.

Comment edited 6 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (Mar 13, 2013)

Any chance we can finally see a full review of our cams here?

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Mar 13, 2013)

While most of us here on DPR perhaps don't have the same requirements as Sports pros and PJs, there are lots of great soundbites that probably ring true with our own experience.

For me, the Canon feeling like an extension of the hand was the subject of my very first post here on DPR in 2007. Where after months of research in choosing a Nikon D200, I actually bought the Canon 20D after holding and shooting with it.

Another is 'workflow is everything' which brings to mind the recent heated debates about Fuji's X-Trans issues with the popular workflow products.

Perhaps the real value in this excellent article is to help remind us that people have different requirements and preferences, and that criticism of a camera is as much an invitation for constructive discussion as it is for the loyal wolf-packs to gather looking for blood.

3 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Mar 13, 2013)

Exactly the reason I went Nikon. Neither is better in an absolute sense; it's just that my right thumb can't make it to the rear control wheel on the Canons without shifting my hand, where the equivalent Nikon control is where I can use it easily. (So are Pentax and Minol... I mean Sony. Yeah, that's right, Sony. I *was* a Minolta shooter until they obsoleted all of my flashes with the Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha line.)

The point is that these are tools, and are pretty much on par with one another (give or take a couple of months' advantage here and there). Once you decide what class of tool you need, it's all down to ergonomics. My dad liked Pax handsaws; I prefer Wenzloff & Sons. They fit my hand better. Neither is a better saw.

2 upvotes
mbcrutcher
By mbcrutcher (Mar 13, 2013)

Fascinating article about the real life of sports photographers, with the comparison between the cameras almost a sidelight. It's interesting that the photographers take top notch image quality as a given, although one expresses a preference for the Canon's image quality. In terms of "what do we need better," it falls in the category of photo transmission and internet access. A similar trend is apparent in connectivity of mobile phones cameras and some "plain" camera models. I think the great innovation in the next 10 years will be how we edit, transmit and publish our photos, not in the tools we use to take them.

3 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

@mbcrutcher
Agreed. And I hope this workflow integration will make it to Prosumer cameras. One reason why I am now flirting with buying a NEX-6 is its promise of integration with Android tablets. Workflow integration seems so powerful to me that I am considering to change my camera system. The first time after 10 years.

1 upvote
jackpro
By jackpro (Mar 13, 2013)

nice especially connectivity iptc tweaking branding all in camera i hope the cam makers are paying attention

1 upvote
jibee
By jibee (Mar 13, 2013)

"Workflow is everything..." - truth.

1 upvote
Paul B Jones
By Paul B Jones (Mar 13, 2013)

Great article. I would love to see a similar one about professional nature photographers.

9 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Mar 13, 2013)

They would be most likely to be lugging D4 or 1DX with 400mm f:2.8 with them also...

Landscape and flower/insect guys would be different.

0 upvotes
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Mar 13, 2013)

A great article with lots of fascinating insights. The interviewer did a good job preparing his/her questions. I would like to see more articles like this.

I find it interesting that, when these guys are talking about their fancy new cameras, neither of them mentions image quality much. Both men are generally much more concerned about focusing speed, ergonomics and workflow. Something for all of us to remember as we argue about which sensor produces slightly less noise at ISO 3200.

A note for Dpreview: Please stop using exclamation marks in your articles. I saw four in this piece. It is unprofessional and looks childish. No serious publication allows exclamation marks to creep into their copy. I realise that the two men were probably interviewed by email, but you do have the power to edit the punctuation in their comments.

10 upvotes
migus
By migus (Mar 13, 2013)

What is unprofessional about the moderate use exclamation marks? While i would not use them normally in research papers, they remain useful punctuation marks.

3 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

Every tool to make text more lively shall be welcomed and used. Including exclamation marks. And I share migus' curiosity about why exclamation marks are unprofessional? How about question marks? Full-stops? ... Remove all punctuation and text becomes very hard to read.

1 upvote
kevmac
By kevmac (Mar 14, 2013)

Exclamation points can make the author appear unprofessional or lazy. Often, excitement can be conveyed with better wording. For the most part, exclamation points are best reserved for comic books and cheesy advertisements. Be that as it may, I enjoyed the article.

3 upvotes
brentbrent
By brentbrent (Mar 13, 2013)

Fun article to read, and an intriguing insight into the world of the pro photographers responsible for the great images we are so accustomed to seeing. Thanks to Dean, John, and DPR for this!

3 upvotes
Hoogineer
By Hoogineer (Mar 13, 2013)

Terrific article! Even as an amateur, I really enjoyed it. Big thanks to JL and DK for graciously offering some of their time.

1 upvote
dodgyexposure
By dodgyexposure (Mar 13, 2013)

very enjoyable article, thanks.

0 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Mar 13, 2013)

So we get an article about the 1D X and d4 but still no full review of either camera?? When are they coming?

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 13, 2013)

So you get information about the cameras you care about and your response is complaint ? Interesting!

2 upvotes
Total comments: 125
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