Just Curiosity: Why DO non-pros try to advise working photographers?

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Just Curiosity: Why DO non-pros try to advise working photographers?
2 months ago

I have in mind several reasons, but I'm curious for feedback from people (hopefully/preferably those who are earning an income from their photos that is more than just a few "Craigslist Weddings" now and then).

Yes, you can tell by the title of my OP that Kirk Tuck's recent thread about pros using mirrorless systems has led to this OP. It seems that rather than allow pros to answer the question, a few people took it upon themselves to pontificate (word of the week) about why pros should be using FF DSLRs, ostensibly if they were "real" pros.

Now, any pro understands that a lot more than DXO scores goes into selecting gear. As much as personal preference comes into play, it's also a business decision. What is going to offer the best return on investment specifically within the genre or niche in which a given pro does the bulk of his business. Of course, by that I mean, where the most revenue comes from

It may seem "pro minded" to talk about how a FF system is going to deliver the best possible image quality, so should always be used "just in case", but that would presume that many pros who don't use FF and/or DSLRs are wrong in their decision. Clearly, this isn't the case: not only are there great numbers of pros using APS-C, (and even a few using smaller formats) but there are relatively few pros using MF systems full time. My experience is that the greater percentage of pros who do shoot MF for assignments rent the gear, because the frequency with which they need it doesn't justify the expense.

What seems overlooked or unknown to many "pro advisors" is why a pro might be using FF to begin with. In some cases, the decision might not be his. If I were to get a job at the paper here in town, they would hand me a Nikon FF kit and tell me not to break it.

Clients, too, can be the deciding factor. Not necessarily because they really know what they are talking about, but because in their minds they think that real pros should show up at a job with 80 lbs of Canon FF gear and fast lenses, even if they are paying for web only licensing. Even professional art directors can get caught up in the idea that despite the website only needing 2 or 3 MB files for the 600X400 images to be displayed, they just have to start with 20MB files from a FF camera.

When it comes to mirrorless systems, and especially m4/3, video is a strong point that most have to offer. Yes, I know people get all excited about RAW hacking a Canon 5D3, and buying $10K worth of accessories to make the camera "cinema ready". The interesting thing is, you can know pick up a Panasonic GH4 for a fraction of the price of a 5D3, have a lot of features built in that require hacks or extra gear on a DSLR, and produce even better quality video.

Yes, a pro may very well want to stick with the Canon 5d3 if his bread and butter is wedding stills photography. On the other hand, if a pro wants to be progressive in offering the best range of the latest products, video is a must have tool in the box. For those who are familiar with video, it must be said that m4/3, and Panasonic especially, is currently leading the race when it comes to offering products that make producing top quality video efficient and economical.

Well, back to the point: Why DO non-pros attempt to preach to pros what gear is best and how to run their businesses? Here is a good example of a pro advising a pro. Notice that he is detailing how the conversion to m4/3 makes the best business sense for this particular photographer and his business.

World class studio moves from DSLR to m4/3

Bill Crocket sums up what matters most to pros when he says "This studio is more because we're using mirrorless."

Does this mean every pro should switch? No, and no pro worth listening to would ever say that there is a "one size fits all" solution to pro equipment needs. So, if pros don't make that claim, why do non-pros insist on it?

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If, in my lifetime, I will have produced just one image that makes a real difference in the life of another, I will have achieved my highest goal as a photographer.

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