What does "professional camera" actually mean (now)?

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Beatsy Contributing Member • Posts: 912
What does "professional camera" actually mean (now)?

Sunday morning musings...

I've long disliked the use of "professional" to indicate high skill levels and "amateur" to indicate lower ones. It's just wrong, and we all instinctively know that's not how it is. I regularly see professional work that skilled amateurs would be ashamed of. On the other side, many amateurs regularly produce work of stratospheric quality, beyond what most of us (pros included) will ever attain.

In truth, professional means "for profit" and amateur means "for the love of". Neither is a reliable indicator of actual skill level, or quality of outcome, or ability to use high-end gear. But language being what it is, the meaning has morphed and there's no changing it now. It still irks me though.

But using the correct meaning raises the question of what "professional camera" really means. Given the above, I think there's no such a thing - there are only cameras!

Low end cameras are considered unsuitable for professional photographers (although many do use them). Fair enough. But for reasons I've never fathomed, it's generally advised that high end cameras are unsuitable for amateurs. I.e. you don't buy such a camera unless you're making money from your photography. What utter nonsense! I'd agree with "unsuitable for beginners", perhaps, but amateurs aren't all beginners - why shouldn't they use the best gear they can buy - if they want to?

I haven't really got a final point or conclusion for this. High end bodies will continue to be called "professional cameras" and amateurs will be advised to choose "budget" or "prosumer" models from the lower end of the range. And amateurs like me will continue to ignore that advice! I don't know it for a fact, but I'd wager that far more amateurs than professionals own Sony bodies specifically "aimed at professionals".

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