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    • Earlier this week, Tony and Chelsea Northrup posted a controversial video on YouTube that tried to define what a professional camera was. It centers around sales for all of the camera manufacturers. It makes some good points about how higher-end cameras can enhance a photograph. That being said, for the most part making a great photograph is not about the camera — it’s about the photographer.

      While there are certainly cameras geared more towards professionals, including features that pros tend to take more advantage of, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make some great photos with a more affordable DSLR or mirrorless camera.

      Read more and watch the video at

    • Pretty interesting write-up, Bryan. I have several thoughts but only time to write one of them right now.

      One is that I shoot events where I'm often not known except by the organizers. I know this sounds like ego, but the people I shoot notice the camera/lens combination and when it looks professional, you get access to shoot shots others don't.

      I shot a waterski show Friday night in Wisconsin and the contestants were always competing for my attention to get me to take a photo of them. In this case, they invited me out on the dock and loved posing for this shot before their big performance, because they wanted a professional photo. My camera looks the part.

    • I used to shoot a lot of weddings. A pro looking camera was essential for getting respect from the wedding party. They took me most seriously when I was shooting with the 1DX.

      Now I shoot video on larger projects. I establish credibility and rapport with clients through a creative treatment and my portfolio before ever pulling out the camera. So it doesn't matter if I'm shooting with a Sony A7SII or a RED Raven. It's all about the shot. If anything, the pro-looking aspect of a camera is more a nuisance for me. I get crowds of strangers distracting me when I shoot with a MOVI + RED Raven on the street, but no attention if I'm shooting Sony mirrorless. And with pro looking equipment, I worry more about safety. The likelihood of getting mugged goes way up.

    • A "professional camera" means something different to different people.

      A "professional" camera to the camera manufacturers is defined as a camera which satisfies users they identify in different "professions", i.e. people that make their livelihood with their cameras and photographic systems.

      Many "professional photographers" have more than one camera. Their primary camera generally needs to be versatile enough so that it can be configured for different purposes, but usability and durability are often paramount.

      Versatility is generally solved through an ILC, Interchangeable Lens Camera body, which may be either a dSLR or Mirrorless type (now-days, but that also included large-format-view, range-finder and twin-lens-reflex bodies previously). Several lenses (or many lenses) plus suitable accessories complete the versatility qualities.

      Durability is generally solved with a camera body that can withstand the rigors of weather and environment, including wet, dusty and extreme temperatures. Body and lens seals and heavier-duty-cycle components tend to be qualities of general purpose systems for general purpose photography.

      Usability generally means attention to the user interface along with controls placement, as well as niceties like user-configurable menus and control reassignment capabilities. Usability also implies extra connectivity and even a bright-viewfinder -plus- larger-LCD-display, with more information in each than in lesser tier cameras.

      Usability also includes faster, and more accurate, autofocus, faster shooting speeds, ability to work with gloves, etc.; things which a non-professional may not value as greatly.


      In addition to the primary body, professionals often have at least an additional body, but often several bodies, which form part of their "system". Component interchangeability can be vital between the bodies, even if only partially satisfied.

      For a second body it may be an identical body to the primary, or it may be a more complimentary body, like a FF plus a Crop body system, which can both backup and enhance capabilities. Professionals like to have options and abilities which differentiate them from competition as well as capabilities which enhance their personal style.

      Camera battery standardization may also come in to play more at the pro level.


      Professional cameras often have safety features, like more robust attachments for straps and tripods, etc., and they also often have 2 - card-slots, which add either redundancy or capacity, as the situation requires.


      Finally, professional and semi-professional bodies/accessories/systems allow access to professional services. Canon Professional Services (CPS) and Nikon Professional Services (NPS) are designed to help professional photographers in ways that are worth the price-of-admission, which is over and above the cost of equipment alone. It's a type of elite club, available only to card-holding subscribers, and only available if you own pro or semi-pro equipment.

      Whether it's offering expedited repair service or some free services like cleaning, lubricating and adjusting (CLA), or even whole rooms of spare equipment at pro events, CPS/NPS offers it's highest-tier customers tangible benefits that the best professionals either desire or sometimes require.