What definesb a "Professional" camera
I am returning to photography - as a hobby. Back in the mid 60's to mid 70's I was a professional commercial photographer. In those days I would use a variety of cameras from a Various 35mm Leica's, a Praktica Super TL and Pentax Spotmatic (still my favourite 35mm SLR), various Rolleiflex, Bronica and Hasselbads to Sinar and Linhoff 5x4" plate and sheet film - it depended on what I was doing.
Now, I'm getting to grips with digital, having hardly touched a camera for 30 years (except the ocassonal family event using my beloved Spotmatic!). However, during the past few months I have been reading several magazines I see may references such as "this is a professional camera" or "this is a semi-professional camera" or "prosumar camera" and this got me thinking, exactly how is a modern digital SLR thus catagorised and what features are mandatory (and why) to warrant the "professional" tag and distinction?
Finally, are we now so hung up on "features" that we are overlooking the most important factor - the guy (or woman) behind the camera!
Firstly, Welcome to the WDC Forums
The simple answer is it's the manufacturers that put these labels on the cameras. The magazines/press are told by the companies who/where this camera is aimed at. I remember a while back that one company released a camera which they called a 'Pro' camera and everyone else (press and public) asked what they were on about as the camera was clearly built for the hobbyist
I can relate to this, I used to do weddings had square format cameras for that, why easier to blow up a larger negative. I had a 35mm OM2 got great shots of the kids growing up. I went away from photography and ended up with compact cameras, until this year and then after doing my research this what I decided.
Pro cameras full size sensor alloy body can take some knocks and the weather, "semi-pro" still alloy body but smaller sensor. Keen amateur down to plastice body and the smaller sensor. taking in price and the fact that I Know that I would need extras like flash lenses I settled on the EOS550D, and not a regret great camera. As for features I think its just a case of doing your research and seeing what you need and what is on offer because I agree its the person behind with the skill and knowledge that determins the picture
@fen I understand that manufacturers assign categories to their cameras but you have contradicted your self in your example to saying the camera was 'clearly' for the hobbyist - why? what made the camera a hobbyist camera as opposed to a 'pro' camera?
Back in my day I used to have fellow pro's turn their noses up at me because I alway favoured my Spotmatic whenever possible while they swanned around with 21/4 sq Rollei's, Yashica's and Mamiya's but I could get very good results from 35mm and quite happy I was!
Now it seems to me that you are not taken seriously unless you have a Nikon D3 or Canon EOS1 - certainly Nikon and Canon is 'the' brand. However, I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a Sony A850 and Canon EOS5 for a lunch time recently so I could compare results. I took the same shots in fully auto and Av mode with both cameras and I have to say I much preferred Sony.
The Canon's focus seemed a little soft - great for portraits maybe, but I was looking for sharp crisp results. I noticed the Canon and a sharpness control within the menu but to me that is not what it's about. If you have to use some kind of software to make the image sharp then that's not right to me at least.
@wave - you sound like you come from my school of photography!! perhaps we should start saying things like "You youngsters today don't know how to take a 'proper' photograph" :-)
However, again back in my day I used to work in a camera shop whilst at college and the number of people who would come and buy a camera simply because it had more whistles and flutes than another, or just because AP magazine recommended it - unbelieveable! So maybe things haven't changed that much - features, features, features
I started as a gofar for a pro at weekends, he was very good and taught me loads he told me to get a 35mm camera and a light meter, weston in my case, and go and take pictures write down my settings and when they are developed you can see your successes and failures. So different to day its all there exif data. I went on to be second shooter usually when its was a colour and black and white mix. I was amazed how quickly it went from black and white to just colour. Think today people aded the odd monochrome. I went on to work for him doing my own work. so lucky really I had a good teacher.