Tip of the Week: What Defines a Professional Camera

Old analog film slr camera, photography, vintage photo gear concept

A professional camera has to be well-built and weather-sealed, with all controls easy to access.

A professional camera is usually more expensive than an enthusiast's camera.

What do we base the specifications of a camera of such caliber... what defines it?

It could be a medium format that costs a lot or it could be a dx or cx format one that costs much less. It all depends on its usage.

If I were to shoot in a studio, I may not need a weather-sealed camera and the body itself may be made of cheap plastic. As long as the sensor is good and photo processing is done as should, then that would be it. The result won't reflect the physical capabilities of the gear neither in terms of robustness nor environmental capabilities.

If I'm shooting landscapes, I would want time to adjust my settings with the priority of using lens filters rather than using camera controls. Exposure needs to be correctly set, however accessing controls may not need the speed of access. To have the mind at ease, the camera needs to be rugged.

If I'm a street photographer, my camera needs to be smaller so as not to attract attention. The more discreet the gear the fewer people would be aware of it, resulting in easier photography without feeling awkward. One who has been doing much of that kind of photography gets used to people's expressions and reactions, but, to relieve both, smaller gear is more appreciated.

What defines "professional" is what is needed for the task at hand. If it can be done with simpler gear, then that latter defines it. It doesn't need to have all the bells and whistles and it does not have to be expensive.

Be wise with your choice, for at times more can be a burden.

Choose the right camera brand and type for your needs. Mirrorless grow better at being smaller while showing the result live, through either the viewfinder or the LCD screen. A DSLR is larger compared to its newer adaptation, yet would offer ease of use for those already using one. However, people tend to want change and may find mirrorless much more practical.

There is no perfect camera, though we tend to adapt to its downsides as we adapt to life itself.

Photo credits: Grungemaster.

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September 22, 2020


I would like to point out that all my cameras are amateur, because I have never paid them for work — which would be the definition of a "professional camera." The photography community as a whole needs to stop referring to cameras as professional. They are not professionals ... the photographer is. In your second sentence, you make an inconsistent differentiation between a "professional" camera and an "enthusiast's" camera. That latter is a correct description ... a camera that belongs to an enthusiast. Likewise, your headline and article should correctly refer to a "professional's camera" or a camera that belongs to and is used by a professional ... as there is (to the best of my knowledge) no camera this is a paid professional in its field.

September 17, 2020


Any camera lens combo that can get you an image file without excess noise, chromatic aberrations, obvious distortion, etc. can deliver a usable professional image.  Of course, subject composition are still supremely important.  My best selling image with over 90 downloads was taken with a compact camera with a tiny sensor, no viewfinder, and no weather sealing, and it was an in camera jpeg using low ISO on a sunny day.  That camera?  A Canon G11.  Higher quality camera/lenses with better capability will simply expand shooting opportunities such as shooting in lower light situations, cropping ability, and working in poor weather conditions as examples.

September 16, 2020


Williamwise 1, I have been shooting mirrorless for quite some time now, and the camera and lenses are clearly as good or better than my Nikon system ever was.  And I had top-of-the-line Nikon's and lenses.  With my teleconverters, my Fuji 100-400mm (150mm-600mm full sensor equiv) with a 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter, can get much longer. For small stuff, which I see you shoot, my Fuji macro is beyond amazing. Plus shooting mirrorless has advantages with certain features not found on a DSLR. Maybe it is time you take a look:) 

September 15, 2020


I'm anxiously awaiting the mirrorless cameras and lenses to evolve, especially for a 600mm zoom. I'll be on it when they produce a great one! 

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