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  1. #1
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    There's a discussion on the new Pentax forum about the Pentax K10D being suitable for professional work. This led people off on a tangent about what bodies are suitable for pro work. And I started to wonder what really is necessary for professional work - especially since there are some many kinds of professional photography.

    I have cameras at both ends of the spectrum - a Digital Rebel XTi / 400D and an EOS 1D. I'm using both cameras for pro work but they each have their own place. For most work, I'd prefer to use the XTi, since it's smaller, lighter, has more resolution, and better high ISO performance. But if I need the best speed and auto focus accuracy, I'm absolutely going with the 1D. The XTi doesn't even come close.

    So that begs the question - what constitutes a "professional" SLR body? Some of the traditional things are flash synch speed - 1/250th second is standard and 1/200th is the minimum. The number of exposures that the shutter is rated for is another regular professional spec. If you're shooting thousands of images a day, you don't want a shutter that will lock up after 10,000 actuations. Build quality is another typical professional concern. Someone who's using their camera all day, 5-7 days a week in questionable conditions might be concerned about a camera that doesn't have some heft to it.

    But, the best photographers will get the job done with what they've got. Some photographers care little about their equipment. So what is it that makes a camera worthy of "professional" use? Or is it just marketing? What do you think?
    Photo-John

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  2. #2
    Member gryphonslair99's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    Having the features needed to take the photographys you want in a timely manner with little or no thought to the equipment. An entry level DSLR with no weather sealing would probably not be considered a "Professional" camera to someone constantly shooting in rugged, wet, cold conditions. The same camera however could easily be "Professional" to someone shooting Senior Portraits, Weddings etc.

  3. #3
    Member benjikan's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    There's a discussion on the new Pentax forum about the Pentax K10D being suitable for professional work. This led people off on a tangent about what bodies are suitable for pro work. And I started to wonder what really is necessary for professional work - especially since there are some many kinds of professional photography.

    I have cameras at both ends of the spectrum - a Digital Rebel XTi / 400D and an EOS 1D. I'm using both cameras for pro work but they each have their own place. For most work, I'd prefer to use the XTi, since it's smaller, lighter, has more resolution, and better high ISO performance. But if I need the best speed and auto focus accuracy, I'm absolutely going with the 1D. The XTi doesn't even come close.

    So that begs the question - what constitutes a "professional" SLR body? Some of the traditional things are flash synch speed - 1/250th second is standard and 1/200th is the minimum. The number of exposures that the shutter is rated for is another regular professional spec. If you're shooting thousands of images a day, you don't want a shutter that will lock up after 10,000 actuations. Build quality is another typical professional concern. Someone who's using their camera all day, 5-7 days a week in questionable conditions might be concerned about a camera that doesn't have some heft to it.

    But, the best photographers will get the job done with what they've got. Some photographers care little about their equipment. So what is it that makes a camera worthy of "professional" use? Or is it just marketing? What do you think?
    Hello John;

    A pro camera could mean literally anything that a photographer who makes their living uses for a specific challenge. Take Terry Richardson, who for years had used a 75$ Canon 35mm fixed focal length consumer camera for all of his edgy shoots, making about 25 to 50k$ per day. The reason I say this is that there are many questions one must ask before deciding on which tool to use to solve a photographic problem. What support will the image be used in? What is the size of the reproduction and at which output resolution. DSLR's have all become rather homogenised over the last few years and the decision to purchase a specific brand comes down to very subtle differences in features and accessories. All of the big four have had teething problems, with front focus issues, auto focus issues etc. But basically, give me a Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung, Sony or Leica DSLR and I would feel confident that I could go in to the studio or an interior location and get the job done. I mean, I once did an 8 page fashion editorial for Linea Magazine using my Canon 350D. Why? Because I could and chose to do so. I recently chose Pentax for perhaps capricious reasons. I liked the feel the look the features and the fact that I used their pro camera's for years and thought, why not? It really all comes down to the person taking the picture and NOT the camera. As long as my gear doesn't blow up during the shoot and I have a back-up camera, "Let 'er Roll!"

    Ben

  4. #4
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    An entry level DSLR with no weather sealing would probably not be considered a "Professional" camera to someone constantly shooting in rugged, wet, cold conditions. The same camera however could easily be "Professional" to someone shooting Senior Portraits, Weddings etc.
    Canon seem to share that view, for Canon's Professional Service:
    "Because this service is designed for Professional Users there are some entry qualifications. In general you should own at least 2 Professional Canon AF bodies and 3 Canon L-series lenses."

    Unfortunately the equipment list web page is down, but it included the 20D body last time I looked.
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  5. #5
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    I liked the feel the look the features
    For my motorsport, I was purely going on features and feel.
    I loved the feel of the Nikon in my hand, it fitted like a glove.
    But I hated the control wheel on the front of the grip and the menu design.
    So I bought Canon which I could work with more comfortably and quicker, but I have to admit doesn't ft my small hands so well.

    It really all comes down to the person taking the picture and NOT the camera.
    Absolutely. Which is why with the same camera we can improve our pictures as we develop our abilities.
    And when changing to a new camera, as some here have found going to the 1D bodies, there is the mechanics of operating that body to re-learn when you may miss action shots as you fumble over the controls.
    PAul

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  6. #6
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartWombat
    Canon seem to share that view, for Canon's Professional Service:
    "Because this service is designed for Professional Users there are some entry qualifications. In general you should own at least 2 Professional Canon AF bodies and 3 Canon L-series lenses."

    Unfortunately the equipment list web page is down, but it included the 20D body last time I looked.

    I have read this too, and it has detered me from applying in the past. But this year I'm going to give it a shot. I know a local woman who is a member, and she doesn't meet the qualifications. I wish they had a U.S. website for the CPS program.
    Mike

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  7. #7
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    I think it is pretty simple, what makes a pro body it's the guy or gal pushing the shutter release. Second it's the glass you put on the body. Third it is the camera it's self. Will it stand up the the rigors that you will put it through. Here the question has to be ask what type photography are you doing. Is it studio, sports, wild life or etc. Each is going to have it's own specific needs. I have a Nikon D2H that stands up under the pressure of a demanding sporting event with fast focus, 8 fps and and sealed well for all weather conditions. But when I move to micro or slower moving subject my choice is the D70 with it's higher pixel rate and lighter weight. When I got my first pro body I was thrilled to death. In 1971 the Nikon F was the gold standard for SLR's. At that time there were a lot of SLR's on the market that were just not made with the integrity that the Nikon F was. Most of those manufactures or not around in today's market. Those that are still here such as Cannon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus proved that their equipment could stand the test of time. I am proud of the fact that the same Nikon F I bought in 1971 still can perform at the level it did 36 years ago. Will todays cameras in this disposable world be able to say the same? Only time will tell if they are a pro body or not.
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  8. #8
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    Well, IMO Heidi Klum has a professional body, and if you've ever seen her in lingerie, you wouldn't ask such a dumb question...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  9. #9
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    I was leaning towards stating camera technicalities. I was also going to debate on the comments posted here about "it's the shooter not the camera body" principal. I think PJ wanted a literal answer in regards to technical specs. I wanted to answer this post based on studying why the Canon 1D still demands $800+ on Ebay. It's a 4MP DSLR for crying out loud.

    But, I had lunch today and picked up the latest issue of NATURE PHOTOGRAPHER. As I read the captions of the outstanding photos that made publication, I was slapped in the face with a reality check. Some of the cameras used were Canon Digital Rebels, Canon ElanII, Canon EOS 630, and Canon EOS 10D. These cameras were not considered PROFESSIONAL at the time of release, for some prosumer at most, but are being used by field photographers shooting in the rough in all weather conditions all over the world.

    Then I think back to the Los Angeles Photogathering when Loren Crannell used a Yashika P&S to come up with those great shots at Grand Central Market. The man used a 35mm P&S!

    Look for racingpinarello post

    So maybe the question should be, “what makes an expensive/high end/top of the line camera?”

    I think we already know what makes a camera professional
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  10. #10
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    My 2 centimes worth

    Humble amateur speaking - who occasionally gets to do more "professional" things like weddings, community get-togethers, building interiors, model books, etc.

    When I'm doing something for somebody else then I have to deliver. I don't want the material to let me down. Features I look for (in descending order of priority)

    1. Absolute reliability. Camera, lenses and flash have to work. (I still take a reserve system just in case)
    2. Performance. Things like the auto-focus, auto-exposure and flash have to give the best result possible. Feature like the 1/250s flash sync speed contribute to this
    3. Image quality. I want the result to be visibly excellent, no doubts in my clients mind about this being a good job
    4. Prestige. As the official photographer I have to out-rank the others in order to keep control of the situation and having a bigger, better camera helps sometimes (A battery pack is a big help).

    It depends on the situation. For example, I'm currently asking myself if I should use the 18-200 VR for my next wedding or stick with the 3 f2.8 constant zooms that I usually use. It would make the bag much lighter, no lens changes to worry about, and the VR might be very useful for interiors without flash. However autofocus at f5.6 is not going to be as accurate as with a f2.8 lens. Decisions, decisions.

    Charles

  11. #11
    drg
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    la recherche de trolls drg's Avatar
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    Re: What Makes A "Professional" Body?

    It is about acquisition. The camera body has to get the job done.

    Film cameras were a little bit different in that they had to transport the film evenly and keep it flat. And they had to be able to do that in changing temperatures for some applications. That was a big deal.

    For some applications it may be about the cameras ability to be accessorized with large storage, bellows, control lighting, extended power, etc. That may result in the body be selected to be quickly narrowed down. There are of course new wrinkles all the time.

    DSLR's are quite a bit different. For some applications you can use almost any camera. For some there are only one or two that will work. The studio is very different from the field. What works in a controlled setting with the camera on tripod or being hand held on a set is one set of requirements.

    Shoot a thousand images a day for two weeks in the great out of doors (sports, nature, contract/construction, catalog work, etc) and if your camera is still standing it is durable. Shoot several thousand a day and many DSLR's will just never work right again. Use the same camera in different hands over a twenty four hour period and put 5000+ images on it doing inventory and materials verification . . . O.K. that's extreme but it happens.

    Try shooting a catalog of plants/flowers for a seed catalog that has to have the colors as close as possible and everything is blooming at once and you have at most two days to produce images that can be color matched to a spec for landscape design/architecture. And add this wrinkle, every color set has to shot under two different kinds of lighting!! Everything better work, and you still use two cameras to back each one up.

    Professional photographs can be produced under certain circumstances with any photographic device. They may not work for every situation. The durability and repeatability of the camera to perform is my bottom line.

    Now we have a newer thought to consider, the DSLR as a disposable camera. I have used both a Canon and a Nikon DSLR in this way; the cameras were lower priced models for both, the shoot was intended to produce mostly grip and grin's and overviews of either a process or an event. Private journalistic coverage if you want to call it that in the one case. The cameras were used for about two or three days each, the fee structure was such that the cost of each camera was built into the quote and when I was done the cameras were bought by employee and a friend with each realizing that they had a large amount of use in a short period of time. They could have easily been never again used or given away and it would have been in the noise.
    CDPrice 'drg'
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