Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?

Started Jan 26, 2008 | Discussions
nettheim
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Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
Jan 26, 2008

Hi I was just wondering what classifys as camera as "Consumer" vs "Pro" (ie Nikon D40 vs D300). Is there any difference in image quality between the 2? How much better is the build? I always assumes that a "consumer" would basiclly be a dumbed down version of a higher level body?

So basiclly what is the differece? (I ask because I am tossing up between a "consumer" (350D) and a "proish" (20D)

Thanks
Alex

Arrowman
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Re: Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
In reply to nettheim, Jan 26, 2008

nettheim wrote:

Hi I was just wondering what classifys as camera as "Consumer" vs
"Pro" (ie Nikon D40 vs D300).

It's just a broad classification, used more by reviewers, magazines and websites more than the camera companies themselves. Well, that's not entirely true the camera companies definitely target different parts of their range at different markets. But -

Is there any difference in image
quality between the 2?

No. At least

  • just because one camera is in the "consumer" range and the other is in the "pro" range, doesn't mean the latter has inherently better IQ. IQ is a function of features, not what marketing audience the camera is aimed at.

  • the limitations on image quality will always be due to the photographer first, and equipment second. Just buying a "pro" camera will not give you better pictures.

  • the camera's features may give you a better chance of getting a good picture in a given situation (e.g. better high ISO performance, better/faster autofocus) but again that's a function of features, not the "classification" of the camera.

How much better is the build?

I suppose in general you would say that "pro" cameras are built more strongly, because pros often treat their cameras a bit less gently than the rest of us (because they have to, not because they are sloppy) and they're prepared to pay for tough bodies.

But a good "consumer" camera should be built well enough to survive normal use and care.

How much are you prepared to pay for a super-tough body that will survive conditions you are never likely to subject it to?

I always assumes
that a "consumer" would basiclly be a dumbed down version of a higher
level body?

In some ways, yes. For example, the Nikon D80 was widely considered to be a D200 with slightly fewer features and a lighter body.

They'll put fewer features in a "consumer" camera to keep the price down. They can (have to) pack the "pro" cameras with features and it's almost price no object.

Also, the realities of marketing are that there is no nice clean relationship between features, cost to build, and retail price. You can pretty much guarantee that Nikon or Canon don't carefully price each individual model based on its cost of manufacture.

In the consumer market they have to pack in just enough features to match the competition, and keep the price at what the market will bear. In the pro market, they have to pack in state of the art features and the price sensitivity of the buyer is much less. A pro doesn't care (much) whether the cost of the camera is $5,000 or $5,750. A consumer cares very much whether the cost is $990 or $1100.

That doesn't mean they set out to lose money on the consumer range and gouge the pros - it just means they measure their overall profit & loss across the whole range, with no individual model losing money.

So basiclly what is the differece? (I ask because I am tossing up
between a "consumer" (350D) and a "proish" (20D)

What's the difference in features between those cameras, what do those features mean to you and are you prepared to pay for the extra features of the 20D?

Forget about whether it's "pro" or "consumer". Pick the camera whose features meet your needs, within your budget.

On balance, I'd stick with the consumer range and
(a) spend your money on lenses and

(b) have a camera that is (presumably) smaller, lighter and easier to carry and use on a casual basis. Otherwise you might find yourself leaving it at home. A camera tat is with you and used, takes much better pictures than a camera that's "too much trouble".

(I handled a Nikon D3 recently; awesome experience but I wouldn't have one if you gave it to me. Too heavy and cumbersome for everyday use.)

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thefly
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In reply to nettheim, Jan 26, 2008

If you make money using the camera, then it is a pro camera. Camera's are just sold with more features for people who are more demanding and have money to spend.

These more features enable them to get the shots more easily and make the sale.

Just my two cents.
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Eclipse Optics
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Nomenclature Classifications
In reply to nettheim, Jan 26, 2008

Consumer Camera - Refers to all the compact & subcompact non-dSLR point & shoot cameras.
Prosumer Camera - Refers to all the dSLR-like point & shoot cameras.

Entry-Level dSLR - Refers to the cheapest dSLR cameras with their cheap kit lenses. Some of the lenses aren't too bad, but none of them really compare to their "pro" level counterparts.
Semi-Pro dSLR - Refers to all the non-FullFrame cameras including the D300.

Pro-dSLR - Refers to the flagship 35mm sensor cameras out there. D3, 1Dseries, etc. As well as those cameras whose frame-rate speed was useful for professional media use such as the Nikon DH series cameras.

Medium-Format Digital-Back Cameras - Refer to the larger than Full-Frame cameras like the Hasselblads and such. Many professional wedding photographers believe that unless you are using a camera of this caliber that you are not a pro & you are doing a disservice to your clients. These cameras & their digital backs run around $40,000. Personally, I think these people are just bragging. But hey everyone here knows that anyone with a Semi-Pro dSLR and above is an artist at bragging.

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Nikonparrothead
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Re: Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
In reply to nettheim, Jan 26, 2008

nettheim wrote:

Hi I was just wondering what classifys as camera as "Consumer" vs
"Pro" (ie Nikon D40 vs D300). Is there any difference in image
quality between the 2? How much better is the build? I always assumes
that a "consumer" would basiclly be a dumbed down version of a higher
level body?
So basiclly what is the differece? (I ask because I am tossing up
between a "consumer" (350D) and a "proish" (20D)

Thanks
Alex

Actually, the original Rebel WAS a dumbed down version of the prosumer DSLR of the day, the 10D. Some people found ways to activate dormant (or crippled) features.

In general, with a pro or advanced amateur body, you're paying for durability (both in body and shutter mechanisms) and increased resolution. Any Canon that doesn't have a 1D-something designation isn't its pro lineup, just as the Nikon pro lineup is all D-followed by one digit and maybe a letter or two, ie D2xs. It doesn't mean pros don't use the other cameras, it means that those cameras aren't meant to stand up to the flogging professionals put their cameras through.

The D40 and D300 comparison is apples to oranges. The D40 uses a 6mp CCD and the D300 a 12mp CMOS sensor. They render images of completely different tone, detail, etc. Though the progression of features argument is relevant. D40 doesn't have an in-camera motor to focus lenses and can't meter automatically with MF lenses, while the D300 does. Then, there are other items like in-camera multiple exposure capabilities and the number of "Focus points," or places where the camera reads the image to determine if it's in focus.

I'm not as familiar with the Canon lineup but I suspect the differences are similar between the two cameras you're looking at.

Given the pace of technology (and you are dipping into the way back machine to pick the 20D) I'm taking the leap that this will be your first DSLR. So I'd take the advice of another poster and buy what fits your budget best -- it won't be your last body. Do try and buy lenses with an idea that they'll last a lifetime though. But that's a separate issue.

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sahil sinha
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Re: Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
In reply to Arrowman, 3 months ago

Arrowman wrote:

nettheim wrote:

Hi I was just wondering what classifys as camera as "Consumer" vs
"Pro" (ie Nikon D40 vs D300).

It's just a broad classification, used more by reviewers, magazines and websites more than the camera companies themselves. Well, that's not entirely true the camera companies definitely target different parts of their range at different markets. But -

Is there any difference in image
quality between the 2?

No. At least

  • just because one camera is in the "consumer" range and the other is in the "pro" range, doesn't mean the latter has inherently better IQ. IQ is a function of features, not what marketing audience the camera is aimed at.
  • the limitations on image quality will always be due to the photographer first, and equipment second. Just buying a "pro" camera will not give you better pictures.
  • the camera's features may give you a better chance of getting a good picture in a given situation (e.g. better high ISO performance, better/faster autofocus) but again that's a function of features, not the "classification" of the camera.

How much better is the build?

I suppose in general you would say that "pro" cameras are built more strongly, because pros often treat their cameras a bit less gently than the rest of us (because they have to, not because they are sloppy) and they're prepared to pay for tough bodies.

But a good "consumer" camera should be built well enough to survive normal use and care.

How much are you prepared to pay for a super-tough body that will survive conditions you are never likely to subject it to?

I always assumes
that a "consumer" would basiclly be a dumbed down version of a higher
level body?

In some ways, yes. For example, the Nikon D80 was widely considered to be a D200 with slightly fewer features and a lighter body.

They'll put fewer features in a "consumer" camera to keep the price down. They can (have to) pack the "pro" cameras with features and it's almost price no object.

Also, the realities of marketing are that there is no nice clean relationship between features, cost to build, and retail price. You can pretty much guarantee that Nikon or Canon don't carefully price each individual model based on its cost of manufacture.

In the consumer market they have to pack in just enough features to match the competition, and keep the price at what the market will bear. In the pro market, they have to pack in state of the art features and the price sensitivity of the buyer is much less. A pro doesn't care (much) whether the cost of the camera is $5,000 or $5,750. A consumer cares very much whether the cost is $990 or $1100.

That doesn't mean they set out to lose money on the consumer range and gouge the pros - it just means they measure their overall profit & loss across the whole range, with no individual model losing money.

So basiclly what is the differece? (I ask because I am tossing up
between a "consumer" (350D) and a "proish" (20D)

What's the difference in features between those cameras, what do those features mean to you and are you prepared to pay for the extra features of the 20D?

Forget about whether it's "pro" or "consumer". Pick the camera whose features meet your needs, within your budget.

On balance, I'd stick with the consumer range and
(a) spend your money on lenses and

(b) have a camera that is (presumably) smaller, lighter and easier to carry and use on a casual basis. Otherwise you might find yourself leaving it at home. A camera tat is with you and used, takes much better pictures than a camera that's "too much trouble".

(I handled a Nikon D3 recently; awesome experience but I wouldn't have one if you gave it to me. Too heavy and cumbersome for everyday use.)

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hi i want to know somethings

1.is canon 600d is not a pro and canon 5d mark3 is apro camera?

2.if i make a movie( professional feature film) by canon 600d,then the pictures on the big screen of cinema houses will be pixcellet or not,i.e the picture ll be clearly visible or not?

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BobSC
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Re: Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
In reply to nettheim, 3 months ago

nettheim wrote:

Hi I was just wondering what classifys as camera as "Consumer" vs "Pro" (ie Nikon D40 vs D300).

The d300 is more frequently called pro-sumer, indicating that it is between the consumer cameras and what Nikon designates as the pro cameras -- the d1, d2, d3, d4.

In the case of Nikon, the new features first appear in the pro bodies, or the pro-sumer bodies, and migrate downward. So the d300 was the first body to have the 51 point AF system. Then it made it's way down to the dxxxx bodies. When a new Nikon Prosumer body comes out, it will have the best sensor, the best AF system, etc, outside of the pro bodies.

The d100, d200 and d300 have more rugged bodies than the dxx, d3xxx, d5xxx, and d7xxx bodies. They are better against dust, water, and dropping. My d200 is about twice the weight and twice the volume of my d3100. I have (by accident!!) dropped my d200 on a concrete floor from about three feet, and it is no worse for the experience.

The actual pro bodies, the Dx bodies, are built like tanks. They are descendants of the Nikon F bodies. There was a famous incident that happened while testing the F4, when it was new. It was mounted on a bracket on the outside of an Indy car, and it came off while the car was on the track. The prism and the lens tore off the body, and the plastic exterior was chewed off, but the camera still worked.

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Chris R-UK
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Bob, that is a 6 year old post (nt)
In reply to BobSC, 3 months ago
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Chris R

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darklamp
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Re: Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
In reply to nettheim, 3 months ago

Generally a pro camera would :

  • Be more durable ( tougher body, longer shutter life - e.g. 300,000-150,000 instead of 50,000-100,000 ).
  • Viewfinder larger and/or brighter ( full coverage and pentaprism instead of pentamirror ).
  • Have hands-on controls ( more direct control ).
  • Battery life often significantly larger ( larger battery ).
  • Sometimes extra controls for portrait orientation.
  • Sometimes faster ( depends on the intended use of the model ).
  • Often a more sophisticated AF system, offering both faster and more accurate AF as well as more sophisticated focus tracking. Generally more control of the operation of the AF system.
  • Typically more processing power internally to make the system more responsive and faster ( and more expensive ) memory buses to allow faster data processing.

Image quality is not something that comes with a camera, although beginners like to think it is. Rather the extra controls and refinements enable an experienced shooter to squeeze successful shots out of difficult shooting situations with a better hit rate.

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leno
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Re: Difference between "consumer" and "pro" DSLR'S?
In reply to sahil sinha, 3 months ago

hi i want to know somethings

1.is canon 600d is not a pro and canon 5d mark3 is apro camera?

2.if i make a movie( professional feature film) by canon 600d,then the pictures on the big screen of cinema houses will be pixcellet or not,i.e the picture ll be clearly visible or not?

If you want to make professional feature film you will have to use a professional video camera not a DSLR designed to capture stills. Those guys you see with the huge cameras on their sholder filming they don't carry them for the fun of it but because that is the tools of the job.

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leno
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Re: Bob, that is a 6 year old post (nt)
In reply to Chris R-UK, 3 months ago

Chris R-UK wrote:

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Chris R

LOL

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BobSC
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Bizzare. I wonder why it bubbled to the top this AM (n/t)
In reply to leno, 3 months ago
No text.
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Leonard Migliore
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No mystery
In reply to BobSC, 3 months ago

A forum member (sahil sinha) must have used the search function to find a thread about "consumer" and "pro" designations. His post dredged the thread from oblivion.

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Re: No mystery
In reply to Leonard Migliore, 3 months ago

Leonard Migliore wrote:

A forum member (sahil sinha) must have used the search function to find a thread about "consumer" and "pro" designations. His post dredged the thread from oblivion.

Is there a way of sending it back?

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Hank3152
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Re: Bob, that is a 6 year old post (nt)
In reply to Chris R-UK, 3 months ago

.......and neither the OP nor the member sahil has responded to has been around in over 3 yrs

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Teila Day
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Ridiculous and very incorrect
In reply to thefly, 3 months ago

thefly wrote:

If you make money using the camera, then it is a pro camera.

So if Tiger Woods uses a set of $25 children's golf clubs, and does a benefit at a putt-putt golf course, and raises $250,000 for charity, then those golf clubs are considered "professional"?

Forget the above example, just the fact that people can't understand why somethings are called "professional" and somethings aren't is utterly amazing.

Here's the common sense definition:

The phrase "professional" is used for items, that are designed with the working person in mind which usually means increased overall workmanship, speed, better materials, etc.. in cameras and lenses, it often (but not always) means increased image quality, but image quality isn't the only concern with working folks.  focus speed (and focus options, focus points, sensitivity of focus points, grouping of focus point options, etc.), ease of operations (bracketing, white balance, etc.. I can select quicker on my old-as-dirt pro body Nikon purchased in 2005, than I can a brand new $1,500 camera today.)

A pro body (and premium lenses) allow the photographer more options that cover a wide range of possibilities.  Keep in mind (and use common sense) that there is pro gear that is directed to a very narrow facet of photography as well and are very good at doing a particular thing, even though they may be horrible at some other areas that would be better using a $500 camera for.

Camera's are just sold with more features for people who are more demanding and have money to spend.

Obviously.  You have to spend more money to get better stuff (let's not get silly); also as I stated above, sometimes pro gear has LESS features than camera kits costing $30,000 LESS.

These more features enable them to get the shots more easily and make the sale.

Has nothing to do with making a sale.  If I purchase a drill, I want a drill designed for professional's not the $19 drill.  When I buy drill bits, it's obvious to me that the cheaper bits are not anywhere remotely close to being the same quality as the "professional" or "industrial strength" bits.

Just my two cents

Your 2c are appreciated… but common sense is what you should predicate your logic on in this case

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Teila Day
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Re: No mystery
In reply to Aberaeron, 3 months ago

Aberaeron wrote:

Leonard Migliore wrote:

A forum member (sahil sinha) must have used the search function to find a thread about "consumer" and "pro" designations. His post dredged the thread from oblivion.

Is there a way of sending it back?

Happens from time to time, but is still relevant since a lot of people still can't get the basic common sense difference between pro and consumer.

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Teila Day
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image quality...
In reply to darklamp, 3 months ago

darklamp wrote:

Generally a pro camera would :

  • Be more durable ( tougher body, longer shutter life - e.g. 300,000-150,000 instead of 50,000-100,000 ).
  • Viewfinder larger and/or brighter ( full coverage and pentaprism instead of pentamirror ).
  • Have hands-on controls ( more direct control ).
  • Battery life often significantly larger ( larger battery ).
  • Sometimes extra controls for portrait orientation.
  • Sometimes faster ( depends on the intended use of the model ).
  • Often a more sophisticated AF system, offering both faster and more accurate AF as well as more sophisticated focus tracking. Generally more control of the operation of the AF system.
  • Typically more processing power internally to make the system more responsive and faster ( and more expensive ) memory buses to allow faster data processing.

Image quality is not something that comes with a camera, although beginners like to think it is. Rather the extra controls and refinements enable an experienced shooter to squeeze successful shots out of difficult shooting situations with a better hit rate.

Less today, but image quality IS something that often comes with a camera; again, far less today because tech has moved so far forward over the years that it's nothing to quibble about in most cases.

My mother's relatively new coolpix doesn't have the same "image quality" as my old pro nikon D2 series dslr… neither did my kid's Canon Powershot purchased a few years later than my pro body.

Raise the ISO or enlarge a print and that further separates and or defines, the "image quality" prowess of any two respective camera bodies.

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Ido S
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Sports
In reply to nettheim, 3 months ago

It seems odd, but the cameras that are marketed as all-in professional models, are usually the ones with the fastest autofocus and burst rate, and the greatest buffer. They usually have lower resolution sensors, compared to sensors of lower-tier cameras of the same generation (e.g., Nikon D4's 16MP sensor vs. Nikon D800's 36MP sensor), which aid in crazy high ISOs (mainly used for sporting events) and having a good buffer (shooting a lot of pictures in continuous drive mode, without the camera slowing down after a few shots to write them to the card). For some reason, cameras like the D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III are often designated with the awful naming convention - prosumer.

That's why people say that the Nikon D7100 isn't a truly "professional" DX camera, and isn't a direct replacement of the D300s, because its buffer is lackluster compared to that camera, despite the great advantage the D7100 has in sensor technology and, because of that, image quality. That's why people are waiting on a D9300.

That's why the Canon 7D -- which has the same sensor as the Canon 550D (Rebel T2i) -- is considered a 'professional' camera, and the 70D isn't.

For some odd reason, someone thought that every professional photographer has to shoot action, or else he isn't a professional photographer.

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Hank3152
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Re: Sports
In reply to Ido S, 3 months ago

Ido S wrote:

That's why the Canon 7D -- which has the same sensor as the Canon 550D (Rebel T2i) -- is considered a 'professional' camera, and the 70D isn't.

Who considers the 7D a pro camera? I've heard the 5D series and 7D classified as "advanced" cameras but never a "professional" camera which is generally relegated to the 1D series.......

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