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Pro DSLRs, Pro Photographers

By dpreview staff on Mar 12, 2013 at 22:32 GMT

The Canon EOS 1D X and Nikon D4, while of drool-worthy interest to a wide range of camera lovers, are aimed squarely at the specific and demanding needs of working pros. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with two staff photographers from the Seattle Times and get their insights on using these pro-level cameras for their daily assignments.

Nikon D4 with Profoto Pro-7b lighting setup. John Lok/The Seattle Times.

Photographers Dean Rutz and John Lok have years of hard-won experience covering both local and international events for the Seattle Times newspaper. Ever dreamed of what it would be like to shoot with these flagship Canon and Nikon models under the pressure of breaking news and tight deadlines?

Click here to read our Pro DSLRs, Pro Photographers interview and find out.

Comments

Total comments: 100
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Mar 14, 2013)

The camera matter's ,if it didn't very few people would buy a 1DX or D4,but when you want the best tools with the fastest FPS and best AF and the ability to withstand almost any weather then you buy the pro gear...Maybe it's true that a "Pro" can take a good picture with any camera,but how many pro's will be shooting sports D800?and how many camera's have shutter live's of 400,000?

1 upvote
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Mar 14, 2013)

I read nothing in this article regarding the tools of the trade that wouldn't also be a concern for a typical advanced non-professional. What does being a professional have to do with needing the smallest possible shutter lag?

One concern expressed in the article was the cameras' "durability" in the field. These unquailfied opinions encourages the makers to continue to produce too large, too heavy (emphasis on the "too heavy") bricks. Sure, I want 5 star crash test ratings in my automobiles, but I don't want to drive a Humvee to get it. C&N need to do more R&D in this area.

0 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 14, 2013)

So you're saying they should top making Humvess because they're too big? And that they should stop making D4's because they're too big?

Explain.

0 upvotes
Pontoneer
By Pontoneer (Mar 25, 2013)

Quite - I had the misfortune of being handed a D2 with huge lens to do a job a few weeks ago . After a couple of hours my arms and shoulders were aching ; no wonder its owner is regularly complaining of backache !

I certainly couldn't live with 'bricks' like these every day . Nikon at least , and possibly Canon too , need to take a leaf out of Pentax' book : class leading cameras don't need to be bulky and heavy .

0 upvotes
Skytalker
By Skytalker (Mar 13, 2013)

A very good article, thanks DPR.
This is just another living example, which illustrates that in spite of your magnificent skills as a photographer you need the right tools of your trade to sell your product.
Of course you can still be a great one with your Canon 40D, but only in your neighbourhood or photo club. And if this makes you happy, fine.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Cartagena Photo
By Cartagena Photo (Mar 14, 2013)

That is just not true! Any camera and I mean any can be useful in the hands of a capable photographer pro or not. It's only your imagination that set the limits. And a amateur photog can be just as skilled as a pro photog.

Kind regards

David Cartagena

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
aarond
By aarond (Mar 14, 2013)

"It's only your imagination that set the limits"

Well no, that's not true.

The fact that any camera can make great photos does not make all cameras equal.

Limitations DO exist. It's understanding and using those limitations creatively that sets a good photographer apart from someone who just bitches about their gear.

1 upvote
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Mar 14, 2013)

@CartagenaPhoto...not true.. I would like to see the shooter that can shoot a world title boxing fight in Mixed lighting with a D3X.. he might get a few shots worthwhile ,but overall it's just not up to the job..

1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (Mar 14, 2013)

Great boxing shots were taken with Speed Graphics, but at that time all shooters were using them. Now expectations and demands are much greater, and a photographer not using the fastest and best high ISO camera is at a definitive disadvantage. That is why especially sports photographers need D4 & 1DX, because everybody else has them, too. Portraits, architecture and landscape can be shot with slower cameras just fine.

1 upvote
RXVGS
By RXVGS (Mar 13, 2013)

Photography is all about image image image!

- Look like a pro.
- Know how to get the shot (Lighting, composition etc).
- Produce quality photos consistently.

3 upvotes
Skytalker
By Skytalker (Mar 13, 2013)

I think marketing and managing your business is equally important, not to say it is more important.

1 upvote
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Mar 13, 2013)

An article about the 1D X and D4, but where are DPR's in depth review of these two pro dSLRs?

1 upvote
jamesfrmphilly
By jamesfrmphilly (Mar 13, 2013)

the few pros i know use the cheapest stuff they can find….

1 upvote
WilliamB84
By WilliamB84 (Mar 14, 2013)

True to a certain extent. I know a very good photo-J who just sold all of his personal gear because his new company provided him with an expensive setup. On the other hand, I know one newspaper that saddles their photographers with old d300's, so they tend to buy better gear on their own.

0 upvotes
Gioradan
By Gioradan (Mar 13, 2013)

Better cameras make life easier no doubt. But, in my professional work as a photographer I had one very interesting assignment. The assignment was sponsored by Panasonic, which never made professional level still cameras. The client: UNESCO/ Our Place.

This was a documentary type of assignment and the 'top end' camera was a simple (and slow) LC-1. Images were well received by editors world wide.
Cameras do not chose composition or exposure (manual).
There are ways to over come slow focusing as well if you know your craft.

In my travel assignments I will always chose a smaller camera over a big one as it make me less obvious. So either D4 or EOS 1x will not do.

My last visit to Varanasi India was all shot on couple of Sony NEX-7.
No editor yet refuse my images on the base of the camera metadata.
They either fit with the story or not.

Photography, pro or other, comes in many shapes and forms and the diversity of cameras on the market reflects that.

3 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Mar 13, 2013)

I HAVE to comment on the comments posted earlier today:

'Ahh, the good old days.

Things were better back then.

Funny how old duffers from every generation believe this'.

YES - they were - like employing 6 full time shooters, like being able to have a full time studio, like having the cash to tour the USA every year and presenting at Caesars Palace in front of 1000 people

Yep - the Good Old Days WERE better.....the wedding photo business here in the UK is in free-fall and I would NOT recommend anyone to try to make a living from it nowadays.

Last point - played with a Canon 1D X owned by a pro photographer who i know well - superb- but it could take it him many, many weddings to cover its cost, I'm guessing just in time to 'have' to move on to the 1D X 2 version.... a foolish waste of money and efforts - sorry !

3 upvotes
WilliamB84
By WilliamB84 (Mar 14, 2013)

Yep. Photographers are being cut out of the newspaper industry left and right. I've even seen writers using pop-up flashes to shoot basketball games because their papers didn't have professional shooters.

0 upvotes
Greg Gebhardt
By Greg Gebhardt (Mar 13, 2013)

I feel sorry for anyone trying to make a living in photography! I have two friends who used to but both starved to death!

8 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Mar 13, 2013)

Yep - as an ex Pro Wedding Photographer I wish them well (and anyone else trying to make cash from pics) its never been easy to make money but very easy to cost you money. It's so much more than just having the latest FF 22+ MP camera....only foolish newcomers with more money and time than sense should attempt to make a decent living from weddings nowadays. Note how many really good pro photographers now make their money telling others how to do it.....

4 upvotes
SMPhoto
By SMPhoto (Mar 14, 2013)

It is as much, probably more, about sales and marketing skills as it is photographic skills. Very few if any people are so talented that business is going to flock to them without marketing those skills well. If you are competent at that, and possess sufficient technical skill to do good work, then you can do quite well financially. Making $100k a year shooting weddings, in a decent market, isn't difficult if you are good at it. Shooting 40-50 weddings a year and keeping your sanity...that's another story.

And as far as equipment goes, very few of the professionals I am associated with, that all do quite well, use a D1X or D4. Of course, none are sports photographers. Wedding, portraiture, architectural, landscape and pretty much anything else that doesn't move fast is shot professionally, more often than not, with a 5D mkII or III or D700/D800.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JerseyJohn
By JerseyJohn (Mar 13, 2013)

Really? "I think the expression “pro” has a negative smell meanwhile. Financial pros, real estate pros, catering pros …" Really. And your next job is what, Pope? I WAS a photography pro... made my living in photography and film. I am now a Real Estate Agent (pro). I make my living selling real estate. I am sucessful because of my past as a "pro" photograpger, a BA in Business and a Masters. I no longer call myself a photography "pro" because I no longer make my living selling photography. If you want to be appreciated as a photographer... call your self a creative photographer... a life long photographer, whatever. My wife was an IT Director and a really good photographer. She did not call herself a pro. Be proud of your own profession and enjoy your passion for photography. Not being a "pro" does not make you good photographer.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 13, 2013)

Far too many moronic non-professional photographers that think they are in the same league as professional photographers.

No, you're not as good as a professional photographer because you are using a consumer dSLR. Any editor can tell who is using high-end equipment and who isn't, in addition to be being able to spot artistic talent suitable for their media brand.

The editor defines who is pro. Not you.

2 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 13, 2013)

Another secret pro-tip: Editors don't like working with low-end photographers because it makes them look bad in front of other editors if they know they have low-end staff photographers.

If you want to be a pro photographer, make sure you have high-end equipment (medium format gear, a studio, a publicist/marketing department, high-end lighting, etc..) and let your editor know, even if you don't need it for that specific assignment.

Editors don't want to spend thousands of dollars publishing a photographer when they don't think the photographer has invested in themselves (time & money) in the first place.

Would you pick someone to be on your basketball team if they didn't continuously spend hours each day practicing?

2 upvotes
Karl Summers
By Karl Summers (Mar 13, 2013)

I gotta disagree. It doesn't matter who the photographer is, it doesn't matter what equipment he/she uses. All that matters to most editors is the end product. Does it look professional, does it have appeal? Then use it!

6 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 13, 2013)

^^^ Spoken like someone that's never dealt with an editor before.

Yah, editors include your own personal brand on their decision to work with you or not.

Your ability to take a photo is the LEAST of their concerns.

Remember, they deal with thousand of professional photographers, all capable of taking a decent photo.

From a million photographers, 1000 can take a decent photo. From those remaining thousand, a few make the final cut for publication.

2 upvotes
xMichaelx
By xMichaelx (Mar 13, 2013)

"Far too many moronic non-professional photographers that think they are in the same league as professional photographers."

False. This has nothing to do with amateurs thinking they're pros.

The fact is that, for many things people used to hire pros for, the pics an amateur takes are good enough. Yeah, I want a pro for my wedding, or for a magazine. But for other events in my life (birthdays, graduations, Xmas cards ... whatever) I can use my $700 camera and take pics that are more than good enough to frame and remember the moment, no photographer necessary.

3 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (Mar 13, 2013)

Or has it never occurred to you that you are just not really that good?

There are literally tons of professional photographers out there, yes the ones that are making a living using a pro-sumer DSLRs for international fashion magazine shoots.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Damo83
By Damo83 (Mar 13, 2013)

I love reading utterly ridiculous comments like those from vFunct. Told with such conviction! Pretty myopic point of view though. A pro is anyone who makes money from doing what they do, not just your 1DX/D4 owners. Anyone who thinks otherwise obviously hasn't been inspired by what some creatives have been doing lately. Also, gear that is regarded as mid-level/semi-pro/whatever today is more 'professional' in terms of technical capabilities than the professional gear used years ago. What does that say about professionals back then? Maybe they weren't 'pro' all along...

0 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (Mar 13, 2013)

The "editors" and "directors" aren't on the radar of most professional photographers. It is so common place for professional photographers to bend over backwards and take it up the rear for some "editor" or "director" and receiving crummy pay in return, that I think most of the young folks today looking to make it big in photography aren't even interested in breaking their backs dealing with publications when they can make more than that on their own.

I remember when everyone wanted to shoot for National Geo, Vogue, Playboy- now scores of photographers wanting to get paid don't even THINK of even considering busting their hump for those types of jobs.

Today many photographers are courting corporate accounts and Industrial shoots because they often (usually?) entail less work, less fuss, and better overall financial satisfaction for mid-level (most pros) photographers. It's all about who pays well, and generally speaking, it isn't work that has to do with some art director/editor.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TomUW
By TomUW (Mar 13, 2013)

Well I'm sure there are editors like you say, especially fashion editors in places like New York. However I can say that the editors of National Geographic won't usually care about the camera if you've already got the winner shot in the bag. Let's face it, the image quality from a frame grab of a GoPro video camera is sometimes good enough for action applications. BTW I'm not saying that fast automatic gear isn't useful, but I am saying it is the shot that counts, and sometimes it isn't from the latest and greatest pro camera, for whatever reason.

0 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Mar 13, 2013)

Some of the comments here are insult to human intelligence. When someone talks about ''the good old days'' which period of photography do they refer to? The beginning? Glass slides etc...? or 40's, 50's. Every generation gear is generally better than previous one.If you just take landscapes you have as much time as you want and one can use the camera one wants including the ''Glass slides'' ''Catching action with manual focus cameras'' possible. But when the photographer next to you is continuously shooting action without being bothered with focus adjustments, pre-focusing etc. considering talent levels are similar the one with the faster gear will laugh all the way to the bank and you might have to wait for the next game to get a winning shot. Silly isn't it. Not to mention the slower guy's pictures will be scrutinized by gear heads like you for minute focus adjustments, focus points, misses etc. And you'll continue living as very bitter, unhappy and un-fulfilled gear heads

4 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Mar 13, 2013)

what is a professional? a professional photographer is a person who makes all his profits from photography. if the profits are not all from photography, then he is a semiprofessional. this is the true definition, and it has nothing to do with skills (though professionals are expected to show them).

what about equipment? well, when we say professional camera, we actually mean "professional targeted camera", because only the ones who earns all their money from photography can eventually, and eventually needs to, buy a better (more enduring, faster,...) camera.

5 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Mar 13, 2013)

Interesting. So Kevin Kubota isn't a professional photographer? I'm sure he'd be surprised to hear that. (By your reckoning, his action sets, Asuka Books and Red Boot Design would disqualify him.) Nor is Joe McNally (who makes money from speaking engagements and book sales). Nor Karl Taylor (instructional videos). The list goes on and on.

No, you don't need to make *all* of your income/profits from photography to be a professional (and your distinction, at best, is between full-time and part-time professionals). But it is the income (and not the profits—it is not at all unusual for someone hanging out their shingle to lose money or do no better than break even for a while) that makes the difference. I *was* a pro. It ruined a hobby I truly enjoyed and forced me to compromise my images in ways I would never have done if I were shooting for myself (or for friends/family) rather than for the clients. I made money as a pro; I make better pictures as an amateur.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (Mar 13, 2013)

That's absolutely ridiculous. Insurance companies know it's ridiculous too. Tell your insurer that you make $87,000 per annum shooting aerial photography, but you make $112,000 per annum flying people back and forth to oil rigs and doing remote soil surveys as a pilot & soil/water engineer. They'll charge you a pro rate in a heartbeat because you *are* a pro making money with your photography.

You're not a "semi-pro" just because you didn't make more with your camera than you do on the day job.

What if Bill Gates loved to shoot and sell large format prints of movie stars in his home and made $400,000 per annum doing so... even though his financial holding yield more per annum?
Semi pro still eh? ... but if he gave all his holdings away then he magically at that instant becomes a "pro"? That's just silly :)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Mar 13, 2013)

i'm sorry for the profits. i am not a native speaker. i meant income actually.

yes, by definition, if they do not make all their income from photography, they are NOT professionals. look, i am talking about the true definition of 'professional', not the other definitions that were built around it.

i myself would also feel very bothered not being considered a professional if i did some other things related to photography instead of shooting itself, but if it is something related to the area, that's ok, i'm a professional, professional photographer. but, if i write much more than shoot and the former become my main income mean, than i'm a (semi)professional writer, and i am no longer a professional photographer, but perhaps a pro photography writer (once a pro photographer).

we like status. but, it's worth mentioning the parttime fulltime thing. actually, it doesn't matter. you're a parttimer, but make it all? great! you're a pro. but, don't? sorry. you're a semipro. accept that.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Mar 13, 2013)

i forgot something. there is a breach on what i consider a 'professional'.

let's say you have two very different professions. you're a photographer and a radio host. parttime one parttime the other. if you can make enough money for your living from each of both professions, i mean, you can leave either one and that's fine, so, you can consider yourself a pro radio host and a pro photographer.

so, it doesn't matter how many different professions you have, but you can only be called professional on the one that will make your living if you leave all the others. and those others, of course, are on your semiprofessional title.

but, when i say 'make your living', i mean profession, alone, can pay everything in your life, considering your social status. so, one can be a professional earning $10 a month, if this is enough for his life where he lives, and equally another can be a professional earning $1000000, if this one's life requires it for this guy to live and socialize where he is.

0 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (Mar 14, 2013)

That's absurd. You guys are killing me with this pro stuff. So what you're telling me is that if you make most of your living via photography this year, then you're a pro. But if you work the same hours in the studio as a photographer and make the exact amount of money as you did the previous year (or more), but an ebook that you wrote made $1 more than your photography, then all the sudden you're a "semi-pro" for that year?

That's just nuts, just like any insurance company knows. Try to tell an insurance company that you made $60,000 with your photography, but only $40,000 at your day job, so you want to get the non-professional rate to insure all your equipment and the insurance company will laugh in your face... justly so, because that definition is utter nonsense.

Your definition is not the definition of a "professional"; which, in fact, has absolutely nothing to do with how much you make. The number of skilled *professional* photographers having part-time jobs is common.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Mar 14, 2013)

i was giving the basic definition of 'professional'. there are other extended definitions, but all based primarily on the fact you are engaged in an activity and make your living out of it. and, for someone in this situation, is going to show (or is supposed to show) a professional behavior, professional skills, etc.

sometimes we say someone is a professional photographer, even though 'they' only shoot sporadically, because 'they' show skills typical of someone who is engaged in this profession, so, for convenience, we call 'them' professionals anyway, even though, by basic definition, 'they are' not.

about the insurance company, they have their view and understanding of what 'professional' is based on what the pros themselves and others (including you) consider 'professional' to be, that is a way broader definition, so it is like they will also consider a professional, right? it seems fair.

look, i was just exploring its basic definition, but for all that matters, i'm like you.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Mar 13, 2013)

Pros are self-proclaimed elite people - arrogant until they drop. They believe that expensive gear produces good pictures. Their business model is to sell concepts to others enabling them to make money with others.

This has nothing to do with the arts or true mastership. "Pros" are a simple profession as there are so many others.

2 upvotes
marcio_napoli
By marcio_napoli (Mar 13, 2013)

Pros are arrogant? And you are exactly what?
We have here a bunch of armchairs at the comfort of their desks, saying they can do better, when they never, ever in their entire life, have been presented the pressure pros have to deal with all the time.

I mean, have you consistently offered good quality shots on a daily basis, with short deadlines, fierce clients, fierce competition, and had to solve all kinds of production problems that show up 1 minute prior to the start of a session , and still delivered a great result?

Sorry Thomas, back off from the pedestal a little.

3 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Mar 13, 2013)

If I would not be in IT, I might be a photographer. I work with young energetic teams on software. Never would I claim being a “pro”, working better than others.

In the photographic world I discover this strange attitude with expensive gear, unappealing photos and the constant pressure of those “pros” being honored how great they are – and that all others are fools or dumb amateurs.

Naturally, there are the many others hard working in your field you mentioned. May be one should call them “visual workers” or something – or just photographers. I think the expression “pro” has a negative smell meanwhile. Financial pros, real estate pros, catering pros … you might know what I mean, and the often questionable, if not damaging, contributions from them.

Thank you for your good comment I have learned from. I have changed my description from IT professional to IT worker.

0 upvotes
marcio_napoli
By marcio_napoli (Mar 13, 2013)

Ok, sure, so I shall be fair too.

My comment got a little too tempered because it really hurts whenever someone judges a shot from the comfort zone and make claims, without appreciating all the hard work that happened at the back stage, at the moment of the shot.

Allow me to explain with an example:

Someone a few posts below made terrible comments about the golfers shot.

Well, to be fair, it's not the best shot in the world. but hey, do we know the circumstances surrounding this shot?

Maybe these golfers had no more than 3 minutes spare to pose for the shot, or maybe 10 minutes later they faced a heavy storm and had to stop the shoot (see how grey the sky is?). Or maybe the photographer had several other things to cover in the briefing, and that was the "OK shot, let's move to the next".

What I'm trying to say is that these pros are hard working folks just as anybody else.
And it's interesting phenomenon that (usually) the more acclaimed the photographer is, the more humble too.

2 upvotes
marcio_napoli
By marcio_napoli (Mar 13, 2013)

I've listed just one example, but there's a very hard working logistics behind.
And it's usually the "low end" pros that are aggressive... the acclaimed ones are very nice fellows.

If you watch any of Joe McNally's videos, it's amazing how this guy is on the top of the game, and still manages to be the charming uncle Bob you'd invite for a beer or something.

1 upvote
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 13, 2013)

There is no such thing as "self-proclaimed" elite.

Pros are elite because somebody else - their editor - proclaims them to be the elite.

It is not possible to be elite just because you say you are. That is what ignorant non-professionals think.

1 upvote
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (Mar 13, 2013)

Pros are people who use the equipment. Where as, Thomas and people of his ilk, buy the equipment.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Mar 13, 2013)

There are the real pros that can track a runner with a manual focus camera...just like the good old days
And there are the so-called pros that shoots with 10fps, the best AF system in the world and gets 1 keeper out of 3000 shots.

5 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (Mar 13, 2013)

Ahh, the good old days.

Things were better back then.

Funny how old duffers from every generation believe this.

3 upvotes
Guimasai
By Guimasai (Mar 13, 2013)

I think that getting a great shot is a By Any Means Necessary situation. I'm not going to think less of a picture because it was 1 winner out of 3000 duds. A great picture is, by its nature, 1 out of 3000. All this talk of Pros Are This and Mastership Is That seem way not the point. A good picture is a good picture. And a good photographer produces, chooses and displays good pictures. I say this with awareness that Henri Cartier Bresson's contact sheets, if you've seen them, are pretty astonishingly dud-free. But I'm also pretty sure that this site, which is for enthusiasts (whether Pros or Amateurs) isn't a site frequented by the ghosts of Man Ray, Bresson, Doisneau, Walker Evans and Robert Frank. I'm pretty sure that all of them would be out shooting, burning through film, looking for the next good picture.

1 upvote
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 13, 2013)

No, there AREN'T pros that can track the runner with a manual focus camera. Those imaginary photographers don't exist, because anyone relying on outdated equipment will be immediately called out by his editor for having bad equipment.

"WHY ARE 99% OF YOUR SHOTS OUT OF FOCUS?!!? JIM OVER THERE WITH HIS D4 IS IN FOCUS 100% OF THE TIME!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT?!? YOU'RE FIRED!!" is going to be the response from your editor if you think you can produce professional work with a consumer camera.

2 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Mar 13, 2013)

A few years ago I attended a Nikon seminar (D3 and D700 were just out) where the key speaker was a Sports Illustrated photographer whose name I do not remember. He said that he shoots only manual focus, and PRACTICES focusing at least 20-30 minutes every day. Like a concert pianist.

Maybe he is the only one left.

The post by vFunct above shows how little most posters here actually know about these things and how little experience they actually have. Possibly never held a 2.8 300mm lens in their hands, not to mention Novoflex speed grip focus telephoto lenses we used in the seventies, getting sharp pictures with 3 fps motor drives... (the bad old times...)

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (Mar 13, 2013)

Some things can be anticipated but others cannot. The runner who trips for example. When you are shooting you don't know which image tells the story: the initial trip or hitting the ground. An editor will decide that later but he wants both options. If you are out there with manual focus and manual advance, you'll get some shots but you will miss plenty more. The market is too competitive -- if you've missed it, someone else will have gotten it. If this happens too many times, you're out in the cold. The gear does not compensate for skill but there will be others out there with *both* the gear and the skills.

1 upvote
lancet
By lancet (Mar 13, 2013)

It was those pros that switched to auto focus as soon as it was available, making Canon No.1 player and Nikon loosing ground. Everybody who has an assignment to get a certain number of shots without the opportunity to redo any of them will take the best possible equipment that will make it easier for them.

0 upvotes
HarryLally
By HarryLally (Mar 13, 2013)

By far the best article and interview I've read here. Most articles are superficial and/or puffery but this is quite insightful with intelligent questions asked. Well done and thanks. Now, about the 1D X and D4 reviews....

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
webrunner5
By webrunner5 (Mar 13, 2013)

One of the best things I have ever read on here. And I have been here since the beginning. Well done.

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 13, 2013)

Agreed. This was a great article. I'm jealous of the equipment.

1 upvote
delastro
By delastro (Mar 13, 2013)

Is here more than one discussion thread for this article? If you click on the article then there is another thread for discussion? Is this right or wrong?

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 13, 2013)

That's how it seems to be done for everything on dpreview.

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 13, 2013)

This page is for commenting directly from the news story. If you click through to the article, there's a separate set of comments there. FWIW, while this thread has largely turned into a debate over the definition of the word "professional", in the article comments threads you'll find more discussion about the actual content of the article.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Mar 13, 2013)

The difference between professional and consumer cameras, has nothing to do with the ability to take good or bad pictures, or with image quality.

The real difference between pro and consumer cameras, mostly has to do with build quality, ergonomics and performance. Consumer bodies aren't built to the same standards; they are (to a large extent) made of cheaper materials, have less extensive sealing (or none at all), the shutter and other mechanisms aren't made to last as long (or at least aren't as thoroughly tested), and they have fewer dedicated, physical control points. Usually, they also have simpler AF and metering systems, shorter battery life, and generally slower performance.
These are the reasons for the price gap between pro and consumer cameras, even when the IQ is the same. You pay more for reliability, durability and responsiveness. Of course, there are entry-level cameras with great IQ, if that's the only thing you want or need from a camera.

To be continued...

3 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Mar 13, 2013)

Pro cameras are designed to be working tools for working photographers, who use their equipment 24/7, and expect it to be reliable and not getting in their way, whereas consumer bodies are designed for hobbyists and enthusiasts, who may use their gear more sporadically (and leisurely).
No one said that a pro camera can't be used by an amateur, or that a consumer camera can't be used by a pro "on the job", but in general, pros need more reliable, durable and better performing equipment than most regular consumers.

9 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 13, 2013)

Of course you're right.

The proof of this comes from the film era. Everybody's "sensor" was the same. Even the crappiest camera could load the best film and use the best sensor. Yet people still paid thousands of dollars for pro cameras, based on performance.

That's why the arguments on here about IQ are so lame. I'm a m43 user, and the IQ difference with FF DSLRS is minimal, not even worth talking about. Yet people go on and on and on and on (and on) about pixel-peeping IQ. Pure horse dookey. There are some very good arguments for DSLRs based on performance, however, and this article makes them. Trolls take note.

2 upvotes
marcio_napoli
By marcio_napoli (Mar 13, 2013)

Extremely accurate comment, Revenant.
I've been a pro for the last 7 years and that's exactly what pros consider when choosing gear.
IQ is not important anymore, because every single camera in the world made in the past 5 years is up to pro levels in IQ.

What sets these cameras apart is how reliable they are in heavy, extensive pro use.
But from an IQ pov, well, we're completely covered single the 1Ds mark II days.
Your comment is 100% spot on.

4 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 13, 2013)

This is the worst most boring dpreview thread(I've seen).

0 upvotes
Clyde Thomas
By Clyde Thomas (Mar 13, 2013)

A non pro can take great photos, anytime they feel like it, with any camera they chose.

A pro must take great photos, even when they don't feel like it, with a camera that must not fail.

7 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Mar 13, 2013)

With 35 year experience as a newspaper and news magazine photographer I can say that the camera does matter. Faster frame rates and focus, better ergonomics, better high ISO and color/DR performance has made press photography technically easier, but as everybody has access to the same tools, it has at the same time raised the bar considerably. For certain type of photography these top DSLRs (I use D4, D3 & D800e) are not the best possible tools, though, for that reason I also have Fujifilm X-Pro1 & X-E1. That said 95% of the assignments can be best done with D4 or 1DX type cameras. After getting used to them trying to use anything less is frustrating.

12 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 13, 2013)

Yes, but...

Anything can be the right tool. Look at the photos coming out of North Korea taken by the press on cell phones. I doubt that the North Korea photographers could use a 1DX, D4 type tool and not draw a lot of attention. Not to invalidate your point. These are fantastic cameras and no doubt are right for the kind of photography you're describing. But the world is a big place. Any of us are assuming a lot if we think that we know what everybody needs, or should need, etc.

1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (Mar 13, 2013)

Like I mentioned I also have smaller kit of Fuji X-series cameras, which I have used, not in North Korea, but Israel and Burma, where things have to be also done a bit more inconspicuously. Being able to travel for weeks with only a 7 kg carry-on size daypack including clothing etc is also a bonus. 2 Fuji bodes + 3 lenses weigh less than 2 kg, while my Nikon kit is over 12 kg.

4 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Mar 13, 2013)

Pro does mean that they earn their living with taking photos. This does not mean that they make better photos. They can take most of their photos with consumer cameras, for sure. But, they need this “pro equipment” for their demanding work, hunted by deadlines and common style patterns required by the public viewing trends.

I am happy that I must not be a pro; I can just take pictures for fun. And if we didn’t have the “pros” we would miss something. One would no more have the chance to view those amazing artificial pictures or know about Schicki Micki News.

4 upvotes
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Mar 13, 2013)

So much whining from armchair photogs. The reason these guys need high end equipment is due to the rigors of their job and the modern demands of new media. Granted there are excellent amateurs, the difference between a pro and non-pro is the ability to deliver satisfactory images to clients and publications on consistent basis.

4 upvotes
Murray Rothbard
By Murray Rothbard (Mar 13, 2013)

Pro photographer: Anyone who shoots full frame and pretends that Sony doesn't exist.

3 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Mar 13, 2013)

Sony makes cameras that matter?

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

We feel so sorry for you Murray...
You really think that an EVF is better then any 'old fashion' viewfinder?
Those EVF's have a time lag and their contrast is way wrong from how you perceive the real world.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Mike921
By Mike921 (Mar 13, 2013)

Bottom line for Sony/Olympus (they are married now you know) is their cameras (no matter how good or bad) are just another product line Sony's sea of product lines - and can be done away with at ANY time if the financials so dictate, with negligible effect on the overall corporation. I seriously doubt Canon or Nikon are in a similar situation.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
lancet
By lancet (Mar 13, 2013)

Actually, I think imaging division of Canon is just a small part, as is Panasonic, Fuji, Ricoh and Samsung. Only company in Japan that makes most of it's profits in camera business is Nikon, and that is only because of the fact that their stepper business is in a downfall. Nobody wants to have all eggs in the same basket, not even Nikon, especially if the basket is the diminishing camera market.

0 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Mar 13, 2013)

Looking at these cameras, supporting accesories and photos, especially sports photos and wedding and fashion photos, I am afraid "pro" photogs are looking more and more like special equipment operators, skilful operators and technical software users, not exactly artists like some may be thinking. It is work, and often repetitive, laborious routines. So my definition of a pro is someone who more likely than not cannot enjoy his work.

I dread to be a pro photog. It's a hobby to me, a leisurely one that I want to enjoy, in spite of the limited gear that I get to use. ;-)

I would envy and enjoy their cameras and lenses, but I shudder to think of the life of many such pros, the heavy gear that must be hauled around, the setup, preparation and the customers demands... and not what I want to shoot....

Of course some pro's have it better than others, but I think most are making a hard living.

:)

Comment edited 6 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Mar 13, 2013)

I can see where that would come from. I think photography is one of those things that you really, really have to enjoy to do as a career.

That said, I enjoy photography, but I wouldn't want to be a full time pro, for exactly the reasons you list. Things change fast once you're under pressure to deliver and not just getting shots you want for fun.

1 upvote
hellocrowley
By hellocrowley (Mar 13, 2013)

It's the same for every profession. Once you're working for someone, you're fulfilling his needs, not yours. A touring musician has to play his hit song countless times whether he wants to or not.

However that's not to say these guys can't shoot for fun outside their work. They probably do, and enjoy it.

0 upvotes
nickthetasmaniac
By nickthetasmaniac (Mar 13, 2013)

What a tired old line "the camera doesn't matter" has become. Of course it matters. It's a tool, and as we all know, a craftsman doesn't blame his/her tools - BECAUSE A CRAFTSMAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB!

Yes, an outstanding photographer will be able to get *good* images on an iPhone, or whatever. Just as Mick Fanning would shred on a foamy, or Casey Stoner would impress on a postie-bike, or Sebastion Vittel in a Kia.

However, give these blokes the right tools, and allow them to fine-tune them perfectly for the job at hand, and they win world titles. It's no different for professional photographers.

6 upvotes
Benarm
By Benarm (Mar 13, 2013)

Nowadays, "Pro Photographer" is just a title used by anyone who sells photos for a living. In no way, shape or form it means that the person actually knows how to take great photos. There are plenty of amateurs who take better shots than self-proclaimed "pros", hence why you should always look at someone's portfolio if you want to evaluate their work, rather than their title, gear, company and even years of experience.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (Mar 13, 2013)

The idea that a pro could do the same job with a lesser camera isn't credible. A camera is either capable of achieving a certain shot, or it isn't. You wouldn't take a slow focusing, older mirror-less to a high-demand sporting even and expect it to perform like a D4 or a 1DX, no matter who was using it. Under certain circumstances, the capabilities of the camera determine if you get the shot, just as much as the photog.

11 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Mar 13, 2013)

Perhaps not a mirrorless, but an entry level DSLR can still do a very decent job at a high demand sporting event given a bit of care. And if you're not too reliant on spray-and-pray, a D600, D700, or 5D III can get pretty close to a D4 or 1D X for a lot less money. The image quality and responsiveness is there, and AF tracking performance is pretty good too.

4 upvotes
johnmcpherson
By johnmcpherson (Mar 13, 2013)

A camera is a tool; not unlike an artists paint brush.

That being said, it's like anything else, either you know how to use it or you don't.
And that my friend is the difference; between pros and ametures.

3 upvotes
Alexis D
By Alexis D (Mar 13, 2013)

To some extent, that's right, the camera is a tool. But unlike the paint brush, the difference can be huge in these "brushes" and therefore the advantages can be huge too, like in sports photos. Take a couple of thousands of shots with these pro cameras, using the best lenses, then there must be a few good ones.

3 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Mar 13, 2013)

No such thing like Pro cameras, there's only Pro photographers.
And what makes them Pro (besides being obvious where their bread comes from) is sometimes the fact that they can do good photos with any camera.
Otherwise, mercantilistic lore or not, there are only expensive, less expensive, not expensive, and cheap cameras. Technically, these will do what their specs say, if you either need or can afford to use them. But in the end, it will always be 10% equipment and 90% author - at any price level.

17 upvotes
Camera5
By Camera5 (Mar 13, 2013)

Well said sir!

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 13, 2013)

While it's certainly true that a pro photographer can take a great picture with a bad camera, it's equally true that some applications, like photojournalism for example place much higher demands on equipment. A camera made specifically for pros will have a level of durability and responsiveness that is beyond the needs of most.
So there are significant differentiators here. Fortunately for the rest of us, image quality is not one of them.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 56 seconds after posting
11 upvotes
billybones1918
By billybones1918 (Mar 13, 2013)

What a tired and abused term "professional" has become. We're really talking about commercial photographers, people who's main source of income is selling images. This bogus 'pro' terminology is used to sell expensive gear to amateurs. And yes I'm an amateur: I take pictures for enjoyment, not to put bread on the table (halleluja!).

1 upvote
anthony mazzeri
By anthony mazzeri (Mar 13, 2013)

"the fact that they can do good photos with any camera"

It's not an all-encompassing fact - eg, you can't do good flash photography with a camera that only has a built-in pop-up. Hence the Nikon Creative Lighting System is an important feature for some to make Nikon the choice over another camera.

4 upvotes
tongki
By tongki (Mar 13, 2013)

even it is true Pro photographer can take good photo (not great) with low end camera,
the truth is, no Pro photographer will ever doing that in his assignment
unless for commercials or special purpose reasons

4 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (Mar 13, 2013)

I can not agree more, equipment is not all or the most, only 10%.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
57even
By 57even (Mar 13, 2013)

To be fair, some PJ environments are tough on gear, others are not. I know quite a few still using their old D2Xs, because they are incredibly rugged, file sizes are small and quality is not very important (uploading low qual JPEGs is fine for newspapers and web).

Then again, this very site has shown PJ work done on smart phones. Just saying...

Seems the people who always go for the latest DSLRs these days are sports photographers (OK I can see that) and videographers.

But that's hardly the sum-total of "professional photography", it just happens to be the one Canon and Nikon care about.

0 upvotes
balios
By balios (Mar 13, 2013)

It is indeed 10% equipment and 90% skill. If you give professional tools to a layman, they will only reach 10% level of performance until they also learn the skill. But that doesn't mean that equipment is trivial. A layman should focus on getting the skill, and once they are working as professionals the value and NEED of pro equipment becomes SELF EVIDENT.

And it doesn't matter what that profession is, whether it’s wildlife photographer, neurosurgeon, or Special Forces soldier. Each of those fields have specialized tools designed to allow an expert in that field to perform at the expected level of performance.

A Special Forces soldier can handle himself with just about anything, but it wouldn't be a professional work ethic to show up for a mission after equipping himself at Walmart.

Similarly, Canon designed the 1DX for the needs of specific photographic professions; it did NOT do so with the Rebel. One is a professional tool and one is a consumer good.

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Mar 13, 2013)

You never hear a pro say that it is 10% equipment and 90% skill. Because it obviously is not. Equipment matters. Reliability and performance. Especially in professional photography. That is why someone earning a living out of it, buys the best tools he can afford. And yes this mostly means PRO cameras. There are many times you NEED weather sealing, high ISO quality, lots of megapixels, high FPS, fast glass etc.... 90% skill isn't gonna make your camera any faster or more waterproof for a particular assignment.

This cliché statement just keeps on popping up. Everytime.

2 upvotes
robdel
By robdel (Mar 13, 2013)

Frankly, I only hear amateurs make the 10% statement. But, just as frankly, it is excellent advice for amateurs, by which I simply mean people who do not depend on their photography for a living. That is because you can make a picture that is aesthetically pleasing, that has great meaning, significance or value as art -- or even as a historical document -- with any kind of camera. But shooting in a professional context carries certain technical requirements depending on the job. You are hired for your eye but also your ability to execute work within a certain period of time to a high standard of technical excellence. In that context gear absolutely matters, and a good deal more than 10%. The differences between pro and consumer gear are decreasing in many areas, but they are still there and can be significant. Those differences do not preclude someone making a brilliant photo, but they may be decisive when it comes to delivering consistent results to clients and earning a living.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (Mar 13, 2013)

"What a tired and abused term "professional" has become. We're really talking about commercial photographers, people who's main source of income is selling images."

That's what "professional" means. If your profession (i.e. your job) involves taking photographs, then you're a professional photographer. If photography is not your profession, but your hobby, then you're an amateur.

"Pro" does not mean "good", and "consumer" or "amateur" does not mean "bad". Those are value connotations that people for some reason seem to use in everyday language, but when a company markets a product aimed at "pros" or "consumers", they use those words in a value neutral way.

0 upvotes
pixnvid
By pixnvid (Mar 13, 2013)

For an enlightening look at what pros use for gear, check out the World Press winners galleries. The cameras used for most of the photos are listed in the information about the pictures. You'll find that the cameras are fairly middle-of-the-road, a lot of 5D2's and D3S's and 4/3 cameras as well.
As a news photographer of 35 years, I can tell you that the lens is far more important than the camera. And while the high-end cameras are tough, the mid and low-end cameras aren't exactly powder puffs. I use a Canon 60D daily and find it perfectly suited for day-to-day shooting and especially good for video with the Magic Lantern hack.
The only real advantage of the high-end cameras is the frame rate. But for most things you really don't need 10 frames a second. The high-ISO's of the pro cameras are nearly equalled by the lower-level cameras and, frankly, you rarely have to go much beyond 6400 ISO in most situations.
Pro cameras are great but not essential. Save on the camera and buy glass.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Mar 13, 2013)

I shot with 5D and 5DII for many years, they are not "PRO-PRO", but for slower paced reportage and studio work they are just fine. One reason I did not want "pro" body was the fact that Canon EOS 1 series were crop sensor cameras. Not all photographers are able, or want to, grab the newest gear when it becomes available, and in these winner's galleries the pictures are year old anyway. I am in the happy situation that all my old Canon stuff was replaced with newest Nikon D4, D800 etc. gear, and I could not be happier (and somebody else paid for it...).

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (Mar 13, 2013)

Saying there's no such thing as a "pro" camera body, "pro" lighting, etc.., is like saying there's no such thing as a "pro" drill, "pro" sewing machines, or "pro" scanners.

Most reasonable people know exactly what is meant between "pro" gear and the rest of the stuff.

There's a reason why a pro sewing machine costs much more than what you find sold in most stores. There's a reason why a "pro" drill costs a lot more than your $19.95 Black & Decker drill. There's a reason why an Alien Bee ring light costs $400 dollars and the Broncolor ring light $3,500... one *is* "pro" gear, the other isn't but pros use it.

Who uses the gear has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the gear is designed with the "pro" in mind. The difference in speed, build quality, quick buttons, etc., between a pro Nikon/Canon body and a 5D series is obvious; doesn't mean every pro *needs* or even *wants* that capability, but some do have the need/want.

Knowing the difference is elementary.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Marques Lamont
By Marques Lamont (Mar 14, 2013)

Nice article. :)

The debate about what is a "pro" and what isn't is endless...

At the end of the day, being a pro is less about photography skills and equipment and more about business management, industry competence, presentation, and people skills. You DO want the best equipment for the job though, if you can afford it.

Many, probably most pros RENT their gear and bill it to the client anyway on a per assignment basis. So being able to personally afford the latest and the greatest isn't that big of a deal. If my gear isn't good enough for an assigment, I rent.

The key is to rent it!

0 upvotes
icecreemlove
By icecreemlove (Mar 23, 2013)

Anyone on here & spending all this time talking about gear is obviously not a pro or else they would be out there shooting & not worrying about how many pixels they can get to take a crap photo with. Period. A lot of fashion photographers making more money than anyone on here use point & shoot 35mm film camers. So are they not pro's ???

0 upvotes
Total comments: 100