There is no such thing as a pro camera

Started Sep 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jim Keye
Senior MemberPosts: 1,552
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wrong answer but right idea
In reply to Shotcents, Sep 26, 2012

From just a technical perspective, nikon does make that distinction, claiming that to be a member of NPS you have to have at least two professional bodies. While I think their list is a little arbitrary, you get the point.

Shotcents wrote:

Every time a new high-end DX or FX body comes out there are folks wondering if it's a pro camera!

A professional photographer is usually an accomplished and experienced shooter who uses their cameras to make money. But some pro's don't. Some make no money and create free art. And some document events for their own reasons.

Well here's the thing: Most amateurs are wondering that, and only a few pros are wondering that. As you described, usually-accomplished with the occasional clueless defines the working crowd. People who take it seriously don't wonder when they see a camera body. They know exactly what it is. They know if they need more or less pixels. They know if they need the top-end AF module or if one down will suit them for how they use their body, etc. Now, making the transition between what is advertised and what actually happens is something that stumps a lot of people, even in the pro crowd.

It is the non-working crowd that often doesn't understand this. They're obsessed with tech and specs but often don't have enough real-world shooting experience or skill to understand it from a practical standpoint or evaluate it successfully. They are far more inclined to believe the camera is the deciding factor in how the picture turns out. You're going to hear a lot of that at a place like this, but I don't think that most working professionals fit into that category. There is the classic "is the D- or D-- good enough [for]..." There are a gazillion of those posts. And they all say the same thing: I think I'd like to do that kind of photography, I don't actually try enough with my current gear, and I don't understand enough about photography to evaluate what the needs for XYZ style of shooting actually is.

Cameras are tools, just like paint brushes. Buying an expensive brush doesn't make you Picaso. >

This is 100% true, but so is the opposite: a good enough shooter can be limited by their equipment in some situations.

There are a lot of situations where the top-end gear is overkill. Even for many working professionals. But the reason they use it is because they don't go out and buy 5 bodies just so they're "matched" for the occasion. They buy the body that will suit the toughest, most demanding situation they're likely to face, and that body then gets used for everything else.

And then their second or third body will share as many features as possible to make transitioning between them easier, both physically and mentally. This means sharing cards and batteries if possible, and it means sharing location controls and AF systems if possible. (If they have a significant-enough portion of work that requires something very different, then obviously this gets deviated from.)

But just about any nikon will take a darn nice candid. People see a candid from a low- or mid-range body that was done on all-auto and no user control and then compare it to one on a high-end body where the user was in control of the camera and they then equate the difference to being the camera, when in fact it wasn't at all. But you don't see D5100s at the sidelines of the Olympics or NFL games either.

The "pro" distinction is poorly used. Quality is quality. The term "pro" is often used as short-hand to differentiate that quality--"pro" glass or a "pro" body. But amateurs make the mistake of equating physical quality to shooting skill, and since the term "pro" gets used as shorthand for both--however correctly or incorrectly--the confusion is amplified.

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