What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

Started Jul 6, 2017 | Questions
Shine111 Regular Member • Posts: 305
What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

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SoCalWill
SoCalWill Senior Member • Posts: 5,343
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
1

Two card slots, the option for more than one battery, very fast AF and shutter rate, sealed and overbuilt so it can withstand photojournalist conditions.

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PhotoTeach2 Senior Member • Posts: 8,964
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
4

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

A "pro" camera has a heavier body for more heavy-duty use, and the mirror-shutter is designed for more cycles.

Also a bigger "buffer" so you can get more shots in continuous (high) frame-rate and they often have faster write times so the buffer will clear to allow more shooting again quicker.

Two card-slots and accessory battery/grip.

Often faster/better AF and shorter shutter-lag.

And of course higher mpx of sensor and ISO capability, but that same sensor could also be shared with lower-cost models.

BUT ... as a rule the image-quality is NOT necessarily better than a non-pro if shot within the limitations of the cheaper camera.

So please do not make the mistake that a "pro" camera automatically produces better images.

yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 11,046
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

Agree 100%. My thought as I was reading the above posts is that while I can certainly see how all these features and qualities would be essential to a professional, I don't need them as a hobbyist/artist. And I'm certainly glad I don't have to pay for them and lug them around to get a high quality image.

Except for weather resistance. I like having a very sturdy, sealed camera and some good sealed lenses, even as a non professional. But these can be found at the enthusiast level, in my case from Pentax.

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OP Shine111 Regular Member • Posts: 305
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

When I look at the way DPreview delineates things in their buying guides they have everything from $500 interchangeable lens cameras, to "Semi-pro Interchangeable Lens Cameras $2000+"

Then they stop. No "Pro Camera" buying guide.

So, what are some examples of the "Pro Cameras" that DPreview isn't making a buying guide out for?

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Labe
Labe Veteran Member • Posts: 9,013
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

Shine111 wrote:

When I look at the way DPreview delineates things in their buying guides they have everything from $500 interchangeable lens cameras, to "Semi-pro Interchangeable Lens Cameras $2000+"

Then they stop. No "Pro Camera" buying guide.

So, what are some examples of the "Pro Cameras" that DPreview isn't making a buying guide out for?

why would you need a guide for high end pro cameras, they are usually bought to match the lens owned or wanted and not on feature set alone. Could you imagine starting with a 1dx and and a full set of lens , then switching to a Nikon D5 just because its got better features listed on a gear review site. financial suicide comes to mind.

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OP Shine111 Regular Member • Posts: 305
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

Well, I really couldn't imagine because I haven't much of a clue as to what is out there, some some sort of intro to what is pro equipment is just the thing I need.

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Ido S
Ido S Veteran Member • Posts: 4,955
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
1

Those are the likes of the Nikon D5 and Canon 1D X Mark II, or the various Medium Format digital cameras. In the case of the Canon/Nikon models, the typical buyer of one of those is already married to one of the two systems. The cameras are so similar in their overall capabilities, that it makes no sense for most buyers to sell all of the proprietary equipment they've purchased over years of experience, and buy proprietary gear for the other system. So there's not much to choose from there.

As for the Medium Format digital cameras … it seems like DPReview has refrained from the traditional types, like the Hasselblad H6 and Phase One XF systems, either because of their cost, or because they are just so different in principle to other cameras. With those systems, a kit isn't made up of just two parts (camera and lens), but three: camera body, lens, and digital back, which includes the sensor, monitor, and other electronics. The camera body is basically responsible for the viewfinder, grip, controls, etc., where you may be used to looking at the camera body for the sensor and rear monitor, too. You will notice that those systems are not even in the database on this site, while simpler systems, like the Pentax 645Z and the new Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX 50S, do have their pages here.

For any other rationale, you'll have to ask DPReview directly, not the community that uses the website just as you do. But I would guess that those buying guides just wouldn't help enough people to be worth writing—which includes testing this expensive equipment.

Coming back to your original question, without the later clarification: What makes a "pro" or "consumer" camera is the user. If a photographer uses a camera for professional use, it is a "pro" camera. That's at least how I see it.

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Labe
Labe Veteran Member • Posts: 9,013
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
1

Shine111 wrote:

Well, I really couldn't imagine because I haven't much of a clue as to what is out there, some some sort of intro to what is pro equipment is just the thing I need.

The problem with this is that you don't need a "pro" camera to be a pro . You just need a tool to do the job.

Pro`s tend to choose their kit on what they need. They have usually already got cameras and lens etc so just by the better model from that manufacturer .

So what is it you are looking for ? why? or is this just a lust for knowledge where google maybe able to help as dpr is lacking for you .

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 9,870
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
4

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

A "pro" camera is one that is marketed as being for professional photographers. "Consumer", "Prosumer" and "Professional" are all marketing labels. A "Pro" camera is whatever the manufacturer's advertising claims.

As a general rule:

  • "Pro" means high cost
  • "Prosumer" means mid cost
  • "Consumer" means low cost

The theory is that a professional photographer can justify spending more for these features.

Generally "Pro" cameras have more features and are more expensive than consumer bodies. These extra "pro" features may include some combination of:

  • Prestige
  • Sturdier construction
  • Higher reliability
  • Longer shutter life
  • Better weather sealing
  • Better auto-focus
  • Larger buffers for longer burst shooting
  • More buttons to allow easier access to advanced features
  • More customization options
  • Ability to save/restore customization settings
  • Higher frame rates
  • Higher dynamic range
  • Higher pixel counts
  • Faster response times
  • Better high ISO performance
  • Better video specs
  • Additional physical ports (headphone jack, remote jack, PC Flash sync jack, etc.)
  • USB 3 instead of USB 2
  • Voice note annotation
  • etc.

A "Prosumer" camera will have more of these features than a "consumer" camera, but not as many as a "pro" camera.

As others have mentioned, the quality of today's cameras is excellent. The difference between consumer and pro bodies are primarily in these features, and not so much in image quality. Today's entry level consumer cameras are quite capable of producing excellent quality images.

As prices go down, features that are in today's pro cameras may find their way into tomorrow's prosumer or consumer bodies. Today's consumer bodies have some features and specs that are much better than the "pro" bodies of a few years ago.

A professional photographer may not need a "professional" camera, and a consumer might enjoy a "professional" camera. It depends on the specific needs and budget of the photographer. Someone who shoots static products in a studio may not need fast autofocus or high frame rates, but those features could be critical to some sports photographers.

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Doug Haag Senior Member • Posts: 1,721
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

While certainly not the most important difference (others have mentioned these important attributes such as build quality), in the Nikon line there is one surefire way to identify "Pro" versus "Consumer" just by looking at the outside of the camera.  The Pro models all have a dedicated button on the back (called AF/ON) to execute back button focus and they do not have a PASM dial.  The "consumer" models (including several in the full-frame category) involve re-purposing a different button to achieve back button focus and invariably have a PASM dial.

An exception to these guiding characteristics is the Df model.

Bradrobb
Bradrobb Senior Member • Posts: 1,012
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
2

Hi

The answer is very simple.

If the person behind the camera is getting paid to take the photo then it is a "Pro Camera"

Brad

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scokill
scokill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,390
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?
1

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

A pro camera is one that is used by a pro....someone who makes money using their camera.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Having certain gear qualifies pros for enhanced service with Nikon or Canon.

Of course there are features that make a camera more/less desirable for a pro depending on their type of photography and conditions, and the benefits would outweigh the higher cost of more desirable gear.  Some of the features are mentioned in previous posts.  Better high ISO performance, better autofocus, better build quality, higher frames/second, larger buffer, more external controls vs. menu diving, better lighting for controls to use in dark conditions, etc.

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 22,129
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

SoCalWill wrote:

Two card slots, the option for more than one battery, very fast AF and shutter rate, sealed and overbuilt so it can withstand photojournalist conditions.

There were plenty of pro cameras before AF arrived, and most didn't use batteries.

Tough solid build and good support from the manufacturer or importer are the main things. And a high price.

Teila Day
Teila Day Veteran Member • Posts: 4,746
The difference is simply common sense and context :)

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

In short, the same type-of-things that differ a consumer washer, stove, lawn mower or printer from a consumer one in context.  A $9,000 kitchen stove doesn't usually have flimsy  knobs and stove top, etc..

A professional mower may have a better designed heavy-duty diesel engine for better cooling  & oil distribution; quick lube points, and easier ways to replace the blades, belts..., and a choice of tire treads to include "turf" tread, etc..

A professional printer may easily handle networking (wireless or not) have added security, print 80ppm duplex and 50,000 pages daily with heavy duty parts, sitting on a 10 ream capacity paper tray and options to print on material via straight-through printing up to 1/4th inch thick.

Whether something is pro or not is independent of the user.  Likewise, a photographer is a pro or not irrespective of his/her gear.  Insurance companies and the IRS often have their own definitions as to what constitutes a "professional".

Common sense and context can usually be easily applied to figure out whether something is professional, industrial, "hi-end", pro or consumer, etc..  it doesn't matter what a manufacturer stamps on the item (e.g. "Professional" XJ2000 mega-awesome-superstardom tripod... that sells for $65 and extends to 72inches high).   Likewise, adults debating (for instance) whether or not a $3,500 Canon 5D IV is consumer or professional is ridiculous... even for gear forum fodder.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 9,870
Re: The difference is simply common sense and context :)
2

Teila Day wrote:

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

In short, the same type-of-things that differ a consumer washer, stove, lawn mower or printer from a consumer one in context. A $9,000 kitchen stove doesn't usually have flimsy knobs and stove top, etc..

...

We are looking into updating our kitchen.  The appliance people are trying to talk us into buying an expensive "pro" cooktop.

There is no way that the suggested "pro" cooktop would end up in the kitchen of a real restaurant.    Despite the marketing name, there is no such thing as a "professional" home cooktop.

Similarly, a "pro" dishwasher does a load of dishes in under 5 minutes.  That's nothing like the "pro" dishwasher they want to sell us.

"pro" is just a marketing label intended to convince the consumer that a product is worth the higher price.  Hopefully, the "pro" product actually does offer features that are better than the lower cost alternatives.

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Teila Day
Teila Day Veteran Member • Posts: 4,746
Re: What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

scokill wrote:

Shine111 wrote:

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

A pro camera is one that is used by a pro....

::: cringe ::::  Ohhhh I wish people would stop saying that.  Who uses the camera has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's pro or consumer grade.   A professional using an iPhone doesn't make the iPhone a professional camera, no more than a new photography student using a Nikon D5 turns the D5 into a "consumer" camera.

someone who makes money using their camera. Nothing more, nothing less.

Correct... especially in many IRS and Insurance contexts.

Of course there are features that make a camera more/less desirable for a pro

... and those features in greater numbers in a single 35mm based camera are commonly more indicative of a professional camera.  Same concept for pro lenses.

..depending on their type of photography and conditions, and the benefits would outweigh the higher cost of more desirable gear. Some of the features are mentioned in previous posts. Better high ISO performance, better autofocus, better build quality, higher frames/second, larger buffer, more external controls vs. menu diving, better lighting for controls to use in dark conditions, etc.

You nailed the above, excellent!

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Chaplain Mark
Chaplain Mark Senior Member • Posts: 4,219
Diesel Lawnmower??

Teila Day wrote:

A professional mower may have a better designed heavy-duty diesel engine for better cooling & oil distribution; quick lube points, and easier ways to replace the blades, belts..., and a choice of tire treads to include "turf" tread, etc..

I'd like to see that.....!!

Lol...
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ARShutterbug
ARShutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 8,979
Some reasons

What makes a camera a pro camera as opposed to a consumer camera?

  • Comfortable to use for long periods without inducing much fatigue
  • Solid build quality
  • Consistent and reliable speed and accuracy
  • Forgiving of mistakes
  • Support services available, including on-site support and rental options
  • Support for a wide variety of accessories and lenses
  • Buttons and dials for important functions placed where they are easily-accessible
  • Targeted at photographers who rely on the product for results, not a hobby
  • Long product life and no Planned Obsolescence
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 14,791
Re: Diesel Lawnmower??

Chaplain Mark wrote:

Teila Day wrote:

A professional mower may have a better designed heavy-duty diesel engine for better cooling & oil distribution; quick lube points, and easier ways to replace the blades, belts..., and a choice of tire treads to include "turf" tread, etc..

I'd like to see that.....!!

Lol...

Google "diesel lawn mower" and ye shall find.

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